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Holy Ambition and Hope (our common Christian calling)

January 2, 2011

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

(Heb 6:11 NASB)

For 2011 – a new year.  I am reading several books on Kindle (pc and Android) and was reading My Utmost for His Highest Devos on .  Several items have stayed with me so far.

Hope – too many times I have looked into the worldly hope or hopelessness,  it is ‘both and’ true – one day there is hope, a few days later there is hopelessness or silence,  no continuity; instead of constantly looking to God in Jesus Christ.  I have failed to lead my emotions / heart / feelings with my head and failed to keep my head firmly pointed to Christ.  This ‘self reliance’ opens a door to fear, and heading away from God’s best for me.  God designed me for interdependence – cooperation with Him.

according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

(Phi 1:20 NASB)

Ambition – my worldly view has been to give lip service to God in prayer and thanks for a few minutes a week, usually on Sunday, and set my own agenda and goals with only a small influence from God.

Holy Ambition – something I really really want to do, very badly,  that God also wants me to do.  I am reflecting on what that is for 2011.

The Book ‘Do Hard Things’  is a great read, for teens as well as any age.  In it the author discusses Holy Amition and provides an analysis of failure to succeed is always a lacking in one of three areas (or more)

He calls these the 3 pillars:




a failure in any of these three areas will likely distract or prevent me from suceeding in ambition or Holy Ambition.

It is my New Year’s resolution to succeed by paying attention to these three pillars, keeping my mind focused on Christ (and acting to give Him Glory) in all the ambitions and Holy Ambitions I follow this year.

Jude at a Glance

November 28, 2010

Book Theme: warn and encourage believers about coming judgment, false teachers in the church.

Author: Jude, brother of James. Believed by many to be a brother of Jesus. Bondservant of Jesus Christ.

Key Words: Ungodly, judgment, love, mercy, faith

Purpose: encourage and warn believers to be prepared to contend earnestly for the faith against ungodly evil deceivers.

Paragraph themes

Jude 1:1-2 – greeting, identify author, encourage the believers in mercy, love and peace, kept.

Jude 1:3-4 – why he is writing, to contend earnestly for faith, in preparation for confronting the ungodly teachers who are in the church

Jude 1:5-10 – reminding the readers of the mistakes of fallen angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, the false teachers among them will revile flesh and authority, how Michael the arch-angel did not condemn, but rebuked in Jesus name.

Jude 1:11-16 – these men are like Cain, Balaam, wild waves, God will enact judgment, describes how to recognize them.

Jude 1:17-23 – remember the words of the apostles – keep yourselves, that there will be mockers and deceivers, build up your faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, have mercy and save those who can be from the flames

Jude 1:24-25 – closing, recognizing the glory and power of Jesus Christ. God is able to keep you and make you stand.

Skillet – Rebirthing

September 5, 2010

 I have come to enjoy many of Skillet’s songs, and among them rebirthing is one that I find the combination of words, vocals and music to place me in apowerful place of worship and reflection, and sometimes repentance / praise / humility.

I lie here paralytic, inside this soul

Screaming for you till my throat is numb

I wanna break out I need a way out

I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way

The worst is the waiting

In this womb I’m suffocating

 Before I woke up to the reality of Christ,  the healing / changing / cleansing love of Jesus – I was feeling this, yet ignoring this,  being numb to the reality of Jesus wooing me.  Living a dead life.

For indeed in this

> we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

(2Co 5:2 NASB)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 (Rom 3:23 NASB)

Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen

I take you in I’ve died

Rebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

Right now Right now

I went on a walk to emmaus in Oct 2000, and for a good 2 years,  was on a mission to proclaim Christ, teach Christ, talk about Jesus where ever and whenever I could.  I felt the zeal,  realized my prior inaction, desired to make amends to God.  Saw the emptiness of this life and the suffocating smothering death I had been living in.  I have continued these last 8 years in obedience,  but not alway with the zeal of the first 2 years.  I often wonder why the fire abated,  God did not change,  so I chose to.

(Isaiah 59:17)  He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.


I lie here lifeless in this cocoon Shedding my skin cause I’m ready to I wanna break out, I found a way out I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way The worst is the waiting In this womb I’m suffocating

Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen I take you in I’ve died

Rebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

These lyrics remind me that each day / month / year is a rebirthing in Christ,  an opportunity to recapture the zeal and emotional fire for Christ

(Galatians 2:20)  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Tell me when I’m gonna live again Tell me when I’m gonna breathe you in Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside Tell me when I’m gonna feel alive

Tell me when I’m gonna live again Tell me when this fear will end Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside Tell me when I’ll feel alive

(2 Thessalonians 3:3)  But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.


(2 Corinthians 5:1)  For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Rebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow

Right now(I come alive somehow)Right now(I come alive somehow)  I lie here paralytic, inside this soul Screaming for you till my throat is numb I wanna break out I need a way out I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way The worst is the waiting In this womb I’m suffocating Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen I take you in I’ve diedRebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Right now Right now I lie here lifeless in this cocoon Shedding my skin cause I’m ready to I wanna break out, I found a way out I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way The worst is the waiting In this womb I’m suffocating Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen I take you in I’ve died Rebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Tell me when I’m gonna live again Tell me when I’m gonna breathe you in Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside Tell me when I’m gonna feel alive Tell me when I’m gonna live again Tell me when this fear will end Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside Tell me when I’ll feel alive Rebirthing now I wanna live for love, wanna live for you and me Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Rebirthing now I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything Breathe for the first time now I come alive somehow Right now(I come alive somehow)Right now(I come alive somehow)

Living a purpose driven life that extends to eternity and glory in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior!


What is in your ministry? Faith or only Sight?

August 29, 2010
For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this

house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– for we walk by faith, not by sight– we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:1-21 NASB)

Lord,  help me walk by Faith, instead of what I see.

A wonderful Idea

June 6, 2010

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”

(Gen 1:26 MSG)

From God, that Crazy Grace filled love

May 30, 2010
tags: ,

Leisa read this to me from Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love”.  There was a section that referenced 

So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you–you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory.

(1Co 10:31 MSG)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

(Mat 6:33 MSG)

In my reality,  I choose to focus on my problems,  my stress, and don’t look to these commands, these guiding principles – I ignore.

What I am saying is very arrogant and self serving,  I choose not to glorify God and worry,  because I want to have “enjoy” my stress and swim in my worry.  I choose to be disobedient to God,  when He plainly tells me that in all moments,  I should glorify Him, and not worry.

When I choose to do that,  He is there.  I need to choose that more each day.

May you choose this also.  Peace of Christ to you this day.

Thoughts on where I am today

May 16, 2010

I sat here this morning, reading over the gospel passages of Jesus converting the Jewish passover feast into the New Covenant

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

(Mat 26:26-28 NASB)

 {also 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Cor 11:23, JOhn 6:35, Matt 6:11, John 1:12, Ex 24:8, Dan 9:27, Eph 1:7)

God designed the world, universe, and humans.  We are the only part of creation that share the image of God.

God Loves me, us.  God has created and is executing a plan to reconcile me, us to Him.  Just like a gift,  we cannot enjoy or use a gift unless we receive and open it.  God desires us to enjoy life and be in fellowship with Him.

God sustains me, us.  God is there even when we cannot see Him or feel His presence.  God’s promise is a covenant and will not and cannot be broken, He makes a way.

God provides power to me, us.  God in Jesus Christ as Savior,  and with the power of the person of the Holy Spirit – empowers me to live in faith, flee temptation, be patient, loving, and kind.

My choice ( and God always allows me a choice) is to believe this or not,  act on these truths or not,  live in loving fellowship or not,  receive the peace being offered or not.

Why don’t I have peace?

April 11, 2010

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

(2Th 3:16 NASB)

“Every circumstance”  seems pretty clear,  it means every situation,  with every person.  I notice it does not say anything about how I feel.  And the granting only and 100% comes from the “Lord of Peace”.  I have to receive the peace from the Lord.  From Dr Ed Smith (TPM) – “If we do not have peace in every circumstance, then we believe something that is contrary to this peace. Peace follows truth. When I know truth, I will walk in peace.”

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

(Gal 6:8 NASB)

“be anxious for NOTHING” (Philippians 4:6). “Nothing” means for no reason, ever! The Apostle John wrote “Perfect love casts out ALL fear” (1 John 4:18). We are told to “Get rid of ALL bitterness, rage and anger … along with EVERY form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

When I try to have peace on my own path and own strength,  I may succeed,  but without receiving the grant of peace from the Lord,  the peace probably will not last.

I only recently reflected on this truth from the Word of God,  and have found new areas of peace in my life as a result.

I pray that you will also.

Easter – Completion of a Jewish Feast, A review

April 4, 2010

The Feasts of Israel,  Hebrew Date,  Our date

Passover – Nissan 14 – March April

Unleavened Bread – Nissan 15-21 – March April (15th day began the Unleavened bread which lasts for 7 days)

First Fruits – Nissan 16 – March April (1st Sunday after Passover (Sabbath)

Pentecost – Sivan 6 – May June

Trumpets – Tishri 1 – September October

Day of Atonement – Tishri 10 – September October

Tabernacles – Tishri 15-21 – September October

Oldest recorded feast


Feast symbolic of the Rapture


Feasts not yet fulfilled by Christ

Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles

1st and last feast (book ends)

Passover, Tabernacles

The feast that commemorated the giving of the law to Moses.


Sacred Assemblies shall be known as

Holy Convocation

No work done day – not even in the home


This feast does not have an exact date given to it.

First Fruits

This feast more closely replicates our Easter morning.

First Fruits

Book and Chapter where we find the order and the direction of the feasts.

Leviticus 23


Feast symbolic of the Lamb of God being slain.


The feast where two goats are used in the ritual

Day of Atonement

Two overlapping feasts – can have 2 on the same day

Unleavened bread and first fruits (bread and fruit go together) (In some places in the Bible – Passover and unleavened Bread are used interchangeably because they are so close together.)

3 Feasts where males had to return to Jerusalem

Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles

What time was Jesus nailed to the cross and what time did he give up His life?

Nailed on cross at 9am and gave up his life at 3pm (had to come down before 6pm)


Feast that indicates the millennial reign of Christ


Feast symbolic of Christ’s body in the grave for 3 days

Unleavened Bread

Symbolic of the 2nd advent of Christ


-Passover – Pesach Exodus 12 (The Passover)

-Is the oldest recorded feast in the bible

-Is symbolic of the lamb of God being slain

-Jesus on the day of the Passover feast was nailed to cross at 9am and gave up his life at 3pm.

justification of believer, We were justified at the Passover.  It established our position in Christ. In justification, we are declared not guilty. God credits Jesus’ righteousness to our spiritual bank account. Passover is our justification. I have been justified by Jesus Christ.

-one day feast.

-‘Taking Israel out of Egypt’. 

-1 Cor 5:7 Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us.

– Passover season was the barley harvest – known as the ‘ poor man’s bread’

– Passover – God’s Peace

-Unleavened Bread – Hag Hamatozot Lev. 23:6-8

-God was ‘taking Egypt out of Israel’. Egypt represents darkness, sin, evil, the world. We can accept Christ today, but it doesn’t mean we will walk the way Jesus wants us to walk yet. That is a journey of sanctification. We are saved but we still have sin to remove from our lives. Removing sin out of the believer’s life each day, a new battle each day. This is the sanctification process.

-symbolic of Christ body in grave for 3 days.  During the 3 days in the tomb (the heart of earth), during the time of unleavened bread, he removed the works of the devil.  He took the keys back.  He became sin for us. Jesus removed sin from the earth.  Our worldly attitudes and sinful ways were buried with Jesus in the grave.

-Unleavened bread represents Jesus power over sin and sickness.

-During Unleavened Bread they cleaned the house of leaven and removed all the leaven. For seven days there is no leaven in the house. It is a reminder to cleanse our lives of sin and everything that is not in line with God.

-1 Cor 5:8 Let us keep the feast of unleavened bread by purging out our sin. Jesus purged out our sins on the cross.

-First Fruits – Leviticus 23:9-14

-the Sunday after Passover, Jesus was resurrected.  Priest waving sheaf before the Lord and offered a lamb for sacrifice.

