Am I Willing…

As I was in prayer this morning, I began to question…Is Yahveh, who is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33), really going to leave his children to follow and worship Him any way they see fit…by how they “feel”…by what it means to them…by what seems right…Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way  of death.” And Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things. And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” And then God reminded me he has given us His Holy Spirit and His Word. He has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) And, He  will not contradict Himself.

I used to live by my feelings. I used to twist the Word to justify my actions. I used to follow the ways and traditions of man rather than God. And…I used to pray for more…for a deeper walk with God…for a truly changed life that follows after God and His Righteousness and His Holiness. And now that Yahveh is answering my prayer and my life is changing and my walk is stronger and deeper and because of who Yahveh is and all that Yeshua has done for me…am I willing?

Am I willing to give up my ways, ways of man, ways of excuses, ways of doing what “feels” right…

Am I willing to examine my beliefs and convictions…

Am I willing to die to self…self-will, self-righteousness, selfish desires, self-fulfillment…

Am I willing to lay down my life and offer it as a living sacrifice…(Romans 12:1)

Am I wlling to conform my life to that of Yeshua’s…(Romans 8:29, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 1:13-15)

Am I willing to count the cost…(Luke 14:25-33)

Am I willing to worship Yahveh the way He demands to be worshipped and follow Him the way He demands to be followed…(Deuteronomy 13:4, Jeremiah 7:22-24, Micah 6:8, John 14:15)

Am I willing to do all to stand (Ephesians 6:13) for Yahveh, for His Word, for Truth, for His Righteousness and Holiness…

Am I willing…

YES!!! Praise Yahveh!!! I am willing…are you?

Lead me in your Truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation;

On You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:5)

 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:24-25)

On Crosses, Criminals, and Christ

Česky: Kříže - symbol utrpení Ježíše Krista a ...

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 I recently read a little diatribe based on Galatians 6:14. It got me to pondering…and researching…and the more I thought about it, the more worked up I became. So I thought I would give my two cents about this verse, put in the proper context. Galatians 6:14 says, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” The author of the post that I read talks about how the cross is not an idol and it is an image (emphasis mine) of the two great commandments to “love God” and “love others”. The author ends with this, “No, I don’t make an idol of the cross or Christ, but I will boast of it all the more!”

And I say, if you are boasting in anything except Yahveh, you have created an idol. You see, it’s not the cross that has the power, but The ONE who hung on the cross. The criminals that were being executed with Jesus were also hanging on crosses. The cross is powerless. The Sacrificial Lamb of God that hung on the cross is the Savior…not the cross he was hung on.

When looking at Galatians 6:11-15, we see Paul telling the Galatians that they do not need to be circumcised to be saved, but to boast in the death of Jesus for salvation, and to crucify their worldly desires and live for Him. That is a far cry from using this verse to justify idolatry.

The bible is full of commands not to worship idols or create graven images, the most obvious being in Exodus 20:3-4. Then, in Leviticus 26:1, Numbers 33:52, Deuteronomy 7:25, 1 Kings 14:9, and on and on the list goes in the “Old Testament”. But for those that don’t think the old testament is for today and that the law has been done away with, here are some new testament verses…1 Corinthians 10:14, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

Maybe the confusion lies in the definition of idolatry or graven image. Well, let’s look at them: idolatry—the religious worship of idols; idols—an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed; graven image—a carved idol or representation of a god used as an object of worship. Is the cross an idol? It certainly sounds like it to me, especially if we are boasting in it rather than Him.

I know idolatry goes way beyond the cross in this generation. In my own life, God has been showing me the “high places” that need to be torn down. You know, things like self-reliance, love of material things, time-wasters, and on and on my own list goes. But as I grow in the likeness of Yeshua, and work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, those places, those idols are coming down one at a time. What freedom and joy there is in following my Rock, my Redeemer, my All in All.

Lead me to Christ, not to the cross.

Perfecter?

Can something that is perfect be made “perfecter”? By the very definitions of perfect, the answer to that question is a resounding NO!

1.conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.
5. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail: a perfect copy. (dictionary.com)

Which leads me to the question, “If the Law of the Lord is perfect as it states in Psalm 19:7, can the law become “perfecter”? And this leads me to the question that is the point of this post, “Has the Law been done away with?”

