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The Greatest Sacrifice

By Sue

In the past few weeks, we have heard about the sacrifices made by our military and law enforcement. Indeed, they have sacrificed much for our freedoms and safety. Many have given the ultimate sacrifice—their lives. We should be very grateful!

Today, I am pondering the sacrifice that we hear little about in these times. This is the greatest sacrifice given to mankind—the sacrifice of God the Father and Jesus, His only Son!

God sacrificed His Son when He planned from the beginning of time to send His one and only Son from Heaven to earth. I think of Hannah finally giving birth to Samuel after waiting a long time to bear a child. She sacrificed time and pleasure with her son by surrendering him back to the Lord as a thank offering to be used for His service. This is a foreshadow of what Father God did. He relinquished His fellowship with His only Son to send Him to earth so that ultimately we could be able to, in turn, have fellowship with both Father and Son.

Jesus also sacrificed greatly! He left the Presence of His Father to come to earth. While walking here, He did not have a place to lay His head; He was rejected and despised by His brethren, denied by those He poured His life’s message into for three years, and eventually was beaten and cruelly placed upon a cross for our sins! He did not consider Himself to be equal to God, but emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men. He then humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:6-8)

Consider this! Would you willingly give your only child to send him to a place knowing he would be abused, hated, and rejected by those around him—to be innocently accused and sentenced to death! And for what purpose? So that each one of us could be forgiven of our sins and receive eternal life, and live a life of peace, joy, and hope while on earth.

I will be forever grateful for the greatest sacrifice given. If you have never considered this sacrifice, I would implore you to do so now! Today is the day of salvation—there may not be a tomorrow! Invite Jesus to be Savior and Lord of your life. He gave His all for you!

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

Bill

Do Not Listen!

Do not listen to the voices of hate! Why not? Because God will always get the last word!

God created the nations — ALL of mankind. He created every race and nationality. If you hate or even dislike someone because of their race, country of origin, even creed, you have a problem with God!

He hates any actions of His creation that do not align with His instructions in His word. However, He loves every individual and commands us to love them as we love ourselves.

So, again, I encourage all of us, myself included, to ignore the voices of hate that swirl around us and focus on loving and praying for tgem. Pray that their actions, beliefs, and/or hate will change to align with His instructions. Most importantly, pray that, if they do not know Yeshua as their savior, they will repent and turn to Him. And if they claim Him but have strayed from His Word, that they will repent and return to the Truth.

If you are reading this and need to repent of your hateful words or actions, and/or need to accept Him as your savior, I encourage you to do so right now. Simply tell Him that you repent of, are really sorry for your actions, and that you give Him control of your life.

If you make this decision, please let me know by replying to this post.

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

Bill

It’s Time to Decide

The following Lighthouse Network Devotion from April 24, 2021 is shared with permission.

On What Do You Rely?
Accomplishments and Failures … or Jesus?

Transformational Thought

Wouldn’t you love to have a rewind button for your life? Think about it. What if you had the power to go back and change a few events in your life? The chance to correct a decision that moved your life down a wrong or painful path. The chance to achieve the peace and fulfillment that is just out of your grasp.

We’ve all done things we wish we could take back. Maybe we’ve lived a sinful lifestyle, been selfish and unkind, made parenting mistakes, said hurtful things to a loved one, or just experienced a lot of failure in life. Maybe we still struggle with relationships, anxieties, guilt, shame, and “what ifs.” On the other hand, maybe we’ve lived a pretty good life and achieved a high level of success. In fact, we really like defining ourselves by our victories. We like feeling satisfied about what we’ve done. The praise and admiration of others energizes us. Maybe we really love helping others.

But you know what? Our accomplishments aren’t really that impressive to God. He sees our hearts. He knows that they are not always pure. Praise God that He doesn’t define us by what we’ve done … regardless of how good or bad it’s been. He judges us by whether we accept what Christ did for us. He knows we need Jesus. But we need to know that, too. 

I don’t know why Jesus gets such a bad rap or is so hated, but that’s another Devo. Jesus died on the cross so that the penalty for sin could be paid and our sins could be forgiven. And when we believe and accept the sacrifice he made for us, we are cleansed. Then God sees us as though we had never sinned! Our record is clean. We inherit Christ’s account. And that’s our new identity … a follower of Christ, clothed in His righteousness. 

