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Who Are You Leaning On?

We all lean on something or someone. Leaning is all about trust. Who or what are you trusting? Today’s Lighthouse Network devotional addresses that very subject. I share it with permission.

Lean Away From Yourself … Then Lean On God

February 19, 2021

Transformational Thought

The Music Man is a famous Broadway musical from the ’50s which was made into a fun movie that is one of my all-time favorites. The setting is River City, Iowa, perfect small-town USA. Into that Garden of Eden rolls Harold Hill, an infamous flim-flam con-man who fabricates “Trouble with a capital T,” that is corrupting the youth and singing his famous song, “Ya Got Trouble.” Then he cons the residents into buying a pricey solution. It’s a great movie to watch with the kids, especially if you have one with a lisp as I did as a 5-year-old Ron Howard played the little boy with a lisp.

Listen up for today’s warning: trouble is all around us in today’s society as we’ve been reminded by the realities of Hurricane Sandy, the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, ISIS, terrible murders and abuses on a daily basis in our own states and the atrocities in every nightly news broadcast. [As well as the unBiblical actions of our government, antisemitism, racism, etc.] Trouble often doesn’t come from outside the home, but usually from our own heart and mind. 

Temptation is just around the corner and we are either running towards trouble or away from it. In which direction are you heading? Which way are you leaning? In today’s scripture, Solomon gives us two options regarding trust: God or our own understanding. God is calling us to lean away from the conventional wisdom of self-reliance to find happiness or pain relief. He wants us to lean on (or trust) His wisdom. God wants us to acknowledge His ultimate wisdom and trust Him in every area of our lives.

What should I do about this relationship? Which job should I seek? How will I make the mortgage payment this month? How can I help my daughter? Should I confront that problem or wait? What do I do about this decision? Do I look at that cleavage? Do I eat that extra _____? No matter what challenge or circumstance you are facing, God wants to help. But you have a choice to make. Are you going to lean on your own understanding … or are you going to trust God?

Satan is always playing with our heads, wanting us to build our houses on his sandy foundation. We also wrestle with our own massive inventory of hurts, letdowns, and frustrations. We have unhealed wounds leftover from times when we did trust others only to be let down. All that scar tissue from the past interferes with our willingness to trust and be vulnerable again with others. The message society tries to drive home is, “You can only rely on and trust yourself.”

Leaning is all about trust. When you lean against a wall, you trust that the wall won’t collapse … that it will support your weight. If you are going to lean on God, you need to be ready to trust Him fully. So interview Him. Is He wise enough to help you? Is He interested in helping you? Does He understand your situation? Does He know what is really best for you and for everyone involved? Is His timing fast enough for your agenda? Does He love you? Is He willing to sacrifice for your growth?

If you are willing to study the Scriptures with an open heart and mind, you will soon discover that the answer to all these questions is a resounding and powerful “YES.” God loves you with a love so great that you can’t begin to fathom it. His wisdom knows no bounds. Lean away from self-reliance and stop trying to do it all yourself. Begin leaning on God today. If not God, then who is worthy and able to sustain you during the storms of your life? Certainly not you!

Today, compare your track record to God’s. No contest. Then, look at an area in which you struggle. Write down how you are leaning on your own understanding. Then write down God’s instruction for that issue. Make an effort today to trust and follow God’s instruction and direction and put aside your own. Whether you lean on God and stay standing upright or you lean on yourself and this world and fall on your face is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

O Almighty God, I do want to trust You so that I can truly lean on You. Help me to spend time with the Scriptures and teach me to learn how they apply to me. Help me understand how the scars from my past still interfere with my willingness to be fully vulnerable to You and Your purpose, direction, and plan for my life. I ask for the courage to live with the uncertainty and concern that I feel when I am not in control. Am I ever really in control of my life anyway? Help me to trust You and lean on Your wisdom. I pray in the name of the One I lean toward, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

The post Lean Away From Yourself … Then Lean On God appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Bill

One

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do” is the opening line from a song by Harry Nilsson from 1969.  But, when it comes to News Year’s resolutions, there is only one that you need to make, and that one is not lonely!

To make a resolution is to make a firm, determined decision with intention. You and I can keep this one and not become part of the 80-95% who do not keep their resolutions for even one month. Or part of the 99% who don’t keep them for an entire year. Just think, you and I can become part of the 1%! It may not be the 1% we hear so much about. But it is a better 1% that, if enough of us make and keep this one resolution, we’ll blow the other 1% away.  

