A big, untold story: Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun searching for the Messiah, and for atonement for their sins. The media isn’t reporting this. But it’s worth examining.

Is the day of the Gentiles coming to a close? And what will the salvation of Israel be but life from the dead?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah. Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah.

At sundown, we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the highest holy day on the Jewish calendar, and one of great Biblical and historic and cultural importance to my people.

I so wish I was home with Lynn and our sons in Israel tonight. Instead, I am in the U.S. speaking at a number of events, from Dallas to San Luis Obispo to Washington, D.C. to Toronto. I am speaking about the darkness that is falling in our world. But I am also explaining to people about a fascinating phenomenon that I’m observing.

Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah. For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning…

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Responsibility and Authority for Marriage

“This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it back again.
No one is taking it from me; I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This is what my Father has commanded me.” John 10:17-18

God gave Jesus the command to lay his life down and take it up again. This command is both responsibility and authority.

When God gives responsibility, He also gives authority so the command can be achieved.

So consider what He says on marriage:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:31-33

God gives the command–responsibility and authority–for husbands and wives to leave and cleavebecoming one, and for husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands.

The corrupt flesh, the world,  and the enemy are not going to help.

Selfishness, pride, lust, idolatry, and those who steal, kill, and destroy do not help your marriage.

They will attack your responsibility and/or authority to leave-and-cleave and/or to love-and-respect.

Focus on God as your source and example who defines your responsibilities and provides the authority to achieve oneness, love, and respect.

And–metaphorically–cut off at the knees anything that gets in the way of holy and righteous oneness, love, and respect! Leave it in your wake to die so you can live at a higher level!

Because the better we do in marriage the more we will understand the relationship between Father God, Jesus, and the Church–His Bride.

Jesus lived and laid His life down to rescue us, and rose again to prepare a place for us, fulfilling the Father’s command. We are going to spend eternity with the Father and Jesus (and the Holy Spirit), doing and enjoying the things He has planned.

Yes, relationships with others may have to suffer and even die in order for your marriage to achieve oneness, love, and respect. God knows–read Matthew 10. This life is going to have challenges in relationships. Your boundaries need fixing and maintaining. If you cannot do it for your marriage, you will not be able to do it for your relationship with God.

Are you letting others get in the way of God’s best for your marriage? If so, stop it! Fix and maintain good boundaries!

Are you living God’s command for oneness, love, and respect in your marriage? Make progress so tomorrow can and will be better than today. .

Strangely Greatest

“Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Jesus highly praised John, and John was a strange man.

From before conception God made John strange by telling his parents that John was to drink no wine or strong drink, but instead he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This seems to be a reference to the vow of the Nazarite in Numbers 6 where a man or woman would separate themselves to God for a period of time, letting their hair grow long until the end when it would be shaven and included with the specific required offerings, one of which was a lamb offered to atone for sin.

Jesus praised John for his life of separation unto Him, and for the part John played in history, namely preparing the way of the Lord by preaching a baptism of repentence–calling the people to return to God’s ways, and identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God offered for atonement of sin.

If John did follow all the Nazarite rules, then he had thirty some years of uncut hair. And he would not have gone to the  funerals of his parents, or anyone else. And he would not have drunk the wine at Passover, or any other time. These would have made him strange, but he also lived in the desert, wore rough garments, and ate a simple diet of what the wilderness had to offer (I’m thinking he was likely thin; perhaps why Jesus called him a reed). All normal social and religious customs were set aside to be focused on God.

And this strange man who focused on God and preached repentence was the one chosen and able to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God offered to atone for sin (consider the ram God provided to replace Issac on the alter, the Passover lamb, and the Temple sin offerings).

Curiously, fascinatingly, Numbers 6 established two things:  the vow of the Nazarite and the blessing God commanded Aaron to speak over and into the people:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

When the greatest Nazarite came, he was followed by the One who embodied God’s blessing to His people. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who atones for the sin of the world. That is blessing, grace, and peace!

Jesus, God’s Son, the Prince of Peace, the Way of Peace, the One Who gives peace to all who repent of their sin, accepting His death as their atonement, and His life as their sanctification.

Are you strangely focused on God, set apart to live for Him? Does your life identify Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to atone for sin?

Oh to be holy unto God! It is the greatest life. Strangely greatest!

May you and your spouse be holy unto God. That is the only way for your marriage to reach its full potential, to live and display Christ and the Bride.


