Prophetic Warning and Encouragement

Hoping to write blogs on regular things like “Daily Time in the Word” or “Beauty of Fellowship”. But I feel the Holy Spirit leading to release another dream. Believing this is for His Church..

Dream 1/19/21 : Just a still vision.. Two huge crystals. One was a bowl. I was told it was an amulet. Another was like an earth and I was told it was an omni amulet.

Upon awakening, I wasn’t sure what an amulet was.  I googled it and learned that it is a form of magic to protect against danger and evil.. Onni means in all places and ways.

The omni amulet represents how the enemy is trying to cover all the earth in a spirit of witchcraft.. False truth.. An antichrist culture.. The bowl represents people.. Bowls are to be filled, so we can put things inside.. To eat and drink to live.. Many bowls are covered in spirits not of God.. Being filled with deceit, manipulation and idolatry.. 

We must be putting on the full armor of God.. Meditating on His Word day and night.. Overflowing with the Holy Spirit.. Authoritatively praying against the spirit of evil trying to cover all of the earth.. Pray that the spirit of God will cover all of the earth in His love, light and glory, in Jesus Name.. What life food are we filling our bowls with? May it be Jesus and Jesus alone.

I understand a lot of prophets didn’t get things as thought. May we not judge in unbiblical ways.  People have lost faith because their words did not come to pass.  This shows how much is looked to man and not God.. How much hearts need to be more devoted, learning in the Bible.. Hearing from the Holy Spirit ourselves. We are not to despise prophecies.

May prophetic messages be served and received in love and honor of Yahweh.. To build us up as His Bride.. To help keep our oil full and our lives on His narrow path.. Remaining faithful to Jesus. All is for His glory.

The Lord in His perfect love encourages and warns us.. This is an exciting time.. Do not fear man.. Beautifully fear God in reverence and awestruck wonder.. Our Father cares. He is working all things out in his ultimate kindness and goodness.. To reveal and bring breakthrough.. But it’ll be a ride.. 

We have entered a time where evil has been tolerated for so long.. that it’s become normal for others.. And even celebrated.. Brothers and sisters ~ People must see Jesus living within us.. Hope of glory.. Dwelling in us as His believers.. Church, lets pray without ceasing and discern with wisdom from above.. Walk in the Holy Spirit.. Abide deeply in His Word.. Keep your hearts pure.. Make your entire life a sacrifice of praise to Him.. 

Our Abba didn’t create us to just sit back and watch the movie.. We are citizens of heaven, His babies. He is empowering us to partner with Him for such a time as this.. Seek His face with all your heart.. Worship and proclaim our Lord is Jesus.. Rise and thrive in our Saviors love.. 

https://yourlastdayonearthdotblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/urgent-warning-encouragement/

What can we learn from Noah and the Ark?

February 5, 2021Author: hephzibahgarden

Noah and the Ark that Noah built, have some important lessons to teach us:

About Noah:

  • He was a man of Rest. The name Noah has two meanings. One of the meaning is Rest and the other is Comforter.

And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. Genesis‬ ‭5:29‬

  • He was a man who found grace in the sight of God.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis‬ ‭6:8‬.

  • 3 beautiful qualities in Noah — He was a just man, perfect in his generation and he walked with God.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.Genesis‬ ‭6:9‬

  • God gave testimony about Noah that he was a righteous man

And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Genesis‬ ‭7:1‬

  • He was a preacher of righteousness. He preached for about 100 years.

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2 Peter‬ ‭2:5‬

  • He and his family of 8 stepped into the Ark according to the command of God. They were saved from the great flood that destroyed the whole earth, during the time.

And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Genesis‬ ‭7:7‬

  • 2 each of every living thing also went into the Ark

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. Genesis‬ ‭6:19-20‬

  • The days of the Son of man (end time) is also compared with the days of Noah

And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Luke‬ ‭17:26-27‬.

About the Ark:

  • The Ark was made of Gopher wood. The inside and outside of the Ark was covered with tar. The Ark is compared with the Church — the Body of Christ. Tar spiritually refers to grace. As believers, we must be covered with the grace of God inside and outside.

