Friday, September 22, 2017

Salvation Is Of Judah

"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." - John 4:22-24 ESV

A great passage with rich meaning but today I'm focusing in on the 'Jewishness' of salvation. The word translated 'Jews' (Ioudaios - Strong's G2453) is an adjective, not a noun or a proper name. Some would even translate it 'Judahness' making a distinction between the northern and southern Hebrew kingdoms. Historically there was a split between 'Israel' and 'Judah'. Israel is known for making bad decisions because of bad leadership. Judah struggled and teeter-tottered back and forth. Salvation is 'of Judah' because Jesus is descended from Judah.

"And one of the elders said to me, 'Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.' " - Revelation 5:5 ESV

Jesus was and Is the best thing that was ever produced out of that land. He Is the Lion of that tribe. The Royal One.

Is salvation 'Jew-ish' or is it 'Judah-ish'. Is our spirituality? I would have to say based on the passage in John chapter 4 that it is both but it is also neither one.

In verse 9 we see that Jesus is speaking to a Samaritan woman who had her own somewhat warped ideas about spirituality and He was initiating life to her and saying that God is looking for present-day worshippers who have the right basis of understanding but are in their own category. They are 'graced out' ones who recieve and live in the grace of God. The Messiah was from Judah but what He brought was from Heaven and not steeped in an Earthern culture.

"So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year, they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." - Acts 11:25-26 ESV

Salvation is Jewish but spirituality is Christ-like because Christ-likeness is from Heaven. This isn't left wing versus right wing or based in morality. It isn't Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian. It is Jesus being manifested in the world. It is a man walking far out of His way to talk to an ostracized woman at a well and let her know that even though her concepts were wrong and she was known and cared for by just a few people on Earth... God cared for her and wanted to include her in His 'spirit and truth' fellowship.

Jesus provides hope for every person from every culture and economic background. He didn't come to make the world Jewish. He came so that the individual could be Christ-like. He came to save you and i out of all our wrong ideas and give us a new life with a new heritage.

Antisemitism has always been bubbling under the surface in culture after culture. It is no surprise. It isn't just a reaction to a people group that teeter-totters. It is a reaction to the Jewishness of salvation. It is a reaction to one carpenter's Son. Let's love that Son of man and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That place needs our prayer.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Way Of An Injured Man

I listened to a radio program (NPR - Around The Nation - An Anti-Violence Activist Shares Her Reason For Buying A Gun) yesterday and my heart broke for this woman. A good woman trying to do the right thing and have a positive impact on the world but overwhelmed by the effects her past has on her present.

It made me think of this passage.

"I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing. Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not, and on the peoples that call not on your name, for they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation." - Jeremiah 10:23-25 ESV

We see the right thing to do but often it is just past our grasp. Things have happened to us and even though we don't live in them the residue of them remains in our lives.

"A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good." - Proverbs 16:29 ESV

They say that most violence in areas with gang activity is retaliatory. Social media has amplified that cycle. People used to be able to 'talk smack' behind closed doors but now it is out there for every ego to see.

"As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!"" - Luke 24:36 ESV

"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.' " - John 20:21 ESV

The way He sends us is the way of peace but that way isn't in us. It is in Him and He gives it to us.

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." - Romans 16:20 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 1:3 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Corinthians 1:2 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," - Galatians 1:3 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 1:2 ESV

"Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 6:23 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:2 ESV

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:7 ESV

"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace." - 1 Thessalonians 1:1 ESV

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - 2 Thessalonians 1:2 ESV

"To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." - 1 Timothy 1:2 ESV

"To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." - 2 Timothy 1:2 ESV

"To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior." - Titus 1:4 ESV

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Philemon 1:3 ESV

"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." - Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV

"...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you." - 1 Peter 1:2 ESV

"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." - 2 Peter 1:2 ESV

"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love." - 2 John 1:3 ESV

Do you see a theme here? I do. Peace comes from God through His Son. Maybe you are one of the few who have lived an injury free life and never have felt the need to lash out but this peace comes from the God-man who was mistreated more than any of us. It is a tested and proven peace that will not be overwhelmed.

"So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." - John 6:53 ESV

"Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." - 1 John 5:12 ESV

Believe in the Son and the life of the Son will be in You. Trust in His way and study and meditate on His words and His way will become your way.

"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." - Daniel 12:2-3 ESV

Choose the shining way of grace and peace. Choose the Son as Your Savior. Do it once and then let Him turn you day after day to a path you would not find yourself.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Dark Moon Before The New Year (Rosh Hashanah 2017)

Today the moon is dark and not giving off any light and I am quiet in my soul. Soon a sliver of light will begin to shine. The trumpet will sound in Jerusalem and it will be a new year.

The end of an old year and the start of a new one.