I am not sure why this has become such a hot topic when Jesus’ own words in Matthew 5:17-18 make it perfectly clear that His coming did not destroy the Law.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till Heaven and Earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

If God is the Word (John 1:1) and He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6), and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), how can people legitimately say His Word has changed? I could go on and on and on with scriptures that support the fact that the Law is still for today, but let’s get to the crux of the matter.

Herein lies the problem. People who practice “lawless” Christianity don’t understand one very important key principle. They don’t understand the purpose of the Law. You see, the Law was never intended for salvation. Even the Jews leaving Egypt were saved by the blood of the lamb. No one can be saved by keeping the Law. And if you try, the Law becomes burdensome and salvation becomes unattainable.  “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

The purpose of the Law is to point out our sins so we can confess them and be cleansed. (1 John 1:9). His Law is there to clearly outline His Standard as we seek to live our lives in obedience and gratitude for The One who is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. His Law is there to guide us as we pursue (notice the action verb) holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) His Law is there to show us The Way as we work out (again, action involved!!!) our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

Take some time to read Psalm 119. It is full to the brim of the author delighting in the Law of the Lord. “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your Law is truth.” (Psalm 119:142)

Missed by a Mile or a Fraction of a Degree

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As I was sitting here thinking about some things that have been said and beliefs that have been spoken, I was reminded of a thought I had a few months ago. You know how in geometry and angles, if you are off by a fraction of a degree, it does not seem like a big deal at first, but then you get out a ways, and you might hit Seattle instead of Los Angeles? Well, the Word of God can be like that too. Some people believe, sincerely, in what they are saying, but at the same time are sincerely wrong. When you teach and preach things like the law is done away with, and it is okay to sin because grace covers a multitude of sin, you may not even hit Heaven in the end. How sad that some will miss Heaven by a fraction of a degree because they refuse to examine their beliefs and take Yahveh at His Word.

Matthew 7

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Let us pray that the veil would be lifted, eyes would be opened, and hearts changed.  John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

A la Carte Christianity

Life is a series of choices. Each one of us must make hundreds of choices every day…from the miniscule…what color socks should I wear…to the bigger choices…should I go to work or call in sick. Every one is faced with choices everyday, some with little if any consequence, and yet other choices may lead to life-altering consequences (either good or bad).

At some point in our lives, we will be faced with a choice to follow God or to go on living like He doesn’t exist. Luke 16:13 tells us that, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” And, the reality is that not choosing is in and of istelf, a choice. So let’s say that we choose to follow God (Yahveh), and we accept the free gift of salvation that He offers through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus (Yeshua). “For it is by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) I want to make my belief and understanding of God’s Word perfectly clear. It is only by God’s grace and faith in Jesus Christ that we can have salvation and a relationship with Yahveh. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn salvation other than to make the choice to believe that Jesus died for our sins.

So we’ve made that choice. But what then? Is that it? We start on our journey with God. For many “Christians” today, myself included until my eyes were opened, we pick a little of God here, a little of The Word there, but only what “feels” comfortable and easy, and doesn’t “cost” us anything. We say we are believers and we love God. But when we pick and choose, “a la carte” style, which part of Him we will follow, we create a god in our own image. When we make the choice to make a god in our image rather than conforming our lives to Yahveh’s image and ways, we are breaking His commandment that tells us, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

But that is just the beginning…what about the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God…Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Do we get to pick the day we “set apart” for God? His word says NO! Do we get to eat anything that we want, including pork and shellfish? Again Yahveh’s Word in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 tells us not to. Do we get to pick the holy days (holidays) to worship God? Do we get to pick how we worship God? Yet again, Yahveh’s Word says, “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)

It is time to awaken to Yahveh’s Word…all of it. It is time to stop picking and choosing which parts of His Word we would like to follow. It is time to start living our lives like we truly love God…His Way…by obedience to Him and His Word..”If you love me, obey my commands.” (John 14:15) It is time to stop living our faith with “honoring lips and hearts that are far from Him and vain worship and teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9). It is time to stop a la carte christianity and start living Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”