Accounting – Top Five Blog Entries

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

Journal,

It is time for an update on my blog. Of over 700 personal entries that are accessible on my blog, I wanted to narrow down the top five entries that have received the most readership.

As for blog statistics, to date I’ve had 144,985 reads with total visitors of 116,675. While this isn’t a great number, I remain thankful that the Lord has given me another outlet for sharing the gospel story.

Here is a map that shows where my blog has been or is being read -

Blog readership

 

Entries that Have Received the Most Readers

Here is a list of the top five entries. This simply show where the greatest interest has been. I’ll begin with the most read and work it from there.

 

1. “My Story” continues at the top of the list – For some reason this entry has far exceeded anything that I have written. It includes some of my personal background and my own life-journey of faith. It is not intended to be offensive against my church background, but rather to explains some issues that are hard to understand.

http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/

2. “Passing Through the Valley of Baca” has high readership. This study reaches back to 2010, and continues to be one of the most read. It deals with the struggles we have in life and how that the Lord can always be found in the background of our situations, in helping us process through our tears and our victories. It begins with Betty and I, at the grave of our child.

http://buddymartin.net/blog/passing-through-the-valley-of-baca/

3. “500+” is next. This includes both the archives and a great many other studies. There are well over 700 studies that can be found at this site. Look at the titles. They pretty much tell you what the study is about.

http://buddymartin.net/blog/500-2/

4. “Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement.” This study reaches back to 2009. This entry takes its lead from the two hurricanes that hit Louisiana, and how the Lord brought to my attention the difference between the sinner-sinner, and the religious sinner. There is a saying that will appear quite strange to many. It goes like this – “The sinner knows the Lord. The priest is trying to find Him.”

http://buddymartin.net/blog/mercy-triumphs-over-judgment/

5. “Jesus, the Wonder and Mystery of the Bible.” This study reaches back to 2009, and takes in the Old Testament, Hebrew background that shows who Jesus really is. It remains one of the most popular and helps to explain what the prophet meant when he wrote, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

http://buddymartin.net/blog/jesus-the-wonder-and-mystery-of-the-bible/

Hope you take time for these studies. Perhaps the Lord has something to share with you.

In Christ always,

Buddy

What Are We Doing Wrong?

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

Messiah Search“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Luk 13:34-35)

 

Journal,

Don’t be surprised at the title of this entry, ‘What are we doing wrong?’

Some years ago I subscribed to the Jerusalem Post. One morning while reading the Post, this statement stood out; ‘What are we doing wrong’.

It was part of an ad that had been placed by the Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Tovia Singer. Rabbi Singer was coming against Christianity and against Jesus Christ as Messiah of Israel. He was promoting his anti-Christian audio tapes. This is how the ad read in part -

What Are We Doing Wrong, and What are They doing right?  Why Have more Jews Converted to Christianity in the Last 19 Years than in the Last 1,900 Years?”

I could hardly believe my eyes. If I were a Jewish person reading that ad, I would not be concerned about purchasing Tovia’s audio tapes. I would want to know why so many Jews were converting to Christianity. 

Are you interested? Let’s begin by talking about …

 

The Strange Mix in Israel

Did you know that a great part of the citizenry of Israel is secular and not religious. How can that be?

We know that Israel fulfilled certain prophecies by becoming a nation among nations in 1948. After all, Moses and the prophets foretold of the ingathering of the Jewish people in the latter days.

Since all this was written beforehand, how can it be that so many Jews in Israel are secular, and with a great many Pilate and Jesus2who are either atheists or agnostics?

Does that surprise you that many Jews are atheists? According to statistics a full 37% of the people of Israel are either atheists or agnostics.

This makes the Israel fourth in a list of nations with the highest percentage of atheists.

Yes, Israel is a strange mix. There is even a hatred between the secular Jews and the Orthodox Jews. It got so bad in years gone by that you would often read about a civil war in the making.

It is not as if the Bible leaves all this unsaid. The Bible is the only book in existence that records history before it happens.

Where did it all begin? After all the ancient people of Israel had long believed in the coming of God’s Messiah.

This part of Israel’s history begins with …

 

The Rejection of Jesus and the Sword

Keep in mind that not all Jews rejected Jesus. In fact the early Church was totally Jewish. Yet, Jesus said that His coming would affect Israel so deeply that it would be like a sword.

Take note -

” … whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

“For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” (See fuller context - Mat 10:32-39)

Of course it began with the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah and the King of Israel. When they rejected Jesus, as a nation Israel lost citizen rights to being the people of God. They had long seen themselves as ‘the kingdom of God.’ That was no longer the case.

Jesus said,

“Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” (Mat 21:42-43)

They became a people without a kingdom. The term, ‘kingdom of God’, meant the direct rule of God.

This does not mean that the people of Israel would no longer figured into God’s plan for the ages. Quite the contrary. Their rejection of Jesus and God’s rejection of them as His people is well noted in Scripture. But also noted in Scripture is their coming to know Jesus as their Messiah.

But an issues needs to be make clear.

 

It’s Not About Anti-Semitism

I realize that the first thing that is thrown at anyone who would place the Jews in a bad light, is the term ‘anti-Semitic.’ But anyone who reads and studies the Scriptures knows how ridiculous that statement is.

If someone like me is anti-Semitic, then Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and even Jesus would have to be called anti-Semitic. The very things that I share come from the writings of the Old Testament prophets, and the new covenant apostolic writers. It’s all about redemption history.

It goes back to the first books of the Bible, that is, to the writings of Moses.

When Moses was about to leave the earthly scene, Moses sang a prophetic song over Israel. In this song Moses spoke of the falling away of Israel, of Israels wandering through the nations, of their peril of life, and of Israel’s return. The song of Moses actually lays out the history of Israel. (Found in Deu32),

In his song, Moses says,

“They have acted corrupted toward Him, they are not his children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation.” (v5) (Peter quotes from this verse of the song of Moses on the day of Pentecost.)

Moses goes on to call them a foolish and an unwise people from whom He will hide His face. He says that God will make Israel jealous with a people who were not a people. He also says,

“Would that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would discern their future.”

The prophets continue this theme with …

 

When God Hides His Face

The fact that God would hide His face from Israel is a theme that trances its way through the Bible. God speaks through the prophet Hosea, saying,

“I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15)

JerusalemRecall what Jesus said over Jerusalem?

“You will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Yet there is something else I need to share about Moses. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Did you know that the rest of the Bible including the New Testament actually work out from the books of Moses? If there were no Genesis, the book of Revelation would make little sense, and thus and so.

I wish I had time to take my readers through the entire song of Moses. Hopefully many of you are already picking up on the prophetic elements in this song.

