The Work of God 

The Book of James tells us that faith without works is dead being alone. How can we reconcile this doctrinal point with the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone?

In order to understand this conundrum we first need to understand the Biblical concept of works.

In the book of James the Greek word for works is ergon. This word means an occupation, an act, a deed, to labor.

In other words our ministry work in the kingdom of God.

James was addressing a problem he saw in the church. People claiming to know Jesus were giving preference to the rich while disregarding the needs of the poor.

James uses Abraham as an example to correct this.

James tells us how Abraham’s belief in God caused him to obey him by doing the deed that God asked him to do.

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. Genesis 22:2

James tells us that Abraham’s works counted as righteousness. Not just his faith.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? James 2:21

Notice however that the work which Abraham was called to do was initiated not of himself but by God.

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. Genesis 22:8

Also notice how that Abraham did not exactly sacrifice his son. It was God himself who provided the sacrifice. Therefore the work of Abraham in this case was really a work of God. God provided the sacrifice.

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Genesis 22:13

This faith/works argument is one that divides joint from marrow. In other words they are different yet closely attached.

God’s work at the cross through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only work which produces salvation.

To believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the work of God. Scriptures testify to this.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness according to Paul.

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3

The thief who received Jesus as his Savior at the cross never did a work except to believe on Jesus. Based on his belief he inherited eternal life.

 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

Therefore we can see that faith in Jesus Christ alone saves.

However, if we are really saved then we will produce fruits of righteousness. If there is no fruit in someone’s life who claims to know God, then it is doubtful there is true salvation.

 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

James says. “I will show you my faith by my works.”

This tells us that faith if it has no works is dead being alone. In other words faith that does not produce works is not a faith that is genuine.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18

Herein lies the answer. Works that are initiated by the Holy Spirit are righteous works BUT  works in and of themselves do not constitute salvation!

Salvation is by faith alone without the deeds of the law. Our faith in Jesus Christ is counted as righteousness before God.

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:21

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Works confirm that our faith is genuine.

And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. Titus 3:14

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:18

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our work in the kingdom of God (if initiated by God) will produce fruit that brings glory to God but our justification before God is by faith in Jesus Christ alone without the deeds of the law. Hebrews 13:21

The Light

The Light

The Bible says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

What exactly does being the light mean? Is it literal or metaphorical or both? In order to answer this question we need to understand what exactly light is.

Light by definition is both a noun and a verb. As a natural phenomena light makes things visible. When our visual receptors are stimulated we are able to see. Light is a form of energy that exists in tiny packets called photons.  Specifically light is electromagnetic radiation of any wave length that travels in a vacuum with a speed that makes the radiation visible to the natural eye.

As a verb light brings illumination or revelation of truth. To make something that was otherwise hidden, visible.

God is light. Jesus is the light of the world. He brings God’s truth into the world.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life . (John 8:12)

To walk in darkness is to be blinded. Scriptures tell us that the god of this world has blinded the eyes of men. Without God’s light humanity is blinded to the truth of the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan can also manifest as a false light, interestingly enough. (2 Corinthians 11:14 )

What this means is that the accuser can manifest as a messenger of artifical light.

Artifical light is a mirage. An optical illusion. When a light wave is bent by heated air across the sky, it can cause a visual phenomena called a mirage.

This type of optical illusion is what the satans (fallen angels, accusers) use. They bend truth, spout it out like hot air and create a deception. An artificial light.

God’s light illuminates truth. Satan’s light creates illusions, deceptions and distortions.

God who is light operates both in the natural and spiritual realm. These two realms coexist together and operate in parallels.

Ps. 18:28 tells us that God turns our darkness into light. Through the illumination of his Holy Spirit, God reveals his truth.

God’s light keeps our lamp or spiritual eyes illuminated as we continue in his word. The entrance or doorway to God’s light is through his word.

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Ps. 18:28

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119: 105

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119: 130

God’s word is light.

Light is made up of 3 types of phenomena. 

Reflection is when a ray of light strikes a smooth surface and bounces off.
That is how we can see our reflection in the water.

In the same way the light of God’s presence in our life reflects the image of Jesus Christ.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5:16

Jesus is the image of God in human form. God created a physical body and was born as a human being. Jesus is God in the flesh. The exact representation of God.

We are created as expressions of God. In his image. 

Tselem (Hebrew)
A resemblance or image.

