Hanukkah

There seems to be a new debate on whether or not Christians should celebrate Hanukkah or other Jewish Holidays. I personally am fascinated by the celebrations from the Old Testament and Judaism. Jesus of course followed the traditions of His heritage.

The Gospel of John even mentions Jesus entering the temple for the “Festival of Dedication”, which is Hanukkah.

Here is an interesting article on John 10: 22-23 and Hanukkah.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-s-keener/jesus-and-hanukkah-john-10-22-23_b_2233251.html

With the exciting movement of Messianic Judaism I feel there will be an increase in Jesus followers celebrating the traditional Feasts and Holidays.

Pastor Steve Cioccolanti has a video on How to Celebrate Hanukkah as a Christian and a Jewish Follower of Jesus. I enjoyed watching this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Da9pVkJyoo&t=1s

Anyways to those who chose to celebrate it, have a happy Hanukkah and may Yeshua/Jesus be the light in your life that burns forever and ever.

Have a Blessed Week,
Christopher

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God Can Change All

A story from the Bible has been on my mind for a while.  I believe it truly captures Jesus’ love perfectly.

It’s the story of the Samaritan Woman at the well.

A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

Let’s take a look at the story.  The Samaritan people were despised by the Jews. By talking to this woman about salvation, Jesus showed that He loved everyone and that He was sent to save the World not just the Jews. Also it was a cultural shift, this is one of many times the Bible shows the value of women in a time when women were considered second class. Women are loved just as much as Men.

The woman was even immersed in sexual immorality. Jesus wanted to save her despite this. How often do we as Christian shun out sinners? How many of us are first in line to cast a stone when someone you know sins?

This is unacceptable.

Jesus said it was the sick who need a physician not the healthy. If you see someone stuck in sin, then they need to be in Church more than ever.  They need the love of God more than ever. We dare not shut them out.

Especially since God sees your own sin. He knows we aren’t perfect. That’s why the Son came. God wants us all to be saved. He showed that in how He changed what we associate the word Samaritan with.

It’s amazing how much the term Samaritan has changed. Now it’s a positive word. We all remember the story of the Good Samaritan. Now people refer to those who help others as a Good Samaritan. There is even a great organization called Samaritans Purse.

God shows that He loves us all and can change not just how we live but can create an entire culture shift.

He can turn something despised into something admired.

Who right now out in the World is despised? Who just by saying one word, people react negatively to?  God can change that entirely. He can turn whatever is negative into positive.

To some parts of the World the word Christian has a negative connotation.

Let’s change their opinion of us. Let’s show God’s love, let’s not just have God change us, but the World.

Follow The Way, today.

-Have a blessed week,
Chris

Doer of the Word

As it says in James 1:22-25, “22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

We must not just listen and hear the Word of God we must do the will of the Father. Knowing scripture is not enough, the Pharisees were experts on scripture, yet missed the coming of the Messiah.

We must bring people to God and do so in the right away, in John Chapter 4 Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman, He asked her for a drink of water and then spoke to her about her sins, He promised to give her living water so she would never be thirsty again. Jesus didn’t point out her sins to condemn her or threaten her with Hell but instead He showed her love, the living water, His message was love not fear. Bringing people to God out of fear will led to them falling away. A successful relationship must be built on love not fear.

Also in John 4 (39-42), Jesus stayed two extra days on request of the Samaritan people, use that as a guide, we must take time and change our schedules to save others and help those in need.

Remember we too can give Jesus something to drink. Remember in Matthew 24: 35-40,  “35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

We are called to help those suffering, no matter what their beliefs are or what they may have done. God is willing to forgive ALL sins.

We must go out and do the work God has asked us to do. Without going out and doing the work we cannot truly be called servants of God, someone can take classes and read books to learn how to become a mechanic but until they actually do the work they are not a real mechanic.

Support and believe in others around you. Sometimes a person says they are going to turn their life around or go and serve God in the community, and others will look at one another and scoff or mock the person, they point out their flaws, laugh at them, ask who does this person think they are?

Jesus was treated this way in his own town. In Mark 6:1-3, “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.”

Believe in your brothers and sisters.