But that is not the end of the story of Israel. Paul said,

“For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Rom11:15)

Does any of this tell us why Israel is so secular with so many atheists and agnostics among here citizenry? Yes, there is a lot to be said. There are elements that help to understand this dilemma.

Let’s continue with…

 

A Rediscovery of Jesus

The Jews are only of late beginning a true major rediscovering Jesus for themselves. One Jewish writer said that the number one topic of discussion on the streets of Jerusalem today, has to do with Jesus.

For the most part the Jews never knew that Jesus was Jewish or that He and the apostles were ‘sabras.’ (Of the land.) They were left under the impression that Jesus was some kind of Gentile Roman or Greek God. That is changing on a major scale. They have become intrigued with Jesus.

Their rabbis with their Talmudic Religion, had misled the Jews so often that many became turned off by the Jewish religion. The Bible also told us this would happen. God spoke through Isaiah, saying,

“Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men [rabbis] will perish, and the discernment of their discernment men will be concealed.” (Isa 29:14)

In the heart of the Jew is a vacancy that can only be filled by God Himself. (Of course this vacancy is in every human.) This is why so many Jews are finding Jesus as their Messiah. And this vacancy will be the turning point of the nation. Keep in mind what Jesus said,

“Until you say, ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’

The prophet Zechariah told us how this rediscovery of Jesus would happen. Israel and Jerusalem are going to face a war in the not too distant future that will bring about this cry for Jesus. I would encourage my readers to read the whole of Zechariah 12.

It is in the time of this war that we read this one verse:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zech12:10)

Paul said that all Israel would be saved.

Do you not find it strange that Israel’s greatest support comes from Christians today. There is a reason for this. Think about it.

If you would like to know more about what is happening between the believing Jews and those Jews who do not believe in Jesus, take time for this debate between two Jewish men, Rabbi Tovia Singer, and, Dr. Michael Brown.

YouTube Preview Image Buddy

Welcome to My World – Won’t You Come On In

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

Readers,

Many are not aware that the song, ‘Welcome to My World’ was co-written by John Hathcock and Ray Winkler in 1961, but it was first made popular by Hathcock and Winkler’s good friend, Jim Reeves (Gentleman Jim).

Reeves was one of the most well-loved country artists of his time. He became internationally famous and the song, ‘Welcome to My World’ went international. Seems the world is still waiting for the next Jim Reeves.

The list is endless of other artists who took it up. It includes such notables as Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Rikki Hendersen, Faron Young, Eddy Arnold,  Charlie Pride, and the Anita Kerr Singers.

However, there is a secret to this song that not everyone picks up on. Welcome to My World  is a Christian based song. For you who know your Bible, you will quickly pick up on direct quotes from the Bible and/or allusions to the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ.

So, using that song as a prelude to this study let me share something about God’s world.

Let’s begin with…

 

God’s Secret World

In Psalm 31, David expresses sorrow over the strife and struggles of life. Have you been there? Sure you have.

In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed; in Your righteousness deliver me. Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me.” (Psa 31:1-2)

What is the answer? The answer is when David breaks out into praise that speaks of God’s love for His people.

Listen to the man after God’s heart:

“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence, from the conspiracies of man; You keep them in the shelter from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:19,20 nasb.)

Where David says, ‘the secret place of Your presence’, the literal is equally translated, “the secret of Your face.” The idea is that God hides His people from the view of their enemies by bringing them to the very place that He Himself dwells.

There has always been a secret hiding place for God’s people.

 

Our Hiddenness Through the Ages

The secret place of God would take in all His people from ancient time on. The Old Testament saints somehow knew in their hearts that the Lord Himself was their ever-present security in life.

Moses said,

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Ps90:1 ,2 )

Moses uses the same word that David used with regard to the ‘secret place’ of the tabernacle.

Listen again to David:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, `My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Ps91:1,2)

This truth of our hiddenness finds it fulfillment at the cross. Paul said when a person calls upon Jesus as Lord, the Father takes the total of that person’s life and places it in Christ.

 

The Secret Love of God

Here is where we come to the great mystery of God’s love for His people. The Psalmist Asaph speaks of God’s people as His ‘treasured ones.’ He writes,

“They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones.” (Ps83:3)

The Hebrew for ‘treasured ones’ speaks of that which is covered by God, that which is hidden, or that which is kept secret. But it especially speaks of the secret of one’s heart. God has a secret. God’s treasured ones are the secret love of His heart.

The Psalmist puts things together when he writes,

“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.

 

“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock [the Rock is Christ]. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” (Psalm 27:4-6)

 

The Concealment of God

The Hebrew for ‘conceal’ is the same word the Psalmist uses for God’s ‘treasured ones’. God’s people are His treasures in the earth and for all eternity. This allows us to have a better understanding of a kingdom parable of the hidden treasure.

Jesus said,

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field [world], which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt13:44)

The treasure has to do with the hidden kingdom of heaven. The story is the story of the cross. Jesus Christ gave His life for the hidden treasure. Jesus came to seek that which was lost. Now the treasure is hidden again, but this time it is hidden in Christ.

Paul said,

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col3:3,4)

All that David said about the secret place of God have their fulfillment in the finished work of the cross. Being hidden in Christ means that every believer is eternally secured from the power of darkness. We can never be separated from God’s love. Our life is placed in the Light of God’s very being. Peter said that our calling was into, “His marvelous light.”

 

Raised Up and Seated

While this truth of our hiddenness may seem difficult to grasp, one fact remains – Our faith should always rest upon God’s truth of our redemption in Christ Jesus. Our place in Christ is secured.

The truth is that every believer in Jesus Christ has already been raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly. This is our place in Christ. And while we yet walk this earth in our natural state, the Father takes of heavenly life, places it in our hearts as a foretaste of eternity. Heavenly life is God’s presence and His oversight of our lives.

The Father never takes His eyes off believers. Listen to this conversation between David and the Lord:

[David] “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”

[Lord] “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”(Ps27:7,8)

 

The Joy of the Cross

The reason Jesus endured the cross was because of the joy that was set before Him. The joy set before the Lord Jesus was all those whom the Father would give Him from eternity.

Jesus said,

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. … This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

 

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37,39,40)

 

The Only Question You can Answer for Yourself

There is one question that needs to be answered – Are you now trusting in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? A heart-faith and trust in Jesus is proof positive that you belong to Him. And if you belong to Him, then you are most certainly one of His treasured ones.

This is what the great apostle said:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph2:8-10)

 

Think about these things.

