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The Cross: A Macabre Intervention

March 24, 2016

Descriptive, insightful, revolting and Biblical post to make you think again wbout the cross, written by a great friend…

“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.” Jesus (John 10:18 NLT) The cross of Christ is offensive. It’s distasteful, detestable and gross. A religious symbol that, it could be argued, is more objectionable than an electric chair or noosed rope. Could you imagine if Jesus was hung or beheaded instead […]

https://thepastelwars.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/a-macabre-intervention/

Desiring God?

January 22, 2016

THREE REASONS TO START A DAILY READING PLAN IN 2016

20160107_dailyplan

The new year is here, and many Christians have resolved to begin a new habit: read their Bible daily. Well, we’re here to help! Blue Letter Bible has 6 daily reading plans for you to choose from. Here are three reasons you might want to sign up for one:

1. WE NEED THE WORD!

There is no discipline more important than the regular reading of God’s Word. It is the means that God uses to build a healthy Christian (Heb 4:122 Tim 3:16). The Scriptures tell us about God Himself—His work, His character, His attributes. It informs us about God’s Law and how badly we have fallen short of it. This turns us to the good news about Jesus Christ (also found in the pages of Scripture) and how this Messiah—the incarnation of God—lived the perfect life we could never live only to die the brutal death that we deserved to die, so that through His resurrection we might rise with Him if we repent and believe upon this gospel.

2. READING PLANS HELP US READ ALL OF THE WORD.

There are many ways to read the Bible in a year. Some read canonically (from Genesis to Revelation), and others chronologically (in the historical order that Bible events occurred), and still others will do a mixed approach. Whichever the case, reading all of the Word is an important discipline for the Christian. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). If we are to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth, then surely he intends that we actually read or hear every word.

3. READING PLANS HELP US BUILD A DAILY ROUTINE IN THE WORD.

We live in an exciting age. Now that the Bible can be accessed online through websites like Blue Letter Bible, Youversion, and others, anyone with internet access can read and study the Bible wherever they are. It has never been easier to access God’s Word. Yet, many of don’t take advantage of this blessing. We don’t read regularly or thoroughly. A reading plan will help provide accountability. If you have a free BLB account, we will even keep track of your progress for you!

BLB’S DAILY BIBLE READING PLANS

Are you now resolved to use a Bible reading plan in order to get through God’s Word in a year? If so, you may want to consider using one of our Bible reading plans.

You can download the PDF file for any of our reading plans, or use your BLB account to keep track of your reading progress online.

Presence vs Purpose

January 22, 2016

The Lord has been teaching me so much about this I have to share…

First, a couple quotes from men who walked with Jesus:

“In an effort to get the work of the Lord done we often lose contact with the Lord of the work.”  AW Tozer

“We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him and not for God Himself”  Oswald Chambers

You can never bypass God’s presence to gain His purposes!  The only place to receive purpose is when you have spent time in His presence.  When He alone is enough, you’ll come to realize how you can please Him.  I think one thing I’m learning that can derail me from Him is the focus of my worship.  Truly, no Old Testament style idols clutter my shelves at home but spiritual ones may at times clutter my heart.  Here’s one:

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them…” Mt 6:1

Jesus knew.  And, He knows my heart too.  I’m never fooling Him, I’m just sometimes playing the fool.  I believe the crux of this issue is uncovered in an honest question – whom do I worship?  Who is it you’re trying to please

When I Can’t Tell If God Hears…

January 12, 2016

“Abba Father, all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from Me…” Mark 14:36

It’s powerful to consider Christ calling out Abba Father.  As a man, Christ represents mankind (Rom5), and He asked for the cup of judgment to be taken from Him.   

As God in flesh, He represents God to man.  The Bible says that God was in Christ reconciling man to God.  The cup was not taken from Christ, not one bit, but the cup was successfully take from man, for all who would believe in Him!    

He took the cup, that we could cry out “Abba Father”.  It must have wrenched the heart of the Father to hear those words from His own son, Abba Father, and yet fully pour the cup of wrath on Him.  He is able to do all things, and He heard the Sons prayer.  Yet, it was His will to take the wrath, provide the sacrifice Himself.  Because He did, we can cry out Abba Father as a son, adopted!  Not as the sinners we are, but as the righteousness He is!  We now cry out Abba Father by the Spirit of Christ.  We traded places!  Of all the people we would expect the Father to hear cry out Abba Father, It would be His Son.  Now, through faith in Christ, He hears the Spirit of Christ in us call out “daddy!”  

It’s important to remember that He absolutely hears us. 

Anything is possible for God, yet, in our troubles, it is very short sighted if I am tempted to tell God what to do or to resent Him when He doesn’t do it.  It is the perfect plan of God I should cry out for, as Christ did.  Nothing compares with the glorious calling of His eternal will.

