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Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles, Romans 15: 8-13.

Excellent research. Well written. Are you ready to see the Messiah? It is here.

A voice in the wilderness

Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

When we closed our last post, we were counseled to welcome others, just as the Messiah has welcomed us. God nor Paul have changed their minds, and so we continue with Romans chapter 15, starting at verse 8.

Romans 15:8 CJB  For I say that the Messiah became a servant of the Jewish people in order to show God’s truthfulness by making good his promises to the Patriarchs,

I appreciate how the CJB centers our focus on the Jewishness of Paul’s letter when it says, the Messiah became a servant of the Jewish people. “The Messiah” is, of course, talking about Jesus, as we of non-Jewish understanding call him.

The Messiah came in order to do what?

  • To show God’s truthfulness (CJB).

The CEV translation tells us “that Christ came as a servant of the Jews to show that God has…

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Why Should Christians Gather?

One Small Voice

In my prior post (Jesus Don’t You Care?) I related how Scripture declares the intimate relationship each Christian can have with God directly through faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit God sends into every believer’s heart. In this post, I want to explain briefly what we all seem to know instinctively–we need each other!

So, why should Christians gather with each other? Isn’t a direct relationship with God enough?

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

I. We have physical bodies and God does not.

  • Our physical bodies…

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Jesus Don’t You Care?

Excellent reminder in times like this.

One Small Voice

Although I looked, I could not find a copyright for this picture.

One day Jesus called his disciples into a boat, and they headed out across a large lake. But Jesus fell asleep. While he slept, a violent windstorm came down on the lake. The waves became huge and started swamping the boat. They were in danger of drowning. At this point, the disciples could bear it no longer. They shouted at Jesus and woke him up, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Well, that woke him up. He rebuked the wind and the raging waters. The storm subsided, all was calm. (Adapted from Luke 8:22-24)

In this narrative, who was asleep? The text says that Jesus, God in the flesh, slept, unaware that a monstrous storm had arisen, threatening to capsize and sink the boat that carried the disciples. But was Jesus the only one in the boat who…

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God’s Patience

judges 9 to 12 patience of godaThere is a pattern that becomes very evident in this book and it is what we read in Judges 10:1 “The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord: “We have sinned against you. We abandoned our God and worshiped the Baals.” How many times does a nation have to walk around the wilderness to get the message that God is God and He will not share His glory with another? The patience of God is mind-boggling! And here we are in the 21st century viewing this same pattern and God is still patient with us today.

Judges 9-12 reveals that once again the nation started out correctly but soon diminished into chaos and idolatry. It is then that they come back to God in tears and repentance only to remain that way until the judge died and the people are left without a godly leader. Yet the patience of God is remarkable. He allows us to wallow in the mire but is ready to forgive and reinstate us to a higher state. How often are we like Thomas Jefferson when we come to chapters like these? When Jefferson found a passage he didn’t like he took scissors to it. But, we are not to be like that because God has placed these chapters in here for a reason that we might learn and apply biblical principles to our lives.

What lessons is God teaching you as you read this book?

 

 

How Faithful are you in Waiting?

Joshua 13 waiting on God

Joshua 14:  How would you describe yourself? Are you a patient person or impatient?

Caleb is a hero that has been on the sidelines waiting. Waiting is the hardest test God has given to us in so many ways. We want the answer now, but Isaiah tells us that God’s ways are higher than ours. His answers are, in fact, so precious that we can claim the principle that Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon.  Jeremiah said to them, listen, God has a plan; to prosper you, to show you how to become His treasure. God has a plan for a future that will shine like the heavens because it will be filled promises.

Caleb had waited patiently for 40+ years to see the Promised Land. He and Joshua were the only two of the Egyptian slaves to believe God’s promise. Because of the unbelief of others, they had to wait. Sometimes that is just like us. Our dreams seem to be on hold. Add to that, God has us do laps around the wilderness with others who refuse to believe in our vision. Why does he do that? He wants us in the perfect spot for His plan to come to fruition. It might be hard, uncomfortable—think camping night after night, eating manna day after day.

Are you waiting for the birth of a vision that you have held onto what seems forever? Take a lesson from Caleb. God’s timing is perfect; His plan is higher and grander than you could ever imagine.

Psalm 37 reminds us to trust in the Lord and don’t fret!  God rewards those who rely on Him. That is what happened to Caleb.

Will you trust Him? Will you wait on Him?

Meeting Needs of Others

Deut 23 love your neighbor2aDeut 23 “Be Creative as you Love Your Neighbor.”

