As the LORD Commanded

According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.   And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.                    Exodus 39:42-43

Reading these chapters of Exodus dealing with the commandments of the LORD of the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and all its furniture, from the ark of the covenant to the brazen altar; and then all the skins that make up all the coverings is almost mind boggling. Then, to read that the men who did the weaving following the heavenly pattern, and Moses checking it and it was all done correctly; just as the LORD commanded. WOW!

The men who were the artist of these works received the commendation of Moses too.

We all enjoy words of appreciation. A question I think of and direct to myself first is this: How often do I speak words of appreciation, and/or show appreciation for those who are ever faithful in doing the Lord’s work? I know we need to express appreciation in all aspects of our lives; let us do that. Let us also show and express our appreciation to those who are faithful in serving the Lord, no matter who it may be. The elderly who can no longer attend church, but were faithful in the work of the church before, and are now continually praying for the church, the pastor and deacons, the secretary, the maintenance, sound people, children’s teachers, and on and on.

To all of you who are faithful to serve the Lord and are doing what the Lord commands in the Church you serve. Thank you and keep up the good and godly work you are doing. God is blessing you.

I also thank all of you who come here to read this blog. You are a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you.

The Problem with Pluralism

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”             Exodus 32:5

The above text is from hearing that Moses has been gone for a few days, and the people are desiring to have some semblance of spiritual leadership. They decide to set up a golden calf. It is probably so that Aaron feared for his life if he rejected their requests so he request their golden ear rings and such other that they have, and makes this object of rejection of holy GOD.

In an attempt to keep the people reminded of Jehovah/YHWH, Aaron builds an altar, it seems, to worship the true God. It falls short of what God calls for. He is a Jealous God. There can be no other that His people worship. His jealousness is named in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5), and it is mentioned once again in Exodus 34:14,”For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…” That is exactly what Aaron had led them to do.

There is only One God and He is known by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He can only be known through His Son Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who died on the cross to redeem us from sin, He was buried not only to show that He died but to carry away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and He rose again and came out of the grave for our justification. Through Him alone can we know God, and worship Him as we ought.

The One Keeping Them In The Way

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.   Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him.              Exodus 23:20-21

Who is this One, this One called “Angel” in these verses. In the verses which follow He would be like hornets to those who opposed Him and His people (v. 28).

This One was named by Stephen in Acts 7:30 as an angel who spoke in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and He calls Himself “I Am”.

It has been said, by more intelligent, and Biblical scholars; that you can see Jesus on every page of the Old Testament; and I believe that is true. Jesus Christ the Son of God is also God the Son.

Jesus in His pre-incarnate Person was with the children of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness.

Since He came as Man and died on the cross for the sins of the world, and was buried, and He rose again for our justification, then we can know God, with the forgiveness of our sin, being born again becoming His sons, and inherit all that is His.

He is called Immanuel [God with us], may we who name that holiest of all names, live like Him.

They Shall Know…

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”     Exodus 6:6-7

But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.   And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.     Exodus 7:4-5

I use two different text from my reading this morning for the purpose of this message…

The people of God need to know and believe that the LORD is their God before we can expect the world around us to know and believe it. So let’s start believing with our heart, our mind and our lives through our obedience to Him; not to gain His favor, but because we have His favor.

It is quite apparent to me that the LORD God wants all the world to know.

Repent people of God. Turn to Him and know Him. The world will one day know who He is, but do you know Him today. GOD has made it possible through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection. Call on Him in repentant faith.

A Coffin and a Promise

And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.   And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.   And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”   And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.         Genesis 50:22-26

After the creation of Adam and Eve, and their placement in the Garden of Eden we find out about sin and death coming through them due to their disobedience to God who made them. We hear of a global flood, where all air breathing animals, except for those God brought to the ark, drowned in the flood, along with every man, woman, and child, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.

God is gracious and full of mercy. Because of our disobedience sin, trouble, sickness and sorrow plagues this world. He has given us a way of deliverance.

This book, “Genesis” the book of beginnings, begins in a garden, and ends at a grave. The grave is that of Joseph. He had served as an Egyptian ruler for about 80 years.

Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers at about the age of seventeen, sold to Potiphar in Egypt and served him for about 13 years including the time he spent imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. At the age of thirty he was brought out of the prison to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, which he did and doing so was appointed as a ruler, just under Pharaoh himself, and delivered his people who had sold him, and Egypt and the world. At the age of one hundred ten years Joseph died.

