Tag Archives: scriptures

Heaven is for Real

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Image Credit:
www.movpins.com

My daughter, son-in-law, granddaughters and I watched “Heaven is for Real” a couple of nights ago, and though many have said how wonderful it is, I can only assume they were watching a different movie with the same title, because the movie my family and I watched was far from wonderful. Indeed, I was saddened because the film makers, who produced this movie, showcased heaven, while ignoring Jesus Christ, Son of the living God. To ignore the King of kings, who reigns over both heaven and earth, is to negate His kingdom, for if the King of a kingdom is overlooked, then the kingdom itself has very little value.

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Image Credit:
www.ubfriends.org

As a born-again believer and follower of Christ, I do, indeed, believe that heaven is for real. Therefore, I am in complete agreement with the title of both the book and the movie. However, that is where my agreement with this low-quality film ends. You see, my belief in Jesus Christ, Messiah and Son of God, also known as the King of kings and Lord of lords, is based on what the bible says about Him and His kingdom, but sadly, this movie and the book fall short of the truth recorded in God’s word.

I could have tolerated the poor acting and the poorly written script, which placed the movie on par with other “B” movies…

“A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse.”  ~ Wikipedia ~

However, what I could not tolerate, was a supposedly “true” story about heaven that failed to glorify God.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.  ~ Revelation 22:1-5 NLT ~

heaven2This description of heaven, revealed by the Apostle John, who visited heaven while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, describes heaven, the place, however, his main focus was on God and His Son, for their thrones are front and center, and all things flow from their midst. Not only that, John also tells us that the servants of God will be worshiping Him, and that His name will be written on their foreheads. The movie mentioned nothing of these things. Also missing from the movie’s description of heaven were the Crystal Sea, and the trees of life on both sides of the river.

In the book and the movie, the boy claimed that everyone in heaven had wings, including him. However, while the Lord and some angelic beings are said to have wings in the scriptures, it never once says that humans have wings in heaven. Furthermore, the saints who have visited heaven, either in a vision or a dream, have never done so while having a near death experience. And what’s more, in scripture, those who truly have visited heaven, were either prophets or apostles, who had a close relationship with the Lord, not children or people with no prior relationship with God. In fact, according to Jesus, you cannot even see God’s kingdom, unless you are born again. Therefore, every person who has ever claimed to see heaven prior to or without being born again is either lying or else they have been deceived…

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  ~ John 3:3  NLT ~

And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him by the splendor of His coming.

This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.  ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12  NLT ~

Heaven is for Real 1In addition to what I’ve already shared with you, there were many other things about this movie that troubled me. However, to me, the most disturbing scene was when the embittered mother of a son (who was killed while in the military),  questioned her pastor. “Do you think my son went to heaven?”

His answer to her question was a typical Hollywood answer. While it seemed like a nice and comforting answer, it clearly went against the bible’s teachings, thus rendering it untrue. In the movie, Pastor Todd Burpo gently asked her if she loved her son. Then, when she replied affirmatively, he told her that he loved his son too, and that God did as well. Then, he told her that God didn’t love her son any less than He loved Colton (Burpo’s son who had supposedly visited heaven), implying that since God had allowed Colton to go to heaven, He would also allow her son to go to heaven. 

Without a doubt, God truly does love us and our children even more than we are able to, however, that God’s love for mankind does not guarantee our entrance into heaven. There was no mention of Christ or the need to be born again in Pastor Burpo’s response to this sad mother, and this is what both saddened and outraged me.

For Pastor Todd Burpo, who is supposed to be a servant of God, and therefore responsible for sharing the gospel of Christ with mankind, approved this movie, which deceives people into thinking that everyone has access to heaven, regardless of whether they have been born again or not. In fact, Todd Burpo is not the only minister to approve this deception, for T.D. Jakes, self-proclaimed Apostle/Bishop of The Potter’s House, a megachurch with a membership of close to 30,000 people, located in Dallas, Texas, was also one of the producers of this deceptive film. Remember, as a religious leader, these men are held to a higher standard than those who are not…

17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.  ~ Hebrews 13:17  NLT ~

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  ~ 1 Peter 5:2  NLT~

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.  ~ James 3:1  NLT ~

Beloved readers, those who are called or appointed to be leaders of the church must be careful in doing so, for they will be judged more strictly. Leaders of the church must be above reproach, sharing the gospel of Christ truthfully, boldly and lovingly. They must know and love God and His word, and they must never preach, teach or minister for financial gain.