How Does God Grow You?

I challenged my seven year old son to a pushup contest. Over the course of a day we recorded our contributions to the tally, five to ten at a time.


I am amazed and proud that he did 235 pushups!

And he pushed me to do 300, about 200 more than I thought I’d be doing.

The reason I challenged my son was to inspire him to good exercise habits. Over time as he sees me exercising and joins in, so he will learn and grow healthy.

This got me thinking, does God challenge us to contests? Surely the answer is yes.

As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit.

2 Cor 3:13 ISV

God has goals for our healthy growth, and He challenges us to watch Him, do what He is doing,  and thus learn and grow.

The older I get the more I am convinced God desires and challenges us to have awesome marriages because it helps us understand God’s heart, His desires,  specifically for Christ and the Bride as seen in Ephesians 5:22-33 with key verses 31 and 32:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church.


Husband, do you love your wife as Jesus loves the Church–His Bride?

Wife, do you respect your husband as the Church–the Bride–does Jesus?

Are you taking God’s challenge to have an awesome marriage, both for your immediate benefit and to align with God’s heart?

I’m not saying it’s easy, it may be the hardest thing you ever do, but it is very good. And that is how God grows us.

Romans 5:1-11

Is Your Love Like Peter’s or Jesus’?

In John 21:15-19 Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. This is one of those times we must go to the Greek to see what is really happening.

The first two times Jesus asked if Peter agape’ed Him, to which Peter replied he phileo’ed Him. The third time Jesus asked if Peter phileo’ed Him, which grieved Peter.

There is an important difference between agape and phileo. It appears Peter thought phileo was more important than agape, while Jesus believed–thereby setting the standard–that agape is more important than phileo.

So what’s the difference?

Phileo is defined in the Strongs concordance (5368) as to be a friend to, to be fond of, or have affection for, as a matter of sentiment or feeling. This contrasts with Agape (25, 26) which is to love in a social or moral sense, with affection, or benevolence, including the judgment and deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety.

Consider Proverbs 17:17,

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

You have affection with friends, while siblings–notably brothers–have an adversarial role which prods us to learn conflict resolution. Conflict with friends is painful and might end the friendship. Conflict with siblings is painful, yet the loyalty of siblings usually wins out.

God does not merely want our fond affection of sentiment and feeling that changes with circumstances. Instead of that shaky structure He wants the foundation of our love for Him to be our loyalty based on our judgment and deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety.

God defined Agape in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love is not proud; love is not rude; love is not selfish; love is not easily provoked; love thinks no evil, does not rejoice in evil but in truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,  endures all things. Love never fails.

When God asks a question it is for us to think and learn, because He already knows. Jesus asked Peter if he agape’ed Him, and Peter said he phileo’ed Jesus, but Jesus challenged him on that. He wanted Peter’s agape and it appears by His question He was not even getting phileo. Note that phileo runs from the cross while agape embraces it.

Peter had a lot to think about, and when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Penticost and indwelled him, he did agape Jesus, with the ultimate evidence of embracing the cross.

How do you love God, phileo or agape?
How do you love your spouse?

Is your love based on circumstances and emotion–which change like shifting sands, or on the decision of will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety–an immovable foundation able to endure the storms of life? Are you able to embrace the cross?

Remember Jesus said we are to take up our cross to follow Him. He wants us to be ultimately dedicated lovers of Him, and our spouse is our practical training ground.

If it’s not costing you your life–putting to death your corrupt nature with its selfish desires–then it’s not agape.

Is Your Marriage Shame-less?

The word shameless conjures up images of people saying or doing things they should not be saying or doing, typically involving sexuality. Think college Spring Break destinations.

Such people are displaying a calloused sense of shame, a calloused conscience, thus “shameless” or no shame, as in no sense of propriety, or a lack of high moral standards.

Western Civilization in Flames:  While Western Civilization seem hell-bent to abandon high moral standards to enjoy the shameless ride in the smoldering handbasket while ignoring the ever approaching combustion horizon, there is another sense of the word shameless to consider: shame-less: a state of being without shame due to propriety, i.e. lacking cause of shame.

[Caution! I am messing with your vocabulary: a “shameless” person commits “shameful” acts while I invented “shame-less” as the antonym meaning “without shame”; this is how my brain sometimes dissects words and starts exploring]

The Beginning: Adam and Eve were shame-less until they had sinned and realized they had acted shamefully and were now shameful.

