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My Hebrew Roots Journal – Baby Steps

For a while, not much changed. I continued with my daily readings baby-stepsfrom The Old and New Testaments and prayer with the one addition that I would now daily remember His calling and make myself available for whatever He would have me do.

This went on for a few weeks. I knew to just wait, that the Lord would speak again when His time was right.

One day, as I was watching a few Christian based YooTube videos from my favorite pastors, a recommendation for a video came up that attracted my attention. It was from a channel I had never heard of before, “James and Lea D Philia Ministries”. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQRFecY0YwbXCFtTwNddXcw) So I clicked on the video and watched. I don’t remember the topic now, but I was definitely attracted by the subject matter. There are things in my experience with the institutional church that just leave me feeling empty at times, and I felt that this video helped to fill that emptiness. So I watched more. And over the next few days, a lot more.

I didn’t even know that this was a Hebrew Roots channel, I just knew they were saying a lot of things I needed to hear.

Now, I have had some contact in the past with Hebrew Roots people, and I always came away with a bad taste in my mouth, but these people were not like that at all. By this time I knew that James and Lea were Hebrew Roots, and I became very skeptical because of my past dealings with this crowd.

But James and Lea are always encouraging their listeners not to take their word for anything but to check everything they said in the scripture. And that is just what I have been doing.

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July 10, 2018 Posted by | Discipleship, Follow Jesus, Hebrew Roots | , , | Leave a comment

My Hebrew Roots Journal – Beginnings

On May 4th of this year (2018) I had just begun reading the Gospel of John HebrewRootsfor perhaps the umpteenth time.  I have followed the Lord for over 38 years and I am very familiar with this Gospel account but this time was different.  I had no indication of anything about to happen until I came to chapter 1, verse 39:

“The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.”

It wasn’t as if I heard a voice exactly, but I knew in my heart that Jesus had directed those words directly at me.

“Follow Me”

I immediately stopped reading and knew beyond doubt that the Lord had just called me to follow Him.  I bowed my head and said out loud, “Yes Lord, what will you have me do?

Even though I did not know it at the time, that is how I started my journey to discover my Hebrew roots.

Note:  The events recorded here took place on May 9.  It is now July 10, so obviously, this took place two months in the past.  The first few entries of this journal will be catching up to the present, but I will make it known when my journal is up to date.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Discipleship, Follow Jesus, Hebrew Roots | , , | Leave a comment

Called

I was born in 1953.  I was born again in 1980.  I am now 65 years old and have been a believer for 38 years, for nearly two-thirds of my life.

I have been a steady reader of the Bible ever since I first believed and have read the Gospel of John literally dozens of times.

A few days ago I began reading John again and in the very first chapter, I had a mostJohn1_43 remarkable experience.  As I read John 1:43 it was as if the text changed as I read it and the end of the verse actually read, “John, follow me”.  Now, I have read this passage many times as well as the ones about taking up one’s cross and following Jesus, but this was a truly unique experience.  As soon as I read it, I knew that God was speaking to me, and I knew that this was not an invitation or a suggestion, but a command.

Follow Me.

I don’t know what this all means, and I don’t know where it will lead.  But I do know one thing.  It is time to stop doing things that I think will make God happy and start doing what He said.  Follow.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Christian, Follow Jesus, Jesus | , , | Leave a comment

Getting Back To Basics

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  —  Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV)

 

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23 (KJV)

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  —  Romans 12:1 (KJV)

 

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar   And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  —  Isaiah 6:1-8 KJV)

 

These are a few of the verses or passages  I have read recently that convince me that I need to get back to basics.

Have you ever found yourself doing so much for The Lord that your relationship with Him suffers?  Like, your time is so full of godly activities that you miss God in all the hustle and bustle?

That is where I am finding myself now.  I should have seen the warnings, like picking up new activities without really being sure that the activities are really God ordained, or did I just decide to do them because I thought God would be impressed with my faithfulness.

I need to stop listening to the flesh, stop doing things for God that He may be impressed with my faithfulness, and begin again to make myself available to God, so that He can lead me in what He wants me doing.

Am I the only one?  Do others feel this as well?

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Follow Jesus, Godliness, Repentance | , , | 1 Comment

I Can Make It On My Own

FreeFallWe all like to think that we have it all under control, that we can make it through life on our own, without help from others.  But can we really?

