Archive | Challenges RSS feed for this section

Psalms 89 – God’s Loyalty To His Children (Hesed)

4 Apr

bible-and-candle_1043_1024x768

Note: This is a condensed revised version of just one aspect of the Hebrew word hesed, perhaps the greatest word in all of the Hebrew Testament.

Psalms 89:1  “I will sing of the mercies (hesed) of the LORD forever: with my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations.”

Since my last blog was disturbing… (even to me) I have decided to write something really nice.  The Hebrew word hesed is to me one of the greatest words in all the Old Testament… so much so that for years I have been unable to publish even one iota of my research on this word as it is so important and valuable, even to me.  It is a type of how Jesus treats his church.  The word hesed is so beautiful, that even the demons tremble at the sound of it, as it is God’s covenant between heaven and earth… the whole Bible summed up in one word, it is the most beautiful word in all of Hebrew.  This will just be an introduction to my favorite word in all the Bible as it is so important to me.  Let us begin.

As we can see in the scripture above, the angels sing over God’s creation.  The scripture says, I will sing.  If we can sing and we are made in the image of God, than for sure the angels, who are more beautiful than anything God has ever created on this earth (besides women of course) also have a right to sing when they are pleased with faithful stewards of God’s creation, namely people both men and women.  God gave Adam the right to choose between Good and Evil and he failed… it was eve the woman who had to pick him back up again after such a terrible fall, at least emotionally.  Thus sex began again, this time outside the garden and man was told by God that it was his responsibility to work to provide for his offspring.  Adam failed, Jesus shed his blood and now the story goes on and on about how much we love God.  There is more to the story but for the sake of my readers, I will move on.  (For more on this wonderful story please see note 1.)

042709-1750-1.pngFigure 1

As you can see from the drawing above, the Hebrew word Hesed is a beautiful word.  You can see it branch out in the English language as all of the words in the above diagram.  Can you spot the most important word?  It is the one in purple!  The color of majesty!  God always keeps his covenant with his faithful… that is beyond question!  So basically, you can replace the word Hesed with God’s love!  Hesed is the deepest expression of God’s love and thus is the reason why the Lord asked me to wait to write this one.  I needed to see something in real life to know that God does keep his covenant as I was saved at a very early age.  Some Christians barely get in, others God says no.  You can go to church all your life, be a good person and still miss what matters most – God’s heart.  Thank you to that wonderful pastor in seminary school who sent me his email that thoroughly defined the word.  His website will be listed at the bottom of this post.  I highly recommend you read his work… it is delicious food to feed the hungry.  We have been friends online for years now and he occasionally sends me some of his writings for me to review and expound on.  He is truly a man of God and a man of holy communion and of course, prayer.  Thank you pastor for making my life complete!  He is a true friend.

 Medieval-Hebrew-Manuscript

Hesed in the reason why I became a true believer of the Jewish Bible.  It is the only word that actually makes the Bible complete; for without God’s love, we would all be lost souls looking for a savior.  Hesed can be seen in about every instance of the Bible for it is God’s mercy for mankind.  God expects us to keep our covenant of love with Him, and in exchange He rewards us with unlimited mercy for our many sins.  I am writing this way because God showed me at some point the very sins you consider minor become a major problem the longer we walk with God.  For example, most Christians in America won’t steal, won’t lie, but they keep money in their fat wallets while hungry people suffer all around the globe.  Not good for those false Christians!  What is communion but a chance to start over again with God’s creation?  God gave Adam the responsibility of taking care of the animals in the garden, watering the garden, etc.  When he broke covenant with God, Satan took over and now look what we have here on earth.  Terrible people do terrible things… you ever wonder why?  Satan may come as an angel of light to some people but to others they call him a father too.  What a terrible decision not to go all the way with God.  The Bible tells us that all men have free choice to serve God, but eventually their time runs out and then Satan, laughing claims them for his own.  Women can be this way too, but generally the men are the masters of their own home and thus pay a higher penalty for what they allow especially on television and in the private home computers, especially in front of other people… never mind God!

