Friday, February 27, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Follow Me

[This is the second in a series of articles about The Commands of Jesus.]

As a guy, I don't like to stop and ask for directions when I'm lost. I'd rather figure things out on my own. That usually takes a little time. More time than my wife is willing to spend, should she be in the car with me.

"Why don't you stop at a gas station!" she'll ask.

I usually reply with something like this. "I know exactly where I'm going. Right over there (points at some unseen destination) . . . Be patient. It's right over the next hill . . . somewhere . .  ."

The modern day GPS unit has taken all the fun out of dead-reckoning driving. It (usually) takes you right where you want to go. But driving by the seat of my pants always gets me to where I'm going. It just takes a little longer. And we get to see new things along the way that we wouldn't otherwise have gotten to see! The truth is though, if I would stop and ask directions from someone who knew the way, I would arrive at my destination a WHOLE lot quicker.

When Jesus was calling his disciples he didn't ask them if they would like to come with Him. He told them!"

"18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” - Matthew 4:18-19

Guess what they did. They obeyed his command. IMMEDIATELY! Verse 20

"20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him." - Matthew 4:20

The Greek words used in this text are "deute opiso mou" which means "come after me", or basically, follow me. But what strikes me most about verse 20 is that they IMMEDIATELY followed Jesus. How many of us can say we dropped everything and followed Jesus when we first came to believe?

Although Jesus was specifically calling his disciples at the time, He really is calling us too. And if you combine this command to follow with the first command Jesus gave us - to repent or "turn around" - it's rather easy to see what Jesus is asking us . . . no . . . telling, us to do. Turn around and come after Him. Repent and follow.

Have you repented and followed Jesus? That's a MAJOR question in the life of a Christian. We are commanded to do this. It's not a half-way thing. If we have not repented . . . if we are not following Jesus in the way we live our lives and in our hearts, then we cannot call ourselves Christians. There is no "half-way" with Jesus. It's all or nothing.

Look, we are all sinners. Yet we all tend to wander off the path once in a while. Okay, DAILY! We're just like a bunch of sheep in need of a shepherd. Jesus IS that shepherd. We need to be FOLLOWING His voice, not our own or anyone else's. We are called to Repent and Follow.

"3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." - Luke 15:3-7

What Keeps You From Following God? - The Skit Guys

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Repent!

[This is the first in a series of articles about The Commands of Jesus.]

When I was in the second or third grade I went shopping with my mom downtown. I saw a shiny nail clipper in the store that came in a really neat leather pouch. So I took it home.

Later that day my mom saw me playing with it and asked me where I had gotten it. I told her. She explained to me that I had done something wrong and that we needed to take it back.

When we got back to the store, the owner loomed over me like a giant as I sheepishly gave him back his nail clipper. That store owner seemed so incredibly tall. Perhaps it was because I was feeling so incredibly low. I had no concept of sin and repentance at that time in my life. But I sure knew that I had done something wrong. To this day I have not forgotten that imposing father-figure looming over me. A good image to remember when we do things that are contrary to the will of God.

After Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil He began His teaching ministry. And what was the first thing He taught? Repentance.

"From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent. For the kingdom of heaven has come near." - Matthew 4:17

So what is repentance?

The Greeks used to word metanoia (met-an'-oy-ah) back in Jesus' day which meant a change of mind or a change in a man's heart. If Jesus felt we needed to repent, what were we doing that we needed to repent of? Well, reading the Bible can fill us in on the things we need to repent of - our sins.

So what is sin? It is anything contrary to the will of God. There are many examples of sin in the Bible. Galatians 5 has a short list.

"19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions   21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." - Galatians 5:19-21

Sexual immorality is a big one these days but it is a sin that has ALWAYS been with us. Adultery, fornication (sex outside of marriage), homosexuality, lust, even thinking impure thoughts about someone else is a sin. We must repent of these things is we are to please God.

Impurity. Have you ever heard of a purity ring. Usually girl wear these to remind themselves of a promise made not to have sex before marriage. We Christians are to remain pure as well and not have any other gods besides the One True God. More on that later.

Debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures) is usually associated with  sex but it could also be a form of gluttony if we get a sensual desire about the food we eat. Put down the Twinkies and repent!

