I often reflect on my time in the military and nights when I was on duty. I remember the clear contrast between guard duty during field training, peaceful nights in the barracks, and while I was deployed to hostile regions. The one thing that was common in all of these situations was the deep longing for morning. The night brings uncertainty, loneliness, and, in some cases fear. Our bodies grow tired and restless in the early morning hours. Our eyes grow heavy and we begin to do anything just to stay awake and alert. Every sound brings suspicion and the slightest movement in the dark conjures up images in our minds that may not be true. The night watch often seems excessively long and filled with uncertainty and misconceptions. It is also a time when we are most vulnerable to the enemies assaults; this is especially true when we are in enemy territory.
The morning brings relief and a sense of peace and confidence in our ability to properly assess and respond to situations. We finally realize that the constant stirring in the woods were from harmless animals and not a company of enemy combatants slowly crawling toward your position. All the fears of an assault have not disappeared but there is now greater safety in numbers and the burden to protect others while they sleep is lifted. You can now rest in relative peace and a greater sense of safety. Still, nightfall looms and you will again repeat that haunting experience with even less sleep than before.
David said he was waiting for Adonai more than watchmen (guards) for the morning. This deep longing for the Lord can only be satisfied by finally being united with Him in glory. The watchman goes through a cycle of relief and despair with every shift change but the Lord brings redemption for eternity. I don’t think David is talking about an encounter—for he had many encounters with the Lord. I believe David is talking about the Day of the Lord, when He will rule over the whole earth (Rev 19:6). David is waiting for what the prophet Isaiah later shouted, “Arise, shine [Yerushalayim], for your light has come, the glory of Adonai has risen over you” (Isaiah 60:1).
David is looking forward to the time when there will no longer be night because God’s light (Sh’khinah) will shine forever and there will be no need to guard or close the gates (Rev 21:23-25). A time when the One who always watches over us never slumbers, never sleeps, and is never fearful. When we will live in a city that “nothing impure may enter” (Rev 21: 27) and whose citizens continually walk in the light of the lamb— Yeshua, the bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16). Until that day comes, we must be like David. For he, too, had “the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
We must keep holding on to our trust in Messiah Yeshua. While we are in this world we will toil and repeat those uncomfortably restless nights but even then He watches over us. Keep your hearts pure and remain hopeful in Adonai, with Whom are grace and unlimited redemption (Psalm 130:7).
The world is crying out for a savior—screaming at the top of its lungs for someone to deliver it from the chaos that surrounds us. However, the problem looks very different from person to person and it seems very difficult to know what exactly they need deliverance from. One thing seems very evident, many are running to and from seeking whomever will step into what they perceive as a void to save them from their enemies, while all along ignoring the only One who can save us—God!(more…)
Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving.Colossians 2:6-7 (CJB)
How do we know that someone has truly repented and now live a life united with Messiah Yeshua with a devotion to advancing the Kingdom of God? After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in November 2016, I watched as prominent Christians and other ministry leaders walk slowly to the line of declaring him a Christian. The slow walk became a sprint as more and more people began echoing that declaration. He was declared to be prominent biblical characters like Cyrus, and Jehu. He was called God’s anointed, and the Chosen One—a title he boldly embraced in a news conference on the White House Lawn.(more…)
“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).
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).