Jesus: Fulfills Prophecy and Exceeds Expectations of Yom Kippur

September 22, 2015

Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecy, fills our greatest needs and exceeds our expectations.  Yom Kippur sets hearts in expectation of the One who offers salvation to the uttermost and complete forgiveness and righteousness.  He is like no other!
As Jesus said Himself, He is the only way to the Father (Jn14:6).

Great article from Joel Rosenberg I wanted to share…
FOLLOW ON TWITTER @JOELCROSENBERGJoel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

A big, untold story: Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun searching for the Messiah, and for atonement for their sins. The media isn’t reporting this. But it’s worth examining.

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah.

Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah.

At sundown, we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the highest holy day on the Jewish calendar, and one of great Biblical and historic and cultural importance to my people.
I so wish I was home with Lynn and our sons in Israel tonight. Instead, I am in the U.S. speaking at a number of events, from Dallas to San Luis Obispo to Washington, D.C. to Toronto. I am speaking about the darkness that is falling in our world. But I am also explaining to people about a fascinating phenomenon that I’m observing.
Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah. For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in numbers unprecedented in history. Some are searching through the Hebrew Scriptures for answers. A stunning number are actually reading the New Testament, most for the first time. They are searching on Google for information about the Messiah. They are even watching a new series of videos by Jews who claim to have found the answers. The videos — some of which have gone viral — were produced and posted on a new website called http://www.imetmessiah.com.
To me, these are fascinating developments. They certainly aren’t being reported by the media. But they are worth examining. That said, more on all that in a moment.
First, a few thoughts about Yom Kippur itself.
In the Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year. And the Scriptures were clear: only the sacrifice of a perfect animal — a sacrifice performed with a humble, repentant, sincere heart, and with faith in God’s mercy and grace — could bring about forgiveness of sins.
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)

But here’s the problem we Jewish people have face since the destruction of the Temple: What does one do to receive atonement in the modern age, without a Temple?
How can one make sacrifices, and thus receive forgiveness of sins — and thus the right to enter the holiness of heaven and live with the Lord in heaven forever and ever — without being able to sacrifice a perfect lamb at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Lord designated all sacrifices to occur?
The destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. was a huge blow to Judaism for many reasons, but chief among them because it deprived us of the one place to receive atonement from God.
The good news was found in Daniel 9:24-26. The Hebrew prophet Daniel explained to us that:
someday the Messiah (or “Anointed One”) would come to us

when the Messiah came, his purpose would be “to atone for wickedness” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness”

the Messiah would then be “cut off and will have nothing”

after the Messiah was “cut off,” then Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed

Daniel specifically noted that foreign invaders “will come and will destroy the city and the sanctuary”

Think about that. Daniel told us something extraordinary — that a coming Messiah would bring atonement for our sins before the Temple would be destroyed. That, in retrospect, makes sense, right? Why would the God of Israel take away the Temple before providing a new way for atonement?
Now, add in what the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah explained to us that not only was the Messiah coming to the Jewish people, but that He would bring a “new covenant,” a new and exciting and God-ordained way by which we would have a personal relationship with the Lord our God.
The Hebrew Prophet Isaiah gave us still more details about this coming Messiah. He explained that the Messiah would serve as King of the world eventually, but first the Messiah would be our “Suffering Servant.” That is, He would be rejected by the people, would suffer, and then die as our atoning sacrifice.
Consider these extraordinary passages from Isaiah 53:
3 He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities

and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God,

smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

And who can speak of his descendants?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.
13 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.
Who does that sound like to you?
When I was younger, I tried to process these and other Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah. Among them:
the Messiah will born in Judea, near Jerusalem, in Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2)

the Messiah will live and minister in the Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2)

the Messiah will teach in parables (Psalm 78:2)

the Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)

the Messiah will be the Savior of the Jews but also a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:5-6)

