Enter the Narrow Way

sycamore_200414A profound spiritual experience seems necessary for one to engage the pathway of truth. Yeshua described it as being born again, which is certainly a profound personal spiritual experience. It happened to Zacchaeus when Yeshua called him out and offered to eat at his house. Having the Son of God accept you, particularly when society has rejected you, is a profound personal spiritual experience. Cornelius experienced it via an angelic visitation that brought about the sharing of the good news of Yeshua, by Peter. Nathanael and all the apostles had profound personal spiritual encounters with Yeshua, but we don’t have anything recorded about Judas having any sort of profound encounter with Yeshua. He was a friend, but did he even believe that Yeshua was the Messiah. His judgment of the woman who anointed Yeshua’s feet with expensive oil, was overruled by Yeshua, whereas the woman clearly had a profound personal spiritual experience drying His feet with her hair, and hearing Him say she had done a noble thing.

The thing about Yeshua is that He never died and lives today. The Holy Spirit is one with Yeshua and Father God, and He is the Person with whom people today have a profound personal spiritual experience. Much happens thereafter, for example, affirmation of Truth, truth of God’s word – the Bible; release from worldly bondage, baptism – becoming a new person; joining with the family of God on earth – the Church, and more. Maturing in one’s faith by perseverance in difficulty, testing of our faith, and persecution in this fallen world are means by which we grow in likeness to Yeshua, who also endured these things and in greater magnitude.

I have heard different terms for this new spiritual birth, one very worldly psychologist used the phrase, “a significant emotional event”, which he observed in the life of true christians; that served as an explanation for the life changing transformation he could not deny nor explain. Because he was an unbeliever he had no concept of the spiritual life and therefore substituted emotional for spiritual. “But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.” (2 Peter 2:12).

This is no attempt to lay out a new theology or requirement, but simply observing what happened in scripture and what has been a common experience with other believers. We have Calvin’s Institutes and many other books and professionals who speak of requirements. I’m calling you to reflect back on your profound personal spiritual experience, to contemplate how far your pilgrimage with Yeshua has come. Recall His loving-kindness; the difficulties through which He delivered you; the discipline that taught you the way of humility; the times of refreshing beholding the beauty of the Lord, and to praise the Lord.

A Three Faceted Blessing

joyouly-giving-thanks-2-728What amazing grace and love believers have received, to be called Children of God. (1 John 3:1). It is a theme of our praise to God. I remember years ago someone came up with a bumper sticker that said, “Found it”, meaning that he found eternal Life in Yeshua Messiah, perhaps referring to Matt. 13:44-46 or Romans 10:20. It was popular in the Christian community but unbelievers ridiculed it because they could not understand. Believers can’t stop marveling in the grace and mercy of salvation.

“Father God, who has qualified us Read More »

Spiritual Israel and God’s Promise

gods-chosen-people.png“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus Read More »

Discerning God’s Will

f9a287f6f15c70bd6063af2081108ca9George Muller, the man of great faith, said he did not have a gift of faith as mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:9, his was the same faith of any other child of God.  The most convincing explanation of this was that he simply believed that if the work he was doing was God’s work, God would supply it.  This is further supported by the lengths to which he went to establish that a matter was in accordance with God will.  Once a woman offered to rent her house to him for an orphans house.  As he pondered, he observed Read More »

Legacy

imagesThere is an awful lot of legacy software in use by companies throughout many industries.  Legacy software is old software, outdated by current standards, that is still in use.  It may not be the most efficient, fastest, or look slick, but it works and gets the job done, which makes it worth keeping.  A person’s legacy is the gist and meaningfulness of one’s life work.  When I was in my early forties I had a mid-life crisis, I didn’t buy a sports car or Harley, but I longed for meaning, for virtue and significance.  Now some twenty years later I listened to a talk about significance and meaningfulness and I considered Read More »

The Dominion of Darkness

article-2242722-1657FE04000005DC-339_634x474.jpgI’ve been thinking of what could be done to quiet the liars who fill our airways today.  Darkness is the domain of evil, injustice, wickedness, lies, theft, murder, assault, immorality, avarice, malice, hate, tyranny, bondage, oppression, rage, lust and greed.  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…” (Rom. 1: 18-32).  “To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, to deny people their rights before the Most High, to depriveRead More »

Muller’s Experience

refreshed_origAfter George Muller had been sick for a while he related an experience during that period when the Lord helped him in prayer.

“No sooner had I begun to pray than His Spirit shone into my soul and gave me such a spirit of prayer as I have not enjoyed for many weeks.  He graciously revived His work in my heart.  I enjoyed that nearness to God and fervency in prayer for more than an hour. My soul had been panting for many weeks for this sweet experience.”

I believe this is an experience many believers can relate with, in one fashion or another. Since I am an intercessor like Muller, I find God’s presence in fervent prayer, but I know Read More »

Of Kings and Obscure Men

daniel-interprets-dream-82607-print.jpgGod calls us to be industrious in all we do in life. Romans 12:11 commands Christians to be “Not Slothful in business…”.  Colossians 3:23 states “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”.  Proverbs 14:23 states “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”   In addition, Proverbs 22:29 tells us that “Do you see a man skilled in his work?  He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men”.

