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How To Live Debt-free

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debtfree_blogmarch2015

 

Back in the day when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem, taxes were a hated part of life, especially by the Jews. It reminded them they were subjected to foreign (Roman) rule, just like God had warned them if they did not obey and follow him.

Nothing has changed over 2,000 years. No matter which country we live in, we still hate taxes. And woe to us if we don’t pay them on time.

In one incident the religious leaders tried to entangle Jesus in his words by asking, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Jesus answered them, “Show me the coin for the tax.” They gave him the coin, and Jesus continued, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Instead of trapping Jesus in what they thought would be an offense against the religious establishment or the Jewish authorities, depending on how he answered their question, they marveled instead at his answer and walked away. (See Matthew 22:15-22)

Come April 15, a collective groan goes up all over this country. Why do we resist paying taxes so? I think it’s because we were born to freedom. We know, deep down, we were meant to live without paying tribute to anybody except to the God who made us.

In truth, we owe much more than just taxes. We owe our very being to God. He gave us life and breath, but instead of acknowledging it, we resist Him with all our might and wills. Every newborn comes into the world with this predisposition, and lives and dies with it, unless some greater power from the outside invades that life and draws him to God.

That resistance is called sin and it has contaminated the human race. However, God has provided a way to come to Him, through his Son Yeshua (Jesus). Jesus lived a perfect life conforming to God’s laws with all his might and will, and also went to the cross as our sin bearer and died in our place. Anyone who believes this and places his faith in Yeshua’s finished work on the cross is declared debt-free in the sight of God.

We should heed what Jesus said to the religious leaders – we should pay taxes to our government, and also give to God the things that belong to him, namely ourselves in faith to him.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”John 8:33 ESV

Won’t you make April 15 the beginning of a debt-free life?

 

Written by Carolyne Rohrig

Original post: Debt-free Living

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2015 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

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Shout!

Levi Thetford:

A message full of hope from my friend Carolyne. Thank you!!!

Originally posted on Messy Christians:

If you think the bible is about good people doing wonderful things for God, you ought to read it sometime!

The fact is, the bible is about a wonderful God doing good things for bad people.

The only good guys in the bible are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Everybody else is bad.

That includes you and me.

There is none righteous, no not one.” – Romans 3:10

The truth is not a single soul can stand before God and say, “I’ve done my best.”

We haven’t done our best, not even on our good days.

If God is going to save us and use us and make something of us, He’s going to have to do it in spite of ourselves. Not because we read the bible every day; not because we give thanks before every meal; not because we never miss church; and…

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Great Tribunal !!!!!! (A John Newton Poem)

John in vision saw the day
When the Judge will hasten down;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away
From the terror of his frown:
Dead and living, small and great,
Raised from the earth and sea;
At his bar shall hear their fate,
What will then become of me?

Can I bear his aweful looks?
Shall I stand in judgment then,
When I see the opened books,
Written by th’ Almighty’s pen?
If he to remembrance bring,
And expose to public view,
Every work and secret thing,
Ah, my soul, what canst thou do?

When the list shall be produced
Of the talents I enjoyed;
Means and mercies, how abused!
Time and strength, how misemployed!
Conscience then, compelled to read,
Must allow the charge is true;
Say, my soul, what canst thou plead
In that hour, what wilt thou do?

But the book of life I see,
May my name be written there!
Then from guilt and danger free,
Glad I’ll meet him in the air:
That’s the book I hope to plead,
‘Tis the gospel opened wide;
Lord, I am a wretch indeed!
I have sinned, but thou hast died.

Now my soul knows what to do;
Thus I shall with boldness stand,
Numbered with the faithful few,
Owned and saved, at thy right hand:
If thou help a foolish worm
To believe thy promise now;
Justice will at last confirm
What thy mercy wrought below.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

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Ticket To the Kingdom!!!!!!

Every true disciple of Yeshua should expect to experience persecution in one form or another, sooner or later, but there is an upside to it: Entrance to the kingdom.

Yeshua taught His disciples to expect persecution. He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). By saying “theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Yeshua indicated that those who endure persecution for His sake will find entrance into the kingdom.

To be persecuted for the sake of righteousness means to suffer for the sake of faithfulness to God despite various types of insults and ridicule and attempts to force a person into compromise and apostasy.

The Jewish people have had a long history of enduring suffering and persecution for their allegiance to God, and most of it done to them in the name of Jesus. In the days before the Hasmonean revolt, the wicked Syrians and Greeks persecuted and even martyred Jewish people who remained faithful to the commandments of circumcision, Sabbath observance, and dietary laws. The same torture awaited the faithful Jews of the apostolic and post-apostolic age as the Roman world attempted to thwart the practice of Judaism.

Yeshua warned His disciples that they would be insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused specifically because of their affiliation with Him. He said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22). Some New Testament scholars suggest that the original Hebrew of Matthew 5:10 reads, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of The Righteousness One (HaTzaddik), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Yeshua is the Tzaddik, the “Righteous One.”