 

The Invitation Stands – Whosoever will may enter into God’s World

The Lord God offers every person on the planet the key to His world and His kingdom. The key is found in Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son. Call on Jesus. He will answer. In fact, He is standing at your door now. Won’t you invite Him in?

I want to share songs that will minister to your heart. The first one is ‘Welcome to My World,’ by Elvis Presley (1973)

The following worship songs are for your spiritual strengthening. Listen to them. The Lord will speak to your heart.

You Are My Hiding Place/As the Deer


In Christ always,

Buddy

 

Can You Find Your Way Home

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2Co 4:6-7 nasb)

The Light of the World by John P.C..

 

Journal,

Sometimes I find it very worthwhile to reaffirm an earlier journal entry. This entry draws largely on an entry that I provided in March, 2011. It was titled, ‘Finding Your Way Home.’ (Year and a half ago.)

The apostle Paul said that all believers in Jesus Christ have a  ‘surpassing [divine] power’ in their hearts, and that we must learn to live by that power and not by our own soul’s self powers. Each apostle tell us the same thing,

John says,

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1Jn 4:4)

 

The apostle Peter adds,
 
“[We] who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1Pe 1:5)

 

Living in the Glow of Jesus

But before I go further I want to give a better perspective on why Paul called attention to the opening of Genesis, where God said, “Let there be Light.” Paul is saying that it is this Light that is now shining in the heart of every true believer. (2Co4:6)

Paul is doing is drawing on an ancient belief among God’s people. They believed that when God said,“Let there be Light,” this was the original Light that that creation was to live by. The ancients called this Light, ‘the Light of Life’. Jesus Christ by AshraFekry.

The Hebrew people had other names for the original Light. They said that ‘Light‘ is one of the names of Messiah, in that God Himself is called ‘the Light of the world.’

Even the term ‘sun‘ was sometimes used metaphorically to speak of God and His Messiah.

You hear a bit of this from the Prophet Malachi:

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Mal 4:2)

 

God’s ancient people fondly held to Isaiah, where the Almighty speaks of His Messiah:

 

“I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” (Isa 42:6-7)

Now let’s take this on and talk about…

 

The Light that shines in the darkness

Jesus Christ by AshraFekry.

When Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world,” His words did not fall on unknowing ears. Many of the Jewish leaders knew exactly what Jesus was drawing from, and they did not like it.

While His words fell on those unbelieving ears that loved the darkness, they also fell on believing ears.

Those in Israel who believed in Jesus were being prepared to enter into God’s new creation. Jesus called His kingdom, ‘a kingdom not of this world.’

This new world would be the heavenly Israel of God, that is, God’s holy people, the church of the new covenant. (This is what the analogy of the Vine and the branches is about. The Vine represents God’s true heavenly Israel.)

It would be a world of pure grace. It would be a world of unqualified love. This new world life would have its beginning stages in this present life but would culminate in the life to come. This life would be a journey of life. We are on our way home.

 

The Powers of the Age to Come

This is why the apostolic writers said that true believers today are actually partakers of the powers of life that belong to the age to come. Paul said that we have this treasure in earthen vessels.

Listen to the apostle John:

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. …

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Cf. John 1:5-14 NASB)

What does this have to do with ‘finding our way home? Good question. This brings us to…

 

The Redeemed Believer

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

When a person is born again a number of things happens. As the Light of Jesus enters into the believer’s heart, the Christian is given a new nature. But a problem remains. The believer becomes a spiritual being. Yet his or her personal life (soul) has to be redeveloped with spiritual values. And this is where the believer must learn to focus his attention on Jesus.

Here what often happens. When a new believer first enters the realm of salvation, there is a burst of spiritual life. There is joy! There is peace! There is wonderment! Grace flows like a river. Then somewhere along the way this feeling of joy may start to wane. Temptations begin to cloud the mind. The struggle of life becomes more difficult. A stumble. Another stumble, and then?

What is happening? Paul said that believers must learn to draw on that ‘surpassing power’ that is part of our inheritance in Christ. (Our spiritual DNA.) This is a learning experience. The believer who fails to keep his focus on Christ, is going to have many mistakes, misdeeds, and extra bits of misery in life.

 

The Greater is He, Principle

And this is why it is so important to understand this principle of Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.’ 

The principle of ‘greater is He’, doesn’t just disappear because we had a failure or even a hundred failures in our life. It is a truth that needs to become an active principle in each believer’s walk with the Lord.

The Old Testament writer said:

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” (Pro 4:18)

The Light Shines on the Path of Life

This is also where we need to understand what the term ‘truth‘ means in the new covenant experience. In the Scriptures, the term ‘truth’ does not refer simply to a doctrine. The Greek term  is used in the new covenant for experiencing the realities of Christ. Paul said the letter kills where the Spirit gives life. No believer can live in victory by trying to live by the letter. Yet it is so easy for a Christian’s life to get bogged down in ‘letterism’.

Letterism says we need all the laws we can get to get saved and to stay saved! This is bad thinking. Paul said that every person born of God’s Spirit remains eternally under the life supervision of the Holy Spirit. This means that every failure we make will be attended to by the Spirit of God.

It is the Spirit of God who births us, seals us, tutors us, educates us, places us where we need to be, refreshes us, turns our trials, temptations, and failures into victories, helps us escape bad teachings, keeps the glory of Jesus before us and in us, and many such things. Our final presentation in heaven is a thing of the Spirit.

This is what truth is all about. Jesus explained this in His response to Thomas:

 

“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (Joh 14:5-6)

 

 

The Redeemed person is a son or a daughter

Our relationship with the heavenly Father is not that of a servant. We are sons and daughters of the living God. Angels know and recognize the Holy Spirit’s seal upon every one of God’s children. The seal says, ‘Sealed for the day of redemption.’ (Eph4:30)

The Holy Spirit is to present us safely before the throne of God. This work of the Holy Spirit is so powerful, that He can and does take every situation of our life, and turn it into part of our reshaping in Christ. This is why the apostle said,

 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)


 

Paul also says,

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (inward spiritual likeness) from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2Co3:18

 

The question is not, ‘How do we find our way home?’

Yes, the title of this blog could be challenging. That was simply to get your attention. No believer has to find his way home. You are on your way home. You are already guaranteed an entrance into heaven. Believe it or not, your name was recorded in the Lamb’s book before the foundation of the world.

So when God said, ‘Let there be Light,’ that statement reached across prophetic history and at the right moment, that Light entered into your heart. And inside you were given a shining heart.

Now, can you let your soul relax in the knowledge that Jesus is going to see you through? Can you let go of bitterness? Can you lay your past failures and mistakes where they belong? In the sea of forgetfulness.

Can you be quiet in His rest?

