Monday, April 29, 2013

After the Ten

Ruth 1:4-5 (NLT) But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.

There is a message that keeps coming to my mind these days. The message is, "after the ten". I already addressed it about five posts back. The message was titled, Jesus---the End of the Ten Plagues (March 18, 2013). This post will bring another light on the topic.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT), "Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us." The first Passover meal led God's people to freedom from slavery in Egypt. The final Passover also led God's people to freedom. It freed us from the law covenant that we could never fulfill in ourselves. The first Passover was prophetic of the crucifixion. It is recorded in Exodus 12. It gives specific details for the annual event.

The Passover meal was to take place on the fourteenth day of the month (Ex. 12:6). The lamb was to be selected on the tenth day of the month (Ex. 12:3), and kept for four days. That detail changed with our final Passover lamb, and for a very good reason.

Mark 14:1 (NKJV) says, "After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death." On that same night they agreed to pay Judas to provide them with Jesus (v. 10, 11). Notice it says,"After two days it was the Passover". In other words---Passover was in three days. Jesus was purchased three days before the meal.

The meal was to take place on the fourteenth, the lamb selected on the tenth. Why was Jesus selected on the eleventh?

Jesus provided a better Passover sacrifice. It was a once-for-all sacrifice. It was a new covenant that came after the old covenant of ten commandments. It replaced it. Scripture keeps revealing this message because it is an important one. Why is it so important to know? Our Scripture at the top hides an amazing revelation.

Our verse at the top comes from the wonderful story of Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi had two sons, one of which was married to Ruth. The two sons had strange names. The first name, Mahlon, means, Sickness (1). The second name, Kilion, means, Destruction (2). Now read the verse. It says after ten years, sickness and destruction died. There it is---after the ten, sickness and destruction died!

Our covenant is not the law covenant. Our covenant is the new covenant. Put the law behind and focus on Jesus, he will make changes in you the law could not do.

Be blessed!
(1) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, copyright 1890 by James Strong, MADISON, NJ. Strong’s number, H4248.
(2) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, Strong's numbers, H3630, H3631.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Power to Forgive

Matthew 9:6 (NKJV), "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"

I recently had an opportunity to be upset with some people who wronged me. These people do not realize it but I could very easily seek my revenge on them. I must admit---the thought of revenge was very appealing.

Without Jesus, I would seek revenge. On my own, I do not have the power to forgive such an offense against me. I would not only retaliate, but I would enjoy it immensely. Shocked? It is the truth. Without Jesus I am not a very good person. When it comes to being a better person, I cannot do it on my own strength.

Jesus, on the other hand, can forgive anyone. When they put Jesus on the cross He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Lu. 23:34). We already know He had the power to forgive sins from our verse at the top. This means the people that crucified Jesus were forgiven of the horrible things they did to Him. If they did not make it to heaven, it was not because of what they did to Him.

The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." How can anyone take pleasure in infirmities?

I know two reasons. First---when the enemy tries to do me harm, God gives me double for my trouble (Ze. 9:12, Ro. 8:28)*. Next---when I do not have the strength to do the battle, I can tap into the power of God.

I spent years as a Christian and did not understand how real these promises are. It was after I began to acknowledge the presence of God continually that I began to tap into His strength. The people who wronged me were saints compared to those who wronged Jesus. There is no way I could have forgiven them in my own strength. But I do not have to. As I fellowship with Jesus, I lose the desire to seek revenge.

Jesus is real. His promises are real. Get personal with Jesus and tap into His strength.

Be blessed!
*For easy reference:
Zechariah 9:12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's his name?

Exodus 2:18 (NKJV), When they came to Reuel their father [Moses' father-in-law], he said, "How is it that you have come so soon today?" Exodus 3:1, Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.
Judges 4:11, Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses...

These three verses all refer to Moses' father-in-law. It appears that he had three different names. However, there is a revelation in this.

In Exodus 18:24, Moses took advice from his father-in-law. I always wondered why Moses would take advice from a Midianite (Ethiopian). This man was from a different nation. I found it unusual until I discovered his names.

The first name, Reuel, means,  friend of God (1). He was a friend of God. The second name, Jethro, means, his excellence (2). This tells us he was a person with authority. The last name, Hobab, means, Cherished (3). From this, we know he had God's favor.

So what was his name given at birth? The Bible does not reveal that. The three names given are all we need to know why Moses would take advice from this man. The names reveal much.

