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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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

woodsy-aspen-co-wedding-017

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?