– This feast stands for the believer’s resurrection with Christ and our future bodily resurrection.  We are saved from our old life to new life in Jesus.  Put off the old man, and put on the new man.  It is not enough to wash off the outside, we also have to clean up our inside. We have to walk in the spirit (Gal 5:16) and you will not fulfill the works of the flesh.  The evidence of this is the Fruits of the spirit (gal 5:22,23).  Fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self control. We should walk in these everyday. When we are walking in the Spirit and exhibiting the fruits of the spirit, we are presenting ourselves as a wave offering to God.

– Purpose was to consecrate the harvest to God, by taking the first cuttings and saying this is yours.  All of harvest belonged to God, and reminded them of their stewardship.  God gave them the land, it all belonged to Him. It was God’s harvest and they were responsible to be good stewards of what God gave them. This is important to us because the Tithe is the first portion. It is all God’s, we give the first 10 percent as a way of saying this is all your and I am asking your blessings upon it.

How did Jesus fulfill first fruits

                                    -He (Christ) is the first born

            -The Believers (church) He is the first born among believers

– Christ was to suffer and to be the first to be raised from physical and spiritual death.

– First fruits help us remember that it all belongs to God. God wants our heart and not our money. 

How do we partake of first fruits?

-(see Abraham in Gen 14), – given as a sacrifice. The first fruits were given to the priests to sustain them. The priests were provided for.  God wants his priests to be taken care of.

-The first fruits of land (Jericho was a first fruit for God).

-Leviticus 27 the first fruits of animals – sacrifices – they always used the best animals for sacrifices. God use the best for sacrifices.  Do I give God my best?

-First born male of every family belonged to God and had special privileges:

– had right of rulership over family. Ruled the family after the father’s death.

– given priesthood – given direction and instruction, from God how to administer (run) the family.

– Given a double portion of the inheritance.

                        – The church is the first fruits of:



– Jesus resurrection fulfilled first fruits. 1 Cor 15:20 Christ is risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who slept. Churches today are filled with people who are asleep. We have a responsibility to wake them up. We are His hands feet and mouthpiece.

– Christ was the first fruit and he passed it on to us.


-Pentecost – Shavuot 50 days after Passover – happens in June

-Priest waved two loaves – one for Jews and one for Gentiles. This signifies that God is giving His Holy Spirit to all people.

– Acts – Fulfillment of Pentecost when Jesus baptized the disciples in the Upper room with the Holy Spirit.  To be filled with Holy Spirit is available to all people (Jews and Gentiles).

– 50 days after first fruits, was the celebration of the completion of the wheat harvest.

– Pentecost – wheat harvest – known as the rich man’s bread

We are much richer with Jesus in our lives.

– The two loaves were made of fine flour carefully sifted to separate the coarse matter from the wheat. This is a symbol of our righteousness.

– It expressed the Hebrews dependence on God for the harvest and their daily bread. In other words – we can’t do it on our own, we need the blood of Christ.

– the Jews celebrated Pentecost as a memorial to the time when God gave the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

– It foreshadowed the Holy Spirit coming down on Pentecost to dwell in us.

-Pentecost is the wheat harvest. Jesus calls himself the human grain of wheat. In order for us to receive more – Jesus  had to die and be planted in the ground. (Jesus was involved in Pentecost) A grain of wheat must be buried to bear fruit. The son of God must die and be buried to bear fruit.

– Just as wheat has to be crushed, sifted and baked to become bread. Jesus was crushed, sifted and baked in the ovens of Hell for our sins. Jesus fulfilled the feast of Pentecost.

– Pentecost – God’s Power

-Trumpets – Rosh Hashanna

                        Blowing the trumpets to call all the people together

– represents the Rapture. God calls all people together.

-It is the foreshadowing of  the 2nd advent of Jesus. Will be fulfilled when Jesus comes back.

– Feast of Trumpets is a time of awakening or warning. It ushers in entrance or that something is going to be revealed. The trumpet is blown to get everyone’s attention.

– Has not been fulfilled yet. We don’t know what day it is going to be, but based on the seasons it is close. Do not let it take us by surprise. It will not sneak up on us. We need to be prepared for the Lord’s return.

– The word ‘rosh’ means the head of, the top, sovereign. 

-Trumpets was to prepare everyone for the day of atonement.

-For the Jews – Trumpets symbolized the voice of God, calling them to a special revelation (knowledge, prophet spoke, etc) or calling them to something (worship on the Sabbath, feasts).  It also meant that God was a mighty God and mighty warrior.  Like Joshua at Jericho.

-Trumpets ushers in the first of 10 days of repentance and it was a time:

– of partial fasting (there were certain things they could drink)

– of seeking God’s face

– of seeking God’s favor

– to repent of their sins. 

– for the Jews to make things right with one another. 

– to seek forgiveness

– to repay debts

The Jews took this very seriously. They felt that these things had to be done by sundown of the day of feast of trumpets (the 10th day) or your name would be stricken from the book life of the Jews (not the Lamb’s book of life), excommunicated from the nation (you were dead to the nation).

-Trumpets is the beginning of the festival time of feasts, that are not yet fulfilled by Christ, but Christ will come to fulfill them.

– How does Trumpets apply to the church? 

Rev 1:10 tells us that the trumpet was God speaking out. Jesus was the trumpet. God is speaking to the church. Church needs to listen for the trumpet. The church needs to listen to God. The church needs to have spiritual leaders who will listen to God. The trumpet is for us – to go out into the world and spread the good news.

-The ultimate fulfillment of Trumpets will be the Rapture.  Rev. 11:15 – that is when the trumpets blow, we hear Christ coming. Jesus is the trumpet of God and the horn of our salvation.

Day of Awe – prior to the day of atonement. It runs from 2 hours before sunset to 2 hours after sunset – about 28 hours. The Jews are in fasting, do good deeds for each other, stop working (except for priests), spiritually prepare themselves. They are only seeking God. They Greet each other with hope and concern, “may your name be in the book of life…” “May you have a good signature.”

-Day of Atonement – Yon Kippur

– Matt 25:31-33 atonement will be fulfilled when Jesus cleanses the earth by separating the sheep and goats.

-This is the 7th feast of Israel. The number 7 is the number of completion.

– Atonement means to cover, make reconciliation, to passify or appease, to clear, to purge, to cleanse. Gen 6:14 – Noah is instructed to ‘cover’ the Ark with pitch. The same word used to tell Noah to ‘cover’ the ark with pitch.   

-It is the most solemn and holy day of year – day of atonement. 

-Great day of national cleansing and forgiveness – not for personal cleansing. 

-Only required day (only day in bible) of complete fasting.

– The Jews believe the final accounting of souls and final judgment will come on the Day of Atonement.  It is also called the day of Forgiveness. They call it Yom Kippur.

-Lev 16 – The high priest’s most important duty was to minister on the Day of Atonement. If the priest made a mistake, on this day, the whole nation would suffer – they would not be forgiven. 

-Lev. 16:4 – Before the priest did anything he would cleanse himself first. The priests dressed for the service.  They wore white robes, sash, turbans – these were not glamorous garments – they were not elaborate or beautiful.  They were very ordinary garments. He made a sin offering for himself first – he sacrificed a bull for himself. He had to atone for his own sins before he could ask God to forgive the nation. Then he made a sin offering for the nation. 

-He enters into the Holy of Holies

-Takes some of the blood from the sacrifice into the tabernacle

-Passes through the outer room

-He would stop at the incense altar, pull coal from the altar and fill the golden censor.

-He would fill his hands with incense.

-He would approach the holy of holies, where God’s presence was.

-He would go behind the veil with incense, into the holy of holies, where ark of covenant was. 

-The mercy seat was on top (the lid) of the ark of the covenant.

-A great light was visible – the shekinah glory of God.

-Put incense over the coals to create a White clouds of smoke.

-He sprinkled blood sprinkled on the mercy seat seven times 7-symbol of completion).

-Greek word for mercy meant Propitiation. This was to turn away God’s wrath by satisfying His violated justice. We are going to do this in hopes that you forgive us.

-Heb 9:22 – shedding of blood for forgiveness of sin.

-Heb 12:24 – The blood of Jesus is crying out for mercy.

The blood of Able cried out for vengeance. 

The message is clear – Blood Speaks!

-2 goats were offered:

-1 was sacrificed (scapegoat)

-1 was set free

Lots were cast to see which one was set free.

The goat symbolized the sins of the nation.  The high priest leaned heavily with his body weight on the goat – which symbolized the transfer of the nations sins. The high priest took the sins of the nation and put it on the goat. Then he cut the goat’s throat and took the blood into the holy of holies to the mercy seat. Standing in the incense cloud – because he already did this with the blood of the bull to cleanse himself.

– The blood changes God’s throne from a throne of pure judgment to one of mercy.

-On other sacrifice days the Jews could bring in sacrifices based on their social standing (their income – what they could afford) but for atonement they could only bring in a goat. This meant they had to suck it up and pay the price for the goat. Today we do not want to pay the price to do what we have to do to be followers of Christ. God said “this day you must do this” (bring the goat) there was a reason for it. It applies to us today.

-1st Goat (the one that died) represented the people.

-2nd goat scapegoat was let go into the wilderness (uninhabited area). This was evidence that the sacrifice was accomplished.

– Every year this was repeated, atonement was never finished.  Sins were covered up for a year at a time. Atonement means cover up. Their sins were covered up for a year.

-Tabernacles – Sukkot

-will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to Tabernacle with the redeemed.

-In Lev 23 – The Feast of Tabernacles began on the 15th day of Tishri and lasted until the 21st.  On the 22nd there was a special Sabbath, which was a day of rest, followed by a day of much rejoicing.

-The Feast of Tabernacles has 2 aspects:

-Looked back to the 40 year wilderness wandering, living in shelters, tents, or booths

-Also a time to look ahead. 

-Tabernacles also called the Feast of Ingathering. It was at the end of the harvest season. Harvest was a lot of work. It was a time of celebrating the completion of the harvest. It was a time of great rejoicing.

-This is the 8th feast – tabernacles is also called booths because the Jews slept in booths or shelters during the feast.  It is a Time of seeking God and not things from God.

-It is a time of pouring of Water. (Lev 23:36) It took place on the last day of the feast. It was called the Day of Hosanna (means saves now). They would pray for salvation through the messiah. A special thanksgiving offering was made for rain to soften the ground for plowing.  It was also a time that pointed to the messiah who would bring them living waters of the spirit. A younger priests would draw water with a golden pitcher from the Pool of Salome, which would be taken to the temple and poured over sacrifices. This was in remembrance of the time God gave them water from the rock – when Moses struck the rock. God provides for His people. The trumpets were blown and the people waved palm branches sang the psalms 113-118.

-How is Jesus our tabernacle? 

Jesus is our rest; you go into a tabernacle for rest.

-Matt 11:28-30 – Jesus said we can rest in God through Him (Jesus)

-Jesus is called Emmanuel. Emmanuel means ‘God with us’. When God is with us we can rest, through Christ, in God.

Pouring of the water – in John 7:2,6-10,37-39 – it talks about how this is the late and greatest day of the feast.  Jesus made a bold statement “I am your hosanna, I am your salvation, I will give you living waters”. Many believe that when the priest was pouring the water onto the ground is when Jesus stood and said this. He came to satisfy their spiritual thirst.

-Jesus is the ‘sent one’. The pool of Salome is considered the ‘sent pool’.

-John 7:16 – I came from Him who sent me.

-Jesus is the pool from which the living water will spring up in us.

Jesus is the light of the Temple. In John 8:12 – Jesus came to give us spiritual light. The Jews rejected the light (Jesus). They liked rituals more than they loved God. They were looking for a political messiah. As a result they have been wandering for 2000 years. The Jews who did not accept Him have missed the ‘rest of Jesus’ during this church age.

-This Feast will be fulfilled when Jesus returns at His 2nd advent to tabernacle with His people on earth.  It represents the 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth – which is called the millennium.

-Revelation 20- The curse of sin will be removed from the earth, and satan will be bound. 

-Revelation 21 22- There will be a New heaven and new earth. This will be the 8th day of rest for us. Final rest is when God comes to live with His people.

-Revelation 22:1-5 talks about a river of living water that will flow from the throne of God.  Whatever we need, will be there, all we have to do is walk over and take a drink. No more need for energy, God’s shekinah glory will power and illuminate everything. This will happen when God comes to tabernacle with us.