Let me tell you a story about two skydivers.  Both are in a plane flying at 12,000 feet.  One is wearing a parachute, and is ready for his jump.  The other has left his parachute hanging on its hook in the plane, confident that he can make the jump on his own.

The diver with the parachute jumps first, feeling the absolute freedom of free-fall, tumbling in somersaults and soaring through the air like the worlds fastest bird.  And then, at just the right moment, he pulls the rip-cord, his parachute deploys, and he floats safely to the ground.

And now it is the others jumper’s turn.  He watched the first person’s jump and noted how much fun he seemed to be having.  And with a smile on his face as he jumped from the plane, he vowed to do even better.  He soared and somersaulted, he dove head first, then spread his arms and legs and took up the perfect free-fall form.

As the ground neared, he decided to do another head first dive.  He put his arms by his sides and rolled his head slightly toward his chest until he was diving vertically toward the ground.  Hurling toward the ground at over 150 miles per hour, that is how he hit, head first, his skull and body shattered nearly instantly, and death was both instant and inevitable.

I would like to make a few observations about this second man’s performance.

  • First, his belief that he could make the jump without a parachute had absolutely no impact (no pun intended) on the outcome of the jump

  • Second, his ignorance of the laws and forces that come into play when one jumps out of a plane had no impact on the outcome of the jump

  • The consequences of the jumper’s actions were fixed and unchangeable.  The only way to avoid the consequences would be to change course while there was still time.

  • Finally, both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, and the outcome of that appointment was dependent on the choice they made about the necessity of wearing a parachute.

In just the same way as both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, we all have an inevitable appointment with God.  We will all meet Him on Judgment day.  The Bible teaches:

 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27

Both skydivers had ultimate control over their ultimate fate, just as we have control over the outcome of our meeting with God on Judgment Day.  But, you may ask, on what will we be judged on that day?  Will it be on our good works?  On all the good we did during our lives?  Or will it be according to something else?

We must understand that God is a Judge, and a Just One.  And we will be judged according to our obedience to God’s Moral Law, The Ten commandments.  So, let’s assume that this judgment will be today.  How would we measure up?  Let’s see.

First, have you ever told a lie, even a little one?  Then you are a liar, and guilty of breaking the ninth commandment.

Have you ever stolen anything, even if the value was small?  Then you are a thief, and guilty of breaking the eight commandment.

Jesus said that if we look at another person with lust, then we have committed adultery in our heart.  Have you ever done that?  Then you are an adulterer, and guilty of breaking the seventh commandment.

Ever used the name of God or of Jesus as a cuss word?  If so, that makes you a blasphemer, and guilty of the third commandment.

So, I have assesd my position before God along with you, and I find that I am a lying, thieving blasphemer and adulterer, and we have looked at only four of the ten commandments.  And the Bible teaches:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  James 2:10

So, if you are guilty of even one of the commandments that we discussed, in God’s eyes, you are guilty of all, I am guilty of all.  So, is there a need to go on?

The question is, what is the consequence of breaking these commandments?  The answer lies in a particular verse in the book of Revelation, and elsewhere:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  Revelation 2:18

Just as the foolish jumper did not understand the seriousness of jumping from a plane without a parachute, many times, we do not understand the seriousness of our sin, nor the terrible consequences of our sin.  But God, being a just Judge will punish all sinners in just the was the Bible describes.

But John, the Bible teaches that God is a God of love, surely He will not punish me for the sins I have committed,  or perhaps you will hold up all of the good things that you have done as expiating circumstances.  Have you ever tried that in an earthly court of law?  If you had robbed a bank, how likely do you think the judge would be to let you off if you showed him that you frequently feed the poor and help the orphans of your city?  True, the judge may commend you for your goodness, but he will still sentence you to a just sentence for robbing a bank.  And so it is with God.  If you have committed sins, then there must be a punishment.  That is a principle in earthly courts, and it holds true in the heavenly court as well.

BUT…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

God does love you!  In fact He loves you enough that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect, sinless life, and then to die on the cross as punishment for YOUR sins.  Jesus committed no sin of His own, making Him eligible to die in your place, taking the punishment that is justly yours, allowing you go go free.

If you will admit to God that you are a sinner, that you can’t make it on your own, and then repent, that is, turn away from your sins, and turn toward God, trusting in Jesus as the complete payment for your sins, then, just as Jesus was raised from the dead three days after His crucifixion, never to die again, , you also will be given the gift of eternal life as a free gift.