 042709-1750-2.pngFig.2 (Please see note 2)

Please allow me, my faithful friends and defenders of all that is holy to continue this at a later time… rest in sweet eternal bliss… my dear friend and fellow lover of truth… Robert Chupick (1930-2015)

Note 1: This is just one interpretation… A far stretch albeit… but worth the read, I’m sure!  I was thinking about the Garden of Eden while I was suffering a few years ago… the results are wonderful and I believe faithful to the scriptures that we have for us to learn about Jesus today.  Adam was so in love with his soul mate that he intentionally ate the fruit… choosing his wife over Yahweh.  Which of course Yahweh already knew about and was already prepared for.  A lamb was already being prepared already to cover his sin… Perhaps Eve desired Adam in the Garden and until this point sex was something that was not yet invented… so to speak… Maybe not, but this is one view.  Was it God’s plan at that particular moment in time to let them see each other naked… but without sex… as the angels covered their every move?  This we do not know for sure.  Once Adam made his decision to eat the fruit which I believe contained the only poison in the garden – (a type of fermented fruit perhaps) he got a little tipsy and wound tying the knot with his beautiful lover and soul mate.  Know where in the Bible is it ever recorded that God married Eve to Adam (or vice versa) but God obviously planned it and thus their union was blessed.  Even the serpent played into God’s hand by seducing eve to try the fruit… as sex was God’s idea in the first place (be fruitful and multiply) and something the angels never ever even think about doing… the fallen ones are a different story and are considered in this day and age haters of man and demons… or aliens… which ever you prefer.

 jesus saying

Note 2.  Now that you see a true Hebrew diagram… the donate button Jesus has never wanted on this blog till now… if anyone can afford me a new/used computer please feel free to contact me via email or whatever… thank you so much for your friendship in expanding the wonderful language of our Risen Savior… Sincerely, your faithful steward in the Lord, John Mark Butzu.

Jesus Will Always Make It Up To You

8 Feb

Note: This post is about one thing – being rich in God.

Have you ever failed God or thought you did?  Do you trust him completely?  Many times one little mistake, one insecurity, one inconsistency can be the difference between success and failure; especially when it comes to people and their salvation.  One inconsideration, one day of being tired and overwhelmed can in my line of work can lead to trouble.  This can be true in construction as well as in real life.  Many people are so overwhelmed by this life’s trials that they tend to forget the greatest testimony a person can have is being able to trust God completely and to always remember to thank him for everything that he allows to come into our lives.  The good news is that Jesus really does care.  Even in death, which is the final test for many God obviously has mercy.  We do not know for instance, what a person in a coma is praying about – for many it could be their own salvation.  Yet, we do know one thing for certain – not everyone loves God in real life.  In Romans chapter 1:18-25  we read:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Christian in some parts of the world are persecuted (see here) just for being Christians.  That in itself should get you to think.  In America where I live we have a whole bunch of freedom.  Freedom to choose between right and wrong, even for such choices as abortion.  Yet we are taught never to condemn the sinner, who without the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ choose to live in a way foreign to God’s perfect desire at that given moment in their life.  Haven’t we all messed up before – have we ever missed the mark – even as good Christians?  Not that I ever condone murder, and never have but in my line of work you must believe that everyone has a right to be saved.  It is God’s greatest desire.

As Christians, we must prepare for the future.  Some take this matter to heart but only for their own earthly good.  Thus, we now have some pastors running around telling their people to stockpile guns, ammo, food you name it – hoarding is what I call it.  It is always wise to be prepared – but to what extent?  Do you not remember what Jesus said about the man who hoarded his possessions in a barn instead of being concerned about others needs?  Let’s review a passage in Luke 12 for those who are young in Christ as for well as for Christians who do not take their Bible’s seriously.  We will start in verse 16.  The scriptures say:

“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

The bottom line is that we will all be judged for what we do in this life – not for what we become in the worlds eyes (thus living by its standards), but for what we become through the eyes of Christ Jesus.  Have we learned to trust Christ daily, as laid out for us by holy women and men of God, who in the early church lost so much to follow the one they called Lord and Messiah?  Let us stop and remember dear old Matthew in the Bible my brethren.  What does our scriptures say happened when he found Christ?  The Bible clearly says that he left his old life and found a new one.  Repentance is say about Jesus called it.  No matter how hard we try, there is always more that we could do for Christ.