Tabernacles can also mean the season of the fall feasts.

These feasts symbolize ‘God’s rest’:

Matt 5:17”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (NIV)


Jesus took bread and wine and established a new ordinance called the Lord ’s Supper.

-His body was Unleavened bread.

-His blood was the Passover.

Who am I

March 21, 2010

Temporal and Positional Truth

Christian’s understand that our salvation is a gift that comes from Christ’s sacrifice for us, but most churches stop there. So, a lot of Christians are not taught about the position, authority and relationship that we have with God. I did not understand the Positional and Temporal truths that make up the rest of God’s gift to us.

The Positional truth is that once we accept Christ, He is in us and we are in Him. We are covered by Christ’s blood and seen as Holy and blameless in the sight of God (Ephesians 1:4). We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) and become co-heirs with Christ and sons and daughters of God (Ephesians 1:5). We enter into an intimate relationship with our Creator through Christ. We have the Holy Spirit living in us to teach, comfort, guide, help and empower us. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, right next to God (Ephesians 2:6). We are citizens of heaven. We also become part of the body of Christ. We join with other believers to work together to do God’s work. Through Christ we are linked together. We are a spiritual family (Ephesians 2:19-22). What this means to me is that I am never alone, no matter how I may feel, because Christ and God are always right next to me and the body of believers are all there, too. It also means that I have the power of God in me because Christ is in me and I have the authority to use that power for His purposes. It is not my authority. It is Christ’s authority and He has given me access to it, to use in His name. For me, this gift of authority is one I have only recently become aware of. It is a gift that I have had for a long time, but never saw. Now I see it and I have opened it, but I am not sure about what to do with it. I have not fully grasped all that it means. This area is a prayer focus for me because I want to be all that God wants me to be. I want to do all the things He wants me to do. It is a gift that is to be taken very seriously because I will be held accountable for the way I use it. God put all these things in place because He loves us and wanted to protect us and wanted a relationship with us. His love is amazing. It has no limits. I feel it every day. It is empowering and humbling at the same time. My focus needs to stay on Him, in all I do and my thoughts should be focused on the spiritual rather than the physical. The eternal consequences are more important than the worldly consequences.

The Temporal truth is that God will give me what I need, here in my physical body to do what He wants me to do here on this earth. If I feel stressed I can call out to Him and He will give me peace, He will comfort me and provide for my physical needs. While I am here, my job is to study and increase my knowledge and grow into a mature Christian, so I know the truth and will not be deceived by false teachings. (Ephesians 4:13-15). I have a responsibility to be Christ like in my interactions with others. I should be patient, honest and kind with others. People should see Christ in me (Ephesians 4:24-32). I should follow God’s example and show love to everyone (Ephesians 5:1-2). By doing this I can teach others about God and bring new people into the body of Christ. The way I conduct myself is very important because I represent God. So, all my relationships and all my conduct should be guided by love. (Ephesians 5:22-6:9) I also need to remember that my struggles and battles are not with other people, but with satan and his forces (Ephesians 6:12). I am not alone in this battle. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the body of believers are all with me. I never stand alone. God has also given me the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). These are powerful tools to help me stand against the enemy.


February 21, 2010
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I get too busy to “smell the roses”,  listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit each moment,  smile, laugh,  and enjoy the life I am traveling through.

That is my choice and yours,  too much facebooking, tweeting, texting, working, cooking, preparing for church stuff, doing church stuff.  I and too many forget to take special time and keep a special focus on the first love,  Love the Lord your God,  then love others.

Take time, make time, right now and each moment afterward.

Romans 8 – Grace revealed, Called to His Purpose

February 14, 2010

(Rom 8:1 NASB) Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

(Rom 8:2 NASB) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

(Rom 8:3 NASB) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

(Rom 8:4 NASB) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

(Rom 8:5 NASB) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(Rom 8:6 NASB) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

(Rom 8:7 NASB) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

(Rom 8:8 NASB) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

(Rom 8:9 NASB) However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

(Rom 8:10 NASB) If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

(Rom 8:11 NASB) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

(Rom 8:12 NASB) So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–

(Rom 8:13 NASB) for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

(Rom 8:14 NASB) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

(Rom 8:15 NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

(Rom 8:16 NASB) The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

(Rom 8:17 NASB) and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

(Rom 8:18 NASB) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

(Rom 8:19 NASB) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

(Rom 8:20 NASB) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

(Rom 8:21 NASB) that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

(Rom 8:22 NASB) For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

(Rom 8:23 NASB) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

(Rom 8:24 NASB) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

(Rom 8:25 NASB) But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

(Rom 8:26 NASB) In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

(Rom 8:27 NASB) and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

(Rom 8:28 NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

(Rom 8:29 NASB) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

(Rom 8:30 NASB) and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

(Rom 8:31 NASB) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

(Rom 8:32 NASB) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

(Rom 8:33 NASB) Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;

(Rom 8:34 NASB) who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

(Rom 8:35 NASB) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


(Rom 8:37 NASB) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

(Rom 8:38 NASB) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

(Rom 8:39 NASB) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life in Christ

January 31, 2010

From Colossians 3

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him– a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

(Col 3:1-25 NASB)

From J Vernon McGee

Christ, the fullness of God, poured out in life through believers.

A. Thoughts and affections of believers are heavenly,

Chapter 3:1-4

(The believer’s heart should be in heaven where his Head is.)

B. Living of believers is holy, Chapters 3:5 — 4:6

(In all relationships — personal, social, marital, parental, capital and labor — the believer should manifest Christ.)

Strategy of Satan

January 5, 2010

to attack our mind.  Why

In the Strategy of Satan,  Warren Wiersbe states “your mind is part of the image of God,  where God communicates with you and reveals His will to you”

“God renews our lives by renewing our minds, and he renews our minds through His Truth, which is the Word of God”… “If Satan can get you to believe a lie, then he can begin his work in your life to lead you into sin,  this is why he attacks our minds, and why we must protect our minds from the attacks of the wicked one”

 Paul writes if it is not true do not let it in your mind.

Lie of Satan – words don’t mean what others say they mean,  so I can use profane language,  speak hrshly, use vulgar speech.  

Truth – Jesus said let your Yes or No be enough, anything else if from the evil one.  Paul writes about Christian living and emphasizes avoiding vulgar and profane speech.

Lie of Satan – i can live with my girl/boyfriend and it will be ok, everybody does it,  or I have to check them out sexually to see if we are compatible before getting married for life.

Truth – Jesus said do not commit adultery,  Paul wrote to stay away from immorality,  sexually impure people will not have any inheritance in the kingdom.

Don’t let Satan’s lies stay in your mind.

What is your statement of faith or Creed?

November 29, 2009

a few summers ago,  I had an assignment to write my own statement of faith.  This was the result.

I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  Jesus is the son of God, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit, lived a fully human life without sinning,  was persecuted, punished for all human sins (including mine) and died in our place, with our sins placed on Him on the cross to redeem all who believe in Him by Faith to a righteous relationship with God the Father.  At death, He descended into Hades, Jesus was dead and rose from death to eternal life on the third day in a fully regenerated supernatural body.  He ascended to Heaven to join the Father.  Jesus provides for the forgiveness of our sins as the intercessor to God the Father.  Jesus justifies each believer before God.  The Word of  God is inerrant, infallible, and complete and Jesus is the Word, the Truth, the Way, and the Life.

I believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not created – but each person existed beyond any beginning, are each eternal, are equal, distinct and one.  Together God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit forms the Trinity and there is one God.  Each person of the trinity has always been and always will be.

I believe in the second coming of Jesus, the dead believers will be resurrected to life and join Jesus in the clouds, the living believers will be lifted into the air to meet Jesus,  .  Jesus will judge living and dead believers according to what was done in the flesh and assign rewards in heaven.

I believe that the Trinity, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are working the same today as they have done in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

All believers will be resurrected to a fully supernatural regenerated  (new) body at the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Christians have the goal to strive for

November 15, 2009

I came across this blessing from 1600 years ago,  penned by Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome.  It is a nativity sermon,  looking ahead to the season for being thankful and celebrating the birth of our Savior, Lord, and King.

excerpt follows…”

III. Christians then must live worthily of Christ their Head

Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit , Who “for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us,” has had pity on us: and “when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ Ephesians 2:4-5,” that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production. Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Recollect that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God’s light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Ghost: do not put such a denizen to flight from you by base acts, and subject yourself once more to the devil’s thraldom: because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever. Amen.”


Eph 2:2 NASB – in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Eph 2:3 NASB – Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Eph 2:4 NASB – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Eph 2:5 NASB – even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Jesus saved and continues to save us,  we need to live that way.

All that matters

October 11, 2009

The Lyrics to Jonah 33’s “All that matters” song were significant to me this morning as I prepared for Bible Study and Worship.

Look at what I’ve gained, I’ve earned

Since I’ve been here on this earth.

I’ve collected everything that was of value and of worth!

But there was always something missing inside of me…

(Always something missing… Always something…)

People that could give to me, I always held in high esteem.

And I would stab you in the back to gain popularity.

And then You came into my life and I realized

(You came into my life… You came into…)

Everything I have is trash

Compared to knowing who You are!

Everything is trash compared to knowing You!

(All that matters is You)

Since you came along, I’ve had to re-evaluate my heart…

Then I realized that I was blind from the very start!

Because without You there is nothing worth anything

(There is nothing… There Is…)

Everything I have is trash

Compared to knowing who You are!

Everything is trash compared to knowing You!

(All that matters is You)

So take my heart and take my soul (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

Instill in me what matters most (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

All that matters is You

All that matters is You

All that matters is You

All that matters is… You!

Everything I have is trash

Compared to knowing who You are!

Everything is trash compared to knowing You!

(All that matters is You)

Everything I have is trash

Compared to knowing who You are! (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

Everything is trash compared to knowing You!

(All that matters is You)

Compared to knowing You (All that matters is You)

Everything is trash (All that matters is You)

Compared to knowing You (All that matters is You)

All that matters is You…

Jonah 33 All that matters (click to listen to it on rhapsody)

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbishso that I may gain Christ,  Phl 3:8

Take some time today to expose and release the stuff that does not matter,  re-evaluate your heart,  let Jesus cloth you and your life in all that matters!  May you know peace,  the love of Christ today.  May you choose peace…Jesus.

Beloved, Beware

September 27, 2009

John,  the disciple who was with Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus was cloaked in heavenly glory with Moses,  coaxes believers in 1 John 4:1 to “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world”‘ – Test every spirit.

To properly test spirits,  your sensors have to be alert, and able to discern truth from false.  You have to be connected to the truth, since Jesus is the Truth, the Way, and The Life (John 14:6), this means that you need to be connected by experiencing the Word (John 1:1) directly – and the only way of doing that is reading or hearing the Bible.

Testing and making discerning judgments according to God’s Word (Jesus Christ) is important because as a result of  living in a sinful and fallen world we experience trials (James 1:2) – just like Jesus did, except for most of us,  the end game is not a horrible death on the cross, or any sort of execution.

Re-read Proverbs 3 for comfort and restoration.

Christian Love Story – excerpts from Zola Levitt’s Book

September 20, 2009


The Church is called “the bride of Christ” in the New Testament for good reason. It is we who have a covenant relationship with the One Who forgives sins. It is we who drink the cup with Him, and we for whom the price was paid.  We are the ones to whom He said, “I go to prepare a place for you,” and we are the ones who now await His sudden return.

Our covenant, in all its fullness, was expressed by the prophet Jeremiah:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel , and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their

fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to

bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my

covenant they brake, although I was an husband

unto them, saith the Lord:

Butthis shall be the covenant that I will make with the

house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will

put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their

hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be

my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his

neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jer. 31:31-34).

Paul repeated the same covenant in Hebrews 8:8-12, for the benefit of the bride.