But, how do we trust in Jesus?  In just the same way that the wise skydiver trusted in his parachute.  He didn’t just look at it and say, “Yep, I trust this parachute”, he put it on!  The Bible says it this way:

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  Romans 13:14

For more information, please visit:  AfterLifeCatalog.com/GoodPerson

 

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Christian, Follow Jesus, Knowing Jesus | , , , , | Leave a comment

This Was Your Life

ThisWasYourLifeI have recently discovered “Chick tracts”  and thought I would share one, or maybe more, with you.  This one, entitled, “This Was Your Life” shows how things might end up for you.  Please take a moment and click on the link, and see what you think of the story.

Here is the link:  http://media.chick.com/tract_1.swf

February 7, 2016 Posted by | Follow Jesus, Repentance, Salvation, Sinner | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turning The World Upside-Down For Jesus

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, this post is more relevant than ever.  This was posted originally on April 8, 2014.

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world Surrenderupside down have come here too.  —  Acts 17:6

This was a complaint against Paul and those working with him made by the Jews when Paul came to Thessalonica.  The Jews were not happy because Paul was upsetting the status quo and many Jewish followers were instead following Jesus in every city that Paul visited.  The Jewish complaint was, in fact, a complaint against Paul’s overwhelming success in persuading people to follow Jesus.

Paul’s success as an evangelist is undeniable, and “turning the world upside-down” seems a proper description of what Paul accomplished.

So, as I look at the Church today, I don’t see nearly the intensity that I see recounted in the Bible.  In fact, in the Western World at least, I see the Church as being ineffectual for the most part, and I wonder why.  And in wondering, I think I have some idea why we are so ineffective.

So lets look at the average Western believer for a minute.  He, or she, is likely married, working and with children, supporting a mortgage payment, two or more cars, looking to get ahead in their career, and looking for ways to make life a little easier and more comfortable.  More likely than not, these people came to Jesus by praying a simple prayer and were told that if they were sincere in their prayer, then their eternal destiny is safe in Jesus.

Okay, done.  They will go to Church when they get tje chance, maybe even put a few dollars in the offering plate.  But their eternal destiny is secure, so they don’t need to let any religious exercise get in the way of pursuing their next raise or a better car or even a bigger house.

And that, to a large extent describes the Church and the average believer.

But lets look at Paul and see if we can see why he was able to turn the world upside down for Jesus.  I think if you compare Paul’s life to the life of the average believer today, you would say that the reason that Paul was so effective is that Paul lived an upside-down life.  Living upside-down would be taking all of the commonly accepted behaviors, things that we might consider to be our top priorities, and turning upside-down, making a top priority a bottom priority instead.

We might like to live in security, knowing that we have a roof over our head, a car in the garage, and a steady income so we can always count on our next meal.  Paul, on the other hand, might have considered it a good day if he was not both stoned and shipwrecked in the same day.

We are happy that we are saved and know it because we prayed a little prayer one time.    Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  —  Galatians 2:20

We may find ourselves flirting with sin from time to time, but Paul was dead to sin:

Likewise also reckon yourselves to be truly dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ, Jesus, our Lord.  —  Romans 6:11

Sin had no place in Paul’s life, rather, he presented his body to God:

Neither present your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  —  Romans 6:13

And finally, Paul took very seriously the words of Jesus:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  —  Luke 9:23

Jesus was not part of Paul’s life, not even the most important part.  Jesus was Paul’s life!  Paul’s life was upside-down from we we consider normal and acceptable, and as a result, Paul, along with the other Apostles and early believers, was able to turn his world upside-down.

Will you join me in praying for an army of upside-down believers to dramatically change the direction of the Church in North America and Europe?

 

 

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Evangelism, Follow Jesus, God's Word, Great Commission, Same Sex Marriage | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are We Truly Followers of Jesus Christ?

(Originally posted of 3/30/2012)

I am reading the book, “Not A Fan: Becoming A Completely Committed Follower Of Jesus”, by Kyle Idleman.

The first section of the book is devoted to distinguishing between the fans and followers of Christ.

Fans tend to want Jesus as part of their lives, but only to the extent that they are not too inconvenienced by His presence.  For example, fans want what Jesus offers, as long as they don’t have to give more financially than they are comfortable with.  Fans want Jesus, but are not willing to give up that favorite sin, whether that sin be drinking or drugs, sexual immorality, lying, coveting, etc.  Fans want Jesus, Continue reading

March 16, 2015 Posted by | Faith, Follow Jesus | | 5 Comments