Those born of God reflect his presence. We are lights in the darkness and also reflections representing him in this world.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

You are the light of the world

The next light phenomena is called  scattering. This is when light bounces off a rough object and reflects in all directions. 

For example when light shines on you through the clouds, instead of directly hitting you, light scatters. Only some of the rays are extended to you because of the object that is blocking.

That is why many times God spoke to the children of Israel through a cloud. No human can handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. It would destroy us. Kind of like being burned to a crisp when in direct sunlight. You need a barrier in order to handle it.

Today God speaks to us through his Son. The word manifest in the flesh. Human to human. God became human in order to to save us from sin. Also to represent himself to the world. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Those born of God have God’s Holy Spirit residing in them. They are his lamps bringing his reflection or image to a lost world.

The lost who are in darkness cannot handle a direct onslaught of God’s light. They need to see and hear the truth through a filter, your temple!

Paul became blind when he got blasted with God’s light but he did get revelation knowledge of who Jesus Christ is.

Paul sees the light

God’s people represent him in this dark world. Human vessels carrying God himself to a lost world.

Refraction is when a ray of light passes from one transparent medium into another. Like from air to water. This causes the light to change speed which bends the light toward or away from the object.

Examples of light refraction are rainbows and sunsets.

God’s light in a rainbow reminds the world of his promise of grace and mercy.

Rainbow God’s promises are yes and amen.

The sunset reminds us that the night is here. The day of grace will one day be over.

Sunset

Jesus said the light of the body is the eye. If your eye is evil your body will be filled with darkness. If your eye is single then the whole body is full of light. (Matthew 6:22)

If the vision is filled with dark things then it will corrupt the body. Eventually if not corrected the body will be completely taken over with darkness. That is become completely corrupt.

If however your eye is single, that is clear without darkness then your whole body will be filled with light.

Light is composed of electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic radiation.

 The fields vibrate at right angles to the direction of movement of the wave, and at right angles to each other.

God’s light radiates or emits illumination. God’s light goes into all the world. Each wave of light is a reflection of his image. God spreads forth his illumination through the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world. He does this through his vessels that are filled with the Holy Spirit’s light.

When the electromagnetic radiation travels in a vacuum, at a speed of 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) this is the speed of light.

God’s light is traveling throughout all the world bringing illumination of his truth. Like the speed of light God’s light is traveling swiftly to bring his gospel message around the globe. Today the message of God’s love and salvation have reached millions of people. In the darkest of places the light of God has penetrated and continues to penetrate.

God is light and in him is no darkness at all. When his light comes into a place the darkness must flee.

This is why Jesus commanded. “Go into all the world and preach my gospel.”(Mark 16:15)

Go ye

Wherever you go, you bring God’s light. Wherever God’s light is the darkness has to leave.

Darkness cannot put out the light. When the light comes in it illuminates what was hidden in the darkness. It makes everything known.

One day the light will completely overtake all darkness. When this happens the King of glory will come in. He will rule and reign forever. His light will light up everything. There will not be any need for the sun or moon anymore because God’s light is sufficient. His light will reflect his presence throughout all the earth. Even into eternity. 

Faith Obtained

Jesus said in his word that no one can come to him unless the Father draw him. To draw in this verse from John 6: 44 is the word helkuo which means to drag or haul to lead or compel.

The Holy Spirit must draw or compel a person to Jesus the Savior through convincing. He convinces them of their sin, their need for salvation and the judgement of sin on them in their fallen state. (John 16:8)

When this convincing by Grace or God’s mercy becomes compelling then faith must be obtained according to scriptures.     

“SIMON PETER, A SERVANT AND AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST, TO THEM THAT HAVE OBTAINED LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH US THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD AND OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.” 2 PETER 1:1

To obtain something is to get, acquire, or secure something.

The Greek word in this scripture is lagchanō which means to receive by divine allotment.

Faith is not earned by good deeds, intellectual prowess, or human ability. Faith is a divine attribute. Faith must be obtained or received.     

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8

Scriptures tell us that Jesus obtained salvation for us.

 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12

Obtain in this verse is the Greek word heurisko which means acquired, find, to get,   

To obtain is to get or acquire something.

How is faith obtained?

Faith is obtained by divine providence.  

By Grace or God’s divine mercy which draws by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ for salvation or whatever the need is, faith comes or is brough forth.