Can you take to heart what David said in this ascending Psalm? Listen:

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel [Christian], hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.” (Psa 131:1-3)

 

Please take time for this song – It may be your answer for today and for forever…

In Christ always,
Buddy

Eternity in the Covenant

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

Eternal Covenant of Christ

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations [goy ‘Gentiles’.] He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street.

“A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice [Judgment of the cross]. He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice [Judgment of the cross] in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law [Doctrines of Christ - Not the law of Moses.]

“Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it, ‘I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,

“’And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations [goy ‘Gentiles’], to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” (Isa 42:1-7)

 

Journal,

The new covenant is an eternal covenant made in heaven and contracted on earth. The only way a person can experience the grace and blessings of the new covenant is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ Himself is the new covenant. When you receive Christ you receive the new covenant. This is the law of the cross.

Let’s look at an incident where the Lord sets forth the new covenant in prophetic picture-language. During the feast of tabernacles as the priestly procession goes to the pool of Siloam to bring back water to pour on the altar, Jesus stops the procession.

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

Where Jesus speaks of the outflow of living water, He is describing the new covenant life experience. The new covenant is about life. God’s new covenant people are made alive with the life of Christ Himself.

Where it says, “the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified,” the word “given” is not in the text. What John said was, “The Spirit was not yet.” The question is, “How can this be? All the prophets had the Spirit. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit while in his mother’s womb!”

The new covenant is unlike any covenant ever given to man. The Holy Spirit in the new covenant ministers the finished work of the cross in believers. No person before the cross could have the Holy Spirit in that sense. Why is this?

“Because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

What distinguishes the new covenant from all the former covenants is that at the moment of receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters the heart of the believing one as the Spirit of the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ. Every believer is a Christ possessed person. (Cf. Col 1:26,27)

 

The Divine Imprint

Paul wrote the Galatian Christians, and said,

“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal4:19) 

Paul’s concern was for their inability to know and recognize the Lord at work in their lives. It was an issue of spiritual maturity

Because the Galatians believers were still immature in their walk with the Lord, they were being pulled back and forth. They were a young group. Paul said a similar thing to the Ephesian Christians. He said,

“We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects INTO HIM…” (Eph4:14)

It happens today. The immature believe is easily moved by his emotions. They tend to be restless and unbalanced. This is why young believers need a great deal of help in this area. They are easily misled.

Again this is one reason the Lord raises up pastors as servant-ministers. A pastor’s greatest job is to tenderly care for a flock. If a young believer is not under the kind of teaching that will lead him to believe deeply in his salvation and in God’s love, he will manifest a spiritual unrest.

So keep in mind that in the new covenant we have the Holy Spirit to parent us into the processes of the covenant. And it is God’s Spirit who imprints us to the Lord. Yet the Lord does use men and women to help believers make necessary spiritual transitions.

 

A Personal Walk With God

What does being a Christ-possessed person mean? It means that each person born of the Spirit can now judge for himself/herself that which is of God and that which is not of God. It is this discerning and judging of all things by the Spirit that allows the believer to understand the issue of life itself. This is essentially was spiritual maturity is about.

In the old covenant if you wanted to hear from God, you went to the prophet. In the new covenant there is no need for a certain body of prophets or ‘special’ spokesmen to represent God in the earth. Yes, God does place in the body certain God-called servants, but these servants have a purpose in helping believers come to a full maturity in Christ. These servant-ministers are to ever take the place of a believers personal walk with Jesus.

John explained it this way -

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides (permanently indwells), and you have no need for anyone* (Greek word ’tis’ means a special single someone, or a guru) to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, YOU ABIDE IN HIM.” (1John2:24-27 Please read the reference.)

Where John speaks of the believer’s ‘indwelling anointing’ he is addressing the life of Christ that abides permanently in each believer.

Paul spoke of it this way:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Does this mean we should not listen to others? Absolutely not. God can and does speak to us through others. What it means is that every believer can discern truth for himself. The term ‘truth’ in the New Testaments speaks of knowing the reality behind an appearance. (Recognizing the things of God.)

 

A Covenant of Eternal Life

I Love You Jesus

Jesus said that He came to give us life and life in full measure. Eternal life addresses eternity. It addresses a life that cannot be lost. But it also speaks of a spiritual quality of life that can can only be found in the Son of God.

Not only is Jesus the Son of God, Jesus is the very Life of God. I realize this concept is difficult to grasp. The apostles themselves walked with the life of God. They even touched the life of God. They listened to the life of God.

Listen to how John explains it -

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—“ (1Jn 1:1-2)

Can you feel John’s excitement? They walked with Eternity! They walk with the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. They walked with God.

The story does not end there. John’s excitement continues to build as he writes his letters about the life of God. Listen with your heart -

“The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1Jn 5:10-13)

Only a couple of questions left -

Do you have the Son of God, or do you have religion?

What do you talk about, Jesus Christ or your religion?

Think about it.

Let this song will explain what true Christianity is all about. Lord I Lift Your Name on High.

 

 

In God’s Grace,

Buddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Old Rabbi Got Saved

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

Wonderful Vacation Bible School

 

“’Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.’ So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth.

“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” (Mat 2:20-23)


Journal,

Today we finished up another wonderful vacation Bible school. What an experience. We had such a great team in place and a special thanks belongs to our VBS director, Tammy Carlisle. This woman has such a passion for children. Of course being a public school teacher is on her side. It is so obvious that Tammy and Rich have a special calling from God. God has given them lots of ‘spiritual’ children.

What an awesome cast. We had tribal leaders and assistants for the various tribes of Israel. Then there was the market place. Whereas all the tribal leaders seemed to believe in Jesus, most of the vendors in the market had serious doubts . The market place was plenty busy. The talk in Nazareth was all about Jesus. Jesus really had everyone puzzled. That is, except the children.

Anyway, I was the Rabbi over the synagogue school in Nazareth. I would fuss at the children and tell them not so speak of Jesus while at the synagogue or even in the market place.

Mary sharing stories with the children about Jesus.

But the more I fussed the more the children would cry out, “I love Jesus.” It was so strange. Sometimes you would hear the children singing songs about Jesus. It really disturbed me. After all, I had known Jesus since he was quite young.

Yes, He was always a good lad. He loved God’s law. In fact Jesus always seemed to be much wiser than His years. And His mother, Mary – She really concerned me. Mary and Joseph were two of the most godly people who I knew. How could they get caught up in Jesus being the Son of God?

I had several issues with Jesus being God’s chosen One. I knew that the Pharisees and the temple priests did not like Him. And as much as I admired Mary as a godly woman, I thought she was confused over Jesus being the Son of God. All this talk about angel messengers.