What a shock it must have been, instantly transforming from innocence to seeing the world through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, thereby experiencing shame for the first time! No wonder they hid from God.

Our Struggle: We are all now born with this sin nature and grow up seeing the world through lust and pride, some of us fighting it as a corruption of God’s original design, and all too many assuming it is normal.

We all either retain a sense of shame by resisting shameless words or deeds, or we make our conscience callused by repeating shameless words or deeds.

Shame-less Impact On Marriage:

Positive: Avoiding shameless words and deeds frees your marriage from that kind of damage. If you were never intimate with anyone before your spouse, then your brain is not going to be playing comparison games, and more importantly, your spirit and soul will not be joined with those people (“the two shall become one flesh”) which causes ongoing issues that end only when God heals them.

Negative: Sadly, for all too many who follow Jesus’ morals this struggle against sin to keep their sense of shame functional has caused unintended damage in their marriages by inhibiting sexuality in marriage.

      “Were you a virgin till your wedding night?”    


                             “What did you do to achieve that? Has that impacted your marriage?” 

The strenuous interior task of fighting the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life has all too often carried over into marriage by not merely focusing sexuality to the context of marriage, but by trying to repress sexuality altogether.

Shame-Less: Between husband and wife there should be no shame. Not only in words and actions toward others, but also toward each other. What would cause shame to say or do toward others are the very things which the lack of causes shame toward each other: namely sexuality.

Flirting, seducing, foreplay, intercourse, and the whole gamut of sexuality are shameful when applied toward others, but vital to apply toward your spouse. It sounds odd to think about seducing your spouse, but once we look past negative connotations to the actual actions the topic becomes inspirational. Husband and wife should have no shame in their private intimacy. Generally, everything shameless in public toward others becomes shame-less in privacy between each other.

This reminds me of Charlie Rich singing “Behind Closed Doors”.

It’s Biblical: Sexuality is designed and given by God. Let every marriage strive to achieve what Adam and Eve had by God’s design at the beginning: they were naked and felt no shame.

Adam and Eve

If you doubt God intends husband and wife to deeply enjoy sexuality, think about God creating the nervous system’s sexual response: He thought about, designed, and created the spirit, soul, and body functions of intimacy for husband and wife’s oneness and enjoyment and called it good.

Next read Song of Songs out loud to your spouse and brainstorm what the euphemisms mean. Your Western-based thoughts will probably be conservative as you read ancient Middle Eastern passionate poetry (consider how passionate today’s Middle Easterners are). Regardless of your comprehension of the euphemisms, the emotion should come through and be inspiring. And God inspired that book to be written.

Then consider Paul’s instruction to Corinthian married couples to enjoy sex. Corinth was one of the sexual immorality capitals of the world, far more famous and open than Las Vegas and Amsterdam. Corinthians had seen the sinful side of sexuality so long they thought they had to give up sex for God–they did not understand the holy side of sexuality. Paul had to correct them by reinforcing sex is part of God’s design for a holy and healthy marriage! (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)

And remember the instruction of Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The marriage bed is undefiled–it is a holy thing to come together with your spouse. God designed it and approves of it. “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18) And God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply ….” (Genesis 1:28) Multiply means have kids, and kids only come from sex!

Physical intimacy is a gift from God for husband and wife. It is also part of the picture, an analogy, of God’s desire for relationship with us. (Ephesians 5) His desire for relationship will always be deeper, stronger, more passionate, more dedicated, than ours can be for Him.

Bottom line: with your spouse be without shame. It is practice for being without shame with God.

In this sense, is your marriage shame-less? Is your walk with God shame-less?

Personal Note: I am happy and blessed to say: Yes! Starting as virgins on our wedding night, we were naked and knew no shame. We praise God we both dedicated ourselves from a very young age to keep our sexuality focused on and reserved for our spouse. This dedication has sidestepped an immense amount of spiritual, emotional, and physical baggage, freeing us to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically naked together without shame, with tremendous results. Our major issues have been internal, in dealing with our sin natures, to bring every thought captive to Jesus. Those bring enough struggles; we are so thankful we have not had the baggage of past relationships. But all is healed at the foot of the cross.

12 marriage pitfalls husbands can fall into

My wife agrees these are very important.