We can see very plainly that these verses constitute a contract. Terms are given and the parties identified. The Lord made His covenant with “the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”, but it is continued to all of those who are the spiritual seed of Abraham and follow the Jewish Messiah. The New Covenant is written in our hearts, in a very real sense. It is not like the Old Covenant given to Moses, as explained in verse 32 above. That covenant was etched in stone and totally inflexible and unbreakable –

the punishment for breaking it was death. The New Covenant comes out of a love relationship – we obey the Lord today because we love Him, not because we fear Him – and thus the New Covenant is a matter of the heart.  God purposely contrasts this New Covenant with the Old in order to make the point that He would forgive our iniquities and forget our sins under the new arrangement.  This is the most striking term of the New Covenant that our sins are forgiven and forgotten. That certainly wasn’t true under the Mosaic law. The people might in effect “file sacrifices” against their sins so that when the Messiah came He would retroactively take that into consideration and forgive them (Romans 3:25). God went along with an unregenerate people, knowing that forgiveness would be provided when the Messiah paid the price as the final sacrifice. But we are not in the same position. The price has already been paid for our sins, so that every last one of them is totally forgiven.

Some believers don’t like this concept, and indeed much of the Church spends much of its energy acting as if the Covenant read, “I will forgive you only if you’re good.” There is a great deal of pretense among the believers that each of us is sinless, or very nearly sinless. But the fact of the matter is, God knows well the hearts of men and has provided a different system for us than He did in the Old Covenant. We are not responsible to be sinless; we ate responsible only to believe in the Messiah, Who was sinless in our place and paid for our sins.

We might look at the New Covenant as a “gift certificate”

for salvation. When one gives you a gift certificate,

you need only to take it to the store and present it; there will

be no charge for the merchandise. It’s not that the

merchandise is free, but that someone has been there  ahead of you and paid for it. When you get the merchandise

home, you may misuse it, if you wish. You may take gifts provided for you by the one who bought your certificate and damage them, or fail to appreciate them. That would be a shame, of course, but it certainly wouldn’t cause the buyer of your gift certificate to come to you demanding the return of the merchandise. In the case of the New Covenant, God, the store owner, has agreed to provide you the merchandise of salvation in return for the gift certificate purchased for you by His Son. It’s as simple as that.

Well, then, you may ask, can I sin as much as I like and still be saved? Paul covered that case when he said, “Shall I sin more that grace may abound?” He made clear that we are not to take our salvation as a license – that would be as bad as damaging the free gift we have received – but, in point of fact, our salvation has been paid for in advance. We can only thank God for this arrangement under which we common sinners can achieve the glory reached by Christ Himself. We would certainly never make it on our own merits.

Verse 34 above will be fulfilled in the Kingdom of the Lord, when everyone will certainly know the King. He will reside in Jerusalem in the Tabernacle for 1,000 years and it will no longer be necessary for people to teach “every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord””. When this particular wedding is completed, it will be a happy marriage indeed!

The New Covenant is like a contract also in the respect

that it is signed and dated. In the verse following those

quoted above, God presents His signature to this



Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light

by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the

stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when

the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His

name (cJer. 31:35).

There’s no doubting whose signature that is!

Now we find a date, as we do on all contracts:

If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the

Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from

being a nation before me forever (v. 36).

God says plainly that His covenant will go out of date when Israel ceases to be a nation. Clearly, our covenant is still in force because Israel is a nation today and has really never ceased to be a nation. If all the Jews would perish – if those who wanted to exterminate the Jewish people ever had their wish – then it is apparent that the New Covenant would go out of date and forgiveness would not be available to anyone. The very presence of the Jews among us is the sign of the New Covenant; it is still in force and every sin of every person who believes is still forgiven.

The Jews are, in this one way, a most special people. As God promised His friend Abraham:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless

thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be

a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:2-3).

But in case anyone would doubt that Israel will survive

the Lord adds a footnote in the next verse: ‘

Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be

measured, and the foundations of the earth

searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed

of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord

(Jer. 31 :37).

Obviously, Israel is as secure as the secrets of how the universe is put together. If anyone could tell God how He has set up in heaven and earth, He would then cast off the seed of Israel, He says. It’s virtually the same argument God used with Job when that worthy one came before Him with questions. God inquired, “Where was thou when I laid the cornerstone of the earth?” as if to say, “Seeing that you ask such intelligent questions, I am sure that you understand as much as God does.” That settled who Job was and who God was, and the verse quoted above should settle once and for all any question about the survival of Israel and the Jewish people. .

And thus we have our marriage contract and it is an advantageous contract for the bride indeed. Note the language used in Jeremiah 31:32: “Which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.” God could very well have been angry enough with Israel that He would have chosen a different bride for His Son. He says, in effect, “I tried to marry them before, but they broke the marriage contract.” Nevertheless, in His forgiveness, God makes this covenant again with Israel, sending His Son to that nation and the Holy Spirit to that people. And Israel, in turn, sent the Messiah to the world through Jewish missionaries who built the churches of Asia.  And the contract God has made is a real stunner – He has agreed that should the Bride sin this time, He will forget about it!

It is as if the bridegroom came forward and said to his bride, “I’ll pay the price for you and drink the cup with you, and go to prepare the place for you and if you happen to stumble in the year that I am away, I’ll just forget it. If I hear, while I am building the bridal chamber, that you were not waiting for me at home but had even gone out with another man, I will just forget about it. If you try to break my covenant, I will not allow it to be broken. I will pay for all your sins myself!”

Here, we have a bridal contract unbreakable by the bride. How could God possibly make such a contract?  Well, we might say this: The price was very high.

Second Coming

August 30, 2009

Acts 1:11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Jesus will return just like he left!

Mat 24:37 NASB – “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
Mat 24:38 NASB – “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
Mat 24:39 NASB – and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Mat 24:40 NASB – “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Mat 24:41 NASB – “Two women {will be} grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Mat 24:42 NASB – “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
Mat 24:43 NASB – “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Mat 24:44 NASB – “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think {He will.}

Jesus confirmed this in his last teachings to His disciples!

Mat 24:37-44

(37) “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.

(38) “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

(39) and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

(40) “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

(41) “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

(42) “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

(43) “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

(44) “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Zechariah predicted the first and second coming of Christ

Zec 9:9-10

(9) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

(10) I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah spoke of this in 11:1 and the second coming in 11:2-5

Isa 11:1-5

(1) Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

(2) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

(3) And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;

(4) But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

(5) Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

Isaiah and Christ both spoke to this,  600 years apart.

Isa 61:1-2

(1) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

(2) To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

Luk 4:16-21

(16) And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

(17) And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,



(20) And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

(21) And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus Christ,  Son of God, Savior, Messiah will bodily and mightily return to start a 1000 year reign of the kingdom of Heaven on earth.  I hope one day very soon.

End Times Prophecy Events – excellent article from Zola Levitt Ministries

The founders on Jesus

August 23, 2009

If you need a refresher on our nation’s true history and what the founders really thought, look at this website

What has been carefully de-emphasized in our education system is the founders founded a Christian nation and expected those principles and focus to be part of governing, not separated by an artificial wall that did not exist until a 1947 supreme court decision that made it up by refocusing on what Thomas Jefferson told a group of Baptists to allay their fears the government would interfere with their practice of Christian worship.

Until LBJ enacted vengeance on pastors who dared oppose him on a senate run in the 1950’s, pastors were free to and did preach on good government, who to vote for, since the founding of the country until the mid 1950’s.

Consider the following quotes from their writings (historical documents)–

“John Adams


The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation.2

Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.3

The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

“John Quincy Adams

My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . . the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God.7

The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10].8

In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”

Benjamin Franklin

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.30

The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beatiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.31 (FRANKLIN’S EULOGY THAT HE WROTE FOR HIMSELF)”

John Hancock

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.38

He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”

there are many other examples and quotes from our founder’s writings. Our freedom, liberty, and resulting wealth and prosperity are the direct result of obedient Christians founding a Christian nation.

Praising God wherever whenever

August 16, 2009

The Bible,  The Word of God,

Word of God

Word of God

The Truth – The Way – The Life mentions praise over 180 times in the NASB translation.

Choose today to praise God,  and be thankful no matter the circumstances

in loss and grief  Job 1:20

In time of goodness and plenty 1 Chron 23:5


August 9, 2009

(Joh 6:35) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

(Joh 6:40) “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

(Joh 6:51) “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

(Joh 7:6) So Jesus *said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.

(Joh 7:7) “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

(Joh 7:8) “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.”

(Joh 7:28) Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.

(Joh 7:29) “I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

God has definite plans for our time in this life.  We can choose to participate and listen and cooperate or choose not to.

Ways to know and cooperate

1.  Read the Word of God.  This is direct communication from and with Jesus Christ,

(Joh 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2.  Pray – involves talking and listening.

Mat 6:6-13

(6) “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

(7) “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.

(8) “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

(9) “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

(10) ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

(11) ‘Give us this day our daily bread.

(12) ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

(13) ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

3.  Act on what you have been taught from the Word of God, using your gift of reason and common sense that comes from God.

Christian and Tattoos

August 2, 2009

This comes up from time to time.  I agree with the view expressed in this article.

the following links:

What to do when the Bible is not clear

Should Christian Teens get tattoos?

Tattoos and the Bible?

Jewish Rabbi perspective on Tattoos?

To ink or not to Ink

Disease risks with tattoos

When is Body Art a Health Risk?

Read and decide for yourself,  but make an informed and reasoned decision that can be reconciled with your faith based on Romans 14:23 perspective.

You are wonderfully made

July 26, 2009

Psalms 139:1-14 NASB For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me. (2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. (3) You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. (4) Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. (5) You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. (6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (7) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? (8) If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (9) If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, (10) Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (11) If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” (12) Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (13) For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. (14) I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.


God Designed YOu

God Designed YOu

This is how God sees us.

Questions, Life, Purpose

July 5, 2009

Our lives are filled with questions



……….what am I here for………..who am I……….why  …………do bad things happen

bad things

bad things

……..why does someone who seems so worthy get so sick…..die suddenly…..  why do some people who have been blessed by riches



 beyond 99.9% of the world’s imagination ……go down in drugs, violent death, illegal activity.

are these even the best questions to be asking ourselves….

The Bible poses these questions:

Mat_22:35; Mat_22:41; Mat_22:46; Mar_9:33; Mar_10:2; Mar_11:29; Luk_11:53; Luk_20:3; Luk_20:40; Luk_22:68; Joh_16:19; Joh_16:23; Joh_16:30; Joh_18:21; Joh_21:12;

The ultimate question is where will and what will my life be like after death?  and What do I believe about eternal life?

The answer to the last two goes a long way to determining happiness, focus, satisfaction, and peace in this temporal life.  I believe this produces liberty and freedom in this life – no matter your circumstances.

(Joh 3:6) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 3:14-17 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; (15) so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (16) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Days of Praise

May 24, 2009

Each Day – God has a plan,  God has a design for each individual.  It is a map americas-routes-mapto explore our lives,  the map contains recommended routes to follow to safely and effectively operate our vehicle (our mortal body, the Jar of Clay) which contains the occupant (our eternal spirit person) from the starting point (conception) to the ending destination (passage through the death gate to Jesus our Lord and Savior who is waiting on us in the heavenly realm,  John 14).  We drive through our lives,  we walk through our lives, we build houses,  all according to plans we or other people have made.  Even if tragedy strikes (car wrecks, twisting an ankle, etc).  We still resume driving cars, walking, building – we work the process of our lives and try to avoid similar circumstances.  God is working in our lives to help us cope, avoid in some instances, and ultimately through the work on the cross of Jesus Christ – salvation.



some thoughts on praise

A son of Jacob in the line of Jesus – Judah – named to the praise of God.

Judah was the tribe that most of the remnant came from that rebuilt Jerusalem.lion_judah

God has a plan,  it is a map for a journey,  there are provisions to bless us, guide us, and ultimately protect us from eternal death in separation from God after we die in this life.

Be part of the remnant of God’s people,  He has planned and provided for you in this life and after to eternity.

Our Charge…to be witnesses

May 3, 2009

Why we can be ready –

2 Timothy 1:7 NASB

(7) For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.draft_lens1990882module9572872photo_1211035330holiness2

We have power and love and discipline….couple with the invincibility of Christ

Romans 8:35 NASB

(35) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Either the life of Christ is the power that overcomes all through His love for us, and cannot be defeated even by death or there is no possibility of any meaning in anything that the Bible is telling us.   We have the power and authority of Christ over sin, behavior, attitudes, choices in our lives – nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  The Love exists apart from time itself,  created the world we live in, stands in judgement of our fallen sinful state, and will come again to judge the living and the dead,  and in the end will destroy the fallen world and create a new one to replace it.  Each believer will be recreated into a resurrected body just like Christ.