Beloved, God would not have us ignorant. Therefore, it is also our responsibility to know and understand His word, so that we will not be deceived. Though the writers and producers of both the book and the movie, “Heaven is Real,” claim this story is being shared to bring comfort and hope to people, and though this sounds like a good thing, let us look at this realistically.

The authors and producers of this film and book did not participate in this venture simply in order to minister to men, women and children, but for their own financial gain. Pastor Todd Burpo has had much financial gain since publishing his story, and you’d better believe that T.D. Jakes wouldn’t have taken part in the production of this movie had it not been a lucrative venture. 

Beloved readers, let us remember these words of Jesus…

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”  ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  ~ John 3:3  NLT ~

If I were to grade this movie, I would give it an F, because though it was supposed to be a true story, when you hold it up to what God’s word says about heaven, it becomes clear that this story holds no truth. And though the movie attempted to glorify heaven; by failing to glorify God and His Son, Jesus Christ, the heaven presented in the movie held no splendor or appeal. Furthermore, although heaven is real, the heaven revealed in this movie was nothing more than a low-quality, fictitious fable.

To know what heaven in all its splendor and glory is truly like, I suggest you read the following scripture passages…

These are just a few of the scriptures that describe the only true heaven, created by Almighty God, for His glory. After reading of God’s glorious heavenly home, why would anyone want to settle for a low-budget imitation like the one presented in this movie?

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

What’s in a Name? (Part 2)

Image Credit: http://threeminutebiblestudy.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
http://threeminutebiblestudy.blogspot.com

In the last post, we talked about the name of God, the one He gave to Moses… YHWH or Yud He Vav He, also spoken as Yud He Waw He. In this name, the Lord reveals so much about Himself to us… He reveals that He is the All-Sufficient God. He is everything we need and more… Now, I want to go a little deeper and share something else with you…

Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.'”

~ Exodus 3:15 ~

The Lord did not actually say that His name was LORD, or Adonai, as the Jews have recorded. In fact, no one knows any longer what His name is, because the Lord’s name, the one that He said would be His name forever, and would be a memorial to all generations, has allegedly been stripped of its vowels, leaving only the consonants, YHWH (in English), or Yud He Vav He (in Hebrew). Therefore, whenever you read the word LORD in your bible with the letter “L” capitalized, and the remaining letters written in small caps, that means the Yud He Vav He’s name was actually spoken or written there originally.

Now, why would anyone try to hide the Lord’s name, when He specifically said that it was His name forever, and that it would be a memorial to all generations?

Dictionary.com defines memorial as:

something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.

Image Credit: richardharrison.net
Image Credit:
richardharrison.net

Many people suppose that the Jews do not write the Lord’s name, but instead, replace it with “Adonai” because they don’t want to break the third commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

~ Exodus 20:7 ~

However, this is not true. As a matter of fact, in this very commandment, YHWH’s name was used not only once, but twice. So, where does this tradition of hiding the name of God come from?

Apparently, this tradition of not writing YHWH’s name came about over time, as various rabbis after reading Deuteronomy 12, determined that another commandment was implied in this scripture passage…

1 Here are the laws and rulings you are to observe and obey in the land Adonai, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess as long as you live on earth. 2 You must destroy all the places where the nations you are dispossessing served their gods, whether on high mountains, on hills, or under some leafy tree. 3 Break down their altars, smash their standing-stones to pieces, burn up their sacred poles completely and cut down the carved images of their gods. Exterminate their name from that place.

4 “But you are not to treat Adonai your God this way. 5 Rather, you are to come to the place where Adonai your God will put His name. He will choose it from all your tribes; and you will seek out that place, which is where He will live, and go there.

~ Deuteronomy 12:1-5 ~

No one really knows when, but somewhere along the way, rabbis, scribes and priests decided to stop writing the name of God and to write Adonai instead of His name. This way, they figured, no one would run the risk of accidentally erasing His name from the scriptures.