Both Moses and Jesus taught us that we are to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and secondly, love your neighbor as yourself. Paul taught the Thessalonians that same principle; meet the needs of those who are your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. God’s provision for ancient Israel was that if one became hungry while walking to the next destination, you were allowed to enter a neighbor’s grain field and pluck some kernels to eat, but not to collect the grain for another time. Jesus and the disciples followed that principle,  but the Pharisees had added to that principle by saying even if hungry, you cannot do that for it is work on the Sabbath.

Today in our fast food society we drive from place to place. We wait in drive-up lanes, not walk through a grain field. So how can we apply the principle today? We continue to have open hearts and eyes to the needs around us remembering the words of Jesus: “And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.” [Mat 10:42 ] After we have filled our plates, why not purchase an extra dinner for someone behind you in the drive-up lane? Or a cup of coffee?

Be creative today as you go about your busyness. Stop and look where God might be working, and you can be His servant.

Ye Shall be Blameless

Deut 18 be blameless2aDeut 18:  “You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” Blameless means we are innocent or free of blame or one whose life exhibits integrity. Some Synonyms are irreproachable, unimpeachable, irreprehensible, inculpable, faultless, guiltless, unblemished, unspotted, unsullied, undefiled, spotless, stainless, and innocent. So when God says we are to be blameless before the Lord, we could insert any of these synonyms and examine our character. 

To help us further, we can turn to the letter to the Romans to learn how to bring about this character quality in our life: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”[Rom 12:2] 

But along the way, we may encounter our past sins, which Satan chooses to rehash. But, that is the marvel of 1John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” It is then that God looks at us as blameless because the blood of Jesus has covered over those sins, and we can walk in newness of life—blameless or innocent before the Father. “In both Old and New Testament times, God justifies the ungodly, sanctifies the faithful, and rewards their new Spirit-wrought righteousness.” [John Piper]

 So where are you in your walk? Are you listening to Satan or the Lord? 

 

The Aaronic Blessing – What it means for you

Numbers 6b aaronic blessing2aNumbers 6: The word blessing has the idea of pronouncing a wish of happiness given by one to another for the divine favor upon them from God. Dr. Constable notes that it is a benediction to the priests to offer for the sanctification for the people. It is often used in our liturgical blessings for people as they prepare to leave a religious service. Within it, the word “you” is noted six times, making it personal and applicable.

God desires to bless His people for their provision but also their protection. God knew they would need this as they traveled on towards the Promised Land. God also desires that His countenance would reflect His care in their lives, as well as His grace. Lastly, God desired that His peace would be upon them as they faced foes within and without. God desired all of this for His people then and now.

As you listen to it this blessing, stop and ponder the words. What is the meaning for me personally? Is there a part of that blessing I can appropriate for me now? How can I share this with another?

May the Lord Bless you and keep you as you read and meditate upon it.

Alone with God

Leviticus 16 alone with God

Leviticus 16 “Nobody is to be in the Meeting Tent when he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he goes out, and he has made atonement on his behalf, on behalf of his household, and on behalf of the whole assembly of Israel.” Lev 16

Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement reminds us of the work of our Savior. He came, he lived, he died; was buried and rose again, just as 1Corinthians 15 tells us. The picture of that series of steps is seen in the Atonement when Aaron or the High Priest would alone perform each step. Alone, Aaron understood, more than any other time, the price paid for his sin and the sins of the people.

Alone he would enter and adjust the light from the Menorah and change the Shewbread on the Table.  Alone he offered the incense on the altar as he prayed for himself and the people. Alone he would slaughter the animal and drain the blood. Alone he would take the blood behind the curtain and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat. All of these steps were a picture of what Christ would do for us.

With each step, the High Priest was to be alone as a reminder that we must seek the face of God alone as we meet with God about our sin just as Jesus was alone as He paid for our sin.

When was the last time it was just you and God? 

Contagions and Sin

Leviticus 13 confession.3Leviticus 13 Recently the world has become acutely aware of infection with no known cause and no known cure, and many are dying. The world has reacted first to isolate infected and then to restrict travel to and from that area thousands of miles away. Although these are physical infections, the spiritual lesson is that our infection is the problem of sin.

Like physical infections, sin permeates if left untreated because it is all a part of the fallen nature of man. Pastor Ed Rea explained it this way: “It usually begins as a thought that becomes a desire that then leads on to an act. The results of both unchecked are always devastating.”  James explains it this way:  “But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.”

In Leviticus, the priest was to examine the individual and, if necessary, quarantine him/her. Just like a physical infection, we must “quarantine” our sin. If we find that that doesn’t help us, then we must take drastic action, and repentance is the key. King David recognized the danger and why he prayed: Examine me, O God, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!

We have the Great Physician with the perfect treatment. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. [1Jn 1:9]