There is a song with the lyrics “I Have the Power”,  we have that power in us.l_2573b14539176618c339c819d197613e

Acts 1:8 NASB

(8) but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Questions, Change, Decisions, Truth and Thinking

May 2, 2009

Tuesday night we had open questions night at Bible Study.

We opened up with comments on why different churches / denominations believe differently on baptism and salvation.

We discussed salvation definitions focused on what Jesus taught and commanded.  At His Way Christian Fellowship,  we hold to the primary message of John 3:16, John 14:6, and Romans 10:8-10.  Baptism follows salvation as an act of obedience to the new Lord of Your Life – Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in John15 that if we love Him, we will do what he says and follow his commands – which includes baptism.

Staying connected to Christ,  loving Him by living an obedient life, and preaching the gospel to others is what we are commanded to do.

Another question that comes up often is concerning dinosaurs, creation accounts, what happened when.  We discussed some of the issues,  and discussed the needed first step of deciding, seeking, investigating what you can choose to believe about the Bible and how that impacts your faith, sense of salvation, security, etc.  If the Bible is true and can be believed,  then you should trust and move forward based on that decision.  More on this later.

Prepared for Action

April 25, 2009

1 Peter 1:13-19 NASB
(13) Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(14) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
(15) but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
(16) because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
(17) If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
(18) knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
(19) but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.


Our minds need to be fed to be prepared,  renewed as per Romans 12:1-2 daily or more often.  Our spirits are fed by the Word of God,  the precious Lamb who died and rose to eternal life, so we will be victorious.

Grace like the rain

April 19, 2009

I am thankful for many things, all of which is due to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His grace pours and pours much like the rain did yesterday – filling the ditches of my life – all in spite of me.John 7:37 (37) Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.grace-keynotesingers5

Happy Easter

April 12, 2009
Jesus is here!

Jesus is here!

Matthew 28:1-10 NASB
(1) Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
(2) And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
(3) And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
(4) The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
(5) The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
(6) “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
(7) “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
(8) And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
(9) And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
(10) Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Matthew 28:17-20 NASB
(17) When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
(18) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
(19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
(20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

See yourself as God sees you

April 7, 2009

It is about relationship, 

the phrase it’s not who you are, but who you know that matters.

John 4:1-40 NASB
(1) Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
(2) (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),
(3) He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
(4) And He had to pass through Samaria.
(5) So He *came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;
(6) and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
(7) There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
(8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
(9) Therefore the Samaritan woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
(10) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
(11) She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?
(12) “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”
(13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
(14) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
(15) The woman *said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”
(16) He *said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”
(17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’;
(18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
(19) The woman *said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
(20) “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
(21) Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
(22) “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
(23) “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
(24) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(25) The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”
(26) Jesus *said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
(27) At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?”
(28) So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and *said to the men,
(29) “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
(30) They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.
(31) Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
(32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
(33) So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”
(34) Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
(35) “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
(36) “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
(37) “For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’
(38) “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”
(39) From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”
(40) So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.

Jesus broke with Jewish and local customs by speaking to the woman at the well.  She knew immediately that this was unusual and asked him why he, a jew would be speaking to her or asking her for water.

Jesus saw her for what she was,  a woman with many former husbands,  and offered her living water and spoke to her of worshipping in spirit and truth.  She was immediately changed by how she was seen by God in Jesus Christ.  He spoke the truth to her and yet offered her something that caused her to desire to tell everyone else about Christ.  She became motivated by her conversation with Christ to start a revival.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
(17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

 Her old ways were fading, not important,  she was following a purpose laid down for her by Christ,  tell others about the Living eternal Water of God.  She was a new creation, immediately.

Who are you ?  According to Ephesians 1:19-21:  You as a believer are a brother or sister with Christ to God the Father.  God sees you as His child.  That means relationship and love – the love of God that never fails.

Ephesians 1:19-21 NASB
(19) and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
(20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
(21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

How do you See yourself?  do you doubt, feel week, useless, powerless.  Listen to what sacred scripture tells us about how God works.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB
(9) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

God sees you as so important that He wants you to know nothing can separate you from His love.

Romans 8:38 NASB
(38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
(39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now ask yourself again and answer based on your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Colossians – Encouraging words of hope

April 5, 2009
tags: , , ,

Colossians 1:1-14 NASB
(1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
(2) To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
(3) We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
(4) since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
(5) because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
(6) which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;
(7) just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,
(8) and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
(9) For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
(10) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
(11) strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
(12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
(13) For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
(14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Paul – the pharisee of pharisees, led the persecution of Christians, prosecutor of Jewish Temple Law – writes encouraging and uplifting words to the Colosse Church.

In verse 5 – he writes of the hope stored up for us in heaven that brings or enables love and faith to operate here in our earthly lives.  Paul the ultimate Jewish critic of the ministry of Jesus Christ became the great encourager,  the writer of hopeful words, expressing joy and love.  Paul chose to yield to Jesus Christ and serve him.

Paul often writes his readers to act and copy his actions and attitude.  We are to be filled with the hope that is stored in heaven,  so we may express love and joy.

so that you may not sin…

March 29, 2009

Avoiding sin is the plan and overall message of the Bible,  the only way to dodge the bullet of death that sin brings is the saving love of Jesus Christ,  believing in Him as your savior, the cross as payment for your sin.  It is about receiving then giving what you have been given to others.

11-1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
(1 John 2:1-5 NASB)

Life in Christ works, works well, is full of joy, and protects relationships, and always loves God and others.

Are you alive in Christ?  If not, come on back,  Jesus is the gracious advocate and will help you if you allow Him to.

After you come back,  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
(Colossians 3:2 NASB)resurrection_of_jesus

, and then Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:1-2 NASB)

Making Sense of your life

March 22, 2009

How do you answer the question – Why am I here?  What purpose am I fulfilling?

“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:10-13 NASB)

God the Father has a plan,  has been performing it for a long time.  Jesus came to earth as the final solution of the redemption plan to bring about the end of evil, Satan’s destructive plans, and the problem of sin in humans.

My purpose and your purpose fits within this long developing story.

Jesus brings sense to life,  brings purpose to any confusion,  when lost – shows the way out or way home.

Have you sinned too much?  Jesus said no – that is not too much for me…”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 NASB)

You gotta believe in Jesus as a Savior who overcame death,  can heal anything or anyone.  Jesus is the one that the chosen people at the time refused to recognize,  but every demon who came with shouting distance called him the Son of God.  The difference between a demon ( a fallen angel and follower of Satan) and any human is that Jesus came to redeem humans,  demons already have been marked for destruction by God long ago… the followers who are human who do not turn away in repentance will receive eternal punishment.  See Jude.

Making sense of your life, means reconciling what you believe with what Jesus teaches,  coming to a saving believing faith in His resurrection power, receiving His grace (healing, forgiveness, love) into your life.  Taking action to make the changes called for,  getting and receiving help where you need it, and living a life of sense and purpose as defined by our Savior,  who is the truth, life and the way.

So – take time to seriously consider and answer the question – who am I,  and what I am doing, what should I be doing as a follower of Christ?

There is an answer and Jesus does not fail.


March 17, 2009

Matthew 20serving-hands

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. “When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. “And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he *said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ “They *said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He *said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard *said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ “When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. “When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. “When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ “But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? ‘Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They *said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
(Matthew 20:1-34 NASB)

How have you represented Christ this week?  Who have you been of service to?  In Jesus words,  to become great in His eyes is be a servant in this life to others.

Walking this life

March 15, 2009

How are you walking through this life.  Does your walk reflect Christ’s influence and guidance in your life?  What about when no one is around,  what about the thoughts that occupy your mind  most of time.

If you are married,  how are you walking with your wife?  Consider the song by Mark Schulz about how a man is to walk through this life.

Mark Schultz – Walking Her Home Lyrics

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Her dad said son
Have her home on time
And promise me you�ll never leave her side
He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground

He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son

His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he�s got your eyes

And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night

He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night
And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out

But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Oh he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Ephesians Chapter 5 speaks of the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church…Christ washes the church clean in the Word of God,  as husbands are to do the same thing.  Christ died for the church,  husbands are called to die to themselves (remove all selfishness and self focus) and die for their wife.


If you are not married,  your walk now prepares you for the possibility of being married,  are you godly husband material,  will you be able to walk this life and walk your wife along the journey and deliver her safely home?

Unfortunately,  too much of my life was spent in selfish focus.  Not now, and not ever again.  I ignored God and my wife in my walk,  gave lip service to what Ephesians 5 teaches.  If you are in the boat, jump out,  turn to Christ and run with Him to a life you will never regret and find joy in the journey.

Truth and Love

March 8, 2009

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4 discusses the importance of truth and love in you as a believer,  a believer in faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Savior of the World, Redeemer of Truth, the Word, The Way, The Life.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

How do you choose to love God each day?  Some suggestions—

Love yourself, find a way to forgive yourself, find a way to choose freedom from your past.

Love others,  say fewer angry hurtful words to others, even when they don’t deserve it.  You don’t have to be a doormat,  but you can choose to find a way to redeem every situation and offer a loving response or perspective.  God chose to redeem in the strength of Christ dying on the Cross,  choose a loving strength that honors God.

Smile, receive more joy, live in truth more, choose to receive the love that God is offering you.

What do you believe?

March 3, 2009

take the belief’s survey here.

See what you believe about God.

Some other questions:

  • How Long I’ve Been a Christian
  • How I Came to Accept Christ
  • Denomination
  • Church
  • Pastor’s Name
  • Area of Ministry
  • Greatest Strength in Christ
  • Greatest Weakness in the Flesh
  • Best Witnessing Experience
  • Worst Witnessing Mistake
  • Favorite Time for Devotions
  • Favorite Bible Translation
  • Favorite Bible Type (Thompson, Scofield, etc.)
  • Where I Write Bible Study Notes (in Bible or Notepad)
  • Favorite Comment by Jesus
  • Favorite Verse
  • Favorite Gospel
  • Favorite Parable
  • Favorite Epistle
  • Favorite Apostle
  • Favorite Major Prophet
  • Favorite Minor Prophet
  • Favorite Biblical Name
  • Favorite Book of the Bible
  • Favorite Old Testament Story
  • Favorite New Testament Story
  • Favorite Male Character (besides Christ)
  • Favorite Female Character (besides Mary)
  • Favorite Old Testament Character
  • Favorite New Testament Character (besides Christ)
  • Bible Character I Most Want to Meet (besides Jesus/God)
  • Bible Character Most Similar to Me
  • Why?
  • Integrity

    March 1, 2009

    God designed us for integrity in relating to Him, ourselves and others.  He wants us to be aware of how we impact others.  Joseph was aware of how it would impact himself, his relationship with God if he allowed the temptation of Potiphar’s wife to be considered for even a moment,  instead, he ran from the sexual temptation.

    Jesus taught that we should love, and not hate,  operate our lives with a moral focus of how we impact each other.

    Think about it,  how can you change the focus of your life right now?

    Relationships, love, agape and how to pick a life mate

    February 24, 2009

    always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also doesthe church, because we are members of His body.

    (Ephesians 5:20-30 NASB)
    What does it mean to have a relationship with Christ?
    What does it look like?
    What does it mean to have a spouse who is in  a committed relationship with Christ?  How do you know before you get married?

    Ephesians chapter 5 paints a clear picture of our relationships with God in Christ, and with each other.  Especially husbands and wives.  We are to submit to the Lord AND to each other out of reverence and fear of Christ.


    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    The word in John 3:16 for love is translated from the greek word agape.  God so loved the world,  God so agaped the world.  This is the same word used in Ephesians 5:25 where Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church.



    (John 3:16 NASB)

     What does it mean to have a relationship with Christ?
    What does it look like?
    What is love?
    You are worth dying for!  If you are dating someone,  are they someone who would die for you?  Do they serve or wait to be served?  Do they have agape running in their lives and pouring out on everyone they encounter?  That is the kind of love you need to fill your life,  the same love that Christ showers on you in hopes you will receive and respond.
    Is your future spouse’s life being filled by Christ?  by God’s amazing love?
    Do they serve others?  Do they have peace?  Are they a peacemaker?  Do they honor commitments?
    Are they safe?  can they be trusted?
    Ephesians uses about 43 words to instruct the woman towards her husband, and about 143 to instruct the husband on how to love (agape) his wife, all the way to death if necessary, death to selfishness….
    Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers,  this is very important in marriage for the husband to always pursue.
    God has a plan,  even for dating, marriage, and picking someone to commit to a life together with.  Discover His plan for you.