Thank you to all my readers all over the world.., may Jesus bless and keep you in the coming days ahead… Rest in Christ… John

Note: I am not against any sin more than another – take abortion – what done is done… i can not condone abortion as a last option for struggling moms and other life threatening situations… but whole hardheartedly share in their sorrow for having to give up a child they love down deep inside…  I am not against abortion – as much as I am wasted lives… I know this may sound bad but did Jesus condemn the woman at the well?  No, he merely pointed out where she was wrong (her sins) and then gave her the wonderful opportunity to start again… never to bring up her past pain to harm or abuse her or make her feel left out.  If more pastors led their flock by example i would have no need to write such terrible things…lol

Note: this is a rough draft that was saved on my computer for well over a year now… I hope the editing is okay… love John

Do You Feel Like A Failure?

24 Jun

Romans 1:1  “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle…”

These words touched me today as I have felt very low spiritually speaking due to an experience that happened while at work this past week.  I will not go into the details, but basically I missed a golden opportunity to witness to someone due to some emotional stress that happened the day before.  I felt so bad that I let Jesus down that seriously I wanted to die.  Today, I read these words… “Paul, called to be an apostle.”  What does that mean?  It means that we are called to seek our place in our Father’s kingdom and that place and calling is irrevocable.  Every saint and Christian that ever sought to please God has had to endure times of bitter testing and self sacrifice – feelings of disappointment and times of personal failure.  Noah, Moses, David, Elijah (the list goes on and on) all had to face temptations, trials and times of personal testing and moments of weakness in their walk with God.  Not that that is any excuse, but rather it should be a reminder to and for us of the tender mercies of our God.  We are all human and need God desperately and should be eager to learn from our past mistakes and failures.  We are called to do bring glory God the best we can, regardless of our present circumstances and situations.  Paul could have said I am a great apostle, but rather he chose the words I am called to be an apostle.  In other words, there is always room for improvement and looking toward the day when we shall meet our Master face to face.  I may not be perfect in my walk with God right now, but I know I am called to be a blessing wherever God sends me.  This was the attitude of the early church – and this should be our attitude today.

I have much more that I could write but after working all day in the heat I am tired and need to rest.

God bless you and I will promise to post more often – I have been so tired after work these past few weeks but am ashamed and know I am supposed to write more often.   I apologize if this post had little to no impact on you but it did for me.  Thank you for reading and may God bless you  – John

Going Back To The Beginning…

16 May

This was the first post I ever wrote…  Hope you enjoy it… John

Editors Note:  This was copied from a previous blog entry at a different website dated April 13, 2008.  Hope you enjoy it.

Today I was reading in the book of Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: I had recently done some traveling and have noticed one thing in particular:  We need the Holy Ghost in our lives above everything else!  We pray for more possessions, freedom from our responsibilities, etc, yet many of these blessings actually can become more of a snare than a real blessing so often of the time.  What we really need today more than ever before is for men and women to rise up like Anna in the New Testament who, awaiting the coming of her savior, dedicated her life to prayer and intercession on behalf of her fellow countrymen. We need Christians who know how to pray and that love the practice of prayer, who study their Bible: not to gain some intellectual advantage over their peers, but who with a broken heart search out even the hardest sayings in the Bible, whose hearts cry out like the psalmist David, Search me O God, and try me: see if there be any wicked way in me, anything that might hinder someone from finding and loving you.” (pp)  We need believer’s who hunger for God to be seen flowing in and through them more than they yearn for financial success or the praise and adulation of men: men and women of all ages who possess within them a deep and burning desire to see lives changed; who have spent quality time in prayer, and who’s very lives testify against a society that has become absolutely barbaric and shocking in the sins of which it now openly practices, applauds, commits and accepts.

We have programs inside of our churches for everything that so much of the time replaces the original and true reason for Christian fellowship: empowerment.  Every time members of the early church came together the results were always the same: the Holy Ghost filling their hearts with the love and empowerment to win souls, to be kind to their enemies, to pray for their nation’s rebellious leaders (instead of tearing them down), etc.  Do you leave your church excited, bursting inside with the need to tell someone about the love of Jesus Christ? If you don’t chances are there may be something lacking either in your pastors’ personal prayer time or in your own walk with the Lord.  While on a vacation (during which God allowed me graciously to have the time to create this website) I purchased at a fairly reasonable price a new Bible software program that I had been praying for for quite some time.  Although I now have this software I know from experience that this in and of itself cannot magically make me a better Bible student.  I must first ask the Holy Ghost to help me so that:

1) I will not waste time playing with parts of this program that I do not need and am certainly not ready to use.