We make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to lose weight, to stop a bad or unhealthy habit, to be a better person, to watch less TV, etc. But without the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we won’t be successful for very long. So, I propose that the one best resolution is to “develop the Mind of the Messiah”!  This is a resolution to grow closer to our God and to His Son, Messiah Yeshua, and to desire Him and glorify Him in our behavior. That is a New Year’s resolution that you and I can make and keep. It is one that will benefit us now and in eternity; one that the Holy Spirit will definitely help us keep!

Of course, simply stating it, even daily, won’t make it happen. You must first accept Him as your Savior and the Master of your life, permitting Him to free you from the penalty of your sins. After you do that, or if you already have, invite His Holy Spirit to take control of your life and guide you as you develop and follow a strategy that will bring you closer to Him. This strategy includes reading and studying His Word and talking to Him frequently, not just once per day, though that is a good start.

That is my only resolution for 2021. I hope that you will make it yours as well because He is our only real hope for a better 2021 and beyond!

So, Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2021 be a year during which we all develop more of the Mind of Yeshua. And, regardless of what comes our way, may the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom. (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Did You Hear It?

Did you hear it last weekend?

Will you hear it this weekend in Washington, DC?

You will if you listen carefully.

What will you hear?  You’ll hear the Trumpet of God sounding an alarm and calling America to repentance. This is the Biblical time of year when shofars are sounded. I believe that this year, more than any other, the shofar of God is being sounded to wake all of us in America up! It is a warning of imminent danger. He is calling American citizens and all who live within our shores to wake up before it is too late! I am confident that He loves America. Otherwise, we would never have become the world power that we have been. But we have strayed far from what made us great as a nation and as a society. We are being called to stop sliding down the slippery slope.

I believe that God is not done with America yet. He is calling us, all of us, including followers of Yeshua, to wake up before it is too late—for our own souls and the soul of our nation! We need to join with those in Washington, DC this Saturday, and raise our voices, calling out to God in repentance and asking for mercy on our land. But not stop there; we each need to seek God for how we can be part of the solution instead of just pointing our fingers at the problem.

Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
And, may He extend His Grace to our great country!

Bill

An Appointment with God—Rosh HaShanah

For an overview of God’s Appointed Times, see An Appointment with God—God’s Appointed Times. This post will introduce you to Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah.

Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah

Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah is the first of the fall appointments. This year, it was celebrated starting at sundown on Fri, Sept. 18, 2020, through sundown Sept 19, which corresponds to the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri as designated in Lev. 23:24 and Num. 29:1-2. (The Biblical day runs from sundown to sundown, not midnight to midnight.)

Yom Teruah (pronounced yohm te-ROO-ah) means “the day of sounding” as it is designated in Leviticus or “Festival of Trumpets.” Rosh HaShanah (pronounced rohsh hash-shah-NAH) means “head of the year.” Huh, head of the year should be in the 1st month, not the 7th, shouldn’t it? That would be logical. However, the rabbis of old gave such significance to this special Shabbat (Sabbath – all God’s appointed times are Shabbats) that they eventually considered it the start of the spiritual new year. In fact, the Hebrew calendar year number changes on Rosh Hashanah, not on the 1st day of the 1st month, Nissan, which occurs in the spring. In addition, Yom Teruah occurs at the end of the harvest period that ends in the fall, which the Torah calls tzeit ha’shanah, or the “end of the year” (Ex 23:16). This suggests the start of a coming new year. So, that is how it came to be called Rosh Hashanah.

Purpose

The purpose of Yom Teruah is summed up in the words “regathering and repentance.” It is a day to take stock of our spiritual condition and make any necessary changes to ensure that our lives will be pleasing to God in the coming year. It is considered so important that the 40 days starting with the first of the previous month (Elul) through Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri is considered a time of spiritual preparation. This is based on a belief by the Rabbis that on the first of Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the second set of the Tablets of the Law and that he descended on Yom Kippur.

In Jewish tradition, the Shofar (ram’s horn) is blown calling all to return to the Lord in repentance. The ten days between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are called the Ten Days of Awe or Ten Days of Repentance. This is a period of intense prayer, self-examination, and repentance, which culminates on the fast day of Yom Kippur. Of course, as followers of Yeshua, we know that we do not, in fact cannot, earn God’s forgiveness. He freely provides salvation and forgiveness if we repent (Eph. 2:8-9). But, as we’ll see when we discuss Yom Kippur, our sins always require payment, but Yeshua paid the debt for us. However, Yom Teruah should still remind us of the need to repent of our sins—though we have been forgiven, we are still to be aware of the sins we commit and repent of them.  Of course, we don’t need to wait until Yom Teruah to do so. We should repent of sin as soon as we become aware of it. But, Yom Teruah is a good time for believers to take an accounting of their lives and, if needed, renew their relationship with their Lord and Savior, the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.