Idolatry is a MAJOR sin we all are good at. Some people are obsessed with sports, some people love their cars or their job. They spend so much time talking about these things that they often forget about God. NOT good. Repent!

I don't know too many people who are witches but they DO exist. Before you shrug this sin off and think you're pretty safe, think about it. Have you ever used a Ouiga board? Calling on spirits is a form witchcraft. Repent!

Hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, envy - all these are against God's will for our lives. We need to repent of these things whenever they happen to us.

Drunkenness. This is a big one in the state of Wisconsin or on any college campus for that matter. Drinking to excess is against God's will. Drinking, in moderation, is acceptable. But drinking too much is not. A friend of mine lost his daughter at the hands of a drunk driver. Hmm. Drunkenness AND murder. That guy is going straight to hell! Unless, of course, the driver knew Jesus . . . which I doubt. If He truly knew Jesus he wouldn't have been drinking to excess.

Our lives are full of opportunities to sin. I can't make it through the day without stumbling in some way. We should repent of our sins on a daily basis. Repent on an "as they happen" basis. The important thing is that we seek forgiveness from God. We are God's children. We should act like it.

The Birdcage - The Skit Guys

Monday, February 23, 2015

Do You Know Him?

I was listening to the book of John on my way into work this morning when I heard this verse from the Book of John that made me think.

"42 The people said to the woman, “First we believed in Jesus because of what you told us. But now we believe because we heard him ourselves. We know now that he really is the one who will save the world.” - John 4:42

We can hear all about Jesus in this life but until He becomes real to us, until we "hear Him ourselves", he is just a storybook character.

I have been kind of depressed lately and I finally figured out why. I see all these young people in my life, lives scrolling by on Facebook, and I wonder if they really have heard from Jesus at all.  So many people are hurting. So many young people don't really know Jesus. Oh, they've heard of Him. They know who He is. But I am not convinced they really KNOW Him judging by the fruit, or lack of it, I see in their lives. But who am I to talk?

This has been my prayer, that people would come to know Jesus. It is my prayer that people would hear from others about Him but then would investigate on their own . . . hear from Him in the Bible or see Him working in their lives through the actions and love of other believers.

If you don't KNOW Him I pray that you would seek Jesus today. Consider what He has to say. Consider the love He has to offer. You and I are just a bunch of humans, incapable of living a sinless life. Unfortunately, a sinless life is what it takes to get us into heaven. We simply have no hope aside from Christ.

The penalty we all would have to pay has been paid already! Our death sentence for the sins we have committed has been commuted - paid in full - by Jesus dying on the cross in our place. Won't you consider thanking Him for that? Please read the Book of John and hear His words for yourself. Then ask someone about Him. Ask a pastor. Ask someone who acts like a Christian. Go to a church and ask someone there.

A life without Jesus, a life without God at the center of it, is really no life at all. Please, talk with someone today. Message me here if you'd like or on Facebook. He is "the way, the truth and the life." Consider His teachings and then decide for yourself. He saved MY life. He has promised to do the same for ALL who seek Him.

“7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8

The Book of John

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"You've Been Living In A Dream World, Neo"

I can't help but think about the movie The Matrix these days. I watch all of the Facebook posts scrolling down the screen like all those green characters on Tank's monitor. I think about the world in which we live and how all the people in it are SO much like all of the "unplugged" people in that movie. And just like Neo, we've all been living in a dream world.

What Is Real - The Matrix

So what has happened to us? Why are we so worldly? What has caused us to think that WE are the most important person in our lives? We might as well change our names to Neo because we have been living in a dream world.

"2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2

Take a look at our school system for example. It has evolved into something "other-worldly" - teaching our children what The Establishment thinks is right rather than what our children's parents deem to be important. Is it any wonder our kids emerge from a dozen years of indoctrination with a slightly skewed point of view? And we send them into that pagan system willingly! Almost encouragingly.

The Importance Of A Christian Education In Discipleship - Voddie Baucham & R.C. Sproul

There was a time in this country when The Bible was read in school but we don't do that anymore. Why? Because God has been systematically removed from our schools . . . and our children. It may sound a little paranoid, like some grand conspiracy theory, but it IS real and this indoctrination IS happening.

