“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).(more…)
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.(more…)
David, 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!(more…)
There 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).
We 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).
We 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.
Have you ever been scapegoated?
A scapegoat is a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, and faults of others. Even if it has some truth to the accusations, a scapegoat is often wrongly accused and carries all the guilt of the entire group. Leviticus chapter 16 introduces us to the scapegoat and the purpose it served Israel – to carry away the sins of the people.
“Then he is to take from the congregation of Bnei-Yisrael two he-goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. Then Aaron is to offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and his house. Then he is take the two goats and present them before Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron will then cast lots for the two goats—one lot for Adonai, and the other lot for the scapegoat. Aaron is to present the goat on which the lot for Adonai fell and make it a sin offering. But the goat upon which the lot for the scapegoat fell is to be presented alive before Adonai, to make atonement upon it, by sending it away as the scapegoat into the wilderness“. (Leviticus 16:5-10)
This Yeshua is ‘the stone—rejected by you, the builders—that has become the chief cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved!” (Acts 4:11-12)
About two thousand years ago, God came to His own so that He might deliver us from the tyranny of sin and death. He did not appear as the people expected and did not live according to the limits they had set in place for themselves and the people of Israel.
The mission was a complete success! Yeshua died on the execution stake for your sins, and mine. Crowds of people greeted Yeshua shouting “Hosanna” the day he entered Jerusalem riding on the donkey (Matthew 21:9). Today we sing hallelujah because He overcame the cross and death and is advocating on our behalf before the Father.(more…)
The world appears to be suffering from identity crisis and this – identity crisis – is having a dramatic effect on each of us. We are created to be social beings, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). For this reason we have formed social clubs, sports leagues, communities, and political systems that we most identify with. Yet, even among these social clicks we often have a desire to stand out. It is not good enough to identify with the larger community, we tend to try to express our uniqueness among them as well.
The more we seek to stand out, the more we begin to show that we are no different from others who are trying to do the same. In this we prove our focus on self, and that we have more in common with others than we think. The answer to this is humility! Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) must never shy away from having things in common. We should all have the same goal of growing to be more like Messiah Yeshua. We should continually work to have a common faith (Titus 1:4), which has an identity formed in Messiah Yeshua.
Our common faith in Yeshua grants us the right to receive the title “children of God” (John 1:12), “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9) and “God’s people” (1 Peter 2:10).
We often make resolutions at the beginning of the new year which are often based on what we may have failed at accomplishing the year before; some of these resolutions are at times a repeat of what we declared the year(s) prior. Making a New Year’s resolution in not wrong. Though, I wonder how often it has its foundation securely in Messiah? Yeshua said, “Because I live, you also will live! “In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you” (John 14:19b-20).
Our identity – as believers in Yeshua – should be base on our common faith in God. We make resolutions partly because we want to change something about ourselves that is inherently part of our identity. I may be that we are trying to more closely fit a societal norm, it may be that we are trying to be more health conscious, or we may be responding to a health concern. No matter the reason, our race for identity should not outpace our common faith. If we call upon the name of Yeshua we should bot be afraid to run as one in Him. “For those whom [God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of [Yeshua]” (Romans: 8:29). Those who are of the world may be trying to look more like and stand out among those of the world, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory—just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words”. (Proverbs 23:9)
In my devotional reading this morning, Dr. Adam Dooley of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama commented that “Believers should neither feel obligated to nor responsible for those who hate the truth.” Dr. Dooley went on to state that “Regarding business, Christians should protect the weak with fairness and precedent, knowing that God defends based upon the truth rather than one’s status or power”.
I have to admit that, while I agree with the above, I have become skeptical of the human thought expressed on paper. This is true especially of Christians with whom I am either not familiar or whose words I am not able to reconcile with their actions. It bothers me that, as a Christian, I am becoming so skeptical of other believers but the larger issues is that we have come to this place; what then does the world think of us.
The Western church, at least in part, seems to be complicit in defending those who hate the truth and who seem to care little for the weak. Is this because, as research suggests, of the eroding biblical literacy and belief in the inherency of scripture? I believe this is part of the reason but the totality of this trend may be more sinister than we think.
The oldest sin is that which aims at self-gratification (pride). We in the West are drunk on the desire to satisfying our every desire. Technology is driven by our insatiable appetite for comfort and convenience and businesses thrive on our appetite for quick, “have it your way” service. I believe this sin is prevalent in the church today but is often masked behind “zeal”.
Some have suggested that Judas betrayed Jesus because he was a zealot who thought that by doing so, Jesus would revolt and return the kingdom to Israel. If this is true, Judas’ actions were motivated by a desire for self-gratification. Similarly, the religious leaders who plotted and called for the crucifixion of Jesus did so because He was a threat to their wealth and comfortable way of life. I’m sure you get the picture!
Today, the western church is busy fighting battles over the few issues we are zealous about; forgetting to defend the weak and uphold truth. Have we become self-centered zealots who willingly side with the violent to satisfy what we feel are the most important issues?
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed)” (2 Timothy 3:16) and is equally important and authoritative. Who are we to choose one issue over another, or ignore one sin for the sake of another? Should we not be zealous for every word of scripture? It is the very opposite of this that has created such decay in the moral and theological state of western society. When the church fails to lead the nation fails to thrive and sin becomes a cancer that takes hold of it.
Did not the Lord warn that when we fill the land with sin it will cast us out? I implore the church to repent of our pride and desire for self-gratification. We cannot impress God with our zeal and attempt to do so is only at our own peril. What then does the Lord require of us. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
We have become too much afraid of the anger of fools and instead of reproving them, we flatter them with their own lies. How often do we hear Christian leaders say “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) but fail to “Love one another fervently with a pure heart” as we “Obey the truth through the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:22)?
We cannot lead if we fail to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not in us if we obligate ourselves to those who hate the truth and to those who strike the weak, simply because of their status or power.