    Am I Ungodly…or rescued from the fire?

    February 22, 2009

    These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
    (Jude 1:16-25 NASB)j0305872

    I have been thinking about how much I grumble,  about taxes, my problems, my frustrations with myself, other people, falling short of being obedient to Christ….on and on.

    Look at Jude 16 – grumblers…finding fault….following lust…..speaking arrogantly………flattering people for selfish gain………..

    and in Jude 18 – …following ungodly lusts….  and in Jude 19 – …cause divisions..worldly mindeddevoid of the SPIRIT

    I used to focus too much on what I did not understand in the Bible.  I can understand what the above passages say,  it is pretty clear.  For much of my life and too often each day,  I have chosen to place myself in a grumbling attitude,  mocking myself (As a Christian I am reborn into a New Creation) – so I ask myself why am I mocking an reflection of Christ (ME)!.   Mocking others, finding lots of fault in the world and others – in Christians, yet not bothering to do what Jesus cleary taught about sin in my life (do anything and everything to get rid of it!, be willing to suffer greatly right now in order to obey Him and be as righteous as possible!)

    Right now even if I am not careful,  I can creep or rush into self condemnation. except for scripture which always redirects me to renewed salvation.

    Thank goodness scripture rescues me (here and here)

    read it and believe!  Be rescued from the failings of your mind and doubts!…. more later

    Satan is Bad, Jesus is Good, Be like Jesus

    February 15, 2009

    That is how simple it is.

    Satan is mentioned by the name Satan 54 times in the NASB translation.  He is a person described in the Bible in the same way that any other person is mentioned (Moses, Job, David, Jesus…etc).  He is described as a deceiver, author of lies, murderer, tormentor….  really BAD.

    Jesus is described as loving the whole world so much He came to die in substitution for each of us in a horrible tortuous death.

    Jesus is described as love

    Jesus did the hard part.  All I have to do (and you) is let that love guide you and mean each moment to be more like Jesus in how we think, react, act, say, and do.

    Be like Jesus more today!jesus-christ

    Unfathomable Riches

    February 15, 2009
    tags: ,

    Ephesians 3 – speaks of the glory and riches in Christ Jesus.

    How rich are you?  I eat every day, drink pretty much what I want (I love Gold Peak Diet Iced Tea), go where and when I want.  I sleep in a bed every night.dfdbc684

    How much glory do you have?  Paul writes that the riches and glory are amazing, and beyond our current ability to see, feel, and comprehend.  It is a lot better than anything we have here.

    Undivided Heart, Fearing God’s Name

    February 8, 2009
    tags: , ,
    A David psalm. Bend an ear, GOD; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! (Psalms 86:1)  Train me, GOD, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear. To go further consider what the Barnes commentary provides about Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord –

    I will walk in thy truth –

    I will live and act in accordance with what thou dost declare to be true. Whatever that may be, I will pursue it, having no will of my own.


    Unite my heart to fear thy name –

    That is, to worship, obey, and honor thee.


    (b) the means which he saw to be necessary for this was that his “heart” might be “united” in this one great object; that is, that his heart might be single in its views and purposes; that there might be no distracting purposes; that one great aim might be always before him.



    The word rendered “unite” –

    יחד yāchad – occurs as a verb only in three places. In Gen_49:6, it is rendered united: “Unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.” In Isa_14:20, it is translated joined: “Thou shalt not be joined with them.” The adverb – יחד yachad, occurs often, and is rendered together, Gen_13:6; Gen_22:6, Gen_22:8,Gen_22:19; Gen_36:7

    ; et saepe. The idea is that of union, or conjunction; of being together; of constituting one; and this is accomplished in the heart when there is one great ruling object before the mind which nothing is allowed to interfere with. It may be added, that there is no more appropriate prayer which a man can offer than that his heart may have such a unity of purpose, and that nothing may be allowed to interfere with that one supreme purpose.


    (Psalms 86:11)cross-is-the-way

    David sought God’s favor in an emergency,  He was facing panic, extreme stress (running for 13 years from 3000 of King Saul’s soldiers who will kill him on sight), extreme doubt (why is God doing this to me), extreme whining (this is not fair), extreme anger (why God will you not destroy these enemies of mine)…on and on.  Somewhere in all of these,  David returned to his heart that God so valued (and what was in David’s heart was why God annointed him King of Israel),  David always returned to worshipping God, trusting God, and submitting to God’s desire for his life. 

    David feared God’s name.  You can see this fear play itself out in the psalms,  David had multiple chances to kill Saul, and chose not to follow the faulty desires of his own anger and fear.  David showed grace, mercy, and submission to trust God to deliver him from  being under a death warrant and constant extreme stress.  David feared God more than any man or even his own fears.  In the end, David was able to rest in God’s hands.

    David doubted, was angry, lived in anxiety, feared for his life; and in the process of this bad time of his life,  he discovered the value of choosing to fear God,  of following the path of a heart fixed on God. 

    An undivided heart,  a heart that can be taught the way of God, that can walk in the truth of God, and is joined intimately with God in the here and now – fulfills the promise Jesus made in Matthew 11:28 – you, me, David will only find rest from our burdens in God, in Jesus Christ.

    Why not choose to rest right now, today?

     Psalm 86:11 – A comparison of many translations of this verse:

     Psa 86:11





     Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart [solely, reverently] to fear and honor Your name. [Ps. 5:11; 69:36.]   (ASV) 




    Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name.





    Make your way clear to me, O Lord; I will go on my way in your faith: let my heart be glad in the fear of your name.





    Teach me to follow you, and I will obey your truth. Always keep me faithful.





    Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.





    Teach me Your way, LORD, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.





    Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.





    TeachH3384 me thy way,H1870 O LORD;H3068 I will walkH1980 in thy truth:H571 uniteH3161 my heartH3824 to fearH3372 thy name.H8034




    (a) The end which he desired to secure was that he might truly fear God, or properly reverence and honor him;

    That is, in the present emergency. Show me what thou wouldst have me to do that I may obtain thy favor, and thy gracious help.


    My responsibility, my calling

    February 5, 2009

    blocksgrace3Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:

    (Jude 1:1)


    What does it mean and what is your responsibility?


    2. b. Called – 15kletos (Adjective)“called, invited,” is used, (a) “of the call of the Gospel,” Mt. 20:16; 22:14, not there “an effectual call,” as in the Epistles, Ro. 1:1,6,7; 8:28; 1Co. 1:2,24; Jude. 1:1; Re. 17:14; in Ro. 1:7; 1Co. 1:2 the meaning is “saints by calling;” (b) of “an appointment to apostleship,” Ro. 1:1; 1Co. 1:1.


    c. 1) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

    (2 Timothy 1:8-9)


    Do not be ashamed of Jesus,  join in suffering for the gospel,  I have a holy calling according to Jesus own purpose.  I have been granted grace in Christ Jesus for eternity.


    c. 2) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)


    Chosen from the beginning for salvation, sanctification being done by the Spirit and faith in truth.  It is for salvation purposes that I was called to gain the glory of Jesus Christ.


    c. 3) But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR  God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

    (1 Peter 2:9)


    I am part of a chosen race,  a royal priesthood, a holy nation, part of a people for God’s own possession, so that I may proclaim the excellent glory of Jesus Christ who called me out of my darkness into light.


    c. 4) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to  His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    (Romans 8:28-30)


    This is beyond my ability to take in.  In my sinful state, my darkness – the love of Christ reached into my life and saved me from myself and my wrongheaded life.  God caused all of my sin to become part of a ministry – a calling – working together to produce a good and righteous life in Christ Jesus,  I went from being so wrong to being conformed into the image of Christ.  I understand this,  but I am unable to comprehend the full meaning of the amazing glory and grace that God has poured and continues to pour into my life.glory

    Lucky, Blessed, Fortunate….Trials, Suffering, Sickness

    February 1, 2009

    Jas 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

    This morning Leisa made the comment that Jesus had 12 disciples, with Jesus that made 13 people.  Friday the 13th,  has a lot of myth and superstition about being a bad day to do things.  Christians as people of faith and followers of Christ can count on His promises for life (faith is mentioned about 250 times in the Bible, promises are discussed 18 times,  and promise is the focuse in 139 verses    ).  That is important to remember,  no day is any different from any other, living in the promise of Christ, in His grace, and connected with power source that created the world.

    Whatever this life brings you this day,  count it as something that Jesus is standing with you on and creating a way to stand in faith against anything in this world.  After you pass through this,  the King is faithful and will complete the promise to bless you in eternal life.

    In the words of the Bible,

    Joshua 24:15“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or (A)the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

    What you believe

    January 27, 2009

    Do you know enough in you mind, will, heart, soul to be standing on solid ground and then stand when you are assailed  by doubt, fear, other people’s opinions.  Do you know that you have a solid faith in Jesus Christ?

    How can you strengthen yourself?

    Resources to keep in mind

    Bible Online – Ephesians 6:12-18 –  12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

     If you are moving from teen age to college years or leaving high school and entering the work force, leaving behind the church you have been a part of for years,  living apart from home… are you ready to be the light in a dark world?

    Do you understand the world will at times hate you because of Jesus Christ.

    Can you explain why the Bible can be trusted as God’s Word?  Or why a saving faith in Jesus is the only way to live in eternity?

    Why should you care who is elected to office

    You will live in this world,  how will you represent your King and Savior, Jesus Christ?  Think about it and decide how to proceed,  develop a plan, be involved and active.

    Romans 12:1-2 Walking the roads

    January 25, 2009

    romans12_2ljmRomans 12:1-2 Living Sacrifices
    1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.- Paul talks about renewing your mind, stresses the importance, and what the results will be.

    There is a road to Emmaus road-to-emmaus-460775055_024c247841that Jesus is expecting us to walk (Luke 24:14-34),  it is a narrow road , one that we can walk on with Christ’s help, Jesus has compassion for us,  He came to earth so that all might be saved.

    Try Jesus in a new way today.  Choose to renew your mind.  Walk differently,  walk with Jesus.

    Challenge – read the Bible in a year,  by reading it or by listening to it.  Make this part of your walk.2006052501_road_to_heaven_qkcc

    GOP and Obamacare

    March 25, 2017


    “I understand the difficulty of repealing a welfare entitlement program. I don’t think it’s ever been done. Yet I foolishly believed the Republicans promising to do away with Obamacare. Shame on them and shame on me. There is plenty of shame to go around. Of shame there is no shortage.”


    If shame attaches to Republicans, what about the Democrats? They are, as always, shameless. They celebrate the debacle. Yet the status of Obamacare is inherently unstable. The Hill’s Peter Sullivan and Jesse Heilmann argue that the instability has moderated, but insurers have left the market in droves. Premiums and deductibles first escalated and then skyrocketed.

    Fake AP News

    March 5, 2017

    from powerlineblog


    Every time the AP mentions FISAgate, it includes this ritual defense of the Obama administration:

    Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama’s spokesman has denied it.

    The AP’s statement is false. It is a classic instance of fake news. Barack Obama’s spokesman has not denied that “the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year.” He only denied that Barack Obama personally ordered such surveillance. But that isn’t the question. Presumably, the order to conduct surveillance came from Loretta Lynch’s Department of Justice. But no one thinks that Lynch would have ordered the opposing presidential candidate’s telephones tapped, or his computers hacked, without her boss’s approval.

    These days, you can’t trust anything you read in an Associated Press news story, if that story has anything to do with political controversies.

    a pro-russian policy

    March 5, 2017

    Senator Cotton captures the point in a quotable quote: “If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here are some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear control arms agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.”