God does not leave us at the grave alone though. There is a promise given by Joseph from God. “God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” It was a promise that originally given to Abraham, “And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”  Genesis 15:13-14.

God’s promises written in His word, not some that are contrived by human imagination, are always fulfilled. When we read Exodus which takes place about four hundred years later that is what we see; God keeping His promise to His people.

God’s great promise to people today is believe My Son, and you believe me. His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. If you do not know Him, call on His name today and be delivered from the condemnation of sin.

The Longevity of Guilt

And Joseph said unto them the third day, “This do, and live; for I fear God: ‘If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” And they did so.   And they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.”
And Reuben answered them, saying, “Spake I not unto you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”   And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.   And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.        Genesis 42:18-24

Joseph, betrayed by his brothers many years before this event, and sold into slavery was now a ruler in the land to which he had been sold for twenty pieces of silver. It was to Joseph the brothers had to see in order to get the food and grain they needed in Canaan, which was suffering from the famine which was affecting all the world.

I deal with personal guilt at times. I have guilt in my thoughts and my heart due to some deed I have done to someone in the past, recent, and sometimes over a thing, or thought that just comes to my mind. It seems that we have been told over the past few years that guilt is a bad thing, and I totally disagree. Guilt is a good thing if it leads us to repentance and renewing.

It is Reuben who speaks of the deed the brothers did to Joseph years before; and keep in mind they do not recognize the brother they had betrayed and sold. Do you see the guilt they are feeling. As well that they should, and suffered from it, probably for all those years keeping the secret from their father Jacob.

Guilt is bad only if you allow it to fester, and make you cold and hard as steel, and never make right the wrong you have done. Sometimes, just confessing it to God, and repenting of the thing or deed is all you can do and that will release you from the debt you owe. I say “debt” because it is a debt or a trespass against God or someone else that needs to be paid.

Joseph was in the process of testing his brothers to see if they were genuinely sorrowful for the wrong they had did. I am certain that when he saw them that he desired to run up to them, revealing who he was, and to show them the fulfilling of his dreams he had shared with them years before as a boy in Canaan. But he was wiser than that.

Guilt is a helper or it can be a crippler. A helper to show us our wrong and lead us to repentance. A crippler that causes the heart to grow stone, steel hard, and cold if we do not cry for forgiveness.

We have sinned against God. In His love He gave us His Son who was despised and rejected by His brethren, by the world even, and was sold for 30 pieces of silver, a guiltless, sinless man, condemned to die on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and He came out being raised to life He forever lives. Bring all you guilt and condemnation to Him, praying, confessing your sins, believing Him for full redemption and forgiveness. He will hear you and He will save.

Faith In Praying

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, ‘Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:’   I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.   Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.   And Thou saidst, ‘I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”             Genesis 32:9-12

Jacob was about to come in contact with Esau, his brother who had threatened to kill him twenty plus years before when Jacob had deceived their father Isaac out of the family blessing. Rebekah had urged Jacob to flee to her homeland of Haran to her brother Laban which he did.

After these years of working with Laban, raising cattle, sheep, and goats, the LORD tells Jacob to return to Canaan the land promised to Abraham and Isaac, and now promised to Jacob as well. He is still fearful of his brother, and after some time planning Jacob, Rachel, Leah, their handmaids, all of Jacob’s children, other servants, and all the livestock head for Canaan.

God has called Jacob to return, yet there is distress, fear of meeting Esau. “How will he receive me?”, must have been in his thinking, “Will he forgive me or kill me, and all that is mine?” He prays the prayer above and expresses his faith by reminding God of what He has said.

When the Christian is facing distress, fear or any other problem of anxiety, doubt, or trouble of any kind it is good for us to go to God with the fear and anxiety the trouble and express it to Him. If God has called us to do something that has caused this fear and distress, we must keep heading toward what He has called us to do while reminding Him of His calling, which most times on my part is a reminder to me that God has said, and God has promised, and He will do and accomplish all that He says.

When God told Jacob, “I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea,” then Jacob, and all who have came to Him can trust that He will do as He says.

Only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grace through faith that saves us, and answers prayer.

The LORD’S Visit

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.      Genesis 21:1

The LORD had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. God had promised them that Abraham would be a father of nations, and through him all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Much time had passed when this promise is fulfilled.

