Tag Archives: relationship with God

Yamim Noraim – One Christian’s Perspective

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Yamim Noraim  – One Christian’s Perspective

     The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. For the Jewish person this is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.

God’s Record Book / Book of Life
The Days of Awe are based on the Jewish belief that God has books that He writes a person’s name in on Rosh Hashanah – who will live, who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life during the next year. The belief goes on with the idea that a person’s actions can change the decree. They feel that repentance, prayer, and good deeds can alter what God writes down concerning their life. Their belief is even reflected in a common greeting during this time – it is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
God does have a book that lists all true believers – the Book of Life. The Book of Life, is also referred to as the Lamb’s book of Life. It is a record written by God, listing people who will live forever in heaven, in His presence. Those who’s names are not written in the book will not have everlasting life in heaven, but will spend eternity in the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 NKJV
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

According to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for a person’s sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away sins. However, the majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Through the atonement that Jesus’ blood made on the cross we can have forgiveness of all our sins. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is what saves us, not works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Romans 11:6 NKJV
“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”

Galatians 2:16 NKJV
“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

A person can work for God and not have a relationship with Him – people can even work for God with sin in their life.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV
“each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Works that won‘t be burnt up only come out of our intimacy / relationship with God. Each believer will have their works / actions evaluated.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Reconciliation
Reconciliation is important to God. He desires for us to be reconciled with Him, for us to be reconciled with others, and for us to be active in the ministry of reconciliation.

Reconcile: to make friends again; settle a disagreement or difference; make agree; bring into harmony, make satisfied; make no longer opposed.
Reconciliation: a reconciling; bringing together again in friendship; settlement or adjustment of disagreements or differences.

A.. Reconciled With God
Man was separated from God because of sin.

Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”

Ephesians 2:12-13 NKJV
“that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Sin caused man to be alienated, isolated, and separated from God’s presence.

Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”

Jesus entire reason for taking on the form of man and coming to this earth was reconciliation – His purpose was to reconcile us to God. It was as if He provided a bridge between us and God.

Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Ephesians 2:14-16 NKJV
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

The story of the prodigal son is a wonderful example of reconciliation. In the parable, the father looked at the youngest son’s future – what it could be, not at the son’s present or his past. God, our heavenly Father does not look at our past or present, He looks at our future, what it can be. He is ever waiting with outstretch arms to welcome us back home.

Luke 15:11-32 NKJV
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

B. Reconciliation With Others
One of the Jewish customs of Yamim Noraim is to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.

Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

God always desires for us to be reconciled with others.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”

We must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us. Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

C. Ministry of Reconciliation
At salvation we become a new creature. Our relationship with God changes. We become reconciled to God and we have the privilege of telling others that they can receive the same reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NKJV
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

The ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to believers. They are to tell all people that God wants to restore them to a right relationship with Himself.

2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Self-examination
Believers should regularly have a time for serious introspection. Self-examination should be part of our life. We are instructed to judge ourselves, and there are benefits to examining our own feelings, thoughts, and motives. If we judge ourselves, God will not have to.

1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

A believer should always be reviewing their actions to see if they are in right standing with God.

Galatians 6:4 NKJV
“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another”

2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…”

Many times we may not be able to see our own faults and weakness, so we must rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to show us. As we read God’s Word it gives us a clear reflection of ourselves.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

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Guard Your Relationship With God

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Guard Your Relationship With God

Some people neglect their relationship with God when they begin to accumulate a lot of things. In the end they will lose everything, including their soul. Wealth will not help in judgment.

Mark 8:34-36 NKJV
“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?”

When we stand before God, He will not be concerned with how much money (or things) we had, however, He will be concerned with our relationship with Him and our relationship with others. While pursuing wealth, did we love others? How did we treat people?

James 5:1-5 NKJV
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of the Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in the days of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just, he does not resist you.”

We must not mistreat others while trying to gain wealth. In everything that we do we must remember the two greatest commandments, love God and love others.

Mark 12:28-33 NKJV
“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandments greater than these.’ ”

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Dear Father,
By the power of the Holy Spirit, may I never neglect my relationship with You. Help me to deny himself, and take up my cross, and follow You. In everything that I do may remember the two greatest commandments. Help me to love You with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. And may I love my neighbor as myself.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Prayer, Praise & Worship As Seen Through The Tabernacle

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Prayer, Praise & Worship As Seen Through The Tabernacle

The tabernacle was the center of worship to God by the people of Israel while wandering through the desert. It was a tent-like structure that stood within a court enclosed by linen curtains. The tabernacle consisted of three parts: the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies.

The first part of the tabernacle was the outer court.