2) So that He will lead me to share the Scriptures as accurately as I can and with great joy and enthusiasm.

3) To empower my study so that He will cause Himself to remain glorified through the work if my hands, and through all the day.

To much of our time as Christians is spent on performing tasks that we are not really yet ready to handle or do not need.  I think of all the millions of dollars that are spent for things that steal our time away from Christ: especially for temporary entertainment and personal pleasure. I wonder where Christianity would be today if the first disciples instead of fasting and prayer gathered in that upper room for the sole purpose of playing video games  on their desert Sony X boxes and Play Station 2’s and 3’s. Sit and think for a while on how much time we waste.  Why don’t we a Christians put our idols away and pray for a generation of young people that have never known what it is to experience the love of Jesus Christ.  We should compare our lives as the followers of Christ to the writings found in the gospels and other portions of New Testament scripture and not to those that just happen to live and work around us.  How do our lives measure against the words of Jesus and not our western neighbors?  After all, that is how we will be judged at the resurrection.  Remember the words of Jesus “that those that have much, much will be required.”  We in America have more wealth than any other nation on earth.  How will we as Christians be judged who live in it, who consume so much of the resources that God give us on ourselves, in light of the affliction and poverty of those that we see all perhaps by television or the internet all around us.  Have our hearts become that hardened that we are unwilling to even share our bread with those that so desperately need it, not to mention the true bread that we have inside of us; the living Word of God.  Recall especially Matthew 25 where we find the parable of the talents, the wise and foolish virgins, and the parable of the sheep and the goats.  It was not so much what these so called believers did but what they didn’t do that excluded them from them partaking in the marriage supper of the lamb.

Today is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us all do our very, very best for Him.

Quote of the day: Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote: “How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in home, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice . . . Nothing divides them either in flesh or in spirit . . . They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake God’s banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts . . . Seeing this Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present.”

Editors Note#2:  I wrote this very quickly while on vacation and without a whole lot of editing.  Apologize for any mistakes.  John Butzu

copyrightimage-thumb.gif

PDF “What we really need”

Do You Still Have A Love For God’s Word?

16 Apr

God put this on my heart Sunday night but did not allow me to finish it – I did not know why at the time… After the recent tragedy in Boston I believe I this is crucial to not only this website but to all Christians everywhere… –  John

Many Christians would rather watch hours and hours of TV or run after other forms of entertainment than to seek God’s face and read His holy word.  Where are you at in your walk with God?  This has been on my heart to share… we are living in a time of gross immorality and human depravity.  The internet, social media, etc is filled with pollution and sin that breaks God’s heart.  Is your desire and love for God the same as when you first met him?  Have you ever experienced the love of the Father that comes from walking in obedience to his commandments?  Or are you slipping in your walk for him.  Don’t be led astray!  The Bible says in the last days that scoffers and mockers will arise in their hearts saying “Is there really a God… is He really coming back to judge the living and the dead?”  Do not be deceived my beloved, God is not mocked – what a man sows that he shall also reap.  Are you sowing to yourselves a life of wisdom and maturity that comes from a closer walk than normal with our Savior   Or will you be left withing little to nothing to show for your love for God on judgement day?  We in America are on the brink of a financial holocaust – while terrible things are happening all around us.  Just look at the news – the Boston Marathon is just one example of what a nation can expect that turns their back on God.  We are under judgement my dear brothers and sisters and this is only the beginning, I’m afraid.  Soon, many will be wondering why did God let this happen or that… as disasters of various kinds begin to unfold.  Do you think those people that were at the race were ready to meet God when the bombs went off?  Do not waste anymore time!  God needs holy men and women to stand up and be ready to give hope and an answer when calamities of this nature strike.  Let us pray for God’s blessing but be prepared for his quick return.  Jesus said in the book of Revelation that he would rather you be hot or cold – because you are no good to anybody if you are in the middle and just playing games with God and breaking his heart.*  May God bless you my beloved.

