Posts Tagged ‘Judea’


1 Thessalonians 2:13-15a
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.

What is the sound of God’s voice like? This is a question I have often been asked and wondered a lot about. Is it loud or soft, gentle or forceful, is it audible or so gentle that one wouldn’t hear unless listening intently. We try ever so hard to hear God’s voice and I’ve know many including myself who have been dejected about not hearing God’s voice audibly whereas I have met several people who hear His voice often and very clearly. What is God teaching us from today’s passage and does it help us understand how to hear His voice?

Paul commends the Thessalonians for receiving the word of God in faith and showing evidence of their conviction by their lives. The word of God is real, is true and is even printed for those of us who need to see it. The Thessalonians and the Christians of those times past had only scrolls to refer to which were not indexed or bound together like we have it today. Their faith was much greater than ours because they believed God’s word for what it was. We need visual proof in sound, theatrics and more to believe and keep the faith but they had none. God’s voice is recorded in word and we are reminded that this world will pass away but not God’s word which will be real and true for eternity. Are you able to hear God through His written word or are you sad that God missed your sensory needs? Let’s live by faith and not by sight.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

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Galatians 1:15-17, 22-24
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus… I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.

Salvation is a choice or are we chosen by God is a debate that has gone on for a long time among Christians because it then means we have or do not have the freedom of choice. Paul states in his letter that he was set apart from birth by God and called into God’s presence by God’s grace which means that Paul had little choice about the matter. However, we also need to remember that Paul lived a life that was causing more harm than good to the children of God before his conversion and God did not stop him until the day he was traveling on the road to Damascus. So now we know that Paul did have choice but eventually did not. What is God trying to say to us?

We will never fully understand God because we are limited by our human minds but we will continue to learn about God as we seek him every moment. We know that God’s purposes will be achieved no matter what and that every knee will bow before Him and acknowledge Him as God because His word states that. In that assurance we can rest and we can continue to share the gospel for we know not who might and might not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior but we do know that the Lord’s name will be glorified and He has won the final battle over Satan and sin. I pray people will know me as a sinner saved by God’s grace and that Christ will be glorified as I continue to yearn for Him and serve Him with my mind, body and spirit.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”


Acts 15:1-2, 7-11
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them…Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

As you must probably be aware, the winter Olympics is currently taking place here in Vancouver, Canada and the world’s best athletes are here to win the Olympic medal for their country and for themselves. These athletes are the best in their fields and had to qualify by participating in several local, regional, national and international competitions to get a chance to compete here. They are called Olympians just because they qualified and not because they won a medal. In much the same way, we believe that in every area of our lives, people need to qualify. Whether it be a job, education, a loan and even in religion. This seems to be the issue reflected in the passage above where the Gentiles (Non-Jews) were expected to be circumcised to be saved.

When Jesus came into this world, he seemed to be anti-establishment in some ways and that specifically related to areas where rituals and expectations became a part of religion. With his death, the curtain that prevented the Jews from entering the holy sanctuary in the temple was torn because through Jesus, we are given access to God directly with nothing holding us back. We never qualified to be found acceptable in the eyes of God. It is God’s mercy for us that gives us access to Him. We are reminded today to put away the rituals and pre-qualification standards we have in our minds to reach the lost for Christ. Lets go out and show the world what a loving God we serve!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Acts 1:7-8
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After covering 89 chapters in the 1st 4 books of the New Testament, we now start our journey into the book of Acts which was written by Luke. Jesus visited the disciples several times after his death and the disciples were trying to understand what Jesus’ plan was in terms of restoring Israel. Jesus however helped them see that he was not there to free them from the Roman oppression, rather, he was there to give them freedom from sin. Also, he was there to tell them what the future held in their calling as dicisples.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters us and directs our lives. The direction is different for each person and the course we take depends on our obedience. However, the purpose is always the same and that is we are all called as a new creation in Christ to witness about what the Lord has done for us to everyone around us, regardless of geography. We are called to be lighthouses in this dark world where our enemy is not fellow humans but the devil himself and the one solace we have is that this battle was won 2,000 years ago when Jesus rose from the dead and defeated Satan and sin.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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John 7:1-10
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yeta going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

After the miraculous conversion of water to wine as requested by his mother Mary, Jesus is now forced to go to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles in Judea by his own brothers. This is the 2nd record of him being forced into doing something that he felt not led to as his time had not yet come. However, again Jesus goes to Judea and ministers to the people there but at the cost of nearly loosing his life. What is the issue Jesus has with going out and showing himself as the messiah? Why are his family finding it difficult to believe in him? What in all this is the Lord saying to us??

It is obvious that at the time, Jesus’s brothers did not believe him or his claim that he was the son of God. They were trying to test him and thought he was holding back because he was not sure. However, for Jesus, things were not the same. His intention was not to have the world make a mockery and spectacle of him. He came to save the lost and not entertain the crowds. He knew his time was short because his ministry was not going to something the world loved but hated because he came to show the world how desperately their situation was and how he was the only hope for them. In our lives, what are we seeking from Jesus? Are we looking for a miracle worker, a wise man who can give us good counsel, a famous personality we can associate with or are we seeking to find hope in a hopeless world? Jesus wants to help only those who want help and I hope this morning, you are woken up to this fact that the messiah is here and waiting for you to put your trust in him completely.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Beachside Beggar