At the age of 86 Abraham had gone along with the scheme of Sarah to have a son with Hagar. This was not what God had promised. Maybe in concocting this plan Sarah thought they would be fulfilling the will of God. God’s promise to Abraham for a son was for Sarah too.

When Abraham was 100 years of age, and Sarah was 99 the promise of God was fulfilled. Sarah gave birth to Isaac which means “Laughter”, because she had been laughing. Just as nothing was too hard for God to do for Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:14), so it is for the Christian today. Also for the lost soul to receive forgiveness and peace and rest.

When God the LORD shows up He will do all that He has said.

He has told us that He loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That Son is Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. That is the LORD’S visit today. Call on His name repent and believe.

Staying Where God Leads

And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.                 Genesis 13:1-4

God had led Abram to the land of Canaan, but when a famine had come he set his eye on Egypt for the provision of his family. We have all done it. We know we are where God wants us to be, but suddenly we find things going opposed to what we think they ought to be and we think there are “greener pastures” over there somewhere.

Abram had set up an altar of worship at Bethel; a place of worship; and then he goes down to Egypt.

Abram comes back to that place when he returns from Egypt, and he calls on the name of the LORD once again.

Have you strayed from where God wants you to be? Return to the place where you left Him. No! He has never left you, and He never will. That is why we, the child of God, always come back to the place where we left Him.

If you have no clue as to what I am writing about, then maybe you do not even know GOD. He loves you. He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again. He says to you, “Come to Me and I will give you rest and peace.” Do so today.

The Pleasant Name

Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.       Genesis 4:22

I began reading through the Bible this year, and my schedule is to read it through in six months. I did not read it through in 2021, but I read the Gospels through every month with the exception of combining them with the book of Acts in January and February.

It does a Christian good to his heart, soul and mind to read the Bible on a regular basis. Some think one through reading should be enough. I disagree with that sort of thinking due to the fact that there is no way the mind or heart can grasp all of what you read. Another thing is it is God’s love letter to His people. Why not read again and again and again.

I tell you all of that to say that the above verse caught my attention while I was reading this morning and I do not think I had noticed it before. The statement, “The sister of Tubalcain was Naamah” is what caught my eye. Tubalcain was a son of Zillah the second wife of Lamech in the lineage of Cain, the man who killed his brother Abel, and was marked by God. Lamech was the first mentioned to marry two wives, and they were blessed with children.

What is so special about this and particularly Naamah? First of all there is nothing known of her Scripturally. There is much conjecture from legends and such that she was Noah’s wife, and others that she was Ham’s wife (Ham the son of Noah). It is quite likely that Moses knew who she was and what she did and whose wife she was, but there is no Biblical record, so evidentiary proof.

Her name means “Pleasantness” so she may have been a beautiful woman. Let us be assured that there is no hope in beauty, or even in pleasantness, or being pleasant.

I hear the names of children today given to them by their parents and I think, “What?” A name has meaning. Naamah’s name should reflect one who is a pleasure to be with, enjoyable, and one giving pleasure to others. Those all depend on the heart.

Was there salvation available for the line of Cain? How about Naamah and the others in the line of Cain? Only by turning to the One who would die on the cross for their sins, and His name is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Our only was of salvation today is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Now there is a pleasant name. Jesus.

Discern What You Hear

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, “He shall not die;” but, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  John 21:23

On this eve of a brand new year may we who are Bible reading, Bible believing, blood bought, redeemed believers in Jesus Christ be sure we hear Jesus, and all of Scripture rightly. Let us ask God to enable us to let the Bible say what the Bible means, and not what we think or feel that it means.

The above verse is the conclusion of Jesus’s conversation with the apostle Peter in verses fifteen through twenty two; which began with Jesus asking Peter “Do you love Me” and finishing up by telling Peter “Follow Me.”

O how we often miss what Jesus is saying. I am praying that I am a better listener to the words of all of Scripture, Genesis through Malachi, and Matthew through the Revelation. That I might rightly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him,
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.”
And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Answerest Thou the high priest so?” Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?”
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.                        John 18:19-24

Just because the officers did not know whom they were striking does not mean they are without charges themselves. They had just struck the face of the Creator of all that is (Genesis 1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17). They thought they were doing God service by protecting the honor of a high priest who knew who He is (John 11:49-52).