Let’s go out and do the will of the Father today.

Father, I pray that You guide me to do Your will and not my own. Be patient with me and help me help others as You help me. Amen

Have a blessed week,
Chris

Links:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1%3A22-25&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A35-40&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6&version=NKJV

Hating the World vs. Loving the World Part 1

1 John 2:15-17, “15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. 17The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever.”

That verse is often quoted but it doesn’t mean you should hate your time on Earth.

It’s important to know the context of the verse. We must not love the World society has created. Society has created their own rules, regulations and boarders. They tell us what is right and wrong. We are told what is moral and immoral. The path to happiness is laid out but it is really the path to destruction.

More money, material things, bigger house, nicer cars, keep consuming. But what happens? You covet.

You see the neighbors, their house, their car, their stuff. You start to think about how much money they make. Maybe you even look at their wife.

Soon you aren’t just tossing away objects for the newer and better. Now you are finding flaws in people you love.

Soon they become disposable too.

Society tells you what you need. But that is not society’s job.

That is God’s, His laws, His rules, His path to happiness is far easier and more fulfilling to follow.

You may be in situations that go against your morals or things are happening God wouldn’t approve of. Remember Jesus said we are the light of the World. So shine bright. If you’re at a wild party, be the one who doesn’t engage in the sinful behavior. Maybe someone will follow you instead of the crowd. Maybe someone who did engage in the sinful behavior will seek you out tomorrow in their shame or pain and you can bring them to Christ.

Remember even if you hate the World. You must also love the World. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

It’s the most quoted verse for a reason. God is so patient. He wants us all to be saved. Let’s help God save the World.

Next week I will be writing about how to love the World.

I hope this helped those who read it.

Have a blessed week.
-Chris

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

It’s arguably the most famous verse in the Bible.

The ultimate sacrifice so we all can be saved.

How lucky are we to have a God who cares so much?

It’s very important to remember this verse. Because even though the verse is so famous we often forget it.

The World.

What do you see when you picture “The World”?

Picture all the people, different cultures, tongues, even religion.

God loves them all.

He wants them all saved. Doesn’t matter their nation, tongue or tribe. He loves us ALL. So he gave his Son to die on the cross for us so we can be saved.

We have to bring as many to Jesus as possible. Don’t turn anyone away because of their race, religion or their sins.

If they are hungry, feed them. If they are naked, clothe them. If they are tired, help them rest. If they are lost, led them.

Led them to God.

I know it’s hard and some days you want to just throw up you hands and say “Come get us Jesus.”

But there is work to be done and we are here for that reason.

Praise God.

Have a blessed week.

PS-I made a shirt on teespring. I did it for fun. Also I figured the more Christian apparel out there the better.  Here’s a link if you wanna look at it.

https://teespring.com/shop/get-god-so-loved-the-world?aid=marketplace&tsmac=marketplace&tsmic=search#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front

God’s View of Us

 

We are very hung up on each other’s views on God. We ask each other about our religious views or if we believe in God. But rarely do we ever talk about God’s view of us. Usually people that do that focus on pointing the finger at others, telling them that they are going to burn in hell. They want to scare people into faith. “Be condemned or join us!”

But that is not the message God sends. Everyone knows John 3:16 but what about John 3:17? “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him”

I know that in the very next verse it says those who don’t believe will be condemned but the most consistent message in the bible is not condemnation but love. God created the World out of love, He created us out of love, he forgave us out of love. The Lord’s focus is on love so why are we focused on hate?

When someone tells me they do not believe in God, often I think, “That’s a shame because he believes in you”. He believes in us enough to allow us to have free will, to love on our own, to manage the World on our own.

Some ask “Why hasn’t Jesus returned? When is enough, enough?” Because God doesn’t want to send Jesus back yet, he is still waiting on us to do better. He wants more people to be saved. He wants us Christians to DO BETTER, to show more love, compassion and care.

God’s view of us? He loves us, forgives us, helps us, and remains with us through everything. Are we Christians (Christ-like) If we hate, condemn, turn away from those in need?

Let’s all try to view the World like God does.

Have a Blessed week
-Chris