You see, we know we’ve made mistakes. But, since we’ve done some good things, and we can do even more, we underestimate the big gap between ourselves and HOLINESS. No matter how hard and long we try, we can never, absolutely never, make up the gap between ourselves and God. One zillion (an indescribably large number) good deeds will not fill that gap.

We can’t do enough to earn our way. That’s why we need Jesus. We are defined not by our accomplishments or failures, but by who we are in Christ. All the accomplishments in the world mean nothing when it comes to getting right with God and spending eternity with Him. 

Today, if you are not a fully committed follower of Christ, you can make that decision right now. No matter what your past … no matter how good or bad your behavior … you need Jesus. He loves you and is reaching out to you right now. Do you want to meet Him? Just tell Him that you know you need Him … and that you want to follow Him. Why wouldn’t you want Jesus in your life? He is ready … are you? Whether you turn your life around now, or you are willing to settle for less is your decision, so choose well.

If you are a Christian, rejoice as you did the day you accepted Jesus in your life as your personal Savior. Send this to someone you love who needs Jesus and follow it with a phone call to discuss this blessing. Whether you make Him the Lord of your life, or you continue to exalt yourself as lord is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

My Father and my Lord, I believe that Your Son died for my sins. Please forgive me for all my past. I’m ready for a change. I want to follow You … and do life Your way. I know that I cannot undo my past through my own accomplishments. Thanks for sending Your Son to pay the ultimate price, to pay my penalty for me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, who died so that I may have eternity with the only God; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24

The post On What Do You Rely? Accomplishments and Failures … or Jesus? appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

If you prayed to accept Yeshua as your Savior and made Him the Lord of your life or rededicated your life to Him, please contact me by replying to or commenting on this post.
Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

A Cool Video for Easter

I saw this video this morning and had to share it. The video was created by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and tells the Passover story in a unique way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Passover Pesach Technion 2016 Breakdance High Tech Haggadah.

As you celebrate Yeshua’s Sacrifice and Resurrection this weekend, remember the Passover story. It belongs to all of us who follow Yeshua (Jesus), not just Jewish people. Without it, we might not have had Yeshua, the Lamb of God, whose ultimate sacrifice and resurrection, enabled us all to become part of God’s family.

Refer to my posts Passover and Easter, What Do Easter and Passover Mean?, and An Appointment with God–Passover.

Have a joyous weekend and

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

Bill

Passover and Easter

Yesterday (3/28/2021), Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) around the world celebrated the first Passover when God Passed-Over the homes of anyone who followed God’s instructions to place the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes. This blood protected their firstborn from death. This plague of death was the final plague before Pharaoh’s heart was finally softened and he allowed the Israelites, the Jews, to leave Egypt as commanded by God.

We often forget that Gentiles participated in the first Passover. It is not improbable that some of them placed the blood on their doors as well. The band of people who left Egypt included many Gentiles who wanted to tag along because: they were already followers of the God of the Israelites; they were impressed by Pharaoh’s defeat; they realized the Egyptian gods were not gods and came to faith in the God of the Israelites; they were non-Israelite slaves who wanted to escape; or because they wanted to follow the crowd (Ex 12:38).

It is appropriate for all followers of Yeshua to celebrate Passover, Jew and Gentile alike. Without the first Passover there would not have been a second, Great Passover—Yeshua’s final Passover before He willingly shed His blood as the most important Passover Lamb in history.

With Good Friday and Easter occurring this coming Friday and Sunday (4/2 & 4/4/21), I want to remind us all that Good Friday and Easter were not added to the calendar until hundreds of years after His crucifixion. They are not the dates of Passover and we should be celebrating His ultimate sacrifice according to God’s schedule. (Refer to: “An Appointment with God–Passover.“)

Besides, Good Friday and Easter have pagan origins, as do many of our “Christian” holidays. I’m not going into those in this post. However, if the Easter season is when the congregation that you attend celebrates His sacrifice, please celebrate that and not the “Easter Bunny.”

When celebrating Yeshua’s last Passover, which we do every time we observe Communion, we must never forget the greatest event of all—His resurrection from death as promised by the prophets. Without His resurrection, the first Passover and His last would have had no meaning! It is His resurrection that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the Son of God, the promised Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of mankind!

He came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand and calling mankind to repentance. Because through His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, and His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of God, every man, woman, and child who repents of their sin (living in opposition to their Father God’s direction) will receive the Holy Spirt to help them in this life and will live in the presence of God their Father for eternity!

