Eternal One: For behold the day of burning will come, smoldering like a furnace. The arrogant and the evil will be set ablaze like the worthless chaff of grain. Neither roots nor branch will remain. I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, promise this. But for you, the ones who tremble at the sound of My name, a warm sun of righteousness will come forth with healing in its rays, and you will go out, springing from the stalls like calves in open pasture. Then you will trample the criminal; your feet will make them ash on the day I am preparing. I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, promise this.
Remember the instructions which Moses, My faithful servant, received from Me at Mount Horeb and gave to all Israel. Remember its statutes and judgments.
Keep watch. I am sending Elijah the prophet to you before the arrival of the great and terrible day of the Eternal One, and he will return parents’ hearts to their children and children’s hearts to their parents, or else I will come and strike the land of promise with a curse of annihilation.
I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten.
I’m writing as a father to you, my children.
I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled.
There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.
(1 Corinthians 4:15-16)
Teacher: Then I saw yet another thing: envy fuels achievement. All the work and skills people develop come from their desire to be better than their neighbors. Even this is fleeting, like trying to embrace the wind. Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together.
If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?
By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:6)
We live by faith, not by sight.
At that He will turn to those on His left hand.
King: Get away from Me, you despised people whom My Father has cursed. Claim your inheritance—the pits of flaming hell where the devil and his minions suffer.
For I was starving, and you left Me with no food. When I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see You without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
King: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.
So these, the goats, will go off to everlasting punishment. But the beloved, the sheep (the righteous), will go into everlasting life.
We need to get the same perspective that Jesus Christ had when He left heaven’s
riches and emptied Himself in order to draw us into union with God in Him.
God so loved the world that He held nothing back, He lay it all on the line giving His Only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
WhoSOever that believes….shall have!
Heavenly Father, give us this day a fresh revelation of Your will in Christ Jesus and make the way clear concerning all that You have entrusted into our hands. May
we remember that all that we have is not ours but Yours. Cultivate a heart of deep
gratitude and a mouth of thankful praise as we joyfully share Your love in a world
hardened by the sin of selfish lust. Help us to steward well the resources You have
provided that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Break that tendency in us to judge so that Your mercy flows as a river to refresh and revive the dry barren hearts that surround us for we know You have placed us here. May there be agreement between Your will and ours whatever the circumstances; I know that no matter what, You supply enough strength, enough grace that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus’ name. Lord we make ourselves ready, willing and available knowing that You are all we need and in You, we are well able to take the land for Your name’s sake and glory in Christ Jesus, Amen.
(1 Peter 2:9-10)
The Everlasting Abundant Life is secured by a Scarlet Three fold Cord which is a Royal Blood Line.
We are Justified (made fruit bearing branches in Christ who is the Vine) by faith.
It’s easy to say “I love God,” but genuine love reflects God’s love. If we belong to God, then we will love each other regardless of how hard love is.
Everyone who trusts Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One is a child of God, and everyone who loves the Father cannot help but love the child fathered by Him. Then how do we know if we truly love God’s children? We love them if we love God and keep His commands. You see, to love God means that we keep His commands, and His commands don’t weigh us down. Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.
Who is the person conquering the world?
It is the one who truly trusts that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus the Anointed is the One who came by water and blood—not by the water only, but by the water and the blood.
Just as we do not get to choose our biological brothers and sisters, we do not get to choose our spiritual brothers and sisters either. But what comes along with loving the Father is loving all His other children—even the really annoying ones! While it might seem to be easier to go off and live in isolation rather than put up with those we are not naturally attracted to, there are responsibilities that come with living in a spiritual family. We reflect our worship of God by living in respect with our Christian brothers and sisters. How we treat the people around us on a daily basis is the real test of our love for God.
The Spirit of God testifies to this truth because the Spirit is the truth.
So there are three testifying witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
All three are in total agreement.
If we accept the testimonies of people, then we must realize the testimony of God is greater than that of any person. God certified the truth about His own Son. Anyone who trusts the Son of God has this truthful testimony at the core of his being. Anyone who does not trust God calls God a liar because he ignores God’s truthful testimony regarding His own Son. And this is the truth: God has given us the gift of eternal life, and this life is in His Son. If you have the Son, you have eternal life. If you do not have the Son of God, you are not acquainted with true life.