The outer court was a place of sacrifice and a place of cleansing. The priest ministered to the people, and prepared themselves to minister to the Lord in the outer court.

Self-examination is critical to our relationship with God. If we are allowing sin to stay in our lives God will not hear our cries.

When we come before God and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us.

When we ask Him to give us clean hands and a pure heart He will.

When we come to Him with a broken heart He is near.

When we bring to Him the sacrifice of a broken spirit and contrite heart, He will accept it.

Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

Job 22:30 NKJV

“He will even deliver one who is not innocent;

Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

Ephesians 1:7 NKJV

“In Him we have redemption through His blood,

the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

Psalm 51:17 NKJV

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart –

These, O God, You will not despise.”

Psalm 34:18 NKJV

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

 

God desires that all people delivered from captivity (sin) would be priests unto Him.

Exodus 19:3-6 NKJV

“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountains, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles‘ wings and brought you to Myself.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Because of disobedience and sin, not all of the people were allowed to become priests that ministered unto Him. God chose the tribe of Levi to minister unto Him. That is why it is so important for you to examine yourself on a continual basis and especially if you want to minister to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 10:8 NKJV

“At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him, and to bless in His name, to this day.”

The second part of the tabernacle was the holy place.

The Holy Place was the first part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. In the holy place the priests ministered unto the Lord by burning a sweet smelling incense. The incense that was burned in the holy place represents praise, worship and prayer rising up to God as a sweet smelling incense.

 

Psalm 141:2 NKJV

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense,

the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

As Zacharias was burning incense before God, and receiving the elements on the table of showbread, he was having an intimate relationship with God.

It was during this time that God performed a miracle in his life – God meet Zacharias’ need during his ministry unto God. God can and will do the same thing today. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias in the Holy Place. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him.

Hebrews 13:15 NKJV

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

We were chosen by God to be a priest. We were chosen to be His own special people. As a priest we are to proclaim His praises. We are to offer up sacrifices of praise.

1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come before Him.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

Psalm 134:2 NKJV

“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary

And bless the Lord.”

Psalm 103:2 NKJV

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits.”

1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV

“Give thanks to the Lord, the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

The third part of the tabernacle was the holy of holies.

The Holy of Holies was the second part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. It was there the very presence of God came to dwell. Once a year the high priest went into this part of the tabernacle on behalf of the people and God communicated with him.

Ezekiel 44:17-18 NKJV

“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they put on linen garments, no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

When the priest went in to minister to God, it had to be the way that God had instructed them. The priest could not enter any way he liked. There was a certain way to enter then and now.

Today, God does not communicate with us only one time a year. He communicates with us all the time in our spirit.

At the moment of the death of Jesus, the veil between the holy place and the most holy place was torn into. From that moment on we all have access to the Father through the Son. Each believer became a priest at Calvary.

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

As a priest we can go before God in prayer on behalf of our needs and the needs of others. When we join with others in prayer our prayers become even stronger.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

 

Admitting, Believing, Confessing, and Forsaking

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Admitting, Believing, Confessing, and Forsaking

BIBLE THOUGHTSEveryone that experiences true salvation will be received by God. True repentance is being sorry for doing wrong (for going against God), not being sorry that you were caught doing wrong. If we are truly sorry that we have sinned and we go to Jesus for forgiveness, we will receive forgiveness.

Admit

Everyone who wants to receive salvation must admit that they have sinned.

Romans 3:23 NKJV

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Believe

Everyone who wants to receive salvation must believe in Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:31 NKJV

“So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ ”

* They must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (the deity of Jesus Christ).

* They must believe that Jesus came to this earth through a virgin birth.

* They must believe that Jesus lived a sinless life while here on earth.

* They must believe that Jesus died on the cross, and that His blood was shed for the remission of their sins.

* They must believe that Jesus rose from the grave, that He is alive in heaven and that He will return to earth again.

Confess

Everyone who wants to receive salvation must confess their sin to God. Today we have direct access to God through Jesus, therefore we do not have to confess our sin to a priest or another person. We can go directly to God with our confession.

1 John 1:9 NKJV

”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Forsake

Everyone who wants true salvation must forsake their sin. Once you have experienced the full knowledge of Christ and His salvation, do not turn back. Knowledge of Christ without obedience to Christ can be very dangerous. It is not enough to know that we are to turn from evil, we must do it. Don’t return to your old (sinful) ways.

2 Peter 2:20-22 NKJV

“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning,

For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

God takes the commitment that we make when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior very serious. Once we become part of the kingdom of God we are not to look back, or to return to our old ways.