Faith comes. Faith is brought forth.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10: 17

Faith is not a human attribute. It is divine or comes from God by hearing.   

Faith is obtained by hearing. Akoe To hear or incline the ear.

To what?

 The word (gospel message) being preached. (proclaimed)

It is through preaching the word is heard.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Faith is obtained by hearing God’s word preached. (proclaimed)  

Let me simplify this spiritual principle.  

The Father has sent the Holy Spirit to draw or compel by convincing of a need. (Whether salvation or deliverance or whatever)

Then when convinced of the need faith is obtained or acquired by grace or God’s mercy.

God’s mercy has inclined the ear to hear.

Faith is obtained or acquired in order to receive by hearing. (Having a hearing ear by the Holy Spirit’s work) through the preaching or proclaiming of God’s word. (Rhema living word of Christ)

Dear Father draw us by your Holy Spirit to recognize our need. Give us ears to hear your word being spoken to us by your Holy Spirit. Grant unto us by your grace the ability to receive what you are telling us and help us to apply it to our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.  

True Worshipers

True Worshipers



 In John 4:19-20, the Samaritan women said to Jesus, (after he told her information about her life) “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

In response Jesus says to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

Samaria was a part of Israel that many Jews avoided. They would go around on a longer journey rather than through Samaria when going to Jerusalem from Galilee. 

The Samaritans were Israelites from northern Israel who historically were part of the Assyrian captivity. (2 Kings 17:24-29) They had intermarried with settlers from other nations who occupied northern Israel.

The Samaritans were not thought of as Israelites by the Judeans, but rather as “people of the Mesopotamian city of Kutha/כותה‎’, which refers in itself to a certain reception of the passage 2 Kings 17.24, Josephus’ Antiquities.)

While holding to many Jewish beliefs and customs which included looking for the Messiah, the Samaritans believed that because they had come to live on Mount Gerizim they were called (because of Moses), to protect it as a sacred mountain.

The Samaritans also held different theological and political beliefs than the Judaeans in the south of Israel. While the Samaritans worshipped YHWH they had competing temples. Mt. Gerizim was the Samaritan sanctuary while the Judeans worshipped in the temple built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.

They also had different religious texts. The Samaritans had 5 books of the Torah in their Samaritan Pentateuch with a Samaritan twist, including the Mount Gerizim doctrine. The Samaritans rejected much of the Hebrew Masoretic text  consisting of 24 books.

The Samaritan women at the well was told by Jesus that the Samaritans did not know what they worshiped but the Judeans knew what they worshipped. This was due to the fact that the Samaritans had little knowledge of God because they rejected much of the Hebrew text but also because many Samaritans mixed Hellenistic ideology into their culture. (The idea of reasoning, science, moral ethics based on human standards.)

After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the Samaritans, like all other people groups in the region, came under the influence of Greek culture. The Samaritans in time developed their own form of Hellenism.

Fragments of Samaritan literature in Greek, as well as a number of Greco-Samaritan inscriptions ( In Palestine and the diaspora) testify to this. The Ancient Samaritans and Greek Culture Pieter W. van der Horst Faculty of Theology, Utrecht University (Emeritus), 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands

The Hebrew text confirms the temple of Jerusalem as the place where YHWY was to be worshipped. That is why Jesus said, “we know what we worship.”  

“The Lord said to him: ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 1 Kings 9:2-4

The Samaritans rejected the Judean authority of scriptures and their oral law.

Jesus made it clear to the Samaritan woman that the hour would come when neither on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem would the Father be worshiped. For two reasons. Both temples would eventually be destroyed but also after Jesus’ death and resurrection those who were true worshippers of YHWY would now worship Him in spirit and in truth.

No longer would those two temples be necessary anymore because after Jesus’ death and resurrection the temple veil in Jerusalem was ripped in two, giving direct access to God for his worshippers. Jesus would now be the high priest and intercessor of his people.

Jesus told the Samaritan women that God is a Spirit and requires his worshipers to worship him from a spiritual perspective. Not from a religious perspective based on a physical temple.

YHWY no longer lives in a temple made by hands. Those who are born of God by his Holy Spirit are God’s temple. He resides in the born again spirit of his elect, chosen from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4

 Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3


Jesus continues in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit”

To be born again is to be born of God, born of his Holy Spirit. (Regenerated into a new spiritual person.) Mark 1:15;  Acts 2:38

How can one become born again in order to become a child of God and enter his kingdom?

Consider the following scriptures.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” John 5:1        

Life Everlasting

God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. That is they would experience physical death (which eventually they did) as well as spiritual death, separation from God or YHWY.

Death or maveth‘  in the Hebrew is the giving up of the spirit from the body. For the Christian death means to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 )

For the unsaved death is to be separated from God, cast into torments or hell which is a holding place for lost spirits. (Luke 16:19-31)

The “second death” is the everlasting perdition of the wicked in the lake of fire. (Revelations 2:11, Revelations 21:8)

Why would partaking of the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil cause death?

According to Gnosticism (mystery Babylon ideology) da‛ath (Hebrew for knowledge) is the gateway to having “knowledge” or having mystery understanding of spiritual realities.

This concept of “knowledge” is known in all mystery Babylon religions. By that I mean all religious systems outside the gospel of Jesus Christ. These systems have one thing in common. Belief or “knowledge” that is contrary to the gospel.

In other words, this partaking of the knowledge of Satan’s religion causes both physical and spiritual death to occur. 

It is interesting to note, that the word for good, or the knowledge of mystery Babylon “good” is the word ţôb in Hebrew which means to prosper, be wealthy, having everything associated with temporal earthly pleasure.

Satan offers worldly pleasures to those who partake of his kingdom. He even tried to bribe the Lord with worldly gain. (Matthew 4:9)

Jesus on the other hand offers life abundantly. The same life YHWY offered to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

Scriptures tell us that whoever has the Son has life but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life but the wrath of God abides on him. (1 John 5:12)

This abundant life which Jesus wants to give is not the same as what Satan has to offer. It is not worldly pleasure and sensual gratification.

God’s life is chay in the Hebrew language. To be alive, renewed, revived, spiritual life in YHWY. Eternal life.

Jesus says he is THE LIFE.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25

This is the purpose that Jesus came to earth as God incarnate. To give life.

Jesus is the tree of life. He is the life offered to mankind.

Whoever partakes of Jesus Christ by being born again or revived with renewed life has eternal life. Life forever and always.

No death can keep the born again child of God in the grave. 

The thief or Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Satan offers worldly pleasures that in the end cause spiritual death.

Jesus offers life or eternal chay with him. Everlasting life. Life that never ends.

This abundant life that Jesus gives flows from the Kingdom of God. It is not of this world. It is not material temporal earthly pleasures. (John 18:36)

God’s life flows from his Son. It is a life expressed from a heavenly point of view. A life operating in God’s realm or through God’s Holy Spirit.

 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25

The tree of knowledge is not just an evil or dark and sinister knowledge but a knowledge of earthy sensual wisdom which gratifies the carnal nature. Satan’s “good” is really a death trap for all who partake of it.

God’s life is in his Son. It is eternal life. Life with YHWY forever.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1 John 5:12

Do you want to have God’s life? Eternal life that flows from his kingdom?

Jesus is the tree of life. Come to him Jesus Christ and be saved.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.​

2 Timothy 1:9

Father God is waiting for your Return!

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus is ministering to people with backgrounds contrary to the social norm of the society in which he lived. The religious people were upset about it. They could not understand why Jesus would spend his time speaking to outcasts.

Jesus explains through three different parables how important a lost soul is to God. He likens the lost person to sheep having gone astray from the fold.

In shepherding societies the animals tended are very important. They represent a family’s whole livelihood.

Shepherds bond to their animals. They are very protective against predators. In fact when a shepherd is successful in defending his herd they are highly esteemed by the village. It takes great courage to defend the fold against a predator. Sometimes at the cost of the shepherd’s life.

A valiant shepherd will gain prestige among his people by being a faithful and brave shepherd.

The people of Jesus’ day understood shepherding concepts. To find a lost sheep was a very rewarding experience.

Pastoral societies value their animals so much that they will defend them with their very lives.

When Jesus likened sinners to lost sheep this placed a value upon them that the religious people did not share.

The next story that Jesus tells reveal again his love for sinners. This is the story of a woman who having ten pieces of silver lost one of them. The woman discovering her loss lights a candle in order to see clearly. Then she sweeps the house looking diligently for the lost silver coin.

Silver was a currency commonly used in Jesus’ day. It was an international currency. A silver coin could be a day’s wages to some people back then and because silver was extracted using human labor, that made it even more valuable. To lose a days wages was to experience a grave hardship.

Jesus reveals to the religious people of his day that a lost soul was like a lost silver coin. In God’s kingdom a lost soul being found and restored to Father God has such value that it causes all heaven to rejoice.

I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance. Luke 15:7

In order to hit home with his point Jesus gives to the religious people a third story. The number 3 according to Biblical application is the number of completion. In the Hebrew language the number 3 is shelos which means harmony, new life, and completeness.

His next story ties every thing together. Not only does Jesus love the individual lost sinner but Jesus reveals in this last story his love for all lost sinners of every nation.

Jesus talks about a man who had 2 sons. The elder son was the heir to his father’s estate and the younger while having no legitimate inheritance was provided for by means of the Father’s kindness.

The younger son not only represents a rebellious sinner wanting his own way instead of staying in his Father’s house but also represents the Gentiles who the Lord sees as being lost, in need of his salvation. Jesus called them his sheep of another fold.

And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16

Eating with sinners was a repulse thing to the religious people of Jesus’ day. Not only because they were participating in unlawful activities but because many of these outcasts were working for the Roman empire (Gentiles) and considered by the religious people to be unclean by association.

Jesus’ parable insulted the Pharisees’ concept of righteousness. To have contact with Gentiles was a taboo thing in their laws. To add insult to injury the religious people were told by Jesus that the elder son whom they knew represented the heir or Abrahamic covenant was not the only one loved by God.

The younger son represented the Gentile nations. He was loved so much that after his return the Father rejoiced by putting on a celebration. 

The prodigal story is really a twofold story about God’s love for individual sinners but also his desire to restore Gentiles to Father God.

The far country represents nations in lands far away who lived lifestyles in which the elder son would find offensive. That is why Jesus refers to the prodigal son as living among swine or those who are unclean.

Jesus made known to those religious elders that love for the sinner was extended by God to the Gentile nations. This is why they were so angry. To offer the Gentiles an inheritance in God’s kingdom was to oust the religious people out of their prestigious position. The religious leaders did not like that one bit.

To give a Gentile swine a robe was to give him a place of distinction along with the elder son or heir.
Only a man of honor was given a robe. A common man wore only simple clothing.

A ring was also a sign of honor or prestige. Servants or slaves never wore a ring. Neither did a common man.

The fact that the Father gave the prodigal swine dweller a robe and a ring meant that he was valued by the Father.

Then the 3rd thing the Father did in completion of his celebration was to kill the fatted calf. This was another indication that Jesus was referring to the Gentile nations. A calf represents idolatry. The repentant idolater was being received by Father God. Also, to feast on a fatted calf was a delicacy in Jesus’ day. In effect Jesus was saying that God would celebrate the return of the one who was once a sinner idol worshiper.

The religious people were totally insulted over these parables that Jesus told. Jesus referred to them as being angry like the elder son because God loves prodigal sinners and desires them to repent and become a part of his family.

Are you a prodigal far away from the Father’s house? Are you tired of your wayward life? Feeling desperate in your famine? Jesus wants you to come to him and be saved. He wants to restore you to Father God today!

Father God loves you so much that he is searching for you. Shining his light on your heart. Revealing to you your need for his love.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 

Departing From The Faith

What does it mean to depart from the faith?
To ‘depart’ in the Greek is aphistēmi which means to revolt against, remove from, desert, depart or draw away from.

You can’t depart or leave something unless you once were in something. Now its debatable whether the one who departs was once really saved or not but they had some understanding. They were enlightened. Scriptures tell us that if one has been enlightened and tasted of heavenly things and falls away it is impossible for them to repent.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4,6

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1

This “departing” is departing from the faith or pistis. That is the conviction of reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. Instead those who depart give heed to demonic doctrines which do not rely on Jesus Christ for salvation.

Some departing doctrines are obvious to most Christians but others are very subtle. That devil is a wily one.

The main theme to look for is if the teacher or preacher, prophet or apostle, pastor or evangelist moves away from trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Even a teeny weeny bit.

There is no specific day of the week, no ritual or rite, no performance, no other way, no other man made book, no self help principle, no personal preference, no successful endeavor, no  jot or tittle, no other name, no addition, no subtraction. NOTHING.

There is nothing that can give you salvation with eternal life but complete trust and reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

It is written.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10

House of Grace

In Mark chapter 6 (after Jesus had fed the 5000) he told his disciples to get into the ship and go to to Bethsaidia, while he sent the people away.