Sincerely,

John Mark Butzu

*Thus being lukewarm… (see Revelation 3:16)

Trusting God When Everything In Your Life Seems to Be Going Wrong

13 Apr

Have you ever prayed for something and nothing turned out the way you expected?  Perhaps you failed God during a time of testing (or thought you did) or someone that you trusted and shared your soul with let you down and you feel like it is all your fault. Many Christians experience such pain that at times it is almost impossible to see God’s purposes or plans because of all the heartache that this world can bring; not to mention sin, negative thinking or other worldly passions and strongholds.  Many cannot see themselves as anything but “losers” in God’s kingdom despite Jesus’ promises that He loves us and that He alone holds our future in the palm of his mighty hand.  He alone is the one who will bring us through to greener pastures when the time is right – the only thing he asks of us is that we trust Him with everything that is within us – as this is our first duty as believers in the goodness and grace of Almighty God.

Many Christians struggle with feelings of guilt or betrayal from a spouse, loved one, or co-worker and you mistake these feelings as God’s punishment for a life half lived for his glory.  You beat yourself up and thus negate the grace and love of the Father.  God knew beforehand what you would do and knew before we were born all of our weaknesses and disappointments that we would encounter along life’s journey.  Don’t you dare let the devil lie to you – telling you that you are worthless or a disappointment to God – he does this because he is afraid of you because you are a child of God and greatly loved!  The devil knows how to get each one of us in our minds, telling us if only we had done this right or that then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now in.  I have had to on more than one occasion decide that our life down here is too short to live with constant feelings of sorrow, depression and regret – as each one of us are needed as believers to do our share to advance Jesus’ kingdom of peace and goodwill to all mankind.  Don’t let the devil lie to you any longer – put down your idols and turn to God!  He alone will help you succeed in all that you do, if only you will trust Him completely for He loves you!

As bad as things may be right now (and trust me America in particular is headed for a tough time in the days ahead) we still serve a God that loves to bless his children with his very best – despite sin, failure and misaligned feelings with his holy and sovereign will.  Many saints throughout the ages have had to endure times of bitter testing – especially when praying for someone or something that is dear to their heart and mind.  I have been praying in particular for someone I love very much for sometime that God would touch their heart and yet I see so little fruit that at times I feel frustrated, confused, disappointed, etc.  Praying for someone can be discouraging especially when you know God has called you to be an intercessor –  especially if we look at the circumstances and not at the Creator of our lives.  If God has called you to pray – then don’t give up!  We have a God that loves to make the miraculous happen – just look at Moses and the Red Sea (see note 1)!  All it takes is for one person to stand in the gap and miracles can happen in and through our lives.  This is what has been on my heart today.

May God Bless you.

John

Note 1:  God did all of this (the parting of the Red Sea, etc) through one man even though he was a murderer when he was young.  Don’t let the devil lie to you saying that you are no good and/or worthless to God – that is one of his best tricks.  God loves you and needs you to be strong for His name’s sake.  So go with God – he has given you the victory and every blessing that you need to live a life pleasing to Him!

Take care and God bless,

John

Why The Emphasis On Hebrew?

7 Sep

I couldn’t sleep last night and wound up finding this article on the internet that sums up perfectly so many things – but for one, why so many Christians are tracing their roots back to the Old Testament, Judaism and Ancient Hebrew.  It is taken from an excerpt from a book that is supposed to come out sometime in 2013 written by J.K. Mckee (see note 1).

—————————————————————————————-

“It is indeed phenomenal that many Believers are coming to a revelation of the Hebraic Roots of our faith, are adopting a Torah obedient lifestyle, and are seeing themselves as a part of Israel. But as with any move of God, there are concerns that exist—concerns that sometimes wrench at the heart and soul of what we should be doing, as opposed to what we should not be doing. We should be proclaiming the gospel message of salvation and discipling others as they grow and mature in their faith, fulfilling Yeshua’s Great Commission, and aiming to see the restoration of God’s people and the Kingdom to Israel.

Of course, with this restoration comes many things, such as the realization that our Heavenly Father does not have two groups of elect as is commonly supposed, Israel and “the Church,” but rather one, the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13; Galatians 6:16). As all Believers, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, are a part of the community of Israel, such an Israel is called to obey God’s Torah, and via their obedience to Him be a light to the entire world (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:5-8).