The blowing of the shofar reminds us of an incident in Gen 22. At God’s instruction, Abraham took his grown son to be sacrificed. God provided a ram caught in a thicket by its horns (shofars, as it were) as a substitution—an indication of the future substitution of Yeshua, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

Customs

Yom Teruah is a time of celebration. The special customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include: the sounding of the shofar (the blowing of the ram’s horn is prophetic of the return of Yeshua), using round challah (symbolizes the completeness of the year), eating apples and honey and other sweet foods to initiate the start of a sweet new year, and observing the service of Tashlich.

Tashlich is a relatively recent addition to Jewish practice. While there is evidence of similar practices as early as the 1st century CE, the form we see today probably started around the 16th century. The word derives from Micah 7:18-20 and means to “cast away” or “cast off.” It involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or other food into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too, our sins are symbolically carried away. For believers, the living water represents Yeshua who has already cast our sins away. However, it is an opportunity for believers to acknowledge that He has done so in a symbolic manner. I have performed this “exercise” and found it to be very spiritually meaningful as a visible demonstration of Yeshua carrying my sins away.

Prophetic Fulfillment

Finally, all of the biblical Holy Days have prophetic fulfillment. While the historical emphasis of Yom Teruah is repentance, the prophetic looks to the future day when the Messiah will gather His flock into the Messianic Kingdom. Rosh Hashanah is a perfect picture of the regathering of believers and the Jewish believing remnant by Yeshua at His second coming. (Refer to Isa. 27:12-13; Matt. 24:31; Eph. 5:14; 1 Thes. 4:16-18; Titus 2:13)

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, An Appointment with God—Yom Kippur. May I suggest subscribing to these posts or following my WordPress page to insure that you do not miss it and other posts? To either follow the page or subscribe to receive an email when they are posted, go to www.WJBsTurn.WordPress.com. Thank you, and…

Until the next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Bill

——————————————-
Sources:
  • Barney Kasdan, “Rosh HaShanah” God’s Appointed Times, Lederer Books, 1993
  • The Chosen People Ministries, “Appointed Times of the Lord” The Chosen People Vol XXVI, Issue 8, September 2020
  • Shani Sorko-Ram Ferguson, “The Fun Commandments,” Moaz Israel Report, September 2020
  • Tashlich: jewishhomela.com/2014/09/19/the-origins-of-tashlich

An Appointment with God

This post begins a series of posts on the God’s Appointed Times.

God’s Appointed Times

God’s Appointed Times are special annual appointments that He established with His people. These appointed times are also called Feasts of the Lord. Notice that I have not called them “the Jewish Feasts”. They are God’s feasts, though He instructed the Jewish people to observe them because the Jewish people were and are today His chosen people. God established these feasts/holidays in Lev. 23.

These biblical Holy Days teach us about the nature of God and His plan for mankind. God established them for the Jewish people (Israel) and “grafted-in” believers (Rom 11:17, 19, 23). They teach, in a practical way, more about Himself and His road to redemption. Each one points to a critical element of His plan of redemption. They are also annual reminders of God’s faithfulness, a reminder that, as the great hymn says, “He is marching on”. Most of God’s appointed times are times of celebration with plenty of food. The main storyline is “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!”

So, if you are a Gentile follower of Yeshua, you may be asking “Can or should believers join in these Biblical Anniversaries?” Is the entire Bible God’s Word? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions that apply to Jews only? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions for followers of Yeshua? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions that apply to all mankind? Yes. But the key answer to your question goes back to what the early Jewish believers decided in the book of Acts regarding Gentile believers (Acts 15:20-31). The answer: yes, you absolutely can; no, you are not required to. This author’s opinion is that we should because they are full of spiritual depth that applies to all followers of Yeshua as well as the Jewish People.

The main appointed times are split into two sets. One set occurs in the spring and one in the fall.

The Fall Appointed Times

The fall appointed times or Holy Days occur in the 7th month on the Hebrew calendar, the month of Tishri, which falls in Sept/Oct on the Gregorian calendar. There are three fall appointed times: Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets/New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

The prophetic meanings of the fall Holy Days are yet to be fulfilled.