I am writing all of this to you who have entrusted your lives to the Son of God—so you will realize eternal life already is yours. We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. And if we have no doubt that He hears our voices, we can be assured that He moves in response to our call.
In this regard, if you notice a brother or sister in faith making moral missteps and blunders, disregarding and disobeying God even to the point of God removing this one from the body by death, then pray for that person; and God will grant him life on this journey. But to be clear, there is a sin that is ultimately fatal and leads to death. I am not talking about praying for that fatal sin, but I am talking about all those wrongs and sins that plague God’s family that don’t lead to death.
We all know that everyone fathered by God will not make sin a way of life because God protects His children from the evil one, and the evil one can’t touch them.
Have confidence in the fact that we belong to God, but also know that the world around us is in the grips of the evil one.
We also can be sure of the fact that the Son of God has come and given us a mind so that we may know Him as the embodiment of all that is true. We live in this truth, in His Son Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the True God and eternal life.
My little children, keep away from idols.
John’s final bit of pastoral advice sounds an alarm against idolatry. If we look carefully at our culture and into our own hearts, we will find we are ultimately concerned about ourselves, our entertainment, our comforts, and our wallets.
None of these are worthy of our highest devotion; but we put more time, energy, money, and emotion into these than we do into the one true God.
So John’s warning should be heeded: watch out for the steady impulse to love other things more than God.
(1 John 5)
The rule is simple: we should treat others in the same way we want to be treated. God does not play favorites, and neither should we.
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.
The root of salvation; a person is saved by God’s grace received through faith.
The fruit of salvation; saving faith is a faith that works.
Anyone who accepts His testimony can affirm that God is true.
Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to the First Testament. The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives.
But what is faith? Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction. Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made. Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country. We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it. If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope.
By faith the walls of Jericho toppled after the people had circled them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab welcomed the Hebrew spies into her home so that she did not perish with the unbelievers. (Hebrews 11:30-31)
Then Joshua, the son of Nun, secretly sent two spies from Shittim to the western side of the Jordan.
Joshua: Go in, and see what you can find out about the people in that area. Pay special attention to the city of Jericho.
The men crossed the river, and when they entered Jericho, they stayed at the home of a prostitute named Rahab.
Somehow word reached the king of Jericho that Israelite spies had slipped into the area and might be visiting Rahab. That night the king sent soldiers to Rahab’s house with a message.
Messengers: The king commands you to turn over the Israelite men who are staying with you because they are here to spy on all the land and its defenses.
But Rahab had already hidden the two spies before she received the king’s messengers.
Rahab: It’s true that two men have been to see me. But I didn’t take the time to ask them where they came from. All I know is that when it was getting dark outside and the gate was about to close, they got up and left. I don’t know where they went from here. If you hurry, you might still catch up to them.
She was lying, because the two men lay where she had hidden them beneath the stalks of flax laid out on her roof.
The soldiers ordered the gate opened long enough for them to pass through; then the gate was closed. They took the road that went straight toward the narrowest parts of the Jordan, which would be the easiest place for the spies to cross.
But the two spies were still on Rahab’s roof. She came up and found them awake.
Rahab: I know the Eternal has given your people this land. Your coming has paralyzed us all with fear. We have heard how the Eternal held back the Red Sea so you could escape from Egypt on dry land and how you completely destroyed the Amorite kings, Sihon and Og—and their kingdoms—on the far side of the Jordan. As soon as this news reached us, our hearts melted like wax and none of us had an ounce of courage left. The Eternal One, your God, is truly God of the heavens above and the earth below.
Because I know all these things, this is my request: Since I have treated you kindly and have protected you, please promise me by the Eternal that you will do the same for my family. Give me some sign of good faith that when you destroy this city you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and their families from death.
Spies: You had the power to turn us in, but you saved us. Now we will do the same for you. If you will promise not to tell anyone what we were doing here, then you have our word: we will treat you with kindness and faithfulness when the Eternal One gives us the land.
Since the rear wall of her house was actually part of the great city wall, she helped the men escape by simply lowering a rope for them from her window. Before they climbed down, she advised them to go into the mountains.
Rahab: That way you won’t be where the soldiers expect you to be. If you’ll hide there for three days, the pursuers should have returned here by then and you can go back safely.