Many Believers who are seeing the eternal validity of the Torah think that it is important to learn the Hebrew language, the language of the Tanach or Old Testament. This is to be commended and encouraged, as these Scriptures make up the first two-thirds of our Bible that many Christians, sadly, ignore or feel are important only for Bible history. However, there is another portion of the Bible, the Apostolic Scriptures or Messianic Writings, commonly known as the New Testament, which is not written in Hebrew, and should not be cast by the wayside.”

 Notes:

1)  Mckee is the editor of TNN Online (www.tnnonline.net) and is a Messianic apologist. He is a 2009 recipient of the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award for Greek. He is author of numerous books, dealing with a wide range of topics that are important for today’s Messianic Believers. He has also written many articles on theological issues, and is presently focusing his attention on Messianic commentaries of various books of the Bible.  (Taken directly from author’s website).

All Christians Must Die (Part 2)

2 Sep

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “He that loves his own [fleshly] life will lose it!  Christians that choose not to respond to the Holy Spirit’s beckoning and prompting to lay down one’s life (i.e. their own carnal dreams, lusts, ambitions and desires) will lose much on the final day when the whole earth is judged.  They will be ashamed as they will have so little fruit to bring to Christ!  These Christians will suffer great loss as they will have to relive with horror every act – every intent of the heart – those things that they thought were “good deeds” before the eyes of a Holy God.  Christ, with a broken heart will say “no that was not from me” while burning up many of their works before them.  They may escape the judgments of hell, but will have little reward throughout eternity.  They will have to live with the fact that they could have done so much more for Jesus while they were alive.  Their deeds will be counted as filthy rags and will not stand the fire and purity of Jesus’ gaze.  Oh what an awful day awaits Christians that play games with the Word of God!

If we wish to live like Jesus lived, then let us examine what he truly was like.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:24: “If any man wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”  And again in 1st John 2:6: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”  That’s is what it truly means to be a Christian.

Going back to our original text (John 12) we read in verse 26-27: “Now is my soul troubled and what shall I say?  Father save me from this hour?  But for this cause I came into the world –  Father, glorify your name!”  This is the clearest example we have of what it means to live according to the Spirit and detached from our own carnal lusts and desires.  Jesus had to make a decision, one that in so doing would change the course of history.  Yet, as a man he felt terrible sorrow as he knew his decision to go to the cross would mean extreme amounts of mental and physical pain – more pain than anyone one us reading I believe ever had to or ever will endure.

It was not that Jesus had to die – he had done nothing worthy of a Roman death on the cross.  But he knew what his purpose was, and as always, was obedient to the loving heavenly Father.  We too, can and should know our purpose – why God put us on this earth – and thus be willing to follow that path until Jesus takes us home to be with him in glory.

The longer I am a Christian, the easier it becomes for me to, as Paul the apostle says – die daily.  The reason, I believe for this is that I know the fruit that I produce for my heavenly Father when ever I choose to submit my will to his own.  I am not yet perfected, and I know I can easily stumble – but not for too long.  Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.”  I have become very sensitive to what the Spirit wants to do – and thus I know my heavenly Father is well pleased with me.  This is not always easy, but I do know the joy that comes from being a follower of Jesus.  That is what it means to be a disciple.

Luke 15:1-2 Jesus and the Unsaved – Updated!

23 Aug

“Then drew near unto him (Jesus) all the publicans and sinners to listen to the words of Yahweh.  And the pharisees and scribes (or religious teachers) murmured, saying, “This man loves (or receives)  sinners and eats with them.”  Luke 15:1-2  (A Mixed Translation)

In these our modern times, not much has changed in the two thousand years its been since Jesus (or Yahweh – as that is his rightful name) lived among us.  I have been in many churches that (as unbelievable as it is) wants absolutely nothing to do with sinners – or those outside the church.  “Oh, they might mess up the carpet, or steal our sound equipment.”  What terrible fools and betrayers of God’s holy words!  Jesus himself said “love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you and yes even persecute you.  I am in no way implying that we should allow an obvious threat to be among our children – but in this day and age (and especially in America) Christians value their love for entertainment, safety and pleasure more than they do the things of God!