Luke 9:62 NKJV

“But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Devotion

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Devotion

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Anna was an elderly prophetess, maybe around 106 years old. She lived in Jerusalem. Anna was married for seven years when her husband died. The Bible tells us that Anna stayed in the temple day and night worshipping God. She spent all her time praying and fasting. She spent her time ministering to God.

Luke 2:36-37 NKJV    

“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of  a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

     God showed Anna His secret (who the Redeemer was) because of her intimate relationship with Him. During our times of intimacy with God, He will whisper secrets, mysteries and revelations into our ear.

Luke 2:38  NKJV    

“And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Anna was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to present to the Lord. When she saw Jesus, she immediately gave thanks to God. She physically saw what God had already shown her in the spirit.

The dictionary tells us that devotion means having a strong attachment or attraction to a person or cause. To be devoted is to be dedicated, to be completely applied to some activity, purpose, or person. To have devotion to someone or something means you won’t allow anything to distract you from doing what needs to be done.

Anna was devoted to worshiping God. She had a strong affection for God, and completely dedicated her whole life to ministering to Him through prayer and worship. She didn’t let anything distract her from her purpose. Her purpose was worshiping God and she knew it. Fulfilling her purpose brought great joy and blessings to her.

Isaiah 55:2    

“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Harken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

     When we draw close to God, we begin to experience peace and joy that we can’t find anywhere else. When we fill ourselves up with God’s purpose (to worship Him), our souls will find a special delight.

Deuteronomy 6:5  NKJV    

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

     First and most importantly we should be devoted to God. Nothing should ever distract us.

1. We should be devoted to knowing Him.

2. We should be devoted to obeying Him.

3. We should be devoted to living a life that is pleasing to God.

We should not be lukewarm concerning our devotion to God or to the things of God. We should never be halfhearted in our love and devotion to God.

Revelation 3:16  NKJV    

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

     Devotion to God involves all aspects of our life, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing- in public or in private. God desires for us to be single-minded. If we are double-minded we will be unstable, even in our devotion to God.

James 1:8 NKJV    

“He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

I. We Should Be Devoted To Knowing God

To “know” someone describes an intimate relationship that includes ardor (warmth of emotions, great enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal), passion (very strong feeling or emotions, very strong love or desire), mutuality and oneness (one in kind, singleness, unity, agreement, harmony).

Jeremiah 24:7  NKJV    

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I  am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”

     Mary and Martha are good examples of devotion to two different things. Mary was devoted to knowing Jesus intimately (worshiping), and Martha was devoted to working for Jesus (serving).

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were friends of Jesus.  Jesus would sometimes stop at their house when He was traveling in their area. Martha was the oldest female in the house, so she was in charge of running the household.

Luke 10:38-39  NKJV    

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”

     One day Jesus stopped by for a meal, and Martha hurried to get everything ready. Martha worked  hard and she began to get tired. She looked for Mary because she wanted help.

Luke 10:40  NKJV    

“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

     Martha found Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him. Martha looked at Jesus and said, “Lord, Don’t you care that my sister has left all the work for me to do? Tell her to help me!”

Luke 10:41-42  NKJV    

“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

     Martha probably thought Jesus was going to go and make Mary help her. Instead Jesus looked gently at Martha and said, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.”

The Bible doesn’t tell us what Martha’s response was. We don’t know what Martha did. She could have went back into the hot kitchen mad, angry and hurt or she could have fell to her knees in front of Jesus and cried out, “Jesus, forgive me!”

We don’t have to wait for Jesus to pass through our town to minister to Him. He is always with us. Jesus is always near us and always listening. When we realize who Jesus is, spend time with Him, and direct our attention toward Him we are “sitting at His feet.” We must talk to Him, learn about Him, and listen to Him. We must allow Him to pour His love into us and change us.

When you love someone, you want to spend time with that person. Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us. We are His bride. He enjoys our company! Jesus wants us to feel the same about Him. He wants us to love Him so much that we want to spend time with Him.

II. We should Be Devoted To Obeying God:

God demands obedience. We must be devoted to obeying God. Sincerity and obedience are prerequisites for worship that pleases God. The sacrifice that Saul made to God was not pleasing to God because Saul disobeyed God. God tells us in His Word that obedience is better than sacrifice.

1 Samuel 15:22  NKJV    

“So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great

delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of the rams”

     God desires that everyone have an intimate relationship with Him, but you cannot if there is disobedience (sin) in your life. Unconfessed sin interferes with a person’s relationship with God.

Psalm 51:10  NKJV    

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

     You cannot be devoted to obeying God unless you allow Him to take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 11:19-21  NKJV    

“’Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.”