The Spring Appointed Times

The spring appointed times are: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Festival of Weeks, Counting the Omer, and Shavuot (First Fruits/Pentecost). They occur over 50 days starting on the 5th of Nissan, month number one of the Hebrew calendar, through the 6th of Sivan (March to June).

The prophetic meanings of the spring Holy Days have been fulfilled according to God’s calendar of events.

An additional Appointed Time that is specified in Lev 23 is Shabbat (Sabbath).

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, An Appointment with God—Rosh Hashanah. May I suggest subscribing to these posts or following my WordPress page to insure that you do not miss it and other posts? To either follow the page or subscribe to receive an email when they are posted, go to www.WJBsTurn.WordPress.com. Thank you, and…

Until the next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Bill

Comfort, Peace, and Protection

Where do we find comfort, peace, and yes, protection today? Considering all the turmoil that is occurring all around us, it may seem elusive—especially, inner peace, inner comfort, and confidence that we are protected.

So, where do we find this comfort, peace, and protection? Not in ourselves and our abilities. Not in our “security blankets” of jobs, bank accounts, or material possessions. Definitely not in our government and politicians. No, we find it where we’ve always found it—in the Creator of the Universe through His Son. He and He alone is our shelter, our strong fortress. His wings protect us like a mother eagle’s wings protect her young. (Ps 61:3-4; Ps 91)

Are you concerned, frustrated, apprehensive because of what is occurring around you today? Focus on Your Savior, Your God, who will shelter you.  If you are a follower of Yeshua (Jesus), look to Him for protection and comfort. If you are not a follower, turn to Him this very moment. He will give you peace that passes all understanding. (Phil 4:7)

Until the next time…“May the LORD bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; May the LORD make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; May the LORD lift up His face toward you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Clickety-Clack Life

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack goes the train down the track. Places to be, stations to see, switches to choose, choices to make.

Ok, so I’m not a poet, but you get the idea. We are on a journey just like a train, just like the Israelites were during the 40 years in the wilderness. Traveling here, staying there. Making stops and then continuing on clickety-clack down the track, making many choices like a train when it encounters a switch enabling it to change tracks.

We all start life the same—we are born. Then there are enumerable stops or stations along the way such as learning to walk, school, rites of passage, careers, marriage, spirituality… and on and on. Our train may stop briefly at some stations and then move quickly on. It may pass some by, not stopping at all as the platform whizzes by. Or, it may stop and stay awhile, like a train on a siding.

In reality, the train analogy breaks down a little because, while a train can follow only one track at a time, our lives can follow several concurrent tracks. We have the track of marriage and family, the track of career, the track of interests/hobbies, etc. We also have the track of our spiritual life, which can be likened to the center rail on some model trains. Our spiritual life, or lack thereof, is the center track of every other track we follow.

But where is our train (my train, your train) headed? Throughout the years, it follows many different tracks, taking many switches, making many choices. Just as switches are the mechanism by which a train changes tracks, our choices determine which track of life we follow and where we end up. Sometimes, we get to choose which track we follow, sometimes the choice is made for us. We all hope that our train is never switched to the wrong track by choice or circumstance. But unfortunately, or fortunately, some do end up on the wrong track. I say unfortunately because we all make wrong choices that we have to live with. I say fortunately because, though the track may seem to be the wrong one at the time, it often proves to be the best one when we reach the next station.

Sometimes, the switch takes us down a sidetrack. These sidings can be good or bad. Some are for rest and rejuvenation, some are for growth, and some are mostly of our choosing and represent fleeting temptations and desires that can damage us spiritually and physically. Some of these sidetracks have a dead end, just like some train sidings. In that case, we have to back up to the switch to resume our travel. But they all work together to make us who we are and to prepare us for the rest of the journey (Rom. 8:28).

When we all reach the end-of-the-line, our train will have one more switch to traverse. That switch is pre-set by one important, life-changing, choice you make during your life – whether to employ Yeshua, the Son of God, as your train engineer (director, manager, Lord). If you chose Him, your switch will be pre-set to take you on the final correct track.  If it is not…

With Him as your train engineer, your train may still go down some tracks that you’d prefer not to travel, but He is always taking you through life to a higher calling (Heb. 11:1-16; 13:14-21; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 Jn. 21:15-17) and He will always ensure that you still end up at the correct destination station.