The phrase “skilled in his work” is better translated “prompt in his business” or in other words someone who is diligent/industrious.  The Proverbs promise Read More »

The Gospel of John

hqdefaultThere is a movie with this title by The Visual Bible International.  It is outstanding and I watch it again and again.  The words and events depicted are a faithful representation of the book of John in the bible.  The story of Yeshua talking with the Samaritan women at the well is superb, the visual depiction of this conversation is simply powerful in the Spirit.  It is the most direct admission made by Yeshua that He is the Messiah.  Yeshua gives a prophetic word to the woman, who clearly was looking with hope for the coming Read More »

Joseph and Yeshua Sons of Israel

7d34eae1368d5e58a21250b330f12956Joseph is one of my favorite Bible persons, not because I relate with him, but because he is an archetype of Yeshua.  Joseph was loved by his father and was given a multi-colored coat.  Joseph had communication with God and was able to interpret God’s messages to others – He heard and understood God.  Yeshua said He only did and said what Father God did and said. (John 5:19; 8:28).  Yeshua was loved and anointed by Father God with the Holy Spirit that descended as a dove. (Luke 3:22).  Joseph was misunderstood by his family, as was Yeshua.  Joseph suffered unjustly at the hands of his brothers, and by Potiphar as a consequence of his wife’s lies regarding Joseph’s propriety. (Gen. 39: 7-19). Yeshua was Read More »

Seeing People In Truth

old-protestant-cemeteryMy parents were each raised on the farm during the great depression.  Consequently, they shared many customs and perspectives. One was “Decoration Day”, where everyone went to the family grave yard and set out flowers by the ancestors headstones. It was how they observed Memorial Day.  So, this Memorial day weekend, we did the same thing although it was not planned, but sheer serendipity.

We roamed around looking at the graves, trying to make out Read More »

From Start To Finish

Tower-of-Babel3During man’s first thousand years or so mankind honed his wickedness, a turning point began when he decided to build a tower to heaven.  God saw this and out of His great mercy He confused the language of men and separated them across the face of the earth. Over the next  several thousand years kingdoms of men rose up and fought wars in an attempt to rule the entire world, these are enumerated in a vision given to Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by Daniel, the Prophet of God.  The vision of a statue Read More »

Realizations of Truth

psalm_119_121___daily_bible_verse_by_bible_quote-d9dkxj5You are not good and you cannot be good in any significant and material degree or in
any way that actually matters at all.
You cannot do anything that is good, your good intentions and efforts to do good deeds are insignificant; you can however, forgive those who hurt you and mistreat you, and you can be kind to them or at least not strike back in word or deed.You can not supply for yourself in any complete sense, your immediate wants maybe temporarily mollified, but they can not be satisfied.  Your awareness of your need may be distracted, but the need remains.  For example, you need ample nutritious meals with all sorts of minerals, vitamins, protein, fat, calories, etc.  You can get some candy or ice cream, which will tide you over for a while, but without a continuous supply of food you will starve.

You can not

Read More »

What I Need and Need Not

psalms-51-10Sometimes we reach a point where a repurposing of all things not surrendered to God the Father, is necessary. (Rom.12:2). Yeshua described it…”If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).  If there is to be any encouragement, any love and peace, any satisfaction and rest; then it must come from God and flow to others. (Eph. 2:4,8; Rom. 5:12; Gal.5:13).  My destiny is not contingent on having friends, nor anything others seem to have or desire.  My destiny is dictated by the presence and work of God within my innermost Read More »

Things Hidden and Revealed

Matthew-6.1-4There are some things that are to be hidden and others that are to be shown to others. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5: 15-16).  Yeshua said this in the context of saying that believers are the salt and light of the world.  Salt is a preserving agent and light illuminates all upon which it shines.  Our good deeds are to bring glory to the Father in heaven.  Read More »

Seek His Face

Jesus“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles: 16:11).

“For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” (Ps 11:7).  “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us.” (Ps. 67:1).

The blessing and favor of God is His presence and attention.  Yet, in our fallen human nature and among the corruption, pain, injustice and suffering of this world, we can lose our focus, wander from the source of life, and be overcome by distraction.  Still, there is hope in the merciful compassionate Father God.  “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short Read More »

The Scriptures – Our Firm Foundation

kniga009_b“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing Read More »

Be Merciful

be56dc820fbbf195360744bf72aeda4f“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22.

“For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5.

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36.

God is merciful to us even though we do not deserve it including in providing a means for our salvation from our sins (Titus 3:4-5).  The Hebrew word for mercy is a comprehensive term that encompasses Read More »

Yeshua’s Mission In A Few Words

 

dawn over calm atlantic ocean in floridaTo describe completely all that Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus Hebrew name) accomplished, did, was, and is would take more books than the whole world could contain. (John 21:25).  However, Isaiah offers a very encouraging description of it in a few verses;  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise Read More »

Choose To Be Content

philippians4-11“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Timothy 6:6-8.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” Proverbs 30:8.

Contentment is a choice for a Christian.  God has promised to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19) so only our wants Read More »

Pursue Holiness

15195-ephesians-2-10“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14.  “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” I Corinthians 6:9.  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

Salvation and good works go hand in hand. Once we are saved by grace through belief in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, we will Read More »

Love God And Evidence Salvation By Keeping His Commandments

1-John-2-3-By-This-We-Know-That-We-Have-Come-To-Know-Him-green-copy“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.

These verses are written in the context of Jesus telling his disciples that he was going back to Heaven to prepare a place for him.  However, to believers, he has left behind the Holy Spirit Read More »

The Gifts of the Word of Knowledge and Wisdom

A Bible study“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit….”  I Corinthians 12:8.

These are two related Gifts of the Spirit that are not directly defined in scripture but are clearly speaking gifts from the use of “word”. The Greek word for knowledge used here means simply knowledge and understanding. The Greek word for wisdom means the application of knowledge and understanding.  Therefore, knowledge focuses on a gift of understanding the deep-truths of Scripture Read More »