Yehudim

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The Hebrew word for the Jewish people is Yehudim. It means praise, thanksgiving and worship. A Jewish existence is that of praise and worship, thankful for all they have. How then did the name, Jew, become a profane term or a curse word? Because of sin–our own selfish, self-centered choices to live for ourselves and not God.

Jesus’ life as King of the Jews is a perfect example of Yehudim–praise, thanksgiving and worship. Yet, He was hated, persecuted and finally crucified. The sign over His head on the cross said, “King of the Jews,” and that is what He was/is. Jesus lived and taught what it is like to live for God. He lived a life of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus’ life was that of praise and worship. Even in death on the cross He glorified the Father in Heaven. His resurrection was an act of giving and faithfulness.

THINK ABOUT IT

Jesus was not destroyed by all the evil attempts on His life. He overcame evil with good. He blessed those who cursed Him. He even died for their forgiveness. If this is how Jesus lived, believers are called to live by His example. We are to be Yehudim–praising and worshiping God, thankful for all we have.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you Father God for Jesus. Help us to live our lives by His example and teaching. Empower us with your strength and boldness to stand firm in this dark world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Who is Asenath?

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Do you know who Asenath is? She was the daughter of an Egyptian priest, but she is in the lineage of Christ. How could that happen?

It happened with Joseph, a son of Jacob who had visions. His brothers hated him because he was Jacob’s favorite, and they sold him to some Midianite merchants who took him to Egypt. He served Potiphar the governor until he was falsely accused and put in prison.

Years later because he had the ability to interpret dreams, he was allowed to tell Pharaoh about the coming of a famine. The king put him in charge of the harvests, and he stored up food to feed the people during the famine.

He married Asenath and she bore him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who became two of the twelve tribes of Israel and ancestors to Jesus.

THINK ABOUT IT

As Asenath was a pagan to Israel, we were too. We were lost in our selfish, sinful lifestyle until we experienced God’s amazing love. He demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). By no effort of our own, Jesus brought us salvation from sin and gave us new life, abundant life (John 3:16).

As Joseph had an Egyptian bride, Christ does too. His bride is the church, which is made up of people who believe Jesus’ sacrifice was for them personally and who became a kingdom of priests so others might be brought in to God’s family. Listen! There is room for everybody! If you have not received God’s amazing love, it is not too late. Do these three things and you will be joint heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven: Admit you need Jesus’ love, believe that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). Then find a Bible teaching church and be baptized.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus our Savior. Teach us to live in the light of our salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Summer Harvest

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What thoughts come to your mind when you think of summer? Time at the beach, river rafting, lake fishing, kayaking, hiking trails, mountain biking? Summer is the time for vacations and relaxing, but that’s not all. It is the time between the Spring harvest and the Fall harvest. Is there a Summer harvest?

One hot summer day after a long journey, Jesus came to Jacob’s well and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. It was the middle of the day–not when most women came to the well. But Jesus had to talk with her. She had questions about worship, and she was the first person to whom Jesus announced that He was the Messiah. Inspired by such news, she ran into town and to tell others about a man who knew all about her. Could He be the Messiah?

While she was gone, the disciples returned and urged Jesus to eat something. He said He had food they knew nothing about. They thought someone else brought food to Him, but He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:34-35).

Jesus was talking about the harvest of redemption when He said, “Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. One sows and another reaps . . . I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits or their labor” (John 4:36-38).

THINK ABOUT IT

The woman at the well understood! She was the first evangelist in the Bible–not educated or prolific in speech. Moved by her time with Jesus, she shared things Jesus said. Could He be the expected Messiah? She got their attention, and they went to the well to hear what He had to say. Then they believed.

Listen! Jesus said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). As you go on your way, will you consider how you can enter into a conversation with others to tell them how they can experience God’s amazing love and inherit eternal life? Someone needs to know!

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus who demonstrated simple ways to strike up conversations that impact people for eternity. Open our eyes to see opportunities and empower us to reach out with your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Inheritance

Did you know you have a royal inheritance? If you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are adopted into the family of God, and you have a mansion in Heaven, a robe and a crown.

Check this out: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me in garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). When you accepted God’s amazing love for your life, He provided you His robe of righteousness. So now when the Father looks on you, He does not see your sin or shame or guilt. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross, your sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12).

Furthermore, when we enter Heaven and hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), God will hand out rewards, one of which is a crown. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). What we do for God’s glory on earth is not forgotten–preaching, teaching Sunday school, leading Bible study, mentoring, evangelism, serving the poor, singing in the choir, playing a musical instrument . . . The list goes on, but if you have done any of these or other things, which facilitated someone’s salvation, God has rewards. He loves us and wants us to live today and forever abundantly.