I'm sure for many in Mexico city it has been a long sleepless night. That place and those people are heavy on my heart. Storms and fires rage. Life will never be the same for many of the people in those places because of what has happened in their neighborhoods over the last few weeks.

Quietly I rehearse some of God's promises.

"... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee..." - Hebrews 13:5b KJV

"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished." - Isaiah 51:6 KJV

"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." - Luke 21:25-28 NKJV

"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18 NKJV

"...God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." - Psalm 46:1b-5 NKJV

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." - John 14:27 NKJV

God leaves peace with us.

Who knows what this week will bring? The trumpet will sound when the moonlight sliver is sighted and God will still be on His throne. The old year will be over and God will reign in the new one.

God, Help us to wrap up the details of this year. It seems strange to pray a prayer like this in September as an American growing up in the west but today we look up at You and the calendar You gave to Israel and take notice. Renew us in newness and help us to tie up any spiritual loose ends. Thank You God.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Zebulun And Naphtali

Looking at the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali this morning.

The disciples were all Israelites and usually, we don't focus on their lineages. Jesus' bloodline is spelled out for us but that is not so for the other disciples but we do have clues.

"And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." - Matthew 4:13-22 ESV

Two sets of brothers... Zebulun and Naphtali. These tribes have long interesting histories. Here is something that is said of one of them.

"Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer." - Judges 5:14 KJV

The people of Zebulun had a gift for writing and Naphtali had artists.

"He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work." - 1 Kings 7:14 ESV

God used Peter and John to pen most of the new testament. Jesus picked fisherman but they came from a heritage that was great.

I don't know who your parents are or the heritage that you come from. It may be great or it may be quite lowly but light has shone into your life if you have believed in Jesus. You bring your family before God's throne when you come to Him. The gifts He gave to your fathers and mothers are manifested in you as you walk by faith.

"I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven," - Matthew 8:11 ESV

Many will recline at your table also.

It may not be easy to trace your family line but you represent all those that have come before you. Hold your head up high and worship with all that you possess. What you have came from someone as a gift. Let's give what we have been given back to God in gratefulness and thanksgiving.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Expectation For The Day

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

What is 'the Day'?

This is a great principle. Are you looking for 'the Day'? Do you have an expectation in your heart? What days are you looking forward to? Christmas. An anniversary. The day of your retirement from work. Your birthday. Coming home after being away a long time.

The day referred to here is a 'God' day. We stir each other up in the visitation of God. It is the day when we will see Him move. Is it judgment day? Is it the day we get to Heaven? Is it the next time we all sing together and Heaven comes down on our assembly?

Take your pick. The book of Hebrews doesn't say specifically and I think that is on purpose.

What day are you looking forward to? Get together more and more between now and then and encourage one another. Let your expectation be known. Share it. People need a day to look forward to. 'The Day' is coming. Be ready. Be waiting. Count the hours. Invite as many as are willing to come.

" 'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.' The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." - Revelation 22:16-17 ESV


Friday, September 15, 2017

The Time Of Jacob's Trouble

What was 'Jacob's trouble' (see Jer 30:7) in the scriptures? To understand the future we must understand what it is referencing in the scriptures.

"Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, 'I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.' Laban said, 'It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.' So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, 'Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.' So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?' Laban said, 'It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.' Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife." - Genesis 29:16-28 ESV

Jacob loved a woman but was forced to marry her sister first and work for years before he could marry the girl of his dreams.

The Church will be raptured and go to the marriage supper of the lamb and for seven years God will accomplish much as he waits to take Israel as His bride. All at once a nation will be born in day.

"And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn." - Zechariah 12:9-10 ESV

The day of the Lord is coming soon. God will deal with evil and He will take a wife. The time of Jacob's trouble is coming at us like a freight train. The Church has been longing to see what we may very well be privileged to see in our lifetime.

"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you." - Romans 11:17-18 ESV

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure' - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' " - Revelation 19:7-9 ESV

Two sisters. The wild olive branches are grafted into the cultivated tree. The Church and Israel. God loves both in a special way and is willing to wait and work just like Jacob was willing.

God isn't done with Israel... and He isn't done with you or i either. He has great plans. They just take time to unfold.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Global Perspective

Studying passages that pertain to Christ's second coming and marveling at the small details that are present.

Take this passage...

"Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 'In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.' " - Luke 17:30-36 NKJV

Many quote this as a rapture passage but it is actually speaking of Christ's second coming if we look at the context and Greek words. 'Taken' is paralambano (Strong's G3880) and according to John Walvood it is 'an association' and not a rapture.

What strikes me is the global nature of the event described. Some are sleeping and others are working. This isn't figurative language. It speaks of time zones. Jesus will return and people all over the world will know it and make decisions based upon their predispositions.

Just a small thought but it blessed me. The Bible was written with a global perspective. It isn't a book written by locals with a narrow view. It is a book inspired by the God of the universe who sees all time and space because it is His creation.