Indoctrination - The Movie

I encourage you to take a step back and look at the world in which you live. What do you do in it? Do you have a job? Do you go to school? What do you do with your time off? What are you doing in your spare time? Make a list if you'd like. Now take a look at the items on your list and ask yourself, "How are each of these things honoring to God?" My guess is that not many will pass that test. Same with MY list. We are all living in a world made up of our own interests.

We must become more like Christ and less like the world in which we live. But how? "Take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must eliminate the ungodly parts of our lives and "seek first His Kingdom" (Matthew 6:33). We must replace every sinful thought, every selfish action with God-honoring, sacrificial, pure, humble obedience.

A few years ago I checked my spiritual inventory and found myself lacking in several areas - prayer, reading . . . well, just about every area of my spiritual life to be honest. So I made some changes. I began eliminating things in my life that did not reflect the character of Christ. I turned off the TV and began to read instead. I began to pray each day with a friend at work. I began volunteering in the community. I am still nowhere near where I need to be but I have taken a few steps . . . and my relationship with Jesus has improved. So have my earthly relationships.

Most people I know are still living in "the world." Many have a secular world view. So how do we change that? We can't. But God can.  The only way out of The Matrix is is to get unplugged from this world by a saving faith in Christ. We need to keep praying, keep reading and studying, and keep loving all we encounter each time we venture back into the jungle.

"Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God." - 1 Peter 4:2

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When Is Enough Enough?

Men lined up on a beach. Each one dressed in orange - a striking contrast to their captors, shrouded in black, knife blades glistening in the sunlight. DO yourself a favor. Do NOT search Google Images using the word "beheadings". The images will never leave your brain. It's real people. Men, women and children in this world are being killed because of their faith.

Mini rant here: When is this country going to stand up and defend religious liberty? When ISIS burned the Jordanian pilot alive there was much public outcry but we took no action. Jordan did. Good for them. They acted against a very real threat to them. But religious liberty has taken a vacation from most of the seemingly apathetic world and it is thinking about leaving US if we don't make a stand.

We still have religious liberty here in our country . .. at least for now, but it's only a matter of time before this right is taken away from us. Do you think I'm kidding? Do you think I am being an alarmist? Take a look at Europe. It's already happening there.

Here is a link to an article penned by the Catholic News Agency. [Note: Removing religious liberty in France has begun happening long before this article was written in 2012]

France's New "Monitoring" Policy

In that article you saw that "The State", France, is now determining which religious groups are mainstream and which are radical. They have a new governmental agency in France now called The Observatory of Secularism. This agency exists to promote secularism in France. They observe "radical groups" and then report to the government, who then decides if these groups should be shut down or not.

This "wonderful" French agency is mainly going after Islamic terrorists, but of course they don't want to single out an individual group so they are proposing to eliminate ALL religious groups. Religious Liberty = GONE!

And just who are these "religious extremists" that France thinks are simply too radical? Radical Islamists? Yes. One can easily understand that given all the beheadings and burning people alive. But check out these other "radical" groups that are also on France's list of extremists.
  • Creatonists
  • The Catholic Church
  • Orthodox Jews
France has decided to weed out the extremists IT feels are unworthy by banning ALL religious groups. Are you ready to have your religious liberty taken away from you? Not me. That's the reason this country was founded!

Open up your Bibles. Let's see what Jesus thinks we should do about removing "the weeds" from our fields?

"24 Then Jesus used another story to teach them. Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like a man who planted good seed in his field. 25 That night, while everyone was asleep, the man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and then left. 26 Later, the wheat grew, and heads of grain grew on the plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. 27 Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’

28 “The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’

“The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’

29 “He answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. 30 Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At the harvest time I will tell the workers this: First, gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’” - Matthew 13:24-30

Am I saying ISIS should be left alone to practice their version or "religion"? No. I am saying we shouldn't stop ANY religious group from "meeting." We should, however, stop them from KILLING.

Most religions are peaceful. Some are not. In the end, God will decide which belief system is right and which ones don't measure up. Are you sure of your beliefs? Dead sure?