    I miss him

    February 11, 2017

    Reasons for Restricted Immigration Policy

    January 23, 2017

    Reasons for Restricted Immigration Policy

    As noted above, a simple Christian perspective would welcome everyone to settle in our nation at any time. However, the Bible clearly supports the concept of national sovereignty as a means through which God works in this fallen world. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we are called to pray for government officials, not that they would cease to exist, but that they would facilitate a society where we can follow God and share Christ in a secure, peaceful environment. Three common reasons a government may choose to control traffic across its borders and limit citizenship opportunities are as follows:

    1. National security—A nation with enemies has a need to know that those enemies are not dwelling within their land. In Deut. 31:12-13, the foreigners dwelling among the people of Israel were required to enter into the covenant to obey God. Those that did not support God’s leadership were not allowed to enter the land. Today, like never before, America must be concerned about enemies attacking from inside her border. The government has a responsibility to protect the security of her people by taking reasonable means to keep threats outside of our borders.

    2. Economic prosperity—A perception of limited resources may cause a nation to curtail immigration in order to reserve a greater share of those resources for the existing citizens. They may say, “We have the sturdiest and most well stocked lifeboat, but if everyone abandons their inferior lifeboats and flocks to this one, we will go from prosperity and security to sinking and perishing.” Under the same motivation, it is common for nations to import foreign workers to perform low paid, menial tasks. There is biblical support for property ownership and rewards for ones labor. It is balanced by the clear teaching to proactively minister to the needy and to beware of being motivated by greed.{4}

    3. Cultural integrity—A people group may want restrictions on immigration to protect the integrity of their historic traditions and society. Certainly, God directed the nation of Israel to ensure that all members of society worshiped the God of Abraham and did not introduce other forms of worship into society. In Exodus 12:43-49, foreigners are prohibited from participating in the Passover unless their entire household is circumcised and they covenant to obey God. America has thrived with a cultural and religious diversity, while enforcing a uniform acceptance of the Constitution and the principles of democracy, freedom, and equality.

    Although the Bible does not mandate that nations should have laws to control their borders and manage immigration, it is clear that there are biblically acceptable reasons for a national policy in this area. The two that are the clearest are national security from known enemies and protecting common cultural ideals. Greed often plays a role in establishing immigration policies, an attitude clearly prohibited by our Lord.


    History of Christmas, musings

    December 17, 2016

    Christmas looms far too large in our moral, religious, economic, and social landscapes for one to expect a tranquil uniformity of position. For Christians, it is the second highest festival and….

    Excerpts from Christmas in the Crosshairs Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday by Gerry Bowler
    …. one that makes extraordinary religious claims. Getting its theology and modes of celebration right has always seemed to be worth arguing about. Should one celebrate the birth of the Son of Man? If so, when? If so, how? Then follows the fight, perpetually renewed, to keep the elements of pagan midwinter festivals out of the Feast of the Nativity: the battles against crossdressing, dancing, rude social inversion, ostentatious gift-giving, and ribaldry. When particular battles are deemed unwinnable, the objectionable content is Christianized and made a sanctified part of the season. Meanwhile, the Church is giving Christmas new rituals and adorning it with art, music, and drama. In the High Middle Ages, the holiday becomes more deeply entrenched in the hearts of the common people with the invention of the St. Nicholas cult, opportunities for seasonal charity, and the Franciscans’ crèche and carols, while the Church continues to battle the innovations of unruly clergy, such as the Feast of Fools. Christmas is dealt sharp blows in the early modern period by the Triumph of Lent, with its crackdown on popular customs, and by the Protestant Reformation. St. Nicholas disappears from some lands, as does Christmas itself, in Scotland, New England, and the Puritan Commonwealth. The holiday is condemned as riotous, papist, pagan, without basis in scripture or history, and simply too much fun to be moral. When the smoke clears new magical Gift-Bringers have emerged, but Christmas is in sore repair in the English-speaking world, discredited, abandoned by the decent classes, and associated with rustics, servants, and boors.
    The nineteenth century opens with Christmas in low repute. In the new American republic it is most often a raucous outdoor celebration, fueled by alcohol, and in the cities of the Northeast it is a time for mob violence and disorder. Similar scenes of riot and mayhem are recorded in Canada, Australia, Newfoundland, and Britain. The season is saved by its revival and reinvention in England and New York. Members of the American upper-middle class seek to wrench Christmas from the hands of the liquored-up mob and bring it indoors as a family festival. The fashioning of Santa Claus out of the European St. Nicholas and his rough, fur-clad helpers is decisive in this movement, as it coincides with a new child-centeredness and the wider prosperity the Industrial Revolution brings. In England, carol collectors save the great forgotten songs, Anglican clergy welcome back Christmas rituals, and Charles Dickens reminds his country of the connection between Christmas and charity. In both countries, parents (including the English royal family) and merchants conspire together in the creation of a greatly furbished season focused on love and generosity.
    This success, however, does not mean that opposition to Christmas ceases—the battle is taken up in the United States by Protestant sects who have not forgotten the objections of the Puritans, in England by antiritualists, and on the Continent by left-wing political groups. Social critics emerge to argue that Christmas is hard on women, makes children greedy, and abuses shop-workers; seasonal charity is derided as merely a means to keep the poor in their place. Atheist and anti-Christian arguments now emerge, and some thinkers propose that a new godless midwinter festival must replace Christmas. In no century is the war on Christmas waged with such ferocity as the twentieth, as new totalitarian states confront the challenges posed by the cradle in Bethlehem. Marxist-Leninist tyrannies that take root in Europe after the world wars are avid promoters of atheism and attempt to root out Christianity and Christmas with it. Midwinter festivities are moved to New Year, religious Gift-Bringers are replaced by Grandfather Frost, and December 25 is made a work day. Communists in Latin America and China mimic the Soviet example. The fascist governments of Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy take a different approach, trying to make Christmas part of the state apparatus. In Germany, Hitler’s party tries to paganize and make warlike a festival of peace based on the birth of a Jewish baby. Hitler replaces the Christ Child as the object of veneration. This policy is intensified after the outbreak of World War II. when Nazis attempt to turn Christmas into a military death cult. In the late twentieth century a surprising similarity is found between atheists and Calvinist Protestants: both despise Christmas and wage war against it in tracts, on billboards, in public speech, and on the internet. Though it has been predicted that the century will see the triumph of freethinking and the death of religion, faith groups continue to thrive, and attempts at state atheism are abandoned. A variety of unfaith called the New Atheism arises in the Western democracies, more aggressive than previous versions. Its adherents claim the right to openly mock the religious and take particular glee in attacking Christmas. Their mockery is no fiercer than that wielded against their fellow Christians by neo-Calvinists who preserve the Puritan distaste for Christmas but have added a biting sense of humor to their arsenal. There are many Christians who wish not to abolish Christmas but to radically reform it—anticonsumerists, ecologists, foes of an Americanized Santa Claus who wish to revive native Gift-Bringers, and those worried about the loss of a Christian core in the celebrations. Christmas is also the target of Muslims who are worried about the infiltration into their cultures of Santa Claus and his holiday. There is also a war, or rather dozens of them, to appropriate Christmas—to grab a piece of its powerful meanings. Some at the margins of society seek to borrow the season’s respectability and magical glow to advance their cause, just as politicians and merchants have. The Ku Klux Klan, African American radicals, gays, terrorists, ecosaboteurs, antismoking activists, vegans, antiobesity crusaders, pagans, Occupy Wall Street, bare-chested FEMEN activists, Palestinians, pacifists, and conceptual artists all have climbed on the Christmas bandwagon and attempted to steer it in their directions. Then there are those who just hate the season and who must tell the world all about their seasonal dyspepsia. Some have termed them “Holiday Cranks,” and the media is full of their whining each December. Their numbers include those suffering from loneliness, the bereaved, the exiled, and those afflicted with spousal saturation syndrome. Those who work too hard or shop too hard labor under a burden of stress; those who receive Christmas letters from boastful correspondents are driven to anger; the visits of mothers-in-law drive husbands out of the house. Neighbors who dazzle with their Christmas lights or hospitality, holiday Muzak, and the problem of telling a fib to children about Santa also cause distress. Stores who mount Christmas displays too early are subject to vandalism; pictures of snowmen cause an eruption of academic criticism of patriarchy;

    the woes of department store Santas are increasingly publicized. Finally, there are those who claim to be no foes of Christmas but wish to drive it out of the public sphere and back into homes and churches. The war to privatize the holiday threatens lawsuits, pursues court cases, and provides employment to legions and counter-legions of lawyers. We learn of a Million Santa March, the constitutional importance of plastic reindeer, the machinations of the umbrage industry, and the forgotten virtue of tolerance. Will there ever be an end to struggles against, for, and around Christmas? Almost certainly, no. Christmas is simply too important in countless ways: in the intimate lives of families, in the industrial economy, in its spiritual challenge, in art, music, and cinema. It has proved to be bigger than Oliver Cromwell, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, Fred Phelps, PETA, and the ACLU. Humankind will be loving it, hating it, and arguing about it for centuries to come.

    By the year 200, Christian writers had begun to speculate about when the birth of Jesus had taken place. Clement of Alexandria noted that some in his city had calculated that Jesus had been born in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Caesar Augustus, 3 b.c. by our calculation. As for the exact date, there were said to be those who favored May 20 and others either April 19 or 20. January 6 was deemed to be the critical date by local Gnostics who, despising the world of the flesh, were not interested in the date of Jesus’s birth but rather the date of his baptism in the Jordan River, when God announced that he had chosen him as his Son. In Carthage, Tertullian placed the time of the year as either December 25 or January 6. The widely traveled Julius Africanus stated that the conception of Jesus took place on March 25, making a late December birth likely, and in his Commentary on Daniel, Hippolytus, writing in Rome early in the 200s, pinpointed December 25. In 243 an anonymous document produced in North Africa, known as De pascha computus, linked the birthday of Jesus to an analogous date in the creation of the world. As God was thought to have begun Creation on March 25 (the first day of spring), the birth of Jesus corresponded to the appearance of the sun and moon on the fourth day, thus making the Nativity March 28.
    This does not mean that Christians were seeking to know the date of the birth of Jesus in order to celebrate it. The theologian Origen declared that only pagan rulers had their birthdays trumpeted and, indeed, King Herod Antipas had given birthdays a bad name in the Christian community when he had used the occasion of his celebration to order the execution of John the Baptist. 4 Despite such a view, believers were growing fonder of recounting the story of the birth of Jesus. In Rome, where Christians gathered to worship in the funeral caves outside the city, they decorated a wall with a picture of the Nativity scene. The catacomb of St. Priscilla, which dates to about 250, bears an image of three Magi advancing toward the seated Virgin and Child; a man standing beside her (probably meant to represent an Old Testament prophet) points to the guiding star in the heavens. Second-and third-century pseudo-Gospels such as The Revelation of the Magi were particularly interested in the appearance of the Wise Men who, guided by this miraculous star, became the first Gentiles to worship the Christ Child. 5 With the accession of the emperor Constantine in 312, Christianity became a legal religion, free to marks its holy days publicly, and the celebration of the Nativity soon was celebrated joyfully. Maximus, bishop of Turin at the beginning of the fifth century, contradicted Origen’s anticelebratory attitude and proclaimed: You well know what joy and what a gathering there is when the birthday of the emperor of this world is to be celebrated; how his generals and princes and soldiers, arrayed in silk garments and girt with precious belts worked with shining gold, seek to enter the king’s presence in more brilliant fashion than usual. … If, therefore, brethren, those of this world celebrate the birthday of an earthly king with such an outlay for the sake of the glory of the present honor, with what solicitude ought we to celebrate the birthday of our eternal king Jesus Christ. Who in return for our devotion will bestow on us not temporal but eternal glory! 6 The exact moment when the birth of Jesus became a feast in the Christian calendar remains a subject of some uncertainty. The earliest reference to it being settled on December 25 comes from an odd document known as the Philocalian Chronograph, a sort of almanac produced in 354, which contained lists of martyrs and bishops, birthdays of emperors, illustrations of capital cities, and a method to calculate the dating of Easter. It makes reference twice to the birth of Christ. In a list of Roman consuls it states “I p Chr. Caesare et Paulo sat. XIII Hoc. Cons. Dns. His. Xpc. Natus est VIII Kal. Ian de ven. Luna XV”: “Christ is born during the consulate of C. Caesar Augustus and L. Aemelianus Paulus on the 8th of the Kalends of January [December 25], a Friday, the 15th day of the new moon.” And in the list of martyrs it says “VIII Kal. Ian natus Christus in Betleem Iudae”: “Christ is born on the eighth of the Kalends of January in Bethlehem of Judea.” 7 Since the Chronograph refers to events in 336 it can be assumed that by that year the Nativity was celebrated in Rome on December 25. There is some evidence, however, that the hard-line sectarians known as the Donatists had marked the event earlier (beginning sometime between the years 243 and 311) in North Africa. 