Spies: We will keep the oath we have sworn to you, but only if you will follow these instructions: Gather all of your family here in this house, and tie this scarlet cord in the window where you let us down. If anyone goes out of the house and into the streets, then we can’t be responsible for what happens to them. They will be killed, and their blood will be on their hands, not on ours. We will be responsible if anything should happen to anyone you gather in here. But remember—all of this depends on you keeping your word. If you tell anyone our business, you will free us from our oath.
The men climbed down and escaped into the night, and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
The story of Rahab reminds us that throughout the history of Israel, unexpected people have stepped to the foreground to be used by God. Rahab is a woman in a male-centered world; and she is a prostitute, the kind of person we typically vilify. But if she doesn’t rescue these men—and help them escape with the information they have gained—this first campaign in the land of Canaan will fail, and the larger outcome may be complicated—or worse. Her reward is life for herself and those she loves, which tells us that even in a war story like this one, God can be merciful.
The spies climbed into the mountains, just as Rahab had advised them, and they stayed for three days. During that time Jericho’s soldiers combed the countryside and watched the road heading east looking for them. Finally they went back to the city. So the two spies came down from their hiding place, crossed over the Jordan, and returned to Joshua (son of Nun), where they told him what had happened.
Spies: There is no doubt that the Eternal One has delivered all the land and its citizens into our hands. Everyone there is scared to death about our coming.
Joshua 2 (The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved)
Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:4)
These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
The citizens of Jericho had barricaded themselves behind its high walls because of the Israelite forces. No one could get in or out.
Eternal One (to Joshua): I have given Jericho, its king, and all its soldiers into your hands. Every day for the next six days, you will march once around the city walls with all your fighting force. Seven priests will go in front of the covenant chest, each carrying a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. On the seventh day, you will march around the city walls seven times, and the priests will blow their trumpets. When they play a long final blast, then all the people will give a mighty shout. The city walls will collapse in front of you, and all the Israelites will charge in and take the city.
So Joshua, the son of Nun, summoned the priests and instructed them.
Joshua: Take up the chest and have seven priests, each carrying a ram’s horn trumpet, march in front of the covenant chest of the Eternal.
Then he gave orders to the people.
Joshua: March around the city with the fighting men marching ahead of the chest of the Eternal.
So they all proceeded as Joshua had commanded them. The fighting men led the way; the seven priests marched after them, blowing their horns continually in front of the covenant chest of the Eternal, and the rear guard followed behind.
Joshua gave the Israelites very strict instructions.
Joshua: Don’t yell or shout. Don’t let your voice be heard until the day I tell you. And then I want you to shout with all your might.
So they circled the city once, carrying the covenant chest of the Eternal, and that night they returned to their camp. The next morning, Joshua rose early, the priests carried the chest of the Eternal, and they all marched around the city in exactly the same order as they had the day before: the armed men, seven trumpeting priests, the chest of the Eternal, and the rear guard, all making one complete circuit around the city with its great walls. That night they returned to their camp, and the next four days proceeded just like the first two.
But on the seventh day, they rose with the sun and the procession marched around the city walls seven times; that was the only day they made seven circuits around the city walls. After the seventh and final circuit, when the priests had raised a mighty noise on their trumpets, Joshua turned to the people.
Joshua: Shout! Shout! For the Eternal One has given you the city! The city and all who are in it will be destroyed completely as an offering to Him, except for the prostitute Rahab and those who are with her in her house. Her life will be spared as a reward for sheltering our two spies.
Be sure to stay away from these things that He has devoted to complete destruction so that you won’t be tempted to pick something up and carry it away. Anyone who disobeys God in this matter will bring destruction on all of us.
Any silver or gold, any bronze or iron vessels should not be burned; instead, they should be set aside for the Eternal’s treasury.
Then the people shouted, and the trumpets blasted. The noise of the voices and trumpets rose higher and higher, and the thick walls of Jericho collapsed, just as God had promised. When the wall fell before them, they rushed straight ahead and took the city, killing everyone—all the men and women and children, all the cattle and livestock—with their swords.
Joshua (to the two spies): Go back to the house of the prostitute, and bring her out with all of those who have hidden there so that you can keep your word.
So they set off through the destruction, found Rahab’s house, and brought her and all she had—father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all her relatives—out of the fallen city to a place outside the camp of Israel.