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. Genesis‬ ‭6:14‬

  • The Ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad and 30 cubits high. 300 spiritually refers to the experience of walking with God. Enoch, a family man, walked with God for 300 years and then he disappeared because God took him away. A believer must have a walking with God experiencedaily, to be partake of God’s kingdom. 50 refers to the day of Pentecost. On this day, the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 people gathered and they all were baptised in the Spirit. To enter the kingdom of God, we must receive the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. 30 refers to doing the will of God. Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30. This means doing the will of God is necessary for a believer to find himself inside the Ark/Body of Christ/Church.

And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Genesis‬ ‭6:15‬.

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John‬ ‭10:7,9‬

Be blessed! 

Can A Born Again Christian Fall Away and Be Lost?

  by 

Christians have debated for centuries over whether a truly saved person can lose their salvation. Probably the strongest Biblical passage for that position is Hebrews 6:4-6. This is what the text says,

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

 Now, exactly what does this passage mean? It seems to indicate that a saved person who has experienced all the blessings in vs.4-5 can in the end fall away and be lost. In this blog I want to refer you to two principles of Biblical interpretation:

1) Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture; and

2) Remember that context rules

Scripture Will Never Contradict Scripture:

That first rule of interpretation about Scripture not contradicting Scripture comes into play because there are other passages in Hebrews which seem to teach the opposite position. Let’s take a look at a few other passages which seem to teach that a born again Christian can’t lose their salvation, because they will persevere in faith to the end.

 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end (Heb. 3:14)

This text speaks about something that has already taken place (have become partakers of Christ) if the following condition is met (we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end). The text is not saying that we will become a partaker of Christ if we go on to hold fast the assurance of our faith until the end. Rather, we have already become partakers of Christ if we go on to persevere in faith. Thus, a person who does not hold fast their assurance firm until the end never became a partaker of Christ. Thus Hebrews 3:14 seems to be saying the exact opposite of Hebrews 6:4-6. Now, two mutually exclusive positions can not both be true. Either one of them is wrong, or both are wrong, but both can’t be true. Either it is possible for a true believer to fall away and lose their salvation, or it is not possible for a true believer to fall away and lose their salvation, but it is one or the other.

Furthermore, Hebrews 10:14 says, For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (ESV).

If it is true that Jesus’ offering up of Himself on the cross has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified, then it is not possible for those same persons to fall away and lose their salvation. For those who are indwelt, regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit, they possess a perfect standing before God based on the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and it is “for all time”! They were not perfected until they fall away, but for all time.

Hebrews 13:20-21 tells us,

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen

This text mentions the “eternal covenant.” Well, in Jeremiah 32:40 we also read of the “everlasting covenant”, which I would presume refers to the same thing. What is the nature of the everlasting covenant?

I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

This covenant includes two things:

1) God will not turn away from them to do them good; and

2) Those with whom this everlasting covenant is made will not turn away from God because God will put the fear of Him in their hearts.

Now, if God promises that He will never turn away from them, and that they will never turn away from Him, what is our only conclusion? That these people will never fall away and be lost.

I’ve said all of this to highlight our first principle of Biblical interpretation – “remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture.” It appears that Scripture is contradicting Scripture. But that’s just it. It must be only an appearance of a contradiction. Our understanding of one or more of these texts must be wrong, because God who inspired all of these texts is a God of truth, and doesn’t contradict Himself. So what are we to do? We need to go back to the drawing room, and decide if we have understood Hebrews 6:4-6 correctly.

Context Rules:

In order to do that, let’s utilize our second rule of Biblical interpretation – “remember that context rules.” So, let’s go back and look at the context of this passage to see if we can uncover any clues as to its proper interpretation.

Hebrews 5:11-14 – in this section we discover several things about the recipients of this letter.

1) they were dull of hearing

2) they should have advanced to teachers by then

3) instead they needed someone to teach them the elementary principles of the Word of God

4) they were spiritual infants and unable to consume anything except for milk

5) they were spiritually immature.

Now, remember the whole situation in which this letter was written. The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were being tempted to forsake Christ and go back to Judaism. That’s why all the way through the author keeps emphasizing the word “better.” Christ is better than the angels, better than Moses, better than the Aaronic priesthood, He brings in a better covenant, a better hope, better promises, and is a better sacrifice. The author of this letter is urging these new Jewish believers not to forsake Christ and go back to Judaism, for that would mean their spiritual destruction.