    “Christmas: A Candid History” by Bruce David Forbes”

    Early Christians had no Christmas. The first written evidence of an annual celebration on December 25 commemorating the birth of Jesus comes from the fourth century. Epiphany developed a little earlier, in the eastern portion of the Christian church, but it was not quite the same as what we now call Christmas. Compared with many other aspects of early Christianity, Christmas was a later development. This comes as a surprise for many of us, because we usually think of Christmas and Easter as the two most special times of the Christian year. It was not always that way. Early Christianity was, instead, an Easter-centered religion. The death and resurrection of Jesus were the center of the early Christian message. An expectation that Jesus would return soon, at any time, and the examples of Christians who endured martyrdom rather than honor Roman gods, caused early Christians to focus on death and resurrection themes. As an illustration, when martyrs and saints became recognized within the church, Christians noted the dates of their death, not of their birth. In a sense, the death dates had become their real birthdays, into eternal life. Origen, a prolific and influential early Christian writer (approximately 185–254), had some particularly interesting views about birthdays. He noted that both Pharaoh and Herod had birthday celebrations, according to biblical accounts, but each of them had “stained the festival of his birth by shedding human blood.” Pharaoh, on his birthday, had ordered the killing of his chief baker (Genesis 40: 20–22), and Herod had agreed to behead John the Baptist (Mark 6: 14–29, Matthew 14: 1–12, Luke 9: 7–9). Origen concluded that “not one from all the saints is found to have celebrated a festive day or a great feast on the day of his birth. No one is found to have had joy on the day of the birth of his son or daughter. Only sinners rejoice over this kind of birthday.” Further, he wrote that saints “not only do not celebrate a festival on their birth days, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse that day.” He referred to Jeremiah (“ Cursed be the day on which I was born,” Jeremiah 20: 14), as well as similar statements attributed to Job and David (Job 3: 3–6 and Psalm 51: 5). The whole discussion communicates a general attitude held by some early Christians that birthdays were something that only “pagans” (non-Christians) celebrated, not good Christians. “The worthless man who loves things connected with birth keeps birthday festivals,” Origen wrote. 1 With that attitude, birthday celebrations, even Jesus’ birthday, would not be high on the priority list of early Christians.
    “The Origins of Christmas” by Joseph F. Kelly

    Although Christmas has made the Nativity the best known of all Bible stories, only two of the twenty-seven New Testament books tell of Jesus’ birth, and those are the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The other New Testament books do not even mention the Nativity. The unavoidable fact is that the earliest Christians were not particularly interested in Jesus’ birth. Why not? No one knows the exact date of Jesus’ death (nor, as we shall see, of his birth), but it was most likely around AD 33. Jesus himself wrote nothing. The earliest Christian writer was the apostle Paul, an educated Jew from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who converted to Christianity about the year 35. He never knew the earthly Jesus. Paul wrote his first epistle or letter around AD 50 to a Christian community in a Greek city called Thessalonica. In this letter, titled 1 Thessalonians, Paul warned his readers to be prepared for the imminent end of the world, an idea he repeated in some of his other epistles and that appears in other New Testament books as well. The notion of an imminent end explains a lot about the early Christians, including their lack of interest in Jesus’ birth. They saw little need to produce accounts of him or to write books of almost any kind because the End was near. Even Paul’s letters are not formal theological treatises, so familiar from later writers, but letters written in response to immediate needs or to crises in various communities. The basic Christian message dealt not with Jesus’ birth but with his public ministry, death, and resurrection, which the Christians believed had redeemed the world from the sin of Adam and Eve. There were accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds circulating orally among the first Christians, and while Paul’s letters prove that he knew something of Jesus’ life, they make no mention of his birth. As our existence proves, the world did not end, and so the earliest Christians slowly but surely began to accept a continued existence on earth. The church was growing numerically and spreading geographically, but by the year AD 64 the three main leaders of the first Church were dead, James of Jerusalem having been killed by his Jewish enemies, Peter dying in Nero’s persecution, and Paul dying in Rome either by persecution or by having lost his appeal in a capital case (Acts 27–28). Other Christians who would have known Jesus personally would likewise have been dying. It had become necessary to preserve some account( s) of Jesus’ earthly life. The apostle Paul occasionally mentioned events from Jesus’ life, such as the institution of the eucharist, along with his betrayal and crucifixion, but as he was writing letters to churches on pressing issues, Paul never provided any comprehensive narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry. If the Church were to continue indefinitely in the world, Christians needed some biographical information about their Lord. Around AD 68, a man known as Mark provided the missing narrative in a document called a “gospel,” literally the “good news” of Jesus. Other Christian writers would follow his lead. That Mark wrote the earliest gospel may surprise people, because many believers think that the gospels are biographies of Jesus. Two of them, those of Matthew and John, have especial value because tradition holds that members of the twelve apostles wrote them. But modern biblical scholarship, which focuses on the historical background and literary styles used by biblical writers, called that tradition into question and produced some surprising results—ones now widely accepted by scholars and church leaders alike. This is not the place to discuss modern exegesis in detail, but let us consider how it impacts our understanding of the gospel Infancy Narratives. Mark’s gospel came first, followed by the gospels known as Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke (whom we will discuss in detail) used Mark’s gospel and expanded on it to produce two more. At the turn of the first century, a fourth writer, now known as John, produced the last gospel accepted by Christians as Scripture. Scholars believe that all four evangelists lived outside the Holy Land, either in Gentile territory or in the Jewish Diaspora—the residence of Jews who lived in non-Jewish areas such as Syria (especially Antioch), Asia Minor (modern Turkey), Greece, Italy, and Egypt (mostly in Alexandria). Because of the conquests of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), Greek language and culture had spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean world, including the Diaspora. Thus, all the books of the New Testament, from Paul’s epistles to the book of Revelation, were written in Greek. This leads us to the first major realization about our understanding of Jesus: we do not have his words in the original. Jesus, like all ancient Jews, spoke a Semitic dialect called Aramaic, but his words were preserved for us in Greek, except for the occasional phrase such as talithá cümi (“ Little girl, stand up”) and ĕphphatá (“ Be opened”), both from Mark’s gospel (5: 41; 7: 34). So we must trust the accuracy of those early Christians who translated his words. But there is another element to consider. Jesus probably died around AD 33; definitely no later than AD 36 when the governor Pontius Pilate was recalled to Rome for incompetency. But Mark wrote his gospel more than thirty years later. How did he get his information? By oral tradition. This makes us moderns uncomfortable. We have so many ways to preserve exact information, starting with writing something down to preserving it in the cloud. We naturally wonder what might have gotten lost in the oral traditions about Jesus’ words and deeds. But moderns cannot change how ancient people did things; we must work with what they left us and try to understand it. Most puzzling to us is that ancients liked oral tradition precisely because it could be changed to fit a particular situation. Amazingly, we have an example in the New Testament. Mark tells us of the story (2: 1-12) of four men who carried a paralytic to Jesus for a cure. Jesus was inside a crowded house, and the men could not get inside, so they went up on the roof and ripped it open because ancient Palestinian houses were built of daub and wattle. The men lowered the paralytic down, and Jesus, seeing “their” faith, that is, the porters, cured the man. Matthew retold the story (9: 2-8), leaving out the roof. But when Luke retold it (5: 17-26), he said that when the men went up on the roof, they “removed the tiles,” that is, he changed Mark’s account. Why? Because Luke was writing for a Gentile audience outside of Palestine, and those Christians would not have understood how people in Palestine could rip open a roof. Since Luke wanted people to focus on the essential meaning of the account, he simply changed what would have been a confusing detail. Basically, when we read the gospels, we read how Christians of the late first century understood Jesus, and so these writers included material that they wanted their readers to know. But there is more. Sometimes they disagreed on some points. For example, John says that Jesus cleansed the Temple at the start of his public career (2: 13-22) while the other three recounted that he did so at the end of his career (Matt 21: 12-13; Mark 11: 15-19; Luke 19: 45-46). Occasionally even words differed; Matthew (5: 3-12) and Luke (6: 20-26) have different versions of the Beatitudes and even different locations, Matthew having Jesus give them on a mount and Luke on a plain….
    All of this can be disturbing since so many Christians consider the gospels to be biographies of Jesus. But in fact, scholars consider the biographical information we have about Jesus to be very reliable, more than for many other ancient figures. We must accept that we cannot say things like “Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan on March 11 in the year 31”—the kind of detailed information so common for modern figures. But we can still say a great deal about his life. Here is an outline of his life: • He was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod, the Roman-appointed king of Judea, and the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus. • His parents were named Miriam (Mary) and Joseph, both pious Jews. • He grew up in Nazareth. • Joseph was a carpenter, and Jesus took up that trade, a standard practice for boys in the ancient world. • His parents brought him up to be a pious and learned Jew, as he demonstrated when he dialogued with scholars in the Jerusalem Temple. • Joseph apparently died before Jesus’ public career since there is no mention of him in the gospels when Jesus is an adult. • He could read (Luke 4: 14) and write (John 8: 6). • His career began shortly after that of the charismatic prophet John the Baptist. • Jesus gathered disciples to himself—both men and women—in Galilee. • He chose twelve of the male disciples for a special role with him. • He preached among the people and won great success. • He cited the Old Testament and frequently used parables to teach. • He was revered as a miracle worker and one who could perform exorcisms. • He was a charitable person, often helping those on the bottom of society. • He showed particular kindness toward women, giving them the respect ancient society routinely denied them. • He spoke the truth to all people, regardless of the consequences. • He respected the Jewish Law and always followed it.
    Confident that the gospels do provide biographical information on Jesus, we can now turn to what the gospels tell us about his birth. Since Mark was the earliest evangelist, we can start with him, but we will not get very far since Mark does not mention Jesus’ birth. Mark focuses completely on Jesus’ public career. This may sound odd, but Mark is actually in very good company in this regard, as neither John nor Paul even mentioned it. In addition, the birth of Jesus is not mentioned in any of the non-Pauline epistles (James; 1–2 Peter; 1–3 John; Jude), the Acts of the Apostles, or the book of Revelation. Only Matthew and Luke wrote about the Nativity, and they did so at the beginning of their gospels. We have to ask why they had such an interest in the Nativity. What had happened in the life of the early Church to make the Infancy Narratives relevant? Mark’s gospel opens with an account of Jesus’ baptism by the charismatic prophet John the Baptist. When Jesus has been baptized by immersion in the River Jordan and is emerging from the water, “he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1: 10-11). Matthew and Luke do not explain their interest in the Infancy Narratives and why they added them to their gospels, but modern biblical scholars have deciphered the answer. It may seem natural to think that people simply wanted to know more about Jesus. He had then been dead for a half-century, and disciples who had never met the earthly Jesus personally were growing in number. The problem with this is that Matthew and Luke tell us nothing about Jesus between his birth and public career thirty years later, except for a brief story Luke tells of the twelve-year-old Jesus. If they had wanted to give biographical information about him before his public career, why leave out so much, yet include include accounts of his birth? The answer is that their concern was more theological than biographical and that the baptism of Jesus in Mark’s gospel (the first gospel) presented them with a genuine theological problem. Christians believed that Jesus was the Son of God, not in the way that the Jews believed all women and men to be God’s daughters and sons, but in a special, unique way. Yet Mark’s gospel portrayed this truth in a way that was potentially problematic. He says that immediately after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist, the voice from heaven acknowledged him as the unique Son of God. Matthew and Luke, like all Christians, believed that Jesus had been God’s Son for his whole life, and it disturbed them that Mark’s gospel implied, even if unwittingly, that Jesus had been recognized as God’s Son only as an adult and only after his baptism by John. Indeed, they may have feared some people would see a causal relationship between the baptism and the recognition, that is, a divine sonship occurring as a result of the baptism by John….

    Armando Valladares receives the 2016 Canterbury Medal –

    November 27, 2016