But Nazareth? We were a very poor village and I was just a poor rabbi. Yet as a rabbi I knew that God’s Messiah could not come from Nazareth. He had to be born in Bethlehem. Oh the children — I was so concerned that they might get led astray.

Yours truly - The poor rabbi

The stories kept coming to our village. Seemed all Israel was in an uproar. I had never heard of such miracles – Blind eyes opened. Lepers healed. The lame leaping. And all this about love and forgiveness. Who did Jesus think He was. Only God can forgive sins.

Another thing that bothered me — We rabbis were never allowed to introduce a new teaching in Israel. We could only teach what an older and well-known rabbi had taught. We must always teach according to the tradition of the elders.

But Jesus? I kept hearing that He would never quote from one of the sages. In fact He even came against some of our traditions. I was told that Jesus said,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mat 5:43-45)

Well, it began to get to me. The children — They were so excited. Their eyes were full of light. They would keep pestering me, “We love you rabbi Buddy. Do you believe in Jesus?” This went on over and over. Who could turn from these little ones. Suddenly I remember something the prophet had said, that a little child would lead them. A little child? I have little

Nazareth's Worship Leader

children in my synagogue school every day. Am I missing something? 

How can I say this other than these little children got to my heart. It was time to take a stronger look at Jesus. First I went to Mary. She told me that Jesus was actually born in

Bethlehem. Something was happening to my heart.

Next I went to my Torah to search the Scriptures. A strange thing happened. My Torah started speaking to me. I could not sleep. Night after night I searched God’s Word. It was wonderful. I saw where Moses described Jesus. That David had met Him personally. All the prophets had experiences with Him.

Moses said,

“I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.” (Deu 18:18-19)

David even called Him, Lord:

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; in holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew.’” (Psa 110:1-3)

I saw it again! “Your youth are to You as the dew.” I knew that the word for youth in Hebrew meant ‘children.’

But the one that really got me was from the prophet Isaiah. My eyes teared up as I read,

“Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

I kept reading.

“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Something strange was happening inside me as I continued to read.

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Isa 53:1-5)

Yes indeed. It happened. The next morning at synagogue school this very girl kept looking me in the eye, saying, “Rabbi Buddy, do you believe in Jesus?”I was speechless. She would not stop. “Rabbi Buddy, do you believe in Jesus?”

The old rabbi gets saved

There she was. This little child was sent to lead me, the old rabbi. She was not going to leave. Suddenly it came out! “Yes, young lady. I believe in Jesus. Yes, I believe in Jesus.” 

And that’s the story of how the old rabbi got saved.

But the story isn’t quite over. I wanted to see Jesus.

Here is how it happened. All the tribal children with their leaders and the shop keepers were singing together. Their worship leader had everyone singing and rejoicing.

For some reason everything got quiet. When I looked up I saw Mary walking towards the children. Then I looked over in the opposite direction, there was Jesus. I was speechless.

Mary called His name and Jesus took her in his arms. It was such a tender moment.

Singing of their love for Jesus

Then Mary began telling Jesus how much the children loved Him. When He smiled it was like heaven opened up. When Jesus looked at all the children, you knew how much He loved them. I heard Him call the blessing of God over all of them.

Boy, Jesus must really love little children. I know that I do.

Did Jesus teach me anything in our VBS program? Yes, He did. As I looked at all the children I saw what Jesus wanted us to become. Children are so innocent and trusting. They are precious beyond words. Each child is a special gift from heaven.

Listen to Jesus:

“And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mat 18:2-6)

Here is a song that will speak to your heart – “With All I Am”

 

In Christ Always,

Buddy

 

<

A Case for the Christian

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1Pe 4:14-16)

 

Journal,

Christianity of itself is not essentially a religion. It is a kingdom. In order to have a kingdom you must have a king. Take note of this description of Jesus Christ about His second coming and His titles:

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev 19:13-16)

Then there is this issue. There are no naturalized citizens in the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. The only way to enter the kingdom of God’s Son is to be born into it. When a person is born from heaven, this is also a citizenship birth. With each kingdom birth there is a register. Listen to Paul:

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Php 3:20-21)

So, where does religion enter the picture? Good question. Religion is what we manage to do. A kingdom birth is what God does.

 

Born from Above

Let’s begin with the thinker – What is it that makes an Irishman an Irishman, or a Cajun a Cajun? (Pass the crawfish please.) The simple answer is that the Irishman and the Cajun are born to a particular cultural grouping. Each group has its own natural proclivities.

What then is it that makes a human a human? The answer is that all humans share a nature that belongs exclusively to humankind in general. Neither angels nor animals have a human nature. They have a nature that is exclusively theirs. So there is an angelic nature, an animal nature, and there is a human nature.

And here is the problem. The human nature is in disrepair. Our souls were damaged in the fall of Adam. Thus our physical life and our spiritual life have need for repair. While the holy angels of God continue with their original nature intact, the deepest part of our humanity, that is, our spiritual identity with God has been displaced.

Whether we understand it or not, Adam and Eve had in their original nature that which is only found in God Himself. They carried in them a certain spiritual likeness of God. The image and likeness had to do with their basic nature. It is that part of man’s inward nature that is in need of repair.

Satan took advantage of Adam’s fallen state and built his earthly kingdom around the aspect of disrepair. Satan is called the god of this world, the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the authority of ‘the domain of darkness.’ Thus Adam found himself in a twisted world filled with wrath and discord. Everything was out of balance.

 

Repaired Through the Cross

In essence what makes a Christian a Christian is that our spiritual identity with God has restored through a heavenly birth. This was the purpose of the cross.

Jesus said

“The thief [Satan's environs and activities] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn10:10)

Listen to these Scriptures that describe the two kinds of humans on planet earth today:

Paul: “[We] formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as the rest.” (Eph2:2,3)

Peter: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Pet1:4)

When a person is born from above their severance from God is remedied. The born again person is now a very child of the living God and a citizen of heaven. This means that on planet Earth there are two kinds of humans, those who have been spiritually repaired and restored to God, and those who are still in disrepair. Is it any wonder that the strongest impulse of Christians is to get the message of the gospel out to our fallen kin.

 

 

The Wonder of a New Creation

Here we need to understand the critical element of what makes a Christian a Christian. The disrepair of our humanity can only be corrected one way. It has to be God’s way. God’s way is found in the working of the cross. No person is ever born again because they shook a preachers hand or that they prayed through to some esoteric experience.

The only way for a person to be born from above is that they must consciously recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, and receive Him personally as their own Lord and Savior. This accepting Jesus Christ as Lord is the heart and soul of the new creation.