III. We Should Be Devoted To Living A Life That Is Pleasing To God:  

Each one of us should be devoted to living a life that is pleasing to God. A life that reflects Jesus Christ. When we spend time with God, He can change us. He makes us more like Him. When we draw close to Him, He comes into our lives, our thoughts and our hearts. The more time we spend in God’s presence, the more we will reflect Jesus.

Matthew 5:16  NKJV    

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Conclusion:

Anything can take our attention away from God, both good and bad things. Good activities (including church programs, schedules, and campaigns) as well as bad circumstances (such as worry, fear, sickness and tragedy) can distract us from God. Anything that we allow to crowd out our time with God separates us from intimacy with Him. How we spend our time gives us a good idea of what things are the most important to us.

Matthew 6:19-21     

“Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

     These verses tell us not to store up treasure on earth, but to store up treasure in heaven. It tells us that where our treasures are there our hearts will be also. We must not let ourselves become distracted by things or people in our love and devotion to God. God desires to shower us with His incredible love and to reveal Himself to us. God wants us to delight in Him, to be devoted to Him, and to desire to be in His presence.

Psalm 27:4  NKJV    

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.”

Sitting At The Feet Of Jesus

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Sitting At The Feet Of Jesus

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     As Jesus and His disciples were traveling they stopped in Bethany. Bethany was the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. One day Martha invited Jesus and His disciples to eat and rest at their house.

Luke 10:38  NKJV    

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.”

     Martha began to prepare the meal. She was very busy cooking and making sure that Jesus and His disciples had everything she thought they needed. Martha was working very hard. While Martha was busy working, Jesus and His disciples were sitting in another room talking. Martha felt that she needed help with the work, so she looked for her sister, Mary. She found Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word.

Luke 10:39  NKJV   

“And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”

     Mary was “soaking up” the presence of the Lord. Mary’s spirit recognized who Jesus was, and her spirit longed to be in His presence. Mary understood Jesus’ passion for her and for all people. She too, had a passion for Him- a passion just to sit in His presence. Mary was hungry for God!

When you have a passion for someone, you have a very strong feeling for them. You have a strong love and desire for that person. God desires to be the object of our love, our desires, our passion. He is looking for people with a passion, not people who are “perfect” in works. God longs for you to be passionate for Him. For who He is, not for what He can do for you or for what you can do for Him.

Luke 10:40  NKJV   

“… Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

     Martha asked Jesus didn’t He care that Mary was not helping her work. Jesus responded to Martha’s complaining by telling her that only one thing is important and Mary had chosen it. Jesus also told Martha that He would not take the most important thing (worship) away from Mary.

Luke 10:41-42  NKJV    

“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

     Works must come out of  love and intimacy, not duty. What you do out of duty will not be remembered forever. Choosing to worship God will be remembered forever. If you understand the amount of God’s love, you will better love Him and out of that love service will come. Loving God is not the same as working for Him. You must not get so involved with “work” (serving others) that you forget the reason you were created – to have a relationship with God, the very creator of the entire universe! You must chose to live a life of intimacy. Works without intimacy will “burn” you out. You must work with God, not for God.

During the last week of Jesus’ life, He and His disciples went through Bethany where a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Lazarus was sitting with Jesus. At some point during the dinner Mary came in with a large jar of perfume. She kneeled down at the feet of Jesus and anointed His feet with the perfume. Then she wiped His feet with her hair. Mary knew who Jesus was. She longed to worship Him and be in His presence. Mary did not care what the people at the dinner thought. She did not care what her sister or her brother thought. She was desperate for Jesus’ presence. Mary did not care what it cost her (the perfume was worth a lot of money.) She did not let pride get in the way. Nothing mattered but worshiping her Lord. Mary truly surrendered everything to Jesus, out of her love for Him.

Judas was upset because he thought Mary had wasted the perfume. Judas, although he was with Jesus all the time, did not really know Jesus. Judas did not see Jesus for who He was: the King of kings and the Lord of Lords, our Savior, our Lover and our best friend!

Like Mary we must get rid of our pride and forget about what people will say about us. If you want to be in the presence of Jesus you must put a relationship with Him above all else. Just as the perfume (that Mary anointed Jesus with) was, so is our worship to God. True worship is a sweet smelling incense (sacrifice) to God. God loves us and He enjoys our company. God delights in us. Our worship draws us closer to each other. If you worship God with all your heart You Will Get God’s Attention! God’s presence is what it’s all about!

Relationship Or Religion?

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Relationship Or Religion?