So Jericho was destroyed completely, burned to the ground except for the precious metals and iron and bronze vessels that were put into the treasury of the Eternal’s house. But Joshua spared the life of Rahab the prostitute, all her family, and all she had because she was faithful to the spies he had sent, and she lived among the Israelites from that day on.
When the city lay in smoke and ashes, Joshua pronounced a curse.
Joshua: May the Eternal curse anyone who ever rebuilds this city, this Jericho! If he lays new foundations, it will be over the grave of his firstborn; if he raises new gates, it will be to contain the corpse of his youngest!
The Eternal One had helped Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
(Joshua 6, The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved)
We know we have joined Him in an intimate relationship because we live out His commands. If someone claims, “I am in an intimate relationship with Him,” but this big talker doesn’t live out His commands, then this individual is a liar and a stranger to the truth. But if someone responds to and obeys His word, then God’s love has truly taken root and filled him. This is how we know we are in an intimate relationship with Him: anyone who says, “I live in intimacy with Him,” should walk the path Jesus walked.
My loved ones, in one sense, I am not writing a new command for you. I am only reminding you of the old command. It’s a word you already know, a word that has existed from the beginning. However, in another sense, I am writing a new command for you. The new command is the truth that He lived; and now you are living it, too, because the darkness is fading and the true light is already shining among you.
Anyone who says, “I live in the light,” but hates his brother or sister is still living in the shadows. Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. But anyone who hates his brother is in the darkness, stumbling around with no idea where he is going, blinded by the darkness.
We are deeply loved by God. When we turn and love those members of our faith family whom God loves, we are set apart and different from the world.
I am writing to you, my children, because your sins have been forgiven by the authority of His name.
I am writing to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him as the Creator, as the One who started everything.
I am writing to you, young people, because He has given you the power to conquer the evil one.
I have written to you, my children, because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him, the Creator.
I have written to you, young people, because the voice of God remains and is heard among you. Remember that you have conquered the evil one.
Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them.
All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father.
These are the rotten fruits of this world.
This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are its selfish desires.
But the person really doing God’s will—that person will never cease to be.
My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antiChrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming, but in fact, many antiChrists are already here.
This development tells us how late it really is.
A group has left us, but they were not part of our family. If they were truly our brothers and sisters, they would have remained for the duration with us.
When they left, they made it ever so obvious that they were not part of us.
You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth.I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it. You know that no lie belongs to the truth. The liar is the one who says, “Jesus is not really the Anointed One.” This is the antiChrist, the one denying both the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies the Son does not know the Father. The one affirming the Son enjoys an intimate relationship with the Father as well.
Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father.
This is what He promised us: eternal life.
I also am writing to warn you about some who are attempting to deceive you.
You have an anointing. You received it from Him, and His anointing remains on you. You do not need any other teacher. But as His anointing instructs you in all the essentials (all the truth uncontaminated by darkness and lies), it teaches you this: “Remain connected to Him.”
So now, my little children, live in Him, so that whenever He is revealed, we will have confidence and not have to hang our heads in shame before Him when He comes. If you know that He is just and faithful, then you also know that everyone who lives faithfully and acts justly has been born into a new life through Him.
(1 John 2:3-29)
My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine!
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee,
Pure warm, and changeless be, a living fire!
While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread, be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.
When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!
(Words: Ray Palmer, 1830. Music: Lowell Mason, 1830.)
An interesting story connected with this hymn:
Mrs. Layyah Barakat, a native of Syria, was educated in Beirut and then taught for a time in Egypt. Driven out in 1882 by the insurrection of Arabi Pasha, she, with her husband and child, came to America by way of Malta and Marseilles. Her history is a strange illustration of God’s providential care, as they were without any direction or friends in Philadelphia when they landed. But the Lord took them into His own keeping, and brought them to those who had known of her in Syria. While in this country she frequently addressed large audiences, to whom her deep earnestness and broken but piquant English proved unusually attractive. Among other incidents she related that she had been permitted to see the conversion of her whole family, who were Maronites of Mount Lebanon. Her mother, sixty-two years of age, had been taught ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee’ in Arabic. They would sit on the house roof and repeat it together; and when the news came back to Syria that the daughter was safe in America, the mother could send her no better proof of her faith and love than in the beautiful words of this hymn, assuring her that her faith still looked up to Christ.