And so, it is to Jesus alone that we bring our broken humanity. It is to Him that we make our appeal to His Lordship and to His saving grace. This is why the true apostolic message never changes, which says, “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” To call upon the name of the Lord means to recognize His Lordship and to appeal to Him as our own Lord.

This is why salvation can never be based on an emotional experience where we have set aside our minds and now depend on certain euphoric feelings. Drugs can induce euphoric feelings. A person can even become euphoric on their own emotions. There is such a thing as an emotional drunkenness.

The point is that our salvation is be based upon the fact alone. We are to become convinced of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Jesus Christ, and that He is now both Lord and Christ, and that there is no other way to be saved other than to call upon Him, and to acknowledge and confess His Lordship. Aside from this act of believing and confessing, there is no salvation.

Believing in Jesus Christ is an act of our will. The faith to be born again is a gift from God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10)

Every time a person is born from above, there is an act of creation. In this new creation a new humanity comes into place. We are a people born-from-above, that is, a heavenly people. We now share a heart like God’s heart.

This brings us to…

 

The Reborn Heart

In the Bible the term heart speaks of the very center of our being. It is where our spirit life evolves. This is why the Scriptures make a distinction between man’s soul and man’s spirit. The soul is generally thought to be our mind, our will, and our emotions, that is, what identifies us as an individual. But our spirit is that part that relates closest to God. In is in our spirit where we have our God-awareness, our conscious spiritual life, our intuition, our fellowship and communion. This is why it is our spirit that is born again and not our soul. Our soul undergoes transformations over time.

The prophet described our new life this way:

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.” (Eze 11:19-20)

It all begins with the Lord getting our attention. The word repentance in the Greek speaks to a moral conquest of the mind. It begins as an intellectual process. We are made aware of and become convinced of the message of the cross. We realize our lostness. We change our minds about the path we’ve lived. And we turn to Jesus as our own Lord and Savior. Every bit of this involves our thinking. The mind is the way to the heart. Salvation involves both the mind and the heart.

It is under this strong convicting work of the Holy Spirit that our heart is brought to the place of being born again. The power that makes a Christian a Christian is not our power. It is the power of heaven.

Paul explains where the power of life comes from. Listen carefully:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom1:16)

The power of new life is found in the message of the cross itself.

Listen again to Paul:

“For this reason we also constantly thank God, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (1Th2:13)

The point is that the beginning place of salvation has to include our mind. The very word repentance speaks to the mind. Salvation is made upon a decision for Christ. This is why the Billy Graham crusades have such a tremendous effect on the crowds. He preaches the simple message of the cross. The respondents are openly declaring their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

A Seal that Cannot be Broken

When the Holy Spirit enters the heart of the believing one, that person becomes sealed for eternity. The Spirit will be there tomorrow, and the next tomorrow, and the next tomorrow. This is called the testimony of the Spirit. The apostle calls this the seal of redemption. This new believer has become a child of the living God. He can never be separated from the loving Father.

This does not mean that the newly born-again person is incapable of sin. Yes, the child of God can sin and will have failures in his life. However, sin will always be contrary to the child of God’s nature. He will sin by temptation. Yet the Spirit of Christ within him will now allow him to stay in a condition of sin. Sin hurts too much.

Think about these things. Feel free to offer your comments. I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime here is a song that will speak to your heart.

The King is Coming by the Bill Gaither Trio

 

 

Yours in Christ,

Buddy

 

 

To Die Without Christ

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

“So Pilate said to Him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above;

“…for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.’” (Joh 19:10-11 NASB)

 

Journal,

The Jerusalem Sanhedrin represented the supreme leadership of world Judaism. When the chief priests and elders delivered Jesus over to the Roman authorities to be crucified, they set in motion a chain of events that would have negative effects on the Jewish people throughout their generations.

We see this beginning to take form in 70 AD, with the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. Was the destruction of Jerusalem a judgment from God? According to the gospels, yes. And according to the Talmudic writings, also a yes. While the reasons given may differ, that it was a judgment from God was accepted early on.

Out of the ashes

Out of the ashes of smoldering Jerusalem would evolve a new Judaism that would have no likeness to the ancient worship of Moses and David. There would be no temple, no sacrifices, and no priesthood. The rabbis set about to fashion a new Judaism where they would become the exalted figures. This new Judaism took on the name of Rabbinical Judaism or Talmudic Judaism. It was to become an expanded continuation of the Pharisees. (The Sadducee and the priestly temple ministry disappeared in the destruction.)

The rabbi who carried the greater responsibility for the reinvention of Judaism was Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai. According to John Lightfoot, Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai knew Jesus and most certainly had encounters with the apostles. He was quite possibly one of the Sanhedrin members who held responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus.

It is important to understand that Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai was one of the top religious figures in Jerusalem during the time of Christ and after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Zaccai lived to be 120 years old. He held such an honored role in Judaism that he became known as the ‘Light of Israel, Pillar of the Right Hand, Strong Hammer.’ Zaccai was well acquainted with the Christian movement.

Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai escaped the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. And in setting about to help create a new Judaism, it was determined that the blood sacrifices were no longer needed, and that prayer, good deeds, and fasting were all that was needed to get God’s forgiveness.

 

The Death of a Rabbi

The Talmudic writings have a record of the death of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai is. Here is a major religious leader who died without Christ.

“When R. Jochanan ben Zaccai was taken ill, his disciples went to visit him. As soon as he beheld them, he began to weep. His disciples said unto him, ‘O Light of Israel, Pillar of the Right Hand, Strong Hammer, why dost thou weep?’ He answered and said unto them… ‘Now when I am to be led into the presence of the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, who lives and is through all eternities, whose anger — if He is angry with me — is an eternal anger; whose fetters — if He will bind me — are everlasting fetters; and whose death — if He put me to death — is an eternal death; whom I cannot appease with words, nor bribe with money;

“… and not only so, but two ways open before me — the one leading to Paradise and the other to hell (Gehenna), and I do not know upon which of these two ways I shall be led, shall I not weep?‘” (Brachot 28b)

Zaccai had no sense of salvation. Religion cannot give what only God can give. The righteousness peace and joy of God’s kingdom comes from only one place and from one Person. They come from Jesus Christ and they are spiritual attributes (realities) of the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

 

The Problem With the Golden Calf

Jesus did not come to give us a new religion. If fact He did not come to give us a religious system at all. Religion is what men do. Jesus came to give us a relationship with the heavenly Father. In our new relationship with heaven, the Holy Spirit places believers into ‘flocks’ that function as families. This is essentially what the Greek word for church means.