Image Credit: propheticverses.com
Image Credit:
propheticverses.com

How sad. Think of it — Moses, the one God spoke His name to, was the first to write the Lord’s name. As a matter of fact, knowing that people would see His name and read His name, and hear His name, Moses still chose to write the Lord’s name so that all might see it.

Let’s take it a step further… God wrote His name on the stone tablets, when He wrote the 10 Commandments, for all to see, after Moses broke the original stone tablets, (when the Israelites sinned and worshiped the golden calf).

Moshe was there with ADONAI forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [ADONAI] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

~ Exodus 34:28 ~

If the Lord had not wanted His name written or spoken aloud, He never would have revealed it and told Moses to speak His name, not only to the Jews, but to Pharaoh as well. Indeed, nothing in the Torah prohibited speaking the name of the Lord, and the Jews in ancient times used greet one another in the name of the Lord regularly and call upon His name. As a matter of fact, people called on the name of the Lord long before Moses learned the Lord’s name…

And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD. ~ Genesis 4:26 ~

He left that place, went to the hill east of Beit-El and pitched his tent. With Beit-El to the west and ‘Ai to the east, he built an altar there and called on the name of ADONAI. ~ Genesis 12:8 ~

For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as ADONAI our God is, whenever we call on him? ~ Deuteronomy 4:7 ~

Shimshon called to ADONAI, “Adonai ELOHIM, just this once, please, think of me, and please, give me strength, so that I can take revenge on the P’lishtim for at least one of my two eyes.” ~ Judges 16:28 ~

“Then, you, call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of ADONAI; and the God who answers with fire, let him be God!” All the people answered, “Good idea! Agreed!” ~ 1 Kings 18:24

As you can see, people called on the Lord by name from the most ancient times, and the Lord heard their cries and answered them. In fact, the Lord Himself encouraged people to call upon His name…

2 “Thus says ADONAI the maker,
ADONAI who formed [the universe]
so as to keep directing it —
ADONAI is his name:
3 ‘Call out to me,
and I will answer you —
I will tell you great things,
hidden things of which you are unaware.’”

~ Jeremiah 33:2-3 ~

Knowing that the Lord Himself wants His people to call upon His name, makes what happened all the more difficult to understand. However, by the time of the Talmud, some rabbis proclaimed that it was sinful to write or even speak His name aloud, or else the person who did so would have no place in the World to Come. Is it any  wonder the Lord Jesus spoke so harshly to the Pharisees?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. ~ Matthew 23:15 ~

Sadly, through the years, because the Jews stopped writing the name of the Lord, and because they were afraid to speak His name anymore, the Lord’s name was forgotten. Indeed, Jesus even had to teach His disciples the name of the Lord…

“I made Your name known to the people You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. ~ John 17:6 ~

I made Your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I Myself may be united with them. ~ John 17:26 ~

Hallelujah! Our heavenly Father wants His children to know His name and to call upon His name. Jesus knew that, and so He made Yud He Vav He’s name known to His disciples.

Although the pronunciation of our heavenly Father’s name has been lost, we can still pronounce the letters of His name that are left to us… YHWH (Yud He Vav He)… 

YAHWEH_blue_sm1The image above are the Hebrew letters, YHWH. It is read from right to left, and it is the name of the Lord. It is pronounced Yud Hey Vav (or Waw) Hey. Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to pray to Yud He Vav He and to call upon His holy name and see His response to your prayers. There is power in praying, crying and calling upon Yud He Vav He.

Would you like to know a little more about Yud He Vav He and the power of His name? The image above is the Lord’s name, using letters from the modern Hebrew alphabet. The image below shows the ancient Hebrew writing of the Lord’s name — the one used by Moses and the Old Testament writers, and it is here, in these ancient letters, that we truly get a glimpse of the power of God’s holy name…

images

Remember, that Hebrew is read from right to left, and so was ancient Hebrew. Therefore, if you look at the first letter, “Yud”, you see an image that looks like a hand attached to an arm. The next letter in the pictogram is the letter He (pronounced Hey), and this figure looks like someone is saying, “Hey!” or “Behold!” So what you see so far is “Hand — behold!” The next letter resembles a tent peg or a nail, followed by “Behold” again.

