Author: Greg Nembhard

Do You Grieve?

“Have I not wept for the unfortunate? Was not my soul grieved for the poor?”

Job 30:25

Do you grieve?

Do you grieve for the brokenhearted, for broken marriages, and broken friendships?

Do you grieve for the oppressed, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised?

Do you grieve for the hungry, the sick, and the terminally ill?

Do you grieve for those who reject the Gospel and for those who have never heard it?

Do you grieve for those who die in their sin?

Do you grieve for the loss of innocent life— the child in the womb, the youth, or the elderly?

Do you grieve when those with whom you disagree are harmed, injured, or killed?

Do you grieve for those who look, sound, and think different from you?

Do you grieve for the persecuted and the persecutor? Do you grieve for the wickedness that is filling the earth?

Do you grieve for the law enforcer and the law breaker?

Do you grieve?

“So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) and “it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins” (2 Peter 3:9b).

Rebellious Nation

“Because you reject this word, trust in extortion and rely on deceit, this sin will become for you a crack bulging out high on a wall, showing signs it is ready to fall; then suddenly, all at once, it breaks.”

Isaiah 30:12-13

Can a nation boast that its foundation rests on Biblical principles and declare itself Christian, yet stand with those who extort and deceive people? Will such a nation escape God’s gaze and the righteous judgements declared for those who trample on His word?

It is heartbreaking to see what is and has been happening in the US and around the world. Lives are being taken, relationships are breaking apart, people are hurting, and institutions are in disarray in the wake of a pandemic, social upheaval, and racial tensions. We readily relegate those with whom we disagree as members of “the other side”, even our fellow followers of Yeshua.

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Justice, Love, Mercy, and Humility

“He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what Adonai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”.

Micah 6:8

Yeshua (Jesus) exemplified four traits very clearly for us to emulate. They are traits that we find throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation—He is just, loving, merciful, and humble. Furthermore, Yeshua said He did nothing of His own, but only what His Father taught Him (John 5:19) and said only what His Father sent Him to Say (John 12:49). These were God’s traits Displayed through His Son and are for us to live by. One may say that love is the foundation of it all, for we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and God is love (1 John 4:8).

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What is Truth?

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” After he said this, he went out again to the Judean leaders. He said to them, “I find no case against Him”

John 18:38

By all accounts, Pontius Pilate was not a righteous man, but he was at least interested in the truth and in declaring that he found no case against Yeshua (Jesus), he spoke the truth. Looking at world events today one may instead ask, “does the truth even matter?” We have re-branded lies in such a way that it’s now a popular strategy to gain attention, notoriety, and wealth. It may appear that facts no longer decide whether information is true or false, but if we like the information presented. Such an environment makes it more likely that the Antichrist will succeed in deceiving the nations.

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Essential Personnel

And He was telling them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Go forth! Look, I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves”.

luke 10:2-3

D​avid, after he was almost killed in battle against the Philistines, gave thanks to God for delivering him. David said, “Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2). David’s men had to protect him because he grew tired during the battle, but he wrote, “With you I can run through a whole troop of men, with my God I can leap a wall” (2 Samuel 22:30). The near death experienced prompted David’s men to whisk him off the battlefield and advised him never to go out to battle again “in order not to quench the lamp of Israel” (2 Samuel 21:17). David was essential to the hope of Israel in his time, and so are you today!

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Faith Is Not Irresponsible

“I am Adonai—there is no other. Besides Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not known Me, so they may know, from the rising to the setting of the sun, that there is no one besides Me. I am Adonai—there is no other. I form light and create darkness. I make shalom and create calamity. I, Adonai, do all these things.”

Isaiah 45:5-7

T​here is a teaching/opinion out there that God does not bring calamity and does not bring judgment because of Yeshua’s (Jesus) sacrifice and the ushering in of a new covenant. Some faith leaders are using this to urge us to continue to meet in mass to worship because we are protected from the Corona Virus.

I am still learning and have not yet come to a complete understanding of Scripture but I can confidently say that faith is not irresponsible. To say that God does not bring calamity or judgment is an irresponsible betrayal of scripture. God says He does something but man find a way to dispute His word—or, so they think. No amount of reading between the lines can justify saying God does not bring judgment or that God will not bring about what is already prophesied. Tell that to Ananias and Sapphira who fell dead after deceiving the Apostles about how much they profited from selling their land (Acts 5:1-11) or Herod who an angel of the Lord killed for not giving God glory (Acts 12:23). Both of these incidents happened after Yeshua ascended to heaven.

God does promise to protect us—”the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one ” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Still, Scripture makes it clear that we experience the same difficulties as everyone else in the world—”We are hard pressed in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). 

W​e still live in a fallen world and are still susceptible to pain, sickness, despair, and death. It would be irresponsible to walk into oncoming traffic and it is irresponsible to disregard the safeguards put in place to protect ourselves and others from contracting the Corona Virus. 

I may be stubborn but I know that I am not impervious to this virus. Furthermore, Scripture tells us not to put God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7). Yes, God is faithful to fulfill His promise to protect us, but unnecessarily exposing ourselves to danger is irresponsible and amounts to testing God!

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1Thessalonians 5:23-24).

New Beginning

I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

W​e are often an anxious generation! We become anxious at new beginnings, transitions, and when something comes to an end. Why is that? I believe that the main reason for our anxiety is that we do not know the future. Moreover, our negative past encounters have lasting effects our how we approach future endeavors. Our excitement about new opportunities are often sprinkled with some anxiety for the same reason—we do not know how it will turn out.

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TROUBLED SOUL

Show me favor, Adonai, for I am in trouble. My eyes grow dim with anger, my soul and body as well.

PSALM 32:10

We are all susceptible to anger that darkens our soul and body; anger that clouds our thinking. The decisions we make when we are angry and when we have no peace may create more problems for us than we want, much like shopping for food when we are hungry; we tend to buy more than we need. Anger is poison to the body that affect our thought, words, and our actions. We don’t see clear enough to truly assess a situation and make a wise decision. Our body responds in a way that can cause physical sickness — much like stress — and not much can console us. Like the Psalmist said, this is trouble!

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THE WAY

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me”

John 14:6

H​ow does a dirt path form and why does it so often wind along, sometimes for reasons not clear to us? If, like me, you have had the privilege of seeing paths form overtime you know it’s based on our pattern of walking along a particular way overtime, and its winding pattern may be due to us avoiding certain obstacles. Paths, lead us to a specific destination and are based on often traveled routes for a specific purpose. Over time and as the population increases, more than one path may form that sometimes intersects to take us in different directions. Taking a path because it exists does not guarantee it will bring us to the desired destination. For this reason we place signs along the way, to point us in the right direction.

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PROTECT YOUR TERRITORY

“From the time of Yochanan the Immerser until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been suffering violence; yes, violent ones are trying to snatch it away”

MATTHEW 11:12

Other Bible translations render the end of the above verse, “the violent take is by force.” These timeless words point to a dilemma that we still see and experience in today’s societies. People may refer to it as the struggle against good and evil; except, what society calls good may be subject to interpretation. Self-interest is one of the most prevalent characteristics that cause us to set ourselves up against the Kingdom. In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul warned that “in the last days, People will be self-loving, money-loving, proud, arrogant, insulting, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, uncontrolled, brutal, hateful of good, traitorous, headstrong, swollen with conceit, [and] loving pleasure rather than God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

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