[ekklesía speaks of the called out, called together people of God; a body of spiritually free citizens who share in a common heavenly citizenship. These flocks would have pastors and other mature godly overseers who can offer guidance and teaching, but never in the sense of being overlords.]

Isn’t it strange how men go about to invent religions? The new Judaism held all kinds of strange notions about God. Much had to do with the self-honor that the rabbis placed upon themselves.

Like any religious system, this new Judaism had its power structure. The rabbis made themselves as the final voice of God. They were above the ancient prophets. This is why the new Judaism is often called Rabbinic Judaism. They even tell the story in the Talmuds how the rabbis outwitted God Himself.

Wherein is the problem? The problem is that people can become so caught up in honoring a religious system that the system itself takes on the form of idolatry. Their church becomes ‘the‘ church. They find salvation with ‘their‘ church and not necessarily with Jesus Christ.

Thus the golden calf of religion. This form of church idolatry takes on the idea of, ‘My church is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through my church.’ (Don’t laugh. Church idolatry is very real.)

 

The greater sin

What makes the death of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai even more dreadful comes from something that Jesus said to Pilate. Listen again to what the Lord said to Pilate about authority.

“You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (Cf. John 19:10,11)

Did you catch it? Jesus said, ‘He who delivered Me over to you has the greater sin.’

Why would the Jewish leaders be charged with the greater sin but not Pilate or the Roman soldiers? It was because these leaders knew more about Jesus than they were putting on. Their rejection had to do with knowledge in having rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Many of them knew better and yet they participated in the rejection.

Jesus set forth their great sin:

“Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes:?’ “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.

“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.” (Mat 21:42-46)

 

The Man Who Knew Christ

Let’s see what distinguishes the death of Rabbi Zaccai from another leader who accepted Jesus as the Messiah of Israel? We know that the apostle Paul was formerly a disciple of Gamaliel and a violent persecutor of the church. This man came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. When Paul faced death, this is what we read about him:

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (Cf. 2Ti 4:7,8)

 

Do you see the difference? Rabbi Zaccai was terrified. The apostle Paul was ready for his journey home. What made the difference? It all comes back to the atonement sacrifice. To reject the cross is to reject any hope of salvation. It is not as though Zaccai had no earlier warning. A special letter was sent to Jewish people by an apostolic writer not long before the destruction of the temple. It may have been written by Paul. Zaccai could well have been aware of it.

 

“For if we go on sinning [the sin of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Messiah] willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Cf. Heb 10:26- 29)

 

As a minister of 45 plus years I’ve attended the last hours of various believers. These were precious moments. They had no fear. When it neared the time of passage it was as though they were already experiencing the heaven side of their passage. As for others — Well, I’ll leave that unsaid.

How about you? Will you die having rejected Jesus Christ as Lord of your life? Are you one of those ‘golden calf’ people who have replaced Jesus with a religious system.

Or, are you one of those who truly have a relationship with the Heavenly Father by way of His Son Jesus Christ?

Think about it. Again I ask, is Jesus Christ truly the Lord of your life?

Are you ready to turn to the Lord? Here is a prayer that can help you. Pray it from your heart…

 

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, please drop me a note. I will be happy to offer some guidance that can help you.

In Christ always,

Buddy

When the Temple Shuddered

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

“And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mar 15:37-39)

 

Journal,

When Jesus breathed His last, the veil of the temple was torn. There was also an earthquake, and according to some sources, the foundation of the temple shifted. In this entry I wish to concentrate primarily on the significance of what happened in the temple during the crucifixion of Jesus.

Before the torn curtain, darkness had filled the land from noon to 3 o’clock. The ninth hour (3 pm) was the time of the incense offering. A priest and his attendants would be in the holy place.

The priest would not have heard the voice of Christ on the cross, nor the mockery of the chief priests and scribes, who were chiding Jesus, in saying,

“He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the king of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.” (Mat27:42)

But this moment was the deepest of sorrows for Jesus. And it is here that we hear the saddest words ever to be recorded by a human pen, when Jesus cries out,

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

At the moment of the cry, what the priest in the temple saw must have left him quaking. Hearing the sound of tearing, and looking up, the priest saw the vast curtain beginning to rend, starting at the very top.

 

Historical background

Let me share some historical background on both the curtain and the happenings in Israel during the time of Christ. This would explain any nervousness that the priest would have had.

First the curtain – The curtain was awesome in itself. It was 80 feet high, and as thick as the width of a man’s hand. (According to Josephus and later rabbinic authorities.)

Another point of interest is that the curtain had changed in appearance from the original pattern given Moses. The tabernacle curtain had cherubim embroidered in it. But the curtain in Herod’s temple had the heavens themselves embroidered on it. It was like looking at the sky. So when it began to tear, the priest would have thought of the rending of the heavens. And this is truly what was happening.

 

Strange things happening

There is more. According to the Talmud and Josephus, strange things had happened during that time period. Josephus said that the eastern gate, which was made of brass, and which took twenty men to close, would open and close on its own accord.

The Talmud speaks of something similar. It says that forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple doors would open and close on their own, and you could hear voices coming from within. Forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem was when Jesus took up His Messianic anointing. The Master of the Universe walked the land.

Evidently the temple was becoming a scary place. The priest would have reason to go about his duties with some nervousness. But nonetheless, it happened. He looked up and the vast curtain began to tear. The floor began to shift and shake.

It was as if God were saying, “This is it! No more! There will be no more separation! No more blood sacrifices! No more!!!” It was as if the temple itself was rending her garments. She shuddered.

What is the wonderful secret in all this? It was all about God and man. God has been reconciled to all of humanity. Thus, every person on this planet, saint or sinner, has the right to call on the name of the Lord, and be saved. Sin was dealt with in Christ. Not simply the sins of the saints. All the sins of the world were taken to the cross in Christ.

 

When love walked the earth

Through the fall of Adam, the human race came into league with Satan. But that did not mean that God stopped loving humanity. The Bible is a record of redemption. It is also the story of God’s love for humanity.

When Jesus came into the earth, it meant that He had to leave heaven with all its glory and splendor, and to come into a world that was enshrouded in sin.

Sin was our clothing. Did He come in anger? Did He come with vengeance in His heart? No. He came with a heart full of the Father’s love.

And this is why John 3:16,17 will always be the key message in the Bible. It says,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus had to be born as a human. And so He was. Thus we have the mystery of the incarnation. Jesus was the only human ever to walk this planet in whom Satan had no power or authority over. Satan knew that somehow he must get Jesus to sin. But it never happened. Jesus was perfect in all His ways.