Therefore, when you put the letters all together, you see Hand — Behold! Nail — Behold! We see here in the Lord’s name, the name that we are to call upon, a picture of Christ’s hands with a nail in them. Is that not powerful? Just seeing this is evidence that Yud He Vav He, by His very name, had planned the crucifixion of Christ, from eternity. Such wisdom and love is far beyond our scope of knowledge.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I urge you and encourage you to call upon the name of Yud He Vav He in Yeshua’s name, Then watch and see how He will move on your behalf…

Image Credit: http://doubleportioninheritance.blogspot.com/
Image Credit:
http://doubleportioninheritance.blogspot.com/

Yud He Vav He, thank You for the power and the revelation of Your Holy name. Thank You for entrusting Your name to Your children who love You. Thank You for the hope and the promise that is in Your name, Yud He Vav He, and we ask You to speak to the hearts of the men, women and children in our lives, in Yeshua’s name. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

What’s in a Name? (Part 1)

Image Credit: Luke 1:7 by Debbie Jackson
Image Credit:
Luke 1:7
by Debbie Jackson

What’s in a name? Why and how do people choose names for their children, and what does it say about the one who names and the one who is named?

In New Testament times, the Jews gave their children family names, unless the Lord gave them a different name…

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

~ Luke 1:59-64 ~

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Image Credit:
http://digital-art-gallery.com/

In many cultures, the name given to the baby reflected their environment and the circumstances involved in the child’s birth. In still other cultures, the names reflect the parents’ hopes for their children, or something descriptive of the child.

Names are important. A good name can bless a person for life, while a bad name can ruin a person’s life. As important as a good name is to a man, long before man existed, there was One whose name embodies all that is good and all that ever will be good. In fact, Jesus, the One who was without sin, said this about Him…

“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him.“Only God is truly good.”

~ Luke 18:19 ~

The Lord God has many names, and each one describes His character. Today, I want to focus on one of God’s names — the name He gave to Moses (Moshe), when he asked who he should tell the people of Israel whom should he say sent him…

14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’” 15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after.

~ Exodus 3:14-15 — CJB ~

Image Credit: The Divine Utterance From Within The Burning Bush http://hashemartworks.net/
Image Credit:
The Divine Utterance From Within The Burning Bush
http://hashemartworks.net/

I chose to use the scripture above from the Complete Jewish Bible, because it is the closest translation to what the Lord actually spoke to Moshe (Moses). “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be].” There’s such power in this statement. In that short sentence, God is telling Moses…

“I am what I am… Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!”  ~ John 8:58 ~

I will be what I will be…  “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord God. “I am the One Who Is, Who Always Was, and Who Is Still to Come—the Almighty One.”  ~ Revelation 1:8 ~

I am the All-Sufficient One…  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~

I am Enough for you…  But now this is what Adonai says, He who created you, Ya‘akov, He who formed you, Isra’el: “Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I am calling you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through water, I will be with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched — the flame will not burn you. ~ Isaiah 43:1-2 ~

I am All you will ever need…  Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:25-26 ~

I am your Everything…  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. ~ Colossians 1:15-17 ~

I am Life to you…  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. ~ John 11:25 ~

I am your Protector…  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. ~ Psalm 4:8 ~

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Image Credit:
http://mydestinysharinghope.com/

I am your Deliverer… And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ~

I am your Healer…  And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. ~ Acts 10:38 ~

I am your Reason for living…  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1 ~

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Image Credit:
http://reneeswope.com/

I am your Hope… Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… ~ 1 Peter 1:3 ~

I am the Source of all you need…  Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ~ Jeremiah 33:3 ~

I am your Keeper…  The Lord is your Keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. ~ Psalm 121:5 ~

Image Credit: Unknown
Image Credit:
Unknown

I am AlmightyGod raised up the Lord, and He will raise us up too by His power. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:14 ~

I am All-Knowing… 1 O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. ~ Psalm 139:1-4 ~

I am All-Seeing… Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. ~ Hebrews 4:13 ~