Now we have a robe and a crown. There is more–a mansion created just for you and another created just for me. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-4 NKJV). Listen! There is room for everybody! It seems too good to be true! Most of the time here on earth when things seem too good to be true, they are. This is different. God said it, and that makes is so.

THINK ABOUT IT

If God is so loving and generous, why would He send anyone to Hell? Be sure, He does not send people to Hell. But by their own choices, they choose Hell–choices to live for themselves and not God, to follow their own compassions and desires instead of God’s.

But if they knew about their inheritance, why would they choose to ignore it–to live for themselves, to choose things of this world and not for God’s kingdom? Maybe they don’t know. Maybe someone needs to tell them. Will that person be you? Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Who is it that you know who needs to know Jesus and His amazing love? Will you think of a way to reach them of God’s glory?

PRAY ABOUT IT

Father God, thank you for adopting us into your family. Thank you for Jesus and the sacrifice He made so we could enjoy your presence and your abundant life today and forever. Help us to reach as many as possible for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here is Your Son

Jesus suffered betrayal, denial, rejection, ridicule, beating, mocking and crucifixion. Yet, from the cross, through His grief and pain, he did one more thing for His mother.

“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother'” (John 19:26-27). Through excruciating pain Jesus made sure Mary would be cared for when He was no longer on earth.

THINK ABOUT IT

We might think when we are sick or in the hospital that there is nothing we can do for our family. I remember a time when my mother was in the hospital and my grandson had major surgery. Life and death stood in the balance for both of them. My mom said, “I wish I could hold Luke. I wish I could do something.” We all felt helpless. We had to trust God and rely on the skill of the surgeon with our three-year-old little boy. I told Mom, “There is something you can do.” She asked me what that was and I said, “You can pray, Mama.” She said, “Yes, I can pray. That’s something I can do,” and she did. I couldn’t wait to tell her the day Luke came home from the hospital. “Mama, Luke’s surgery went well. He’s fine. Thank you for praying.” Tears filled my eyes when I heard her shouts of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. It was one of the last things she did before she died, and it pleased God.

Whether we are sick or well, we can pray for our family–the family we were born to and the family of God. We can pray for salvation, protection, provision, health and healing. We can reach out to those we love with encouragement, texts, emails, written notes, phone calls and visits.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus, for His teaching, His example and His sacrifice for our sins and to give us eternal and abundant life. Help us to live our lives in light of your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do You Want to get Well?

Jesus healing the lame or crippled man

Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem is a pool that is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Jesus saw a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. He asked, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)

Wouldn’t it be apparent that the man would want to be well, to be able to walk and go wherever he wanted? Yet, for thirty-eight long years his income was from begging. Did he wonder how he would make a living if he were healed? Yet, he answered Jesus, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7).

Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The man was cured instantly, and he picked up his mat and walked.

THINK ABOUT IT

It seems to me that the man waited by the pool for many years, hoping that someone would help him. He was helpless and his situation was hopeless. Jesus wanted the man to look to Him and no one else, and when he did, he was healed.

Friend, have you felt helpless and without hope? I have. At one time I wanted to give up. I cried out to God and said I didn’t want to go on anymore. My life was a failure. Too many bad decisions led me into great loneliness and despair. As soon as I admitted to God I wanted to give up on life, I heard the Spirit speak to my heart. “Could you make it if I stay with you?” “Well, I guess,” I said, and as quickly as the invalid man was cured, I experienced God’s amazing love. For a brief moment I took my eyes off my situation. Even though my cry to God was desperate, He responded with His mercy. What reprieve! What blessing!

PRAY ABOUT IT

O Lord, help us to change our focus from our circumstances to you. Help us to experience your presence and trust you with all that concerns us. Thank you for your promise that you will never leave or forsake us. We rely on your help and healing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What do You Say?

“At dawn Jesus was in the temple courts, and all the people gathered around Him. When He began to teach, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law brought in a woman caught in the act of adultery and made her stand in front of the group. They said, ‘In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?'” (John 8:1-5)

These leaders used this question as a way to trap Jesus so they would have a way to accuse Him, but Jesus knew their intent. He bent down and started writing on the ground, but the men kept questioning Him. He stood up and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” ( John 8:7). Again Jesus stooped down to write on the ground. This is the only time the Bible records that Jesus wrote anything. Do you wonder what He wrote? A clue might be found in Jeremiah 17: “Lord you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the Spring of Living Water.”

One by one the men went away, the older ones first. Do you wonder if they saw their names written in the dirt? Do you wonder what sin they might have been convicted of?

Only the woman was left with Jesus. He stood and asked her, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus said. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

THINK ABOUT IT

Jesus brought about justice and righteousness to the woman. He showed her love, but He didn’t condone what she did. He didn’t condemn her but told her to leave her life of sin. That’s what He does for you and me too. Christians are citizens of Heaven, but live in this dark world. It is important for us to live as if we lived in Heaven even while we are on the earth. Will you join me in praying for justice and righteousness for others, that they might come to know God’s amazing love too?