Marriage Gems

hold hands couple freeditigalphotos.net by photostock The following dozen “don’ts” for husbands are excerpted from Turn Your Relationship into a Lifelong Love Affair by Bill Syrios. Read the pitfalls for wives here . What do you think of his advice? What important don’ts are missing in your opinion?

I would suggest you look at both lists, because there may be some crossover. For instance, both lists suggests it is the man who is working and who may need some down time, but in our society this is likely true of both spouses. Plan ways to spend your time together, and plan ways for each spouse to decompress and get some relaxation time alone when needed. In addition, both lists comment on the wife’s appearance, but keeping up one’s appearance can be important to both partners. That being said, I think both lists are useful reminders and focus on what are often the most important complaints of…

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12 marriage pitfalls wives can fall into

These points sound right on to me!

Marriage Gems

hold hands couple freeditigalphotos.net by photostock The following dozen “don’ts” for wives relating to their husbands are excerpted from Turn Your Relationship into a Lifelong Love Affair by Bill Syrios. What do you think of this advice for wives? I think #2 is an important reminder that your spouse can’t be your source of happiness, #3 is a must in my opinion, and #10 suggests that even if you feel your marriage is the higher priority, your husband may not feel that way. Which items do you feel are most important for husbands to feel secure in your relationship?

1. Don’t nag, put or whine at him.
2. Don’t be impossible to please or fail to be happy.
3. Don’t embarrass him in public or ridicule him ever.
4. Don’t think he doesn’t love words of praise or your affirmations.
5. Don’t think unkind words won’t wound him.
6. Don’t stop cheering him on.
7. Don’t…

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Three Things I Enjoy in Marriage–Do You?

God said it is not good for man to be alone, so He made for man a help-meet–woman!

I enjoy God’s design in creating me to need my wife and her to need me. (By the way, in His creation of Adam and Eve, do you see God’s message that He wants a companion? And if you did not know, He is inviting you to be that companion.)

On the emotional level, I enjoy the companionship, the deep friendship, the soul-level understanding my wife and I share. Our culture is restful for us, a place of trust and peace.


On the physical level, physical intimacy is an amazing feature God designed. My wife and I have enjoyed it immensely, from our wedding-night-consummation through years of ever improving experiences. We keep wondering if it can get any better, and it keeps getting better! How far does this road go?

As much as we enjoy the emotional and physical intimacy, our spiritual level intimacy is the foundation all else rests on. I enjoy our prayer times, our Bible discussions, and worship times. We encourage each other to keep pressing into God, into He who is Truth and Wisdom–and it pays tremendous dividends!

Spirit, soul, and body, God has knit my wife and I together–and I love it!

We are seeking to model Christ and the Bride, and to model unity in the Body of Christ, in accord with God’s design for all marriages and in obedience to God’s call on our lives–and we love it! Especially as we sense God’s pleasure in and for our marriage.

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things–especially marriage.

And He upholds all things by the word of His power from the right hand of the Majestic Father in heaven–especially marriage.

Do you sense God’s pleasure in and for your marriage?

Are Your Kids Modest?

I read Michael Hyatt‘s blog, “Whatever Happened to Modesty” and liked the suggestions he gave his daughters to aid their understanding while growing up:

Here they are: “Four Guidelines for Modesty”:teens

  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.
  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.
  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.
  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.

Michael’s guidelines are very practical and I am glad he shared them. He asked for comments of what people might say to their kids and my mind went straight to asking about the motivation behind modesty. These were my immediate thoughts:

  • Sexuality is an amazing part of God’s creation. Treasure it, don’t squander it, for it is an analogy of God’s attraction to us and our deepest-being’s desire for Him.
  • In this world a woman’s body sings and the men around her hear that song, usually whether they want to or not. God’s eye is ever on us, longing that we would open our hearts to Him and learn to share His desires.
  • The younger men seem to be affected by the woman’s song more strongly than the older men. The less modest the clothes, the more the tone of the song tends toward seduction, whether the woman realizes it or not.
  • If the body is the bait, what are you fishing for? Sex or your one true love? What do you want your one true love to know you for, your body or your heart?
  • What age do you think you will be ready to marry? Don’t advertise something that is not available.
  • Focus your sexuality on your spouse, whether you have met them or not. If not, then wait for them, keeping and caring for your body as a sacred trust for them.
  • You are not your own, you belong to your spouse. Act like it.

What do you think? Are your kids modest? What should we teach our kids about modesty in this age?