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        Samuel had worked in the temple for many years before he knew God in a personal and intimate way. Today there are people who are in very similar situations. They know about God, but they do not know Him personally yet. They have a form of religion, but not a relationship. They have not truly experienced an intimate relationship with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. As a small child Samuel was taken to the temple to live. He was to help the priest. Samuel was around the presence of God (in the temple), but he had not experienced any form of an intimate relationship with God until after God spoke to Him. When God first spoke to Samuel, he did not even recognize the voice of God.

          Today, there are many  that are doing things for God (working and ministering to others) and in God‘s name, however they do not know God. They might have said the sinner’s prayer with their mouth, but they do not have a true relationship with God. A relationship with God is made up of love, respect / reverence, and obedience, not an encounter with man or of works.

Religion is made up of rules, regulations and meaningless rituals. Religion is hanging around the cross but not taking up your cross.

Samuel worked hard in the temple, doing many things (in the flesh), but it was not until he had a personal encounter for himself with God  that God was able to use him as a prophet of God. Only after Samuel was intimate with God, could God use him to speak for Him, not just about Him.

I. LOVE – We must love God, others and ourselves.

1. Love God. Everything that we are and that we do centers around our love for God.

Psalm 31:23  NKJV  

‘Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person.”

Deuteronomy 6:5  NKJV  

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your should, and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 30:6  NKJV  

“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

          We must love God with our whole person – with everything in us. Out of our love for God, everything in our life will flow. Love to God is much more than a feeling. It is obedience, loyalty and service. It is putting God first in your life.

Joshua 22:5  NKJV  

“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

2. Love Others. We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves.

Mark 12:31  NKJV  

“And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’…” 

John 13:34-35  NKJV  

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 John 15:12-13  NKJV  

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 

          We are not only to love others as we love ourselves, but we are to love others as Jesus loved us.

A. Jesus love us so much that He left His home in glory to come to this earth to live as a man, then die for us. He gave everything that He had for us.

B. Jesus loved us so much that He put God’s desires and plans before His own for us.

C. Jesus loved us so much that He took upon Himself sins and sicknesses for us.

D. Jesus love us so much that He accepted rejection and ridicule for us.

E. Jesus loved us so much that He placed our needs before His own.

F. Jesus loved us so much that He looked into our hearts not at our outward appearances.

G. Jesus loved us so much that He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed to be seen with those that seemed to be poor or those that were outcasts of society.

3. Love Ourselves.  God loves us, therefore we should love ourselves too.

II. RESPECT AND REVERENCE (The Fear of the Lord)

When we respect God we will hold Him (His thoughts, His Word, and His desires) in high regard. Respect will cause you to give honor to whom it is due therefore, if we respect God we will give Him the honor that is due unto Him. We show respect by (and through) our actions, thoughts and words. Respect for God will also cause you to esteem Him (to think highly of).

Reverence is a feeling of deep respect, mixed with wonder, awe, and love.

III. OBEDIENCE

Obedience to and love for God go hand in hand.

John 14:23  

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

          Jesus was obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. If our heart is to be “like Christ” we too must be obedient to God. Not just occasionally obedient, but all the time.

1 John 2:6  NKJV  

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

          Abide means to submit to, to stay or remain, accept and follow out, remain true to, continue to live or dwell, or reside. Abiding is habitual (doing something by habit, regular, steady, often done, usual, or customary) obedience. As we obey Christ, He will make His home in us. We are to obey because we sincerely desire to do so. When we truly love God it will be a joy for us to follow Christ in obedience. We can never repay God for all that He has done for us but we can show our love by being obedient.

Conclusion:

A relationship with God that is made up of love, respect / reverence, and obedience is birthed out of an encounter with Him (spirit), not an encounter with man or of works. Religion and all its rules, regulations and meaningless rituals is often birthed out of an encounter with man (flesh).

Saul was a very religious person before he encountered Jesus Christ. He knew all of the Jewish traditions and rituals and he was very zealous in his carrying out what he thought was right. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong. After his encounter with Jesus, Saul was a different man. He began to have a relationship with God made up of love, respect and obedience.

Jesus is returning for those that have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, not those that are religious. Just because a person grows up in church and attends the services and activities of the church it does not mean that they are part of the bride of Christ.  Like the wheat and the tares are growing side by side in the world (and in the church), so are those with a relationship with Christ, and those full of religion and tradition.

Matthew 13:24-30  NKJV  

“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tears?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

          Samuel grew up side by side working with Eli’s corrupt and religious sons in the temple until he had a personal encounter with God. After Samuel began to have a real relationship with God, God separated him from Eli’s sons (the sons died). God has not called us to fill a servant’s place but into a relationship with Him.

John 16:9-17  NKJV    

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.’”