Hebrews 6:1-3 – Here the author exhorts his readers to press on to maturity (vs. 1). In other words, they must make progress in their faith. They should have been at the point where they could be teaching others, but were still spiritual babies. They needed to mature.

Hebrews 6:4-6 – Notice that vs. 4 begins with the word “for”, which tells us that the author is giving us a reason why the readers must press on to maturity. It is because if they have received great and precious privileges and blessings, and then have fallen away, they are lost forever. This is a very serious and solemn passage. The author of Hebrews is urgently exhorting his readers to mature in their faith and bear fruit of their salvation, because it is possible that some of them who do not do this may “fall away” and prove that they were never truly saved to begin with.

But you might be thinking, “Brian, how in the world can verses 4-5 be speaking of a person who is not truly saved? Well, let’s look at them. What are these great blessings they had experienced?

1) Enlightenment

2) Tasted of the heavenly gift (probably the gift of the Holy Spirit- Acts 2:38)

3) Partakers of the Holy Spirit

4) Tasted the good word of God

5) Tasted the powers of the age to come

Notice that these readers had “tasted” several of these blessings. Is it possible for someone to taste something, swish it around in their mouth for a while, and then spit it out? Of course it is. No doubt these readers were participating in a Christian church in which the gospel was preached (enlightened, tasted the good word of God), and the power of the Holy Spirit was manifest (tasted the heavenly gift, partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the powers of the age to come). So, if we were to boil down these blessings we could reduce them to two – the gospel was proclaimed and the Spirit was working. And these professing Christians had continually heard the Word and seen the Spirit work. Yet, there was still the possibility that they could “fall away” and find it impossible to be renewed again to repentance.

Many find the expression “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance” to be ironclad proof that these people were truly saved. After all, they had already repented. However, in 2 Cor. 7:10 Paul says, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Evidently there are two kinds of sorrow – one leading to salvation and the other leading to death. Just as there is a saving faith which ushers in a life of good works, and a non-saving faith which does not usher in good works, so there is a true repentance which leads to salvation and a worldly repentance which is merely regret for the misery their sin has caused them.

The author goes on to say, “since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” Note the little word “and.” These people had once put the Son of God to open shame by valuing other things of the world more than Him. Then they professed faith in Christ and conversion. If they fell away after that, they would be doing the same thing they had done originally, by showing that they valued the rituals and laws of Judaism more than Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:7-8 – Notice again that vs. 7 begins with the word “for.” That tells us that he is going to explain what he meant in verses 4-6. Here he gives a little parable of two different kinds of fields. Both of these fields received abundant rains. However, only one field brought forth useful vegetation, while the other brought forth only worthless thorns and thistles. The first kind of field receives a blessing from God, while the latter is close to being cursed and ends up being burned. The author is explaining the person in vs. 4-6 who received the abundant rains of hearing the Word of God, and seeing the works of the Spirit. However, if he did not produce fruit in his life his end would be that of being “cursed” and “burned” (Mt.25:41). This brings us to the final piece of context which we need to examine.

Hebrews 6:9-12 – The author says in vs. 9, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.” The author believed that his readers were the fruitful and blessed field, not the barren and cursed field. Notice how he puts it – “we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation.” Now, what are the “better things” he’s referring to? Fruitfulness and persevering faith! And, notice that these are the things that “accompany salvation.” When an individual receives salvation, he will produce fruit, and he will persevere to the end, which is exactly what Hebrews 3:14; 10:14; 13:20-21 and Jer. 32:40 all teach.

So, to sum up, I believe that Hebrews 6:4-6 is a strong, sobering, warning for any professing Christian who seems to remain in a spiritually immature condition, rather than pressing on to maturity, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and persevering in faith to the end. To any professing Christian who has heard the Word of God continually, and seen the powers of the Holy Spirit, and then falls away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. Why? Because they have already received all the light they can receive, and then they have turned their backs on it, and deserted Christ to go back from where they came. They have proven that the things of the world are more valuable to them than Jesus. Thus, repentance becomes impossible for them. [ The author seems to outline an unpardonable sin of falling away which seems to contradict the teaching of the Prodigal Son  Luke 15:11-31 ]

I hope this blog is more than an exercise in Biblical Hermeneutics for you. I hope it gives us all a needed and sobering reminder that true saving faith always results in a transformed life, and that we “must show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end (Heb.6:11).” None of us want to hear those terrifying words out of the mouth of our Lord, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”!