Jesus told us we are to love our enemies. I'd say that even includes while they are holding a knife to our throats. And we are to forgive them, even if they are burying children alive. We are called as Christians to "love our neighbors" - even those dressed in black holding our brothers and sisters captive because of their faith. Our reward is in heaven, not here. We must pray for ISIS. Pray that they would see Jesus through the lives of those they are killing and that they then would repent. We need to be on our knees for our religious liberty.

"Give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

And finally, there is this from Jesus . . .

"21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times." - Matthew 18:21-22

Saturday, February 14, 2015

We Have Forgotten Our First Love

“‘3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." - Revelation 2:3-5

Jesus wrote those words to the Church in Ephesus. Even though they were living their lives in the name of Jesus they had forgotten something very important - Jesus. It is all too easy to draw comparisons to the churches of today . . . and to ourselves.

As I look around the world I can easily see the same thing happening in His churches today that happened to the churches 2,000 years ago. We have become so distracted with ourselves, or with other "idols", we have lost our first love - Jesus. We CALL ourselves Christians, and I am one, yet we are simply are not ACTING like Christians these days. I would like to explore that sad truth a little bit here today.

What are some of the things we are doing as Christians that would make Jesus want to remove OUR lampstands? What are we doing, or not doing, that would make Jesus think we are forgetting Him?

First we must go back and examine where we came from. Do you remember what it was like when you first met Jesus? What did you do? How did you act? What changed in your life when you first met Him?

I can only speak for myself, really, but I have also been witness to other people who have become believers and what I observed happening in THEIR lives when they first believed. Here is a short list of what I have observed.
  1. We read the Bible more
  2. We went to church/worship more
  3. We prayed more
  4. We repented more
  5. We were more obedient
  6. We were more humble
  7. We were more teachable
I see many Christians today, living double lives, or at least unrepentant ones. Again, I include myself in this group. When I first came to believe I couldn't read enough. I couldn't learn enough. But today, I have a hard time finding the time to read my Bible. Each chapter I read seems like a major accomplishment. Back then, I simply couldn't read and learn enough. How much do YOU read each day? DO you even read . . . everyday? I often fail at this.

Going to church. Has this become routine in your life? When I first believed I couldn't attend church enough. I sometimes went to multiple services each Sunday. I don't do that as often as I once did. "Church" doesn't mean the same thing to me today as it once did. Back when I was young and new in my faith. We walk in the doors in casual dress, we clutch our coffee mugs as we enter the sanctuary. Church has become more about OUR comfort than our repentance. We should be feeling worshipful on Sundays and, I believe, we should be feeling UNcomfortable in our sin.

Prayer was something I use to do every morning. I got up and knelt in the living room and prayed. Today, I just don't have the time to pray. At least that's what it boils down to. I have to get to work. I am grateful to have a friend to pray with each workday morning. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Can we ever pray enough? I think not.

And what about obedience? How are we doing with that? In my opinion, we fail miserably in our obedience. "Yes, I am a Christian. And yes, I am living with my boyfriend." Do you know what Jesus would say to that? My guess is . . . "Hypocrites!" Or perhaps you are living an alternative life style. "Repent and come to me," He would say. Jesus would call us idolators and lovers of self. And He would be right.

I went out to eat with some family members last night, Did we pray? No. Why not? We all profess Christianity. Why didn't we give thanks to God for our food? Good question. I mouthed a prayer in silence but I did not bow my head or close my eyes. Why not? Afraid of what others might think? Hypocrite!

Are you open to learning new things about God? Or do you think you know it all and have heard it all? We need to be more teachable, more humble and more repentant.

Repentance is one of the biggest things we are missing in our faith lives today. We go to church and are told to make ourselves "comfortable" and to "worship as you please." Instead, shouldn't we be worshiping in a way that pleases God? Does God want us to be comfortable as we worship? I don't think so. I think He's rather see us fall on our faces.

Today is Valentine's Day. Spend some time with your first love. He loves you and misses you. Tell Him that you love Him . . . as long as it is called today.

Love Knows No End - Hillsong

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Stinking Bag of Maggots

It's a Friday night as I write this and I am sitting in the house all alone. No television. Only the lovely high-pitched sounds of tinnitus ringing in my aging ears. Other than that, all's quiet.

I didn't have a very good day at work on Thursday. Nothing to do with work. It had everything to do with my faith. Nothing really changed regarding God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The change was within me.

Ones realization of brokenness can, and should be, very humbling. Recognizing my depravity at a new level had a very sobering effect on me that day as I came to realize that I have been failing my God and King . . . in my opinion.

Perhaps "failing" is too hard a word, but that's what it felt like to me. It's probably more like I wasn't committing myself enough. I wasn't living my faith enough. I wasn't giving everything I could give to my God in terms of my attention, my worship, my love. He wants my everything and I was holding it back.

So I have decided not to hold back any more. There are some who will say, "Gee Bob, you are already over the top with this religion thing." To them I would simply reply, "No. I haven't come close to serving enough, to loving enough, reading enough or worshiping enough, to praying enough. I am beginning to understand Martin Luther when he referred to himself as a  . . . well, I'll let you read it.

“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone . . . . How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?”

Yeah, that's me. A bag of maggots.

So, what am I going to do about it?

First, I am going to think of myself less. John the Baptist had that one figured out.

"30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” - John 3:30-36

Second, God must always be in my thoughts and deeds. Every minute of every hour. Every thought . . . His.

" . . . and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2 Corinthians 10:5

EVERY thought!

That's a tall order. My mind tends to wander all over the place. Sinful thoughts often slip in through some hidden trap door someplace. Just as quickly I try to sweep them out but it bothers me that they found their way into my mind in the first place. I need some caulk to seal up the cracks!!

Third, I must improve my worship. This goes beyond attending Sunday services, although I need to change that too. I need to be more devoted to God in my service of others. Reach out to the hurting, mourn with those who mourn, love the unlovable, and act like I am actually a disciple of Christ!

For example, a few days ago I reached out to someone on Facebook. I don't do that TOO often but today I did and I got this back. "Feels nice to know someone actual cares." I need to do that more. I need to be more open to being used.

Today I told someone at work that I loved them. Sounds pretty risky to the average church elder - a married man telling another woman he loves her. But guess what, I have told several women (not my wife) that I love them (agape). My sister, my mother, my daughter, but also several other close friends. And I've told several men that I love them too. Never got punched once. Hey, guess what. We Christians are supposed to love one another!! We should do it!!

Fourth, I need to examine my life, compare it to Jesus, and repair the parts of it that fall short. Too many to list here.

"5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" - 2 Corinthians 13:5

We as Christians are to become more and more like Jesus as we walk through this world. Each step in that direction, at least for me, comes with a heavy dose of humility and self-judgement. But in the end, if we keep changing and becoming more like Jesus, perhaps the world will come to know us for who we are, and WHOSE we are - disciples of Jesus Christ.

"Let it be said of us that our hearts belong to Jesus." - John Waller

The  Blessing - John Waller

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Servant's Heart

What do you think of when you hear the word "servant"? I usually think of a maid, or a butler. Someone who waits on someone else and attends to their every need.

I suppose a servant could be one of those people who work's at Culver's or McDonald's. They are always asking us what we want. They even ask us if we want something we had no intention of buying.

"Would you like some cheese curds today?"

"Would you like fries with that?"

"Would you like to super-size your meal?

I wonder though . . . are they really being servants or out to make their bosses happy by getting us to spend more money at their fast food joint. Hmm.

Having a servants heart is a true blessing. There is nothing quite like serving someone else, helping someone accomplish something they cannot do on their own.

We usually think of servants as those who do the dirty jobs that WE don't want to do. In a sense, that's true. But try looking at true servants through the eyes of that servant. Their desire is to help you. They care about you. And they love you, whether you know it or not. They really do care.

My question to you this morning is, "Who will you serve today?" Who it is in your life, right now, that needs some help, a hand up? We are called to offer OUR hands to help our brothers and sisters.

What are we waiting for?

Let's show someone we care today by going out of our way to serve them.

"22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart," - 1 Peter 1:22

Sunday, February 1, 2015

And In The End . . .

I don't know if I should tell you this stuff or not. It certainly made me sit up straight and take notice when I began seeing these "hidden secrets" in the Bible. These "secrets" are not really hidden at all, nor are they really secrets. They are laying there in full view for everyone to see - like puzzle pieces. Only when we begin to place these pieces together do we begin to see the larger picture. A larger more amazing plan than we could have ever imagined.

I'm going to lay out some Biblical truths for you in a moment and let you draw your own conclusions about what to do with all this information. Everything I am about to tell you is all in the Bible. It is all true. And it is so unbelievably amazing you will get to the bottom of this page and think, "Only God could have orchestrated something like this."

First let me tell you a little about Bible prophesy by relating an example of it to you. In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 53, we can read a prophesy about the coming Messiah. That Messiah would one day be revealed in the person of Jesus. We read . . .

"5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes (Jesus was whipped) we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Isaiah is relating God's foretelling about Jesus, a savior who was to come, and whose sacrifice on the cross would atone for our sins. This was written 700 years before it actually happened! The Bible is FILLED with prophesies like the one we just read in Isaiah.

These prophesies are amazing enough but when specific Messianic prophesies start coming true on specific Jewish holidays or festivals? Unbelievable wow factor!

There are seven Festivals found in the Book of Leviticus. They were recorded by Moses between 1400-1440 BC, directly from God. God established the specific dates for these festivals. Remember that. This is a list of the festivals.
  1. Passover (Leviticus 23:5)
  2. Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6)
  3. First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10)
  4. Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16)
  5. Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24)
  6. Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27)
  7. Tabernacles or Boothes (Leviticus 23:34)
Let's talk about Passover for a moment.  This is from Wikipedia . . .

Passover is an important biblically-derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.

The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.

Guess who is called the Lamb of God in the Bible? Well, that was Jesus. John the Baptist said this in The Book of John . . .

"29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! " - John 1:29

Well that was interesting. Why would John the Baptist call Jesus the LAMB of God? Did he know something? I believe he did. Or more precisely, God did. Now it gets interesting.

Guess when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was crucified. He was crucified . . . on Passover. Mhmm. That's right. What an amazing coincidence. The Spotless Lamb, Jesus, was sacrificed for OUR sins on Passover - a day the Hebrew people celebrate death passing them by because they had the blood of a perfect, spotless lamb, smeared on their doorposts.

That's just the beginning. Here are some additional amazing truths about God's plan, His festivals and His amazing timing.
  • When was Jesus buried? On the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  • When did God raise Jesus from the dead? On the Feast of First Fruits.
  • When did God send His Holy Spirit down on the apostles? On the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost)
Are you sensing a pattern here? Is your mind spinning yet? Just wait. There's more.

All these things have already happened. But what about the three remaining festivals. Has anything or will anything happen on those days? What do YOU think?

What about the Festival of Trumpets? That's the next one on the list. Are there any prophesied events in the Bible that concern trumpets? Open you Bible to he Book of 1 Thessalonians. We read . . .

"16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Rapture of The Church.

When is the Feast of the Trumpets? September 13th. It is Rosh Hashanah. There will be a partial eclipse of the sun that day. Later, after the end of the feast, on the 28th, there will be a total lunar eclipse, the third Blood Moon of the tetrad. Interesting. There's more

2015 is a Shemittah year. It began back on September 25, 2014 and it ends on September 13th of this year. What does Shemittah mean? It means "to release." It comes from the tradition of releasing those who are in debt but also can be mean releasing those who are indebted to you.

Coincidentally, the Pope is visiting the United States during this time - September 22-27. And guess where he is visiting? Philadelphia. Open your Bibles to the Book of Revelation, the third chapter. The words of our Lord . . . written to the church of . . . Philadelphia. :O

"10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’" - Revelation 3:10-13

I don't know about you but I am ready to go. I look at this world and I see it falling apart spiritually. People are committing sins against a Holy God and simply don't think twice that what they are doing offends Him. I am no better than these, but it is not my desire to sin against my King. I repent daily. Hourly! We must have a repentant, humble heart. Jesus is returning soon. When you hear the trumpet call it will be to late for those who refuse to believe.

The Feast of Trumpets is a little over eight months away. Do I know for sure that He is coming back then? No, I do not. No one will know. But I invite you to look at the scriptures. Be prepared, in season and out of season. Our job is to believe and to be ready. Examine the signs for yourself. Pray that God would reveal Himself to you through His Holy Spirit and written Word. Let he who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Rapture and The Feast of Trumpets

How Did Jesus Fulfill The Meanings of The Jewish Festivals -