Going back to the scripture at hand: Jesus hates the sin of self righteousness above all others, because Christians already have God’s approval and blessings and are commanded to love who are in our estimation – unlovable.  The greatest sin for a true born again believer is the sin of pride and of selfishness – as we have so much to be grateful for!  Those of us who live in a free and prosperous nation do not have to worry much about where our next meal is coming from, or where we will get the money to pay items such as basic health care.  Jesus condemned (better yet damned -a very strong word – see note 1) the hypocrites of his day time and time again with a holy and violent passion.  His whole life was that of reaching out to the undeserving and the less fortunate!  He hated the fact that those that knew the Torah (or Old Testament) the most chose to keep what they thought believed was the “divine word” all to themselves.  Thus, when Jesus (the Living Word) walked among them, they were afraid.  Jesus himself said in so many words that he came “not to win the self righteous (those who in their own estimation deserved the blessings of the one true God) but those that knew in their heart that they needed and were drawn to gentle and loving Savior.”

What an awful place it will be on the judgement day when those who once enjoyed the blessings of our Christ are exposed as false teachers and haters of his most beloved creation – people.  What wailing and weeping there will be for those that throughout their whole life chose to harshly and coldly condemn all of mankind (especially blatant sinners), rather that trying to extend themselves to help save.

Listen to what Rambam’s Mishneh-Torah (a Jewish Commentary written in 1178 by Moses Maimonides – a great Jewish philosopher and lover of the Torah) has to say about sinners who repent.  This is in direct relation to our wonderful passage in Luke 15.  Rambam’s Mishneh reads [concerning Jews who wish to repent] “Let not the Jew who repents/returns to [Orthodox] Judaism suppose that because of the iniquities and sins that he has committed he is kept at a distance from the level attained by righteous men.  It isn’t so.  He is loved as tenderly by the Creator as if he had never sinned.  Not only that, his reward is great, since he experienced the taste of sin and nevertheless rid himself of it by conquering his yetzer (or evil impulse).  The sages (or wise men) said, ‘Where the ba ‘al-t’ shuvah (or Jew who repents) stands, the completely righteous man cannot stand’ (B’ rakhot 34b).  That is, the level attained by the ba ‘al-t’ shuvah [Jew who repents] is higher than that of someone who never sinned at all, because the former had to strive harder to subdue the yetzer than the latter.”

I love this commentary because it embraces what we as Christians know to be true and what Jesus Christ himself said earlier in Luke 7:47: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” (NIV)  This Jesus spoke of the former prostitute Mary Magdalene, of which he entirely forgave.

Summary:  What a terrible day it will be for hypocritical, self righteous Christians who refused to lend a hand to those who are in need and who knew God’s word and thoughts on topics such as love and forgiveness when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ!  Jesus paved the way for us by setting a wonderful example as recorded in Luke 15 by gladly welcoming sinners and even eating with them.  How often do you as a Christian make a habit of eating a meal with a complete stranger, who you know is not on the right pathway to eternal salvation?  In this day an age, many people outside the church relish in body art (tattoos), radical haircuts and body piercings.  I myself to this day wear my hair different than anyone else I know in the church because to me it is not a sin.  In fact, it is an evangelistic effort!  This particular style of hair (a short, but readily identifiable mohawk) allows me easier access to those who are offended by typical western holy dress: -namely the three piece suit and ever so perfectly tied tie.  Though the outward dress may offend you, we must be ever so loving toward people as Jesus so desperately wants our generation to know that they are loved -regardless of what they look like or no matter how many bad things they have done.  He hung on a cross between two thieves, after being brutally beaten just to show his love for all of mankind.  He was numbered with the transgressors and chose to touch during his earthly ministry the unlovely, the tax collector and the transgressor.  God help us as Christians to be ever so careful with those whom the Lord allows us to come in contact with!  You might never know when you might see Jesus staring right back at you smiling as you reach out to touch someone else in order to ease their pain.  I try to find Christ in everyone I meet – regardless of their outward appearance or social status.  Don’t even get me started on race!

John

Notes:

1.  (coming soon)

Jesus On The Cross

17 Jul

Jesus stretched out his hands on a cross for you…  not to mention being in sheer agony from the beatings he had previously received.

What are you doing to show you love him today?

%d bloggers like this: