A Carpenter’s Life


JosephandYeshuaI worked alongside my father after my bar mitzvah, when I became a man at 12 years of age. Some days, it was hard work but we managed to keep our shop going for a while. It was hot and dusty work but it was fulfilling, but I knew that I was meant for something more. My dreams and my prayers told me this but I never told anyone until after my father died. Then I told my mother. She did the same thing that she always did and that was to keep those things in her heart and she didn’t tell even my brothers or sisters.

Being the firstborn in the family there is a lot expected of you and nobody knows exactly what to expect most of the time. Particularly from me. My name is Yeshua.

When I found my cousin baptizing people in the Jordan River I knew that I needed to be baptized. He tried to dissuade me from doing so, but I told him that we needed to fulfill all righteousness. So, he consented to do so. When I came up out of the water, I heard my Father’s voice say that He was pleased with me and I felt the Holy Spirit fill my soul. I was still learning at this point, so I went into the wilderness to fast and commune with God for forty days. I didn’t know how bad that would make me feel, but I felt in my Spirit that it needed to be done.

The hunger was almost too much to bear until the fifth day or so, but it became easier from that point on as long as I found a spring to drink from occasionally. When the forty days were up or at least close to being finished I was tempted by Satan with the smell of freshly baked bread at first, then he showed me the Temple and said that I should test God to see if He would send angels to bear me up lest I dash my foot against a stone. Then he tried to tempt Me with the kingdoms of the world and I told him that I would worship God and serve Him only. Then, some angels came and ministered to Me with manna and water.

Then, my work really began.

I walked along the seashore and found some fishermen and I knew I had found most of my disciples. There is yet so much to accomplish and there is little time to finish it all, but with my Father’s help, I will get it done.

We were invited to a wedding in Cana and all of my family and my disciples came along. A couple of hours after we arrived my mother told me that they have run out of wine. I told her that it was not my time to reveal myself but, being my mom she called the servants of the groom and told them to do whatever I told them to do.

There were six pots there which were used to carry water for cleansing according to Jewish custom and they each held about 30 gallons. I told the servants to fill them with water and then draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. They did so and when he tasted it he exclaimed that “Usually a man serves the best wine first and saves the cheap wine for later, but you have saved the best for the end of the feast!” (part 1)(This is my attempt at giving some small look at the life of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, our Savior. Why would I write something like this? Because of people’s conception of His life and, because it is only covered briefly in the gospels, imagination is the only pathway we have to attempt to see some of what is not in the Bible. As long as we don’t add more to His story than that which we can imagine about Him, this is useful and helpful.)

 

To believe or not to believe…


Literal, figurative, metaphorically or not at all… which one describes your belief when it comes to the scriptures? This is part and parcel of our belief in God and His Son, so why is it such a big deal in the 21st century?

Does it have to do with the miracles found in God’s Word? Are they truly that unbelievable? Consider Who it is that performed these miracles, our Lord and Creator! God commanded the stars to be and the light to shine and all of the animals to populate the waters on the Earth by His spoken Word. So why is it so difficult to believe that the words in the Bible, though they were written down by men, are true and accurate?

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, was a literal person because He is spoken of in historical writings of the day and time that He was alive. The same can be said of His disciples and others who lived during that time, so why is it easier to call the Bible a figurative book of historical metaphors rather than the inerrant Word of God?

Would you believe so strongly in a metaphorical account or a figurative account which could be true but may not be true? Could you have faith in the God mentioned in a book which is only figurative or mostly made up of metaphors? Would you believe in it and in the Savior spoken of in its pages strongly enough to be burned at the stake for your beliefs? I don’t think that all of the martyrs of the ages would’ve believed in it or in Jesus for their salvation if it was shown to be only a “figurative or metaphorical” book.

Yet there are some study materials out today which claim that this is what we read when we are reading the Bible.

The prophecies which are in the Old Testament pointed to a Savior being born in a certain town to a virgin at a certain time. There are also other prophecies which foretold of empires being brought down or coming into existence hundreds of years before they were. No amount of “wishful thinking”, metaphorically or otherwise can predict something that accurately. Only God can tell the end from the beginning and speak about things which are not as if they were.

We have been blessed!


How much has our country been blessed? We are not being persecuted for our faith, regardless of your beliefs or which “god” you believe in. So why do we keep looking for something to satisfy a longing within which we can’t identify?

Because there is only One Person which will fill that space in our soul (heart) and it is Jesus Christ. When we invite Jesus into our lives, He also sends the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, to live within our heart and teach us about Him and to help us learn our position in God’s Kingdom. So by accepting the blessing of God through Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and our guide through our life with Him! How cool is that?! We receive blessings and wisdom from the whole Trinity of our Creator!

Adam and Eve had that relationship by default before they rebelled and ate from the tree which God had told them not to eat from. The Spirit of God was present in them so that they could have communion with God and with the animals and all of creation around them. Can you imagine how they felt when they lost that? It would have been devastating.

Living daily with God’s Spirit guiding you and teaching you is what we have access to if we have given our hearts to Jesus so why are Christians so messed up today? I mean, we can’t agree on which doctrine to follow or what to call our “religion” so how can we be a unified body of believers? God loves us with a love which is so deep and wide that we can’t figure it out from our perspective yet we have placed all sorts of additions and doctrines between our beliefs and the real Savior in God’s Word until we don’t know how to serve one of them let alone both!

Why can’t we get back to the teachings which Paul taught and John wrote about instead of making a morning service into an “experience” or a performance and actually teach those who come to learn rather than entertaining them? We can’t be Christians without the Spirit in our hearts so why can’t we worship Him without all of the fluff and additions which we see and hear about in some churches today?

We need more Christian men!


The entirety of the Bible, God’s Word, begins in Genesis and all of creation begins with verse 1. Yet the world outside of the doors of the church…any church doesn’t want to hear about creation or how an All-powerful God created the universe. The reason that I am writing this about Christian men is that homes are without them today, sometimes our churches are without Christian men as well.

creationIn the first chapter of Genesis the whole of creation began:

The Creation of the World

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.c And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,d and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,f and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Men of the church today need to step up to their responsibility at home and in the church because that is our God-given job as fathers and husbands and leaders in the church. If we aren’t doing this then we are letting our children down and our wives down and we aren’t doing the job which God gave to men to do!

Ministering to…


Do you have a specific ministry? Do you pastor a church or are you a lay speaker or maybe a deacon at your church? What is your calling?

Over the past few years, I have wondered these things concerning my place in God’s Kingdom. I have also wondered how other people have answered these questions. Not being nosy but just curious.

You may wonder exactly why I am asking these questions and the reason is simple: I need to know if my calling is actually doing anyone any good at all?

God called me into this ministry in late 2008 so blogging and writing these thoughts and small sermons are my real calling rather than just being a pastor. God calls us in ways which we can’t really understand especially at the time of our calling. So…what are we to do with the specific talents and other gifts which He has given each of us?

For one thing, don’t ignore God’s calling on your life! Get up and use your gifts for His Kingdom. The reward of your writing and telling others about Jesus is being kept for you in Heaven so you can’t lose it ever! In today’s world, most of us are too timid to get out in public or in front of an audience with His message but we should. He called His disciples to do so and if you have given your heart to Jesus then it is your calling as well.

Don’t listen to those voices in your head which tell you to turn this into a business and make as much money as possible with it. Money and possessions are temporary because when you die that money and those possessions are given to someone else. You will stand before God’s judgment seat in the same condition that you were when you were born.

If you have truly and sincerely given your heart to Jesus then you will be clothed in His righteousness and your sins will not be held against you as evidence. God loves each of us, saint or saved or sinner alike, but those who haven’t taken Jesus as their Savior will be sent to a very different place other than heaven and that is hell.

Even if your self-righteousness equals that of the Pharisees who put Jesus to death, it won’t be enough unless you have given your heart to Jesus and have lived by His teachings and not by the sins which abound in this world today. You have been given a gift which is God’s grace through Jesus our Lord. It is a gift which will take you into eternity with Him but if you don’t give your life and your heart totally to Him then your eternity will be much different in hell.

Why do I say that you will be in hell? Because a sinful life is a life of rebellion and it is in that rebellion which you are in the same “camp” which is occupied by Satan and his demons. They rebelled and you refused to live your life by following Jesus every day, so you are the same in the eyes of God.

Make your goal one which looks for Jesus and for salvation through Him because by following Him is the only way to gain entry into heaven and a life with your Lord and Savior.

Who is Jesus?


Over the last few hundred years, people have asked this question and truly wondered at the answer.  Why did they wonder about Who He was? It was evident in the gospels and in the prophecies about Him and yet they still didn’t seem to want to believe in Him or Who He was!

God sent Him to the world, to Israel, to bring the gospel to His people. He was foretold and so was His birth to a virgin in Bethlehem. But, the reality of His Person and Who He has eluded them because they didn’t want to believe in a prophet who came from Nazareth and was a carpenter’s son. How could the Savior, the Messiah come from such humble beginnings?

Why was it so hard to believe in Him or His Message? Why is it so difficult to believe that He was and is the Messiah?

It was difficult then and it is still difficult for many today because they don’t feel that they need a Savior. Many believe that their righteousness is enough and that it is good enough to get them into Heaven. When the Bible tells us that our “righteousness is as filthy rags“, how can it possibly be good enough to allow us to enter into God’s Presence? Jesus told His disciples that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will not enter into heaven“.

Many people don’t want to give up their sins simply because they enjoy them. Even though they feel the touch of the Holy Spirit in their lives they just don’t want to give up those sins regardless. It could be smoking or drinking or looking at pornography and they think that since they do these at home (mostly), their sins aren’t hurting anyone. But they are hurting their relationship with Jesus or the possibility of a relationship with Him.

We cannot be good enough to gain entrance without His righteousness covering our sins and us. There is no possibility for any of us to gain entrance into eternity in Heaven without Jesus!

Bridge2Salvation

God never forgets us


As much as the world would like us to believe that God doesn’t care about us, the fact is that He does care and He never leaves us alone in our suffering. He restored the world from sin’s embrace when He called on Noah to build an ark for the animals and his family. So if God will do that, He will also be near us in our suffering and our pain in this life as well.

Your family may be going through some sickness or other painful tribulation these days but God doesn’t stray from your side. He is nearby even if you haven’t given your heart to Him yet. Although many in our world see all of the suffering and pain in the world and they think that He doesn’t care for us at all!

Not a Sparrow Falls Verse_thumb[1]That is not true in the least! Jesus told His disciples that, “Even a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without my Father’s notice of it“. I paraphrased that Scripture but you get my meaning. Since God notices when a small bird falls to the ground how much more does He take notice of you who are made in His image? We are all made in the image of God so He is always watching over us, whether we belong to Him or not. The prayers of an unredeemed person are not heard until the Spirit moves their heart to yearn for Jesus. Then their prayer for salvation is heard and they are changed when that repentance is real and genuine.

Yet, many people claim to pray to Him daily and sometimes their prayers are answered, whether they are Christians or not. How can this be? Satan can answer your requests as well, up to a point, and he will make you think or believe that God answered your prayer when it was him all along. Why would he do this? Because of his deceptive nature. He wants to steer as many people away from belief in God and His Son, Jesus, as he possibly can. So if he can make you believe that God answered your prayer when you don’t belong to Jesus in the first place, then he will do it!

Remember, he can appear as an angel of light because he was one before he was kicked out of Heaven. Some people believe that Satan can only do things which God allows him to do. But that is against a person who already belongs to God. If you are not a redeemed Christian then you are already in Satan’s camp whether you know it or not. Until you are convicted of your need for Christ by the Holy Spirit, you are “at war with God”.

Life on Earth has been in a state of spiritual war ever since the Garden of Eden and it will be that way until Jesus comes back and sets up His Kingdom on Earth. Make sure of your place in His Kingdom before He calls the believers home one day.

The great equalizer


In life, we are unequal in most respects no matter how much we like to think that we have equality. Only a few have money and are wealthy enough to live without much fear, yet even they worry about losing it in some way. Some others have “rights” to be equal in most respects to others who have seemed to have “rights” which others wanted. These rights extend to women as well as men, those who are of dark skin or some other “race” rather than Caucasian. The great equalizer in our world extends his reach to every person, whether of great wealth or poor, to those of dark skin pigment or light. His name is Death.

All of us die at some point or another and there is no one who will escape this appointment. Some of us may die at a young age and some may live a long life even past their one-hundredth birthday. But eventually, Death will find you. We don’t like to think about death and yet it will come to each of us at some point because it is the way of things and it is part of life. We are born, we grow, we live and we die. In this, there is no argument.

So why do we try to cheat death when we reach a certain point in our lives? We run and exercise and eat healthy (but bland) foods, we go to doctors who can tighten our skin so we don’t look as old as we are. All of this is foolishness. Why? Because your body is the age which it is and there is no changing that. Regardless of how you look on the outside, your cells and the rest of your body are the age which you are and there is no turning back the clock.

Death still comes.

Unless you have the hope of eternity with Jesus as your Savior. This physical life will end unless Jesus takes you home before you die. Which could happen sooner than most people realize. When will it happen? I don’t know but according to the Bible, it will happen. In 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 Paul writes these words:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this, we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is the only “escape” from death that will come one day. If you are a believer in Jesus as your Savior. If you haven’t accepted Him as your Savior and repented of your sinful ways then you will have no part in being taken up to be with Him. I pray that all who read this have given their hearts to Him and if you haven’t, please don’t wait. Death doesn’t notify you ahead of time when your time is up, so make sure of your destination before he comes to call on you.

Lifetime of learning


It is very possible to live even a short time without learning something, unfortunately, it is wholly possible to live a very long time and not learn very much at all. Why is this so? Is it because we don’t like learning or if we do like it we only want it a little at a time.

Each day that we live on Earth we learn something which we didn’t know before. So why do we try so hard to learn as much as we can in our field of study or our vocation? There are days in which we learn a lot and then there are days when we don’t learn much at all. Can you see a pattern forming here?

Our learning during our lifetime is usually controlled in some way by our schooling and by how much we truly want to learn. But is our learning in school and maybe in college actually benefiting the world and our life in it? It depends on our course of study actually. Some college education is geared toward a certain profession and some majors in college are for historians or liberal arts, but what can those fields change in our world? I know that architects and engineers are needed as well as lawyers and doctors, but what other profession helps mankind in life and in the death of a loved one?

Being a Christian and taking the True Gospel into the world or teaching those who will listen is the greatest calling a person can know. Being a pastor of a church and bringing God’s Word to those who attend church services is also an important vocation in God’s Kingdom. So why do pastors get a raw deal unless they are called to a large church? At smaller churches, they are the “staff” except for the person who controls the money in the church.

But in large churches, they are more like a CEO of a company which also adds more stress to their lives.

Image result for images for reading the Bible

The best education that anyone can have is to read the Bible through at least once in a year and then do it again and again. Why? Because God’s Word is alive and it gives you the wisdom that you are looking for or that wisdom that you need even when you don’t know you needed it. You also learn more from God’s Word every time you read it prayerfully because the Holy Spirit will reveal more of Him to you each time.

Will you ever learn everything that God’s Word can teach you? No, not even if you live to be 150 and read it at least once every year! His Word is alive and powerful and filled with His wisdom so that you get much more from it each time you read it. So make it a point to read a few chapters each day, then you will know how much you really don’t know about God and His Son, Jesus.

What is most important to you?


There are many, many answers to this question and they are not the same for everyone. Some of these would include our family or our children. Other answers may be more generic like world peace or just to live a good life. But when you get right down to the “brass tacks” of what is actually most important to you…in today’s politically charged world and in our culture, most people really wouldn’t know the true answer to that question.

If you were held at gunpoint and your life was threatened could you come up with an answer which makes sense and is the actual truth of your life? I honestly don’t know if any of us are that certain about what or who is the most important in your life. I have been thinking about it since beginning to write this and I just don’t know for certain. Isn’t that a little weird?

I have been married to my wife for twenty-six years and a few months but is she the most important person in my life? What about my son? Is he the most important person in my life right now? Even if I changed the wording a bit and asked: Who is the most important person in your life? Would that clear the water a bit? For some of us it might help but for others, I’m not so sure.

What is my point with this question? For one thing, it is to get us to think about it because we rarely do in today’s world. We are so busy running around doing things, going places, getting things done or going to the doctor’s office until we seem to be in a continual spin cycle. We never really settle down long enough to think about who or even what is most important to us or to our family while we have the time to think about it.

And really, if you sit down for about ten or fifteen minutes you will realize exactly what I am talking about. We don’t sit and talk much anymore. We are texting each other or liking a post or a picture or something funny which we share with our “friends” on Facebook. What did all of that accomplish? What does our electronic “friends list” actually mean in our lives? Do you really know these people or did you accept their request because you both have a friend in common?

What about taking one day every week and spending it with actual friends while learning more about our Savior at church. No pushing to make a change in your life. No asking for money that you don’t think you have to give for the work of the church. Just friends meeting at church and listening to a study of God’s Word for about an hour or so. God loves you and me and everyone else in this world but He also knows which ones will spend time with Him whether it is daily or weekly or just occasionally.

How would your friends feel if you only spent time with them on special occasions? How about once or twice in a month? How would your family feel if you did this? God loves each of us more deeply than our family members do and yet many of us don’t give Him or His Word much time at all in our lives. Many of us don’t spend as much time reading the Bible as we do liking pictures on Facebook each day or even in a week’s time!

There would be a massive revival in America if we could get off of Twitter or Facebook and pay attention to God’s Word at least as much as we did to those social media pages!

If we read God’s Word as much as we read social media in our country, the world around us would be impacted in ways that we cannot imagine right now.

God should be more important to each of us than our “friends” or even our family because He made it possible for us to have eternal life with Him. Eternity without Him is a pointless existence but it will happen if you leave Him out of your life until you die and then its too late to change that outcome.

Think about it while you can today…right now in fact because you don’t know when your time is up.