I am With you… Don’t you know that you people are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16 ~

I am your Peace Now may the Lord of shalom Himself give you shalom always in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ~

I am a Mighty Warrior… The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17 ~

I am your Joy… Adonai is my strength and shield; in Him my heart trusted, and I have been helped. Therefore my heart is filled with joy, and I will sing praises to Him. ~ Psalm 28:7 ~

Image Credit; Artist Unknown
Image Credit;
Artist Unknown

I am the Way… Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. ~ John 14:6 ~

I am your Rock… Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I find shelter, my shield, the power that saves me, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2 ~

I am Holy… The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and  is and is to come!” ~ Revelation 4:8 ~

I am Righteous… For the goal at which theTorah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. ~ Romans 10:4 ~

I am Merciful… Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. ~ Lamentations 3:22 ~

I am your Comfort… 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ~

I am Just… He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8 ~

I am Patient… The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. ~ 2 Peter 3:9 ~

I am Slow to Anger… ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ ~ Numbers 14:18 ~

I am Forgiving… 37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” ~ Luke 6:37-38 ~

I am your Salvation…” 11 “This Yeshua is the stone rejected by you builders whichhas become the cornerstone.12 There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by whom we must be saved!” ~ Acts 4:11-12 ~

Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead

"Let the dead bury their own dead."
“Let the dead bury their own dead.”

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

~ Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg
Image Credit:
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What do you think when you read this scripture? Does it sound harsh to you? Does it seem like Jesus is being really cold in light of the pain the disciple must be feeling at the death of his father? I always struggled with that passage, and I’ll be honest with you, I prayed the Lord would give me the wisdom to understand this and to share it with you (and me too!).

And then I started thinking about it, and the Lord opened my eyes as He taught me… Let’s take note of the first thing that Jesus says to the man — “Follow Me…” Think about it. Jesus commanded the disciple to follow Him. He gives us the same command today, and we must make a choice. Will we follow Him? Or will we go our own way?

“Follow Me”, Jesus commands us, and we mustn’t let anything get in the way of this command. We must choose to follow Him, no matter what our circumstances are. If all is well, we must follow Jesus. If it seems as though all hell has broken loose, we must follow Jesus. Our lives depend on obeying this command to follow Jesus.

Now think about this, Jesus is LIFE, and this disciple wanted to leave LIFE, to go and be with his dead father. Yes, this was his father, but his father was dead. Really, there was nothing more that could be done for his father, but there was every reason for him to follow the One in whom there was LIFE.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

~ John 1:4-5 — NKJV ~

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

~ John 11:25-26 — NKJV ~

Let’s look at the passage of scripture we are studying again…

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

When I read this passage now, I see the harshness of Jesus’ response borne out of love for His disciple. The disciple wanted to leave Christ to bury a dead man first. Think about it… Not only was this disciple putting something else ahead of the Lord, he was putting a dead man ahead of Him!

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

~ Revelation 1:17-18 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg

This disciple wanted to put a dead man ahead of the One who is the First and the Last. He was going to put a dead man, who had already lived his life — “Yes,” you may say, “but this was the man’s father!” — ahead of the One who holds the keys of death and the grave. Yes, although the dead man was the disciple’s father, he was dead. There was nothing more he could do for his father, because he was no longer among the living. What remained was the disciple, and the choice he made would determine whether he would be among the living or the dead.

Jesus’ statement, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead,” reminds me of one of my favorite passages in Deuteronomy 15, when Moses addresses the people of Israel, giving them the choice between life and death. I believe that this was Jesus’ message to His disciple and to every other man, woman and child who would follow, that they too must make a choice…

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

~ Deuteronomy 30:15-20 — NLT ~

Don’t you see the choice Jesus gave the young man? “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” We can follow Him and let the dead bury their own dead, or we can leave Him to be with the dead… When He says, “Follow Me,” I can almost hear Him saying, just as Moses said to the children of Israel, “Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” And now, after praying and meditating on this word, it no longer seems as though Jesus is being harsh. This passage is just another example of the wonderful, matchless and unmerited love of Christ for each and every one of us.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – “Not Everyone Who Says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Shall Enter The Kingdom of Heaven…” Part 2

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 

(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

How well do you know God? I’m not talking about how much you know about Him. There are many people who know a whole lot of Scriptures, but they don’t know God.