If you have never answered Yeshua’s call to repent and acknowledge Him as your Savior, do so now! If you did acknowledge Him at one time but have strayed from Him, repent and renew your relationship with Him now! It is never too early or too late to acknowledge Him. But what better time to do so than when celebrating His reason for coming to earth! God created you to have a relationship with Himself. Repenting and turning control of your life over to Him is not hard or complicated. Simply tell Him in your own words or use words similar to this simple prayer:

Father God, I am sorry for the many ways that I have ignored You and Your instructions. I thank You that because of Yeshua’s sacrifice and resurrection I have Your forgiveness. I give You my life. I will allow You to guide me as a member of Your family. Thank you, Father. Amen

After praying to give your life to Yeshua, or to rededicate it to Him, get a Bible and begin reading it daily. Start with the New Testament Book of John followed by the Book of Acts. Start talking to Him daily like you talk with a good friend (that’s called prayer). If you don’t have a place to worship, find one that teaches the full truth of the Bible. Among other things, that means that they teach repentance and honor the Jewish people as God’s chosen people.

Also, please contact me through my blog site and tell me of your decision to follow Yeshua. That way, I can pray for you. I promise you will not be put on some automated email list—a least not unless you subscribe to my blogJ)

May God richly bless you as we walk together as members of His family.

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

Bill

Without a Doubt!

From my journal, March 6, 2021

Oh Lord may we know without a doubt that You are God! (Ezek. 36:35). We, Your followers, call You God, but how many of us really take that as fact? How many, myself included, really know beyond any shadow of a doubt that You are God, the living God? We may proclaim it, but do we really live it?

Beyond Your followers, the rest of mankind must see and know that You are God—the only God! As I originally wrote that last sentence, I sensed Him saying “It isn’t quite time, but it will be soon.” Lord, let it be so. May all Your followers not only proclaim that You are God in word but in deed as well. May You also reveal Yourself to all mankind in no uncertain terms!

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

Bill

Got Troubles?

In Matthew 6:34b Yeshua says that “Today has enough trouble of its own.” We see trouble in our own lives, in the lives of family and friends, or our nation. In Matt 6:34a, Yeshua tells us not to worry about what we will eat, drink, wear. This includes the many other troubles we encounter as well. So, what’s the solution?

The solution is found in the verse before, Matt 6:33: “Seek the Kingdom of God* and His righteousness.**” But, how do we do that? By just being a good person? No, it’s more than that. First, it’s accepting Yeshua as Savior. It’s allowing Him to be the ruler (Lord) of your life. It is in following His commands—living according to them, making Him the focus of our life above everything else.

Does this mean that you and I will never have any problems? No, Yeshua never promised that. He said that we would have tribulations (trials, distress, frustration) in this world. (John 16:33; Acts 14:22) However, He will see us through them (John 16:33; Rom 8:35; Rom 12:12) and will use them to help us grow in our knowledge and faith in Him if we allow Him to do so.

Life’s troubles can also be called “life’s storms”. The Stepping Stones devotion for 2/20-21/2021, “Be Careful and Don’t Be a Storm-Chaser?” talks about life’s storms. I think you will find it enlightening and encouraging. I will post it on this blog on 2/23/2021 at which time this link will become active.

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

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*The Kingdom of God is the coming time when Messiah Yeshua rules and to which all His followers belong.
**Righteousness is living a life of obedience to God (Gen 6:22). God makes the rules that define morality. Sin is breaking God’s rules. Righteousness is the opposite of sin.

He Shall Reign!

We sang “He Shall Reign” by Paul Wilbur in our 2.20.21 Shabbat service. I’ve heard this song many times, but what struck me this morning is the word shall. The song doesn’t say will, it says shall!

Shall is a legal word, used in legal regulations to express something mandatory. It is also used to express what is inevitable, determined, or absolute—it will happen without fail. Though usage in the English language varies, this usually has more force than the word will, which carries more of a meaning of desire, choice, or willingness, though it can express determination. However, although I’m not a lawyer, I think that you will find that shall is used in legal documents as opposed to will because it has a stronger meaning.

Regardless of which word you use, the point is that He, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of Jew and Gentile alike, will one day reign over the entire earth. This is promised by God in Scripture: Matt 16:28; 19:14; 25:34; Mark 9:1; 11:10; 1 Cor 15:24; Rev 12:10 and others. 