Jesus, of course, spoke no evil. He simply gave an answer that should have been known. It was the blindness, and the darkness of evil that was working in the heart of the high priest Caiaphas that was the real issue. Willful ignorance, especially, is not bliss when it comes to knowing who Jesus is.

If you have came to this site, and have taken the time to read any of the information posted here on Jesus Christ I pray that you will hear the Holy Spirit of the Lord speaking to your heart and mind, and that you will have your eyes opened to the truth of who Jesus is – the Christ, Son of the Living God. He died for our sins, was buried and He rose again; and He is coming again. Repent, believe and receive Him.

Division Over Who Jesus Is

Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, “Of a truth this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” Hath not the Scripture said, “That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
So there was a division among the people because of Him.  And some of them would have taken Him; but no man laid hands on Him.  John 7:40-44

In 2021 there is probably more division over the identity of who Jesus is than in any time in history. The evidence of who Jesus is is best found in the Scriptures of the Bible of the Old and the New Testaments. The Law of Genesis through Deuteronomy. The Historical books of Judges through Esther. The books of Poetry of Job through the Song of Solomon, and you could include the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah. There is proof in reading the Prophets Isaiah through Malachi. Then, of course the Gospels which are about the coming, life, death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Jesus. The book of Acts which shows the work of the Holy Spirit’s coming of His Church – the body of Christ. The writings of the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, and the brothers of Jesus James and Jude, and the last book The Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to John by Jesus Himself.

Get to know Jesus. Not by what you hear from others, but from what the Book of books says about Him. Read it for yourself with the guidance of the Holy Spirit you will come to the conclusion of the Scripture. Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God; and He is God the Living Son.

You Must Be Born Again

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.  Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus saith unto Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”  Jesus answered,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”                     John 3:1-12

The Baby who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger for a crib, grew up and met Nicodemus and had the above conversation and taught him what one needed to see God and be with Him for eternity. You must be born again.

Jesus died on the cross, not a baby, but the Man Christ Jesus, and He died for our sins. When the Spirit of God turns the spirit within us to Himself, then we are born again. That is when we believe and trust Him with all our hearts. Hear Him. Believe Him.

Have a very Merry Christmas. It is all about Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, and rose again. He is coming again.

The Self Righteous and the Sinner

And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”                                         Luke 18:9-14

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10 that “There is none who are righteous, no not one,” and in verse 23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I write this because there are far too many people who think, “Well, Jesus died for sinners, and I am a righteous person. I love God, and I love my neighbor, so I need no savior.” That thought puts them at odds with God. Actually making God and the Scriptures their enemy.

One man, a Pharisee, a greatly religious man considered himself better than the other. Being full of himself he prayed “with himself”. Did you notice how Jesus said that. God did not hear that man’s prayer. Full of himself separated from God.

The other man, a publican, to us a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people, because these men were Jews themselves taking their people’s money for the Roman government. He came to the temple to pray, and prayed simply, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” He knew his need of forgiveness and cleansing, and he left the temple “Justified,” but not the Pharisee.

The way to forgiveness and cleansing of sin is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The only way of forgiveness of sin is because Jesus died for us, was buried and He rose again.

The Psalmist wrote, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

The Father Runs to His Returning Child

And He said,
“A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.’ And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  And the son said unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.  And he said unto him, ‘Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.’  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.  And he answering said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.’  And he said unto him, ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ “
                                  Luke 15:11-32

There are three main characters in this story:

The first is the Father; the second is the younger son; and the third is the elder son.

The younger son asks for his inheritance early, receives it, then finds himself starving, and basically living with swine. He realizes his situation, is reminded of his father’s home, and that he is a blessed man. He decides to return to his father if only as a servant, and seeks forgiveness.

The father is anxiously awaiting his younger sons return. Maybe he was out in the field working, and looks up the road in the direction he believes his son will be returning, he sees and image coming, getting closer, and closer, then he can make out the features of the face of the man coming toward him. The father drops his tools and all that he is doing and runs; that is right, he runs; because he has recognized that person as being his younger son. He runs until he reaches him, and gives him a hug, and a kiss, and another hug and kiss, and he takes him to his house and clothes him in raiment fit for a king. He then calls for a feast, having the fatted calf killed for that feast, and the celebration begins.