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Just because you read a book about someone doesn’t mean that you know him/her. Because you read something written by an author does not mean that you actually know him/her. Many of you who read my posts do not know me, even though what I’ve written has come straight from my heart and reveals much about me; while others who read my posts have come to know me very well. How is it that you all read the same words that I have written, and perhaps even follow my blog, and yet, only a few know me?

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The answer has to do with relationship and intimacy. Some, who have read my words, respond to me, the author of those words. They talk to me, via their comments, and I respond to them. As we begin responding to one another, we come to know and love one another. We become intimate. As we become intimate with one another, both listening and hearing what the other is saying, we begin to see one another’s heart, and as we open up to one another, we come to love one another.

We also learn to see the flaws that each of us have, because we are still human after all, but those flaws do not change our love for one another. If anything, when we see the sin in our brothers and sisters, we hurt and we ache for our brothers and sisters, crying out for their release from the sin, which like a cancer, can destroy them. The knowledge of the sin in our brothers’ or sisters’ lives does not cause us to love them any less; rather it causes us to love them all the more, while we hate that sin which is destroying them, and wage war against it…

In this same way, many who read and study the Word of God do not know Him, because they fail to respond to Him, the Author of those words. Now some may admire and respect His Word, and may know more about His words than others, but they have missed the most important thing. You see, although they admire those words, they have failed to respond to the Author of those words. Rather than taking the time to respond to Him, and listen to His response to them, they just admire Him from afar.

Some people believe the words that He has written, and they apply them to their lives, just as some have admired Socrates and live by his words…

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Socrates

Others admire Ghandi and live by his words…

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ghandi

Still others admire Plato and live by his words…

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Plato

While people may admire these philosophers and live by what they say, the people do not actually know them. In the same way, while many people know Jesus and admire Him, many even try to live according to the Ten Commandments, this does not mean that they actually know Him personally, and intimacy is the very foundation of Christianity. This is why Jesus said:

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell Me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)

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So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must obey His Father in heaven? How do we know if we really do know Jesus? He makes it plain for us in His word:

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

(John 15:10-14 NKJV)

Do you see that? If we obey Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in His love… By this we will know that we are saved… So what does He command us to do?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(John 15:12 NKJV)

What is the greatest command that God gave us… the one that all of the Law and the prophets is based on?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I didn’t ask you if you love church, or the bible, or TBN or the God Channel. I asked if you love Jesus… Do you love Him first and best? Remember, the greatest command is to Love God.

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How about your neighbor? You know who I mean… Do you love your lazy co-worker who leaves you to pick up after him? Do you love your nosy neighbor who all the time sticks her nose into your business? Do you love your neighbor who says he loves you to your face, then stabs you in the back when you’re not looking? Do you love your neighbor, who is also your enemy? Remember… Jesus tells us to love one another as He loved us…

Do you know how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you really is? Let me remind you… While you and I were still sinners, doing the things that pleased ourselves, without a thought of Christ, He loved us. When you and I turned our backs on Him and rejected Him, Jesus still loved us. When you and I stumble and fall, Jesus still loves us. When we denied Him, He loved us still… In all of the sins we committed against Him, He not only kept on loving us, He forgave us! Not only did He forgive us… He picked us up and cleaned up our mess…

Now, I’ll ask you again, do you love God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Do you love your neighbor the same way Jesus loves us?

If your answer to either of those questions is no, then you, my friend truly don’t know Christ, and if you don’t know Him, you don’t know the Father… And if you don’t know them, then when Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you’ve done, He will say to you, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.” (Matthew 7:23b NLT)

It’s up to you, my beloved readers and followers… Do you want to know the Author of these 66 books we call the bible? Respond to Him. Develop a relationship with Him by talking to Him and listening to Him, as He speaks to you through His Word. My prayer for each one who reads these words of mine is that when Jesus returns, He will look at you and say, “Come here, My beloved. I’m so glad we’ve come to know one another, and that you did everything I authorized you to do!”