So, who will be part of this Kingdom? Everyone who is a member of God’s family! Who is that? Everyone who has proclaimed that He is their Savior and who has made Him the Lord of their life!

When will He reign? When Father God says it is time for Him to do so. While Scripture doesn’t give us an exact time, I believe that it is closer than we may think. I don’t say that because of all the problems we see on earth today. There are always problems on earth. We just may not be as aware of them as we are now. But when isn’t important because you must be adopted into God’s family while you are alive here on earth.

So, are you a member of His family? Have you acknowledged Him as your Savior? That was the primary purpose that He came to proclaim the coming of His Kingdom, died on a cross, and was resurrected.

If you are a member of His family, you can rejoice today, and every day, that He is going to reign in the not-to-distance future, maybe in your lifetime!

If you are not a member of his family, you can be adopted today, right now! Simply tell Him that you are sorry for disobeying His instructions (sin), that you repent (turn around, change your direction), and want to be adopted into His family. And He will do it! He will immediately place His Holy Spirit inside of you to guide you as you study His instructions (the Bible) and allow Him to guide your life, instead of trying to guide it yourself. Does this take away your free will, your ability to do whatever you want? No, it doesn’t, but it takes away the real desire to do so.

When you do pray and ask Him into your life, please let me know by commenting on this post. There are no strings, I am not a ministry that is going to ask you for money, but I will pray for and with you as you start your fantastic journey.

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

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

Psalm 140-141 For Today

In the past, when I have read Psalms such as Ps 140 and 141, I’ve asked myself, “Self, what does this have to do with you? It’s good to see David’s struggles and groanings as he sought the Lord’s protection, but they don’t apply to me.  I don’t have armies or evil men chasing me!” Or do I?

Actually, all Believers in Yeshua do! This hit me between the eyes this morning during my devotions. In Ps 140, David is asking for protection from wicked and violent men. At this time in history, we in the USA have evil and wicked men and women who plan to harm us. They spend their time planning and stirring up conflict (Ps 140:1-2). These people are inside and outside of our government. I submit that they have fallen under the spell of the antichrist spirit. Not the antichrist himself, but a spirit that is anti-God. This spirit wants to suppress Yeshua-followers and destroy America as it was originally founded to be–a nation that honors the Creator of the Universe.

These people may believe that what they are trying to accomplish is best. But they are blinded by their lust for power and control. How do we know that they have sold out to the anti-Christ spirit, even if unwittingly? Because they have announced plans to take action and implement laws and practices that are in direct opposition to the Word of God. These people are not just inside our government. Some of them may live next door to you. Your neighbor(s) may not be in “power,” so to speak, but they support the actions of those who are, or who think that they are, but we know that HaShem is really in control.

Now, I am confident that HaShem will protect His people, but let’s stop and pray together with David:

Father, we ask that You will not let these people have their way (Ps 140-6-9).  However, Father, we cannot ask with David that You throw them into the literal fire and into bottomless pits from which they cannot escape (Ps 140:10-11). Instead, we ask that You do whatever is necessary to thwart their plans. I also ask that, in the process, they will truly find Yeshua as Savior, give Him control of their lives, turn from their wicked, revengeful ways, and become instruments of healing in our land.

Father, we must also ask You to open the eyes and hearts of many true Yeshua-followers who are not responding in love to either their fellow believers or to those who plan to harm us and our country. Apparently, they have forgotten Yeshua’s command to love their neighbors as themselves because they are striking out verbally and physically in anger and revenge. If I have been guilty, I repent of my sin and pray that they will also repent of their sin. Help all of us to stand and act peacefully but boldly in love for Right. With Your help, mercy, and grace, this country will be turned back onto the correct path. Let all of us who call upon the name of Yeshua (that’s you and me) put Him first above even our political alliances.

Father, we echo David’s cry in Ps 141 and ask You to accept our prayers, guard our mouths, and give us the clarity of thought as only You can. May only Your words come out of our mouths and may we not have evil desires or respond in kind to those who desire to harm us. We desire that our words and actions will be a witness against their plans (Ps 141:5). Please provide Your protection from their snares (Ps 141:9). May we never surrender to them but demonstrate Your love rather than succumbing to their ways and tactics.

In the name of Yeshua, we pray.

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

Bill

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