The elder son comes in from the field where he has been working hard all day, and he hears a racket of rejoicing and celebration, dancing, singing, joyous rejoicing. He becomes angry with envy. He complains to the father, “This rebellious son has taken all his inheritance and spent it up on foolish and debaucherous living. I, on the other hand have been faithful to stay, and work and wait until the inheritance is mine.” The elder son is not rejoicing. He is rejecting his brothers return.

We need to keep in mind that this story as well as the “Lost Sheep”, and “Lost Coin” stories are addressed to the Pharisees as they had just accused Jesus of eating with publicans and sinners.

Now in this story we see an elder son who believes he has been good to maintain his inheritance, but he is angry with the father for receiving the wayward son – this is the Pharisees.

The younger son represents the child of God that has gone astray, going his own way, rejecting the word and will of the Father finding himself bankrupt, full of sin, unclean, hungry and cold; comes to himself realizing he has sinned against God repenting returns to the father if only to be a servant.

The father is a picture of our Heavenly Father who with great love awaits all who have departed from His word, will and way. When He sees the repentant returning child returning, He runs to Him and clothes him with the best, puts a ring on his fingers, and has a glorious celebration.

Do you find yourself outside the will of God? Have you reached a point of despair, pain, hunger, loneliness? Are you ready to come back home to the Father? He is waiting, watching, and when He sees you coming, He will run to greet you.

Best Investment

And one of the company said unto Him, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” And He said unto him,
“Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?”
And He said unto them,
“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
And He spake a parable unto them, saying,
“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?’ And he said, ‘This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”                                                            Luke 12:13-21

Division in a family is not a good thing, especially when it comes to financial or material things. A man has come to Jesus seeking aid from Him in dividing an inheritance for this family. Jesus uses the opportunity to teach of the dangers of covetousness. A person’s life is not measured by the things we possess; but rather by our relationship with God.

Jesus tells a story of a man who was so well off that he decided to tear down his old barns and build new ones; probably better and bigger to hold his possessions. It is not that what he did was wrong, but what was wrong is that he never gave any accounting to God.

Do you measure your life by the money or things you possess? Now, I am not a financial adviser, I am however a follower of Jesus Christ, and I know that my life cannot be measured by what I possess, but rather by the fellowship I have with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

The best investment we can ever make does not cost a dime, but realizing that He invested His life for us when He died on the cross, was buried and rose again.

Jesus Taught in a Friend’s Home

Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” And Jesus answered and said unto her,
“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”                                                       Luke 10:38-42

Jesus and his disciples  were invited to the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Lazarus is the one raised from the dead in John 11; and he had been in the grave for for four days.

To sit at Jesus’s feet is to sit in learning by hearing him, and growing in him to know Him and the Father better and more intimately.

Martha was one who was concerned about feeding and taking care of her guests, and no one can find fault in that. Serving others is truly a trait, and calling of all who will follow Jesus. Evidently Martha had asked Mary to help her serve their guests, but Mary was pleased to remain at Jesus’ feet hearing Him and learning.

It is important for us to serve others. It is of the utmost importance, that before we can rightly serve others we must learn from the  words of Jesus; hearing Him, growing in the knowledge and grace and growing deeper in our love for Him.

Our time should be mostly spent growing in Christ Jesus, learning at His feet by way of the reading of Scripture (His word), and in prayer. When we do that we will be more able servants, as well as better witnesses for His name.

Jesus Taught Out of a Boat

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.                    Luke 5:1-3

O, how I would have loved to have been there that day. Seeing Jesus, hearing Him teach, listening to every word He was speaking. Jesus was sitting in a fishing boat, with many people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (“Lake of Gennesaret”), and He had their attention. Some of them would hear Him on this day, believe His word, and would follow Him.

There is the key. To hear Him, believe Him, and follow Him. To follow Him is not merely with our words, “I will follow Jesus”, but it is leaving all, forsaking all other things for His sake, and doing His will at all cost.

I must ask myself this question, “Am I following Jesus as it really means to follow Him?” I believe I have. He is my Lord and Savior. Everything under my feet to the very computer that I am writing at today is His. He is my portion; and I am His.  I know and practice that I am only a steward of all in my hand. I pray that I am always faithful to this, but I know that sometimes I fail, and sin against Him.

He is always faithful to renew and restore me and get me back to where He wants me to be.

Do you know the One who went to the cross and paid the price for our sins? He died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again for our justification. He is teaching us today through His word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Hear Him and believe.