PRAY ABOUT IT

Father God, we pray that you bring about justice and righteousness to this world, even now, so others will experience your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What God Can Do

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Today it is snowing at times and other times it is raining ice. I am at my computer considering what I might write, and I reflected on certain times in my life. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 during my senior year in high school. I was married in 1966 and moved from Oklahoma to California. My son was born in 1968, the year Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Riots were the scene on many university campuses. The Manson cult committed a series of nine horrible murders in 1969. As a young mom with my baby boy, I wondered what my son would live through, what kind of world had I brought him into? As many of you thought at that time, I also thought it was the end of the world. How could it get worse?

Things did get worse. Roe vs. Wade won and abortion became lawful in 1973. In 1976 the Swine Flu hit America and President Ford called for a vaccination, which came faster than any vaccination in history until that time. Today things look grim with woke culture, critical race theory, millions of babies killed by abortion, and a virus that shut the world down and brought about more isolation, loss, depression, despair, suicides, homicides and vaccine mandates that divide communities and families.

In the midst of this darkness, I want to tell you some good news! God is on the move. None of these things surprise Him. Revival is happening across the United States, and it is starting in California. Yes, California, a state that was once the desired place to live but where, for the past several years, a big exodus has occurred and is still occurring, for which I was part of.

Today, shut in by the threatening weather, I looked on YouTube for something I could write about and came across a message preached by Mario Murillo at Destiny Church in Rocklin, California. Tears filled my eyes, and my ears were opened to see and hear what God can do. Take time to listen to Mario Murillo. You will be glad you did.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for what you are doing in California and across our nation. Raise up your people everywhere to shine your light into this dark world, and share your amazing love to free the hearts of people from fear, anxiety, emptiness, despair and loneliness, and have new life in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s My Father’s House

Beautiful curb appeal of a luxurious stone wedding venue in Seattle.

A beth ab was the tradition in old Israel. It’s a big house, probably not as beautiful as this one, but I’ve read that one might have had fifteen rooms where extended family all lived together. When a son was betrothed to be married, he built rooms onto his father’s house for his future family. The father announced when all was ready. Then the wedding began. If a man had four sons, each son who married built onto the house and then brought his bride and had a family there. Can you imagine living with your extended family? What would it be like?

Consider radical love. The father loved all his sons the same, and when one was gone, he couldn’t wait for him to return. Think about this in terms of the Prodigal Son. The son demanded his inheritance and ran away to another country to “find himself.” The Bible says he squandered his inheritance on parties and immorality. When all his money was gone, so were all his “so-called” friends. He became hungry and found work on a pig farm. This was the lowest life for a Jew, but he longed for the food the pigs ate. When he came to his senses, he realized that his father treated his servants better than he was being treated so he packed up his things and started for home. His dad saw him from a long way and greeted him with a clean robe and new sandals and put a ring on his finger. He threw a big party for the son who was lost but was found.

THINK ABOUT IT

Jesus calls to each of us. He doesn’t want anyone to fail to receive His amazing love, but He will not force us to love Him in return. He told the disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

Friend, there is room for everybody! The Father knows what you like, what makes you comfortable and happy. Jesus is there making a place customized just for you and another place just for me. It’s a mystery that I have to trust God about, and I hope you do too. It’s gonna be great!

PRAY ABOUT IT

Father God, thank you for Jesus, and the hope that we will all live together someday. Help us to know your word and trust you with our future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Mystery of the Magi

January 6 is the day during the year when we commemorate the visit of the Magi to Mary, Joseph and Jesus in Bethlehem. The Bible says in Matthew 2 that they came from the East–probably not as far east as China, but more like Babylon or Persia, modern day Iraq or Iran.

They are believed to be astrologers since they followed a star that led them to Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph lived following the birth of Jesus. Was the star part of a natural phenomenon or a miraculous event? It’s a mystery.

Another mystery is in the gifts the Magi gave to Jesus: Gold for a King, frankincense for a Priest, and Myrrh for a Savior. Did they know that the newborn king would be all these in one person?

THINK ABOUT IT

Who is Jesus to you? King? Priest? Savior? Teacher? Comforter? Counselor? Friend? Although Jesus lived on earth only thirty-three years, He changed the world more than any one person ever has or ever will. His great love penetrates hearts and restores souls. His great act of forgiveness on the cross paves the way for us to have a relationship with a living God.

To answer my own question, Jesus his all those to me and more. He gives my life meaning and purpose. Hope has displaced despair. I have peace instead of anxiety and new mercies every day instead of feelings of apathy. Friend, all these are available to you through the amazing love of God. Seek Him. You will find Him. He promised that.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Jesus, His amazing love and forgiveness. I pray for my friends who have not experienced your love–that you would make them aware of your presence in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.