If you have never accepted Him as your Lord, or need to recommit to following Him, do so now, today, this very moment. Just talk to Him, tell Him that you are sorry for the wrong actions and attitudes in your life (called repentance) and that you want to make Him your train engineer for the rest of your life. Then, get a Bible, start reading, and learn how He wants to direct your train.

Until the next time…May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom. (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

A NEW KIND OF CHRISTIAN LEADER

I agree with what Mario Murillo says in this post (https://mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/a-new-kind-of-christian-leader-3/). I have felt from early-on in this COFID-19 mess that 1) HaShem is trying to get our attention, and 2) that He want all followers of Yeshua to come out of this with new vision and action. I haven’t found mine yet, but I’m seeking. I also believe that denominational and non-denominational Christian churches, Messianic congregations, and other believing assemblies will fall by the wayside if they don’t “do business differently”, which includes being WC (Word/Bible Correct) and not PC (Politically Correct).

Until next time, May HaShem bless and keep you!

Bill

Musings on COVID-19 #2

Musings on COVID-19 #2

Many have been looking to God during this pandemic; will they continue to do so afterward? Or will they slowly turn back away from Him as they slowly return to the old “normal”? We’ve heard testimony from pastors who are seeing a higher number of individuals attending their online services than attended in person. Some of these new attendees may be watching because their home congregation is not doing online services. However, will those who are truly new show up when in-person services are permitted again? Will they continue to attend online, if the congregation they are watching continues online services in conjunction with in-person services?

Only time will tell. I hope and pray that I am wrong, but my “Doubting-Thomas” side says, “No, they will disappear into the woodwork until another crisis occurs”. My question for them is “what if you don’t have the opportunity to turn to God before the next crisis occurs nationally or personally and it costs you your life? Don’t say that it isn’t possible. Unfortunately, many in this world pass suddenly who have said, “Tomorrow I’ll commit to Jesus.” I am confident that many who died from COVID-19, died without the Lord as their Savior because they delayed the decision, fully expecting to recover. Besides, it isn’t just about being His disciple when you pass; it is also about having Him in your life today, to help you through crises in your life, major and minor.

If you are reading this and you have never made a decision to accept Jesus as your Savior, or if you made such a decision once but have grown cold towards Him, don’t delay another moment. It is simple, you don’t have to say or do anything special. You only need to tell Him, in your own words, that you are sorry for how you have lived, how you have ignored Him (that is called “repentance”), and that you accept Him as your Savior and want to make Him the Lord of your life. Then, start reading your Bible, find a congregation that supports your decision, and start learning how He wants you to live. When you make this decision to turn your life over to Jesus, or if you even have any questions, contact me by commenting on this post via my blog site. Provide your contact information and I will get in touch. Your personal information will be kept confidential.

Until the next time…“May the LORD bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; May the LORD make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; May the LORD lift up His face toward you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

 

HaShem Is In Control

HaShem Is In Control

Baruch HaShem (Praise God) on this quiet Sunday morning. I’m sitting on my back porch listening to the rainwater drip from the trees. Thanks be to HaShem that the forecast heavy rain and possible hail did not materialize last night—at least not in this part of Cary, NC. I pray that is true where you are as well.

Today promises to be a beautiful day, but then every day is beautiful in Yeshua. Every day is beautiful because HaShem, our Heavenly Father, created it all. No, He doesn’t create the bad; I don’t believe that for a moment. However, as the proverbial saying goes, “There is a silver lining in every cloud.” Our Father uses every situation, every circumstance in our lives for our good—from His perspective.

The other day, after listening to the news, I blurted out to the Lord, “Lord, this must end!” Immediately, the thought came back, “But I’m not done yet!” I hope and pray that it was just my imagination. However, though I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, I do have a feeling that He is not done using COVID-19 for His purposes. I am confident that He wants to get our attention. He is calling His people, all mankind, to Himself. He is saying, “Wake up! The time is near! Believer and unbeliever alike, it is time to repent and turn to Me because the Kingdom of Heaven is near. I am the source of your healing from COVID-19, from all of your sickness and disease, and will deliver you from your idols. Make Me first in everything! In your personal lives, in your work, in your government, in your politics. I must be first! I do not promise a life of ease, but I will not give you more than you can bear. I love you. I created you, every one of you! Turn to Me, your Salvation.”

Father, draw us close, touch us, anoint us with Your Spirit, we long to see You, Lord! We love the feel of Your arms around us.

If He is not your Savior and/or the Lord of your life, make Him so today!

Until the next time…“May the LORD bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; May the LORD make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; May the LORD lift up His face toward you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

 

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