When Jesus sent his disciples to Bethsaidia which in the Hebrew means house of grace he went into a mountain to pray.

In the evening (when the ship was in the middle of the sea) Jesus was watching his disciples from the shore. They were toiling to row the ship, because the wind was coming on really strong.

Around the fourth watch of the night Jesus came towards his disciples walking on the sea. He would have passed them by but the disciples saw him. They thought he was a ghost. They became troubled and cried out in fear.

Immediately Jesus reassures his disciples that it is him.

Then when Jesus gets into the ship with his disciples the wind calms down.

The disciples were amazed and wondered. They had forgotten about the last miracle Jesus did by multiplying the bread and fish.

It is interesting to note that on the 4th watch of the night Jesus looks out to the sea to find that his disciples are in trouble.

He had given them a word, “Go to Bethsaidia” but the enemy (who works in the darkness) tried to hinder their assignment.

Satan who is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) caused a storm to rise up. It was so fierce that all the toiling the disciples were doing were getting them no where.

In Israel culture (as well as Roman and Greek) the night was divided into 4 watches. Each watch had a specific name and time frame.

The evening watch, was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The midnight watch, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Cockcrowing from 12 am to 3 a.m., and the morning watch or 4th watch, was from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Exodus 14:24 last watch of the night
Psalm 63:6 watches of the night
Judges 7:19 middle watch
Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning
Luke 12:38  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

The fourth watch is the last watch of the night. In scripture breakthrough events many times happen on the night watches.

Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:25-46

Jacob wrestled with God. Genesis 32: 22-31
The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Savior.  Luke 2:8-14

Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Matthew 28:1

The bridegroom woos His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13

On this particular incident on the fourth watch of the night Jesus sees trouble occurring.

The prince of the power of the air is acting up. Trying to attack the Lord’s disciples.

Intercessors know that the fourth watch usually means warfare. It’s a time when the demonic powers are doing their oggie boogie through their human vessels. 

Notice that Jesus sees on the forth watch of prayer that his disciples are in trouble.

This is one reason the Lord exhorts us to watch and pray. The enemy is always looking for a place to attack. If we are in prayer the Holy Spirit will show us trouble coming our way or someone else’s way.

When trouble comes and we find we are toiling in our own strength, (getting no where, when the enemy attacks) Jesus is walking on the water right there in front of us!

Water or waters in scripture many times represent people. Jesus is always in front of people. Always available. Always willing to calm the storm. However, many times we are so freaked out over the battle that when the Lord comes walking towards us we don’t recognize him. All we see is what the enemy is doing.

Notice how Jesus was going to walk right on by his disciples. Seriously? That’s what the scriptures tell us! That’s what happens when we are afraid. As long as our eyes are on the battle instead of the Lord Jesus Christ we will miss him, even though he is right there in front of us.

The good news is that if we look to Jesus he will calm the storm in our life. He will get in the boat with us! Jesus will calm our fears! He will rescue us from the attack of the enemy!

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they mistook him for a spirit. They cried out in fear.

Fear can do strange things to the mind. Sees and hears all kinds of crazy things.

Even then the Lord can’t help but be merciful. When fear gets a hold of us by the throat Jesus will turn in our direction if we call out to him.

Hearing his disciples cry out in fear Jesus walks on the water towards them. When the disciples see that it is Jesus they are not afraid anymore.

Our struggles in life (like the disciples who rowed in their own strength against the wind) can be demonically inspired some times.

Facing great difficulty can be scary when it looks like we are going to drown but remember the Lord is watching us in our struggle. He knows what’s going on.

Jesus is right there in the midst of our trouble. All we have to do is cry out. He will not pass us by! He will get right in the boat with us and comfort us!

Jesus will always lead us to safely because his grace is sufficient. His word to us is always, “Go to Bethsaidia, “the house of grace.”  

Our high priest ever lives to make intercession for us.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Mustard Seed Faith

Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith. 

This was the Lord’s response.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)

(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)

https://www.askdifference.com/mulberry-vs-sycamine/

A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)

The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.

Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man planted.

The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.

The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.

The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10

On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44

Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.

Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too. 

Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

Take for example the scripture. But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19  

When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!

After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.

God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness. 

Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.

We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.

Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.

I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147

Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.

That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!

The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.

So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,

“I trust in your word.” Psalm 119:42

https://kimbalogh.online/2021/03/08/abide-in-the-vine/


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