Yeshua reminded His disciples that the prophets of old suffered similar persecution from their countrymen. He said, “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets” (Luke 6:23). In fact, Yeshua’s disciples should be concerned if they do not experience some measure of persecution for the sake of the Master: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (Luke 6:26). The reward of the persecuted is laid up in heaven, that is to say, it remains with the Father to be paid out at the coming of the kingdom of heaven: “They came to life and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

Something to think about on this almost Spring day,

Shalom, until next time, Lord willing,

Levi

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Obedience and Sacrifice !!!!!!

For many of us, holiday gift buying is very difficult, because most of whom we purchase gifts for already have almost everything. Speaking for myself, there is nothing that I really want from the material perspective. Can we even begin to imagine what kind of gift we can offer God since He is both the Creator, and owner of ALL that exists?

What gift can you get for the God who already has everything? Does God desire sacrifice? The book of Leviticus opens with a gift registry that offers a few suggestions.

What gift can you get for Almighty God? It’s hard to shop for a God who has everything. The Hebrew word for sacrifice, korban, could be translated as “something brought near,” or to put it another way, it could be translated as “gift.” The Israelites were to view the sacrifices as gifts that they could bring to God.

He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. (Leviticus 1:4)

In Romans 12:1, Paul urges us to present our bodies as a “living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” What does this mean in practical terms? Is Paul asking us to build altars and literally sacrifice ourselves upon them? Of course he’s not. Paul is using the sacrificial language as an illustration for obedience. He is urging us to set aside our stubborn wills, our wayward flesh and our self-centered egos and force them to submit to the commandments of God. When we set aside our own personal desires and inclinations for the sake of obeying God, we are sacrificing ourselves for the sake of heaven. Instead of offering a bull, a goat or a lamb to God as a gift, we are offering ourselves. This is why the prophet Samuel declared that obedience is better than sacrifice:

Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

Through the prophet Hosea, the LORD declared, “I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Yeshua was fond of quoting this verse to prove that God was more concerned with ethical behavior than half-hearted ritual obedience. This is an important principle for all religious people. Regardless of one’s religion, it is always easier to attend to ritual concerns than to live godly lives. This is very true with Christians of every denomination as well. The writer of the book of Hebrews says, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).

In today’s world there is no Tabernacle or Temple in which a person might offer a sacrifice. If we desire to give God a gift today, what can we give Him? We can give no better gift than our own humble submission to His will. We can give Him the simple sacrifice of grateful obedience.

 

Shalom, until next time, Lord willing,

 

Levi

 
30 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

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The Word Quick and Powerful (A John Newton Poem)

The word of Christ, our Lord,
With whom we have to do;
Is sharper than a two-edged sword,
To pierce the sinner through.

Swift as the lightnings blaze
When aweful thunders roll,
It fills the conscience with amaze,
And penetrates the soul.

No heart can be concealed
From his all-piercing eyes;
Each thought and purpose stands revealed,
Naked, without disguise.

He sees his peoples’ fears,
He notes their mournful cry;
He counts their sighs and falling tears,
And helps them from on high.

Though feeble is their good,
It has his kind regard;
Yea, all they would do, if they could,
Shall find a sure reward.

He sees the wicked too,
And will repay them soon,
For all the evil deeds they do,
And all they would have done.

Since all our secret ways
Are marked and known by thee;
Afford us, Lord, thy light of grace
That we ourselves may see.

 
 

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Peacemakers !!!!!!

The kingdom of heaven will be an era of universal peace on earth. Sons and daughters of God should not be content to wait until the kingdom arrives, we should be busy making peace in today’s world.

Yeshua said to His disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Yeshua’s beatitude about peacemakers went against the first-century zealot impulse that called for taking up armed resistance against Rome. Several of His disciples were zealots. The beatitude about making peace attempted to turn their thoughts away from armed revolution.

Yeshua calls the peacemakers “sons of God” because, in the Bible, God is called the Oseh Shalom, that is, “the One who makes peace in His heights” (Job 25:2). Peacemakers imitate God who makes peace above.

Peacemakers are those who pursue peace as written in Psalm 34:14: “Seek peace and pursue it.” A man who pursues peace also strives to make peace. He does not just wait for his enemies to be reconciled to him. Instead, he pursues after peace like the working man pursues his daily wages. He pursues peace with his enemies and seeks to make peace between a man and his neighbor, and between a man and his wife.

James the brother of Yeshua says that the peacemaker is like the man who sows his field. He plants peace, but when the crop ripens, he harvests righteousness: “The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). And it’s for this reason the writer of the book of Hebrews urges us to “pursue peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14), and Paul tells us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).

When Yeshua saved us from our sins and imparted to us eternal life we gained peace from within. Because of what He has done for us we are now to be peacemakers with our fellow man. We need to get used to it. This is the way it will be in the kingdom age.

Shalom, until next time, Lord willing,

Levi

 
 

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