Names in Scripture are always used to describe a person. Another great example is Jacob who later became Israel. The Bible says in Genesis 25:26, "Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob." He wrongfully took hold of his brothers heal so they called him Jacob. Later on in Genesis 32:28, God changed his name to Israel. The name Israel means, he has the power to rule as God (4).

However, numerous times in Scripture, he was still called Jacob. The most interesting pattern is found in Genesis 45:27-28. The Bible says, "But when they told him all the words which Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. Then Israel said, "It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive...""Jacob was identified by both names---five words apart.

Jacob was still the same man as at birth until he saw the carts and believed. When he believed, he became one with the power to rule as God. This is the message of salvation. Take your place of dominion as a child of almighty God.

Be blessed!
(1) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, copyright 1890 by James Strong, MADISON, NJ. Strong’s number, H7467.
(2) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, Strong's number, H3503.
(3) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, Strong's number, H2246.
(4) Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, Strong's number, H3478.

Monday, April 08, 2013

He has Risen!

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

We have just finished celebrating Easter at our church, what a wonderful weekend it has been. Have you ever wondered why it is so important that Jesus rose from the grave?

Animal sacrifice became necessary when humankind became tainted with sin. Beginning with the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, then became more important with the introduction of the Ten Commandments. The Idea being, the offering could pay the penalty of our sin and replace it with innocence.

However, an animal used for sacrifice did not rise from dead. Jesus did and the Bible makes a big deal out of it. Why is this so important?

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:12, "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His [Jesus'] own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Hebrews 9:14 says, "... Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God ..."

Unlike animals used for offerings, Jesus had everlasting life. We read in Matthew 1:18, "After His [Jesus'] mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit.

Animal sacrifices needed to be offered regularly. Jesus entered the holy place once for all. His blood was eternally shed. It never stops. This means our sin is cleansed even before it happens. This means sin can never again separate the believer from God.

Without God, I was useless. I was powerless against sin, I did not release a lot of good fruit, and I was not the wisest individual out there. God will never force Himself into my life, but He is always available. I know that sin can never separate us, so His power, wisdom, and fruit are all available to me. All I have to do is ask.

I have learned to ask God for His wisdom according to James 1:5. I ask for His power to declare healing over others according to Mark 16:18. I ask for His blessings and favor over the lives of my loved ones according to Isaiah 44:3. I ask Him to be strength in all my weaknesses in-line with 2 Corinthians 13:9. Since I know nothing can separate us, not even sin, I confidently expect results.

If you have a need---ask. You are continually righteous in His sight, He loves to honor the prayer of a righteous man (Ja. 5:16).

Be blessed!

For easy reference I have included these Scriptures:
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Mark 16:18 ... They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring;
2 Corinthians 13:9 (NLT) We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong.
James 5:16 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Sin does not separate us

Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV) Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

It seems like Kingdom principles always seem to be backwards to humanistic thinking. In the natural, giving away your money is going to make you broke. In the Kingdom of God, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over ... "(Lk. 6:38). In our system, a wise man will do great things and a strong man will do powerful things. In God's Kingdom, "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;" (1 Co. 1:27).

Even our perception of religion is backwards, we find it easier to believe one must be good to be a church goer. I spent many years as a Christian trying to be good enough for church. It was a challenge beyond my grasp.

I loved God from the moment I received Him into my heart. I wanted more than anything to be a worthy Christian. There were things in my life that I knew fell short of His righteousness, I just could not meet the standards I felt were appropriate.

Then I discovered the power of God's grace.

When I learned sin could not come between God and me anymore, I became more personal with Him. The more I acknowledged Him, the more I could sense His presence. I began to realize, He never leaves me and I can involve Him in everything, no matter what.

I like how the Amplified Bible translates our Scripture at the top. It says, "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed" (Pr. 16:3 AMP). The Bible goes on to say in Jude 1:24, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,"

The Bible says to commit your works to the Lord. I believe this to be any effort. Even our efforts to become more righteous in our behavior. I commit everything I do to God. When I smoked cigarettes, I continued to talk to Him even as I exhaled smoke. I let Him break the addiction. Before long, I lost the desire to smoke, no more addiction. I have also started to overflow in His fruit (Ga. 5:22). I am a much better person.

Get close to God. Invite His strength into your efforts. You will discover a life worth living.

Be blessed!