These were fascinating, specific, detailed clues as to the identity of the One the Lord was sending to save and rescue our people. Each piece of the puzzle was helpful, but two clues I found especially interesting — first, that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem Ephratah, the city of David; and second that the Messiah absolutely had to come to bring atonement and righteousness to His people before the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in 70 A.D. Why? Because the God of Israel told us so through the Hebrew prophets.
I came to the conclusion that Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth is, in fact, the Messiah that Moses and the prophets spoke of. His death and resurrection were foretold by the prophets, and they prove that He is who He said He is: the “Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him” (John 14:6). Jesus’ shed blood provides the only atonement for sins for Jews and Gentiles today. Jesus brought us the “New Covenant” — the new deal, as it were, between God and man — that the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah told us to wait for.
True, many Jewish people have rejected Jesus over the centuries. But have we really stopped to examine what Moses and the prophets said, and how Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled every single one of those prophecies?
By God’s grace and kindness, my eyes were open. I received Jesus as Messiah, Savior and Lord when I was young. I humbled myself, confessed my sins to God the Father, believed in my heart by faith that Jesus died on the cross, and was buried, and rose again, according to the Scriptures. I confessed with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord. And so, as He promised, Jesus atoned for my sins. He washed them away, all of them, never to be remembered or held against me for all of eternity. He gave me eternal life. He — the King of the Universe — adopted me into His royal family. He gave me peace that passes all understanding. He gave me hope as an anchor for my soul. He gave me a purpose and a meaning for me life.
Why? Because I deserved it? No. Because I earned it? No. Because I could buy it? No. He gave all this to me for free, because He loves me, because He wanted to rescue me. And so I received Him into my heart by faith. For as the Scriptures explain so clearly, “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.” (John 1:12)
When my father, who was raised an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, discovered in 1973 — after a careful study of the Gospel According to Luke — that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, and received the Messiah by faith, my father thought he was one of the first Jews in history who believed this. He had never met a Jewish believer in Jesus. He had never heard of such a person. And in 1973, there were fewer than 2,000 Jewish people on the planet who were followers of Jesus.
But today, some 300,000 Jews around the world are followers of Jesus. And millions of Jews are searching for the Messiah and thus reading the Hebrew prophecies, and comparing them with the writings of the New Testament, and trying to decide whether Jesus really is the Messiah we have desperately longed for over so many centuries.
Today, on Yom Kippur, you can watch short videos of Jewish people explaining how they met the Messiah.
More than 10 million people have watched these videos just in the past few months.
Remarkably, more than 900,000 Hebrew speakers have watched the Hebrew-language versions of these videos in just the past four months. Given that there are only about 7 million Hebrew speakers in the world today, this means that nearly 1 in 7 of them have recently watched videos by Israeli Jews explaining how they came to discover that Yeshua is our Messiah.
The website is http://www.imetmessiah.com. Please visit, watch the videos, share them with family and friends, think about them and discuss them. And then I encourage you to humbly pray to God and ask Him to show you whether Jesus — Yeshua — is, in fact, the Anointed One who came to rescue and redeem us and atone for our sins and write our names in the Book of Life.
It is my earnest hope you will discover — or rediscover — Jesus for yourself this Yom Kippur and the days that follow. I’m praying for you to find His amazing love, grace and forgiveness, and the hope and joy that only He can give us.
May the God of Israel and His Anointed One bless you and your family beyond what you can hope for, dream of, or imagine.

Keep Going!

August 29, 2015

  

“When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God which effectively works in you who believe” 1Thess2:13

It has been my experience that if I believe in the power and Divine source of God’s Word, entry is made into my heart for the effective working of the truth proclaimed.  If it is only man’s word, and debatable, it’s truths may bounce off the walls of my heart or become hidden in the recesses of my thought but never bear much fruit until there is a cultivation of faith.  The devil does all he can to cause us to question it, and I believe it is for this reason mentioned.
This seems to be in line with the way the living Word of God works.  God proclaimed a promised land for Israel but they needed to walk by faith to receive that promise.  They had to let His Word overcome their fears or else the promised land still remained out of their reach and as impossible to conquer as a mighty fortress.
Their is a promised land for the believer.  It is Spirit filled and full of power and victory!  It is found in Christ yet very real in this world.  The entry is the heart of faith but the fruit is a victorious life.  It is discovered by the Spirit, yet the result is the defeat of very real powers and principalities; the battle is spiritual, the life is physical, and His Word is the sword of the Spirit!
It is possible to know Gods Word is His own, read it often, and forget it’s daily, powerful, effective working.  Energeo is the word translated “effective”.  It’s where we get our word energize, and the meaning behind battery company “energizer”.  It means to put forth power.  When I believe this I cannot help but to pick it up often and daily for God Himself makes it alive in my heart.  The Word of God puts forth the power of God for those who believe.

Church Camp This Weekend!

August 18, 2015

Every time you open Scripture it is a blast from the past – an ancient Word, with a powerful impact on today!  This weekend, Aug 21-23, at Whispering Pines Bible Camp, we’re going to dive into Rev2-3, talk real and raw about how we relate to the Holy Spirit and our world today. 

The world we’re living in increasingly seems crazy and almost surreal. But Jesus gave us a mission & promise:

Acts 1:8 “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem…Judea…Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The word power is dunamis in the greek. That’s where we get our word dynamite from! Don’t misunderstand, dynamite came later, after Jesus used it; dunamis simply means POWER. But in naming the explosion that happens when dynamite is lit, “dunamis” describes it. Dunamis is also the word Jesus chose to describe the impact the Spirit has on a Christian! And was God’s promise true? 

Acts 2 says Yes. They were filled! Just as promised, we witness in Acts. The church grew through disheartened, discouraged and powerless disciples!

Does it seem like you have heard that promise too many times, with little result?

Maybe it was just for the early church…help them get started? 

Some of us have had great moments, but it didn’t seem to last.  

You may ask, “Do I have it? Did I ever have it? Do I believe it?”  

Please be in prayer for this weekend.  If you can’t come for the whole weekend plan to join us Sunday for an 11am service, BBQ, beach volleyball and enjoying the lake to follow!

Directions/map here