 

The message of the garden

Oh yes, Satan never forgot the message of the garden –

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” (Gen3:15)

Jesus could have went back to heaven any time He desired. But He didn’t. He walked in our sinful world. He put his arms around sinful creatures. He rebuked the religious leaders for their hardheartedness, and gave nothing but love and acceptance to the most sinful of us all. It still works that way today.

But all this wasn’t entirely new. God’s plan of redemption had been laid out by His holy servants of old, the prophets. In fact the Bible unfolds around God’s Son and the work of the cross.

Hear what the prophet David had to say…

 

When mercy and truth met together

Somehow mercy and truth had to meet together. Somehow righteousness and peace had to kiss one another. Somehow heaven and earth had to be reconciled. Somehow there had to be the ‘one’ sacrifice that would take away sin forever. And the sacrifice had to be so perfect that it would remove all the sins of all of humanity, for all time. And somehow, this sacrifice had to become the way for man to return to God.

The Psalmist also spoke of this. He said,

“Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.” (Psa 85:9-13)

Listen to the words –

‘Truth springs from the earth.’ This is Jesus born of a woman.

‘Righteousness looks down from heaven.’ The voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

‘Righteousness … will make His footsteps into a way.‘ The footsteps of Jesus took Him from the cross and to His rightful place in heaven. His footsteps are now our footsteps.

There is so much more to be said.

But then, maybe this song pretty much says it all.

Take time to listen to John Starns, ‘Love Grew Where the Blood Fell.’

In Christ always,

Buddy

 

There’s a Promise Coming – Restoration

Bookmark/FavoritesFacebookTwitterGoogle GmailEmailYahoo MailLinkedInPrintShare

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Act 3:19-21)

 

Journal,

The eyes of the world are on the Middle East. We are seeing a conflagration (uncontrolled fire) working its way out from the regions of ancient Babylon. The heat is intense in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, not to speak of all the ‘***istan’ nations of the former Soviet Union. Keep in view that all these nations with the exception of Israel, are Islamic.

So much for all the diatribe on Islam being a religion of peace.

The apostle Peter told the Jewish people that Jesus had been received into heaven and would stay there, but would send times of ‘refreshing’ [special moves of the Holy Spirit] until the period of restoration of all things.

What did he mean by the term restoration? The Greek term ‘apokatastasis‘ means a restitution of a thing to its former condition. This expression denotes the times when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is completed, and the conversion of the Jewish nation is at hand.

This was a primary concern for the Lord’s Hebrew apostles. Jesus clearly taught that the kingdom of God would be taken away from the nation of Israel until the day came when they would say of Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

In Acts 1:6, they asked Him,

“‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ Jesus responded, ‘It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.’”

 

The clock is ticking

This is why May 14, 1948 is so important to redemption history. Israel lost her nationhood in the year 70 a.d. She was brought forth again as a nation in 1948, and took her place among the nations. Thus we have Isa66:8 fulfilled;

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.”

Then we have this from the Lord:

“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles [other nations] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

Some like to think that a nation being brought forth all at once has to do with the church. However, this does damage to the prophecy.  Notice carefully that it is not simply a nation, but also a land that will be born in one day. The Hebrew for land [’erets] speaks of the earth. The land took on the name Israel on May 14, 1948, and land of Israel once again took her place among the nations of the world.

Without laboring this too much we also need to understand that the nation of Israel today is not the nation she is going to be. The Jews returning to the land is at the heart of Old Testament prophecy. Yet Israel today is largely secular, with Talmudic Judaism in charge of her religious affairs. The fact that Israel is largely secular is not a bad thing in comparison to the Christ-hating Talmudic religion.

(Most Jews do not hate Jesus. There are even Jewish-Christian churches and synagogues in Israel. According to my sources, the number one topic of discussion among Israelis today is about Jesus. The Lord is stirring their hearts. Any hatred towards Jesus and Christians comes largely from Orthodox-Talmudic Judaism.)

 

The mystery of the dry bones

When God spoke to Ezekiel about the dry bones, it had to do with the restored captivity of that time. However, it had a deeper meaning that would reach forward to the day when Israel turns to Jesus, and call upon Him as their Lord and Savior..

“He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’ Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.”’

“Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’” (Eze 37:3-6)

 

Now lets combine two Scriptures, one from the old and the other from the new. Both with the same goal.

First Zechariah 12:10:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me [This is Yahweh speaking] whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him [Jesus the crucified One], and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him [Jesus] like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

Now Romans 11:25-27:

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel [the Christ-rejecting nation group] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved [nation group looks to Jesus]; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’”

The sins of the Christ-rejecting Israel can only be taken away when they come to faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.

The message to Israel has never changed. When Peter addressed the Jewish leadership, this is what he said:

“He [Jesus] is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Act 4:11-12)

No one can ever be saved aside from receiving Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as both Lord and Savior. There are no exceptions.

 

A house restored

Let’s come back to what Peter said about the times of restoration:

“…that He [the Father] may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Acts 3:20,21)

The Greek term for ‘period‘ is chronos. It speaks of a particular time or space or season of events.

The Greek term for ‘restoration‘ is a double compound. It is only used here. But interestingly enough it is also used by Flavius Josephus for the return of the Jews from captivity, and for the restoration of the year of Jubilee. That is the how the term was understood during the time of Christ.

The period of refreshing and restoration that Peter speaks of has a dual focus. It includes the Church being refreshed during her journey on heart. And while the Church is being prepared for her departure, the Jewish people are being gathered to the land of Israel to fulfill her prophesied purposes. Hence, God is working with the Jews and with the Christians.

For the Jew there is a period of tribulation they must endure before the Savior comes out of Zion. The Bible also gives place for a pseudo-Church during the last hours of this age. (Pseudo refers to something that appears to be true but is not. A false pretender.)

The true church refers to those who are inborn of the Spirit and will not follow anyone other than Jesus, in spite of signs and wonders. The true Church will make her departure from the earth at the proper time. The pseudo Church will follow after lying wonders.

 

Tears for Jerusalem

Let’s listen to some of the last words that Jesus spoke over Jerusalem.

“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)

And again,

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me UNTIL you say, ‘Blessed is He [Jesus] who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt23:37,38)

So, will the kingdom of God be restored to Israel? Will Israel really turn to the Lord Jesus and become part with His people? Can it be proved by the Scriptures? I believe it can. For your extra study consider these Scriptures: Isaiah 1:26Jeremiah 23:3-6Hosea 3:4,55:156:1-3.

That’s it for now.

Here is your song. Let the Lord refresh your heart. ‘There’s a Promise Coming Down’ by Joy Gardner…

Blessings,

Buddy