Hear Jesus

And He said unto them,
“Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and He was transfigured before them. And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son: hear Him.”
And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of Man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.                              Mark 9:1-10

Jesus states it many times in the Gospels that if we hear Moses and the prophets we will hear Him. He has also taught that if we hear Him we hear the prophets and Moses.

The Father tells us in the above passage that we are to “Hear Him”, but that does not mean the words of Moses and the prophets are null and void; it does mean all that Jesus says is to hear all that has been spoken of Him.

Hear Jesus today. He is the only way of salvation and eternal life (John 14:6).

On The Way

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His garment.
For she said, “If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole.” And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said,
“Who touched My clothes?”
And His disciples said unto him, “Thou seest the multitude thronging Thee, and sayest Thou, ‘Who touched me?’ ” And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. And He said unto her,
“Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”                  Mark 5:25-34

This is an event tied with the story of Jairus’s coming to Jesus to ask healing for his twelve year old daughter. Matthew gives little attention to Jairus in chapter 9 of that gospel account. Mark gives more detail of the event with Jairus, and Luke give account of it in chapter 8.

This woman is not named, neither her nationality, but either way she is “unclean” according to Leviticus 15:25. She has suffered not only from this disease like a scourging of continuing grief, weakness, and the physicians taking all that she had (v. 25). She had heard of Jesus and longed but to touch the hem of His garment. O that we would all long to touch Him in our sicknesses, weaknesses, pain, scourging sin, and longing from Him to receive cleansing and forgiveness.

Remember, Jesus is on the way to Jairus’s home. He is surrounded by a mass of people bumping into one another, some brushing up against Him, and here is this woman in pain who deliberately reaches Him, touches His garment, and she is immediately made whole. The bleeding stops, and she is now clean.

On the way to another place Jesus is touched by a woman who was afraid, timid, and may not have wanted Him to know that it was her who touched Him; but Jesus sensed that someone with faith in Him had touched Him. Jesus asked who it was that had touched Him. I think He already knew. He was calling the one out so that the miracle of her faith would be known, and would be an enabler for others too.

Are you on the way somewhere right now? If you have a need for hope, trust in Jesus. He is the only source of genuine hope and faith. On your way stop at Jesus, and in your pain, sin sickness, uncleanness and disease reach out and touch Him. He is waiting.

Voice of Approval

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.  And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, “Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”          Mark 1:9-11

To fulfill the will of God the Father Jesus presented Himself to John the Baptizer for baptism, to fulfill righteousness (Matthew 3:15), and upon doing so fitted Himself to the service and will of the Father.

The Father speaks from heaven His approval of His Son, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It is a command from God that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we testify of our faith by way of baptism showing His death, burial and resurrection by immersion. The submerging of the whole body under water; a testimony to others of our faith in Him. If you fail in obedience to baptism, you will fail in your faithfulness to Him.

Believe the voice of the Father concerning the Son. Believe the voice of Jesus that He and the Father are One (John 10:30).

The Kingdom of Heaven and Hiring Laborers

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said unto them; “Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.” And they went their way.
Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” They say unto him, “Because no man hath hired us.” He saith unto them, “Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”
So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, “Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.” And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” But he answered one of them, and said, “Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
                                   Matthew 20:1-16

The Lord of all will give equal reward of eternity with the Lord, to all who are faithful to come to Him and to do His service. Whether one comes to faith in Him near the beginning of life or at the end of life, eternal life will be theirs.

Forgiving Forgiveness

Then came Peter to Him, and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” Jesus saith unto him,
“I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’ And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
               Matthew 18:21-35

When I have been forgiven all my debts – my sin debt; how can I not forgive those who have wronged me? Even those I have the perception of doing wrong to me? I can, and will forgive, because I have been forgiven so much more than any debt owed to me.

The wonderful grace of God in His Son Jesus paying my sin debt, and yours, dying on the cross for our sins, in His burial, and in His resurrection. Receive His forgiveness and receive that forgiveness that forgives.

Spoken by Isaiah the Prophet

Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.  But when Jesus knew, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; and charged them that they should not make Him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
“Behold My Servant, whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets.  A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory.  And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.”               Matthew 12:14-21

The life and ministry of Jesus was the fulfillment of Scripture. It has been said that you can see Jesus on every page of Scripture.

The above quotation is from Isaiah 42 verses 1 through 5.