Original here

God’s Holiness, Your Wholeness

by Skip Heitzig | December 29, 2020

If ever there was a religious sounding word, it’s holy. Regardless of the context, most people probably hear it and think of cathedrals, stained glass, candlelight, and the sound of monks chanting. Step outside, and holiness evokes a desert landscape wandered by bearded men in sandals.

Most of the time, our understanding of God’s holiness makes Him seem unapproachable, even unpleasant. He’s up there, we’re down here, and all we can do is hope He grades on a curve. The prophet Isaiah’s vision of God fits that profile: he saw the Lord “high and lifted up,” His robe spread throughout the temple, with six-winged seraphim crying out, “Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:1, 3). Isaiah’s reaction was fitting: he cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (v. 5).

The apostle John’s vision of the same awe-inspiring scene in Revelation 4 offers a few more details but echoes the same proclamation from the angels: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (v. 8). Though we might say that holiness is God’s most unpopular attribute, it is His most noteworthy one to the heavenly hosts, worth the emphasis of triple repetition.

Heaven’s cry is not “love, love, love” or “grace, grace, grace.” It isn’t “wrath, wrath, wrath” or “justice, justice, justice.” Those are all key aspects of God’s character and nature, but His only attribute that merits such a superlative highlighting is His holiness. The Bible calls God holy over 630 times. His holiness separates Him from all of His creation. There is no one like Him, perfect in all His ways. And as Isaiah discovered, His perfection magnifies our imperfection.

But Isaiah also discovered that God is not aloof in His holiness. While Isaiah lamented his “unclean lips” (v. 5), an angel touched his corrupt human mouth with a live coal from the altar. It was a symbolic gesture of purification, and a necessary one, since God’s holiness cannot abide the presence of unholiness. It also pointed to the ultimate cleansing that God would provide through Jesus Christ.

That leads us to an important truth about God’s holiness: He doesn’t destroy the unholy but declares us holy through the blood of Christ. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In other words, God’s holiness includes paying the price required to allow us into His presence. His holiness informs His love, grace, and mercy, and it satisfies His justice and wrath.

Like Isaiah, when we have the humility to recognize the gulf between us and God, we will respond with repentance and gratitude. We’ll embrace what God has done for us in Christ, and the smoke surrounding God’s holiness will clear: we’ll see that His holiness makes our salvation possible, empowers us with purpose, and guides us to wholeness.

A relationship with God is transformative; He loves us the way we are, but He loves us so much He won’t leave us that way. This is where our sanctification—growing in holiness—comes into play. When you grow in holiness, you’re after not perfection but pursuit. You want to pursue the God who pursued you, and you want to let others know that His holiness leads to our wholeness. And just like the angels in heaven who never tire of God’s holiness, you’ll come to a place where you’re captivated by His perfection, driven to glorify Him in all things.

http://www.connectwithskip.com/devomail/read/daily-devotional/2020/12/29/god’s-holiness-your-wholeness

This Is God

by Skip Heitzig | December 15, 2020

I remember the night I met the woman who would become my wife. I was at a friend’s apartment in Southern California, and I saw her from across the room. She confidently walked up to me, put out her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Lenya.” On our first date, she told me about her background, her hopes, and her dreams. Thus started a long, lasting, and very satisfying relationship.

The best way to get acquainted with someone is to get firsthand knowledge from them about who they are. Essentially, that is what Moses did to God in Exodus 34. Moses asked to see God’s glory, and God answered his request not with an appearance, but with a list of attributes. In this foundational passage about who God is, we see two aspects of His personality: His designation, or who He says He is, and His description, what He says about Himself.

First is His designation: God began by naming Himself. “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God'” (v. 6)—or Yahweh, Yahweh El in Hebrew. El is the generic term for God, but Yahweh is specific, and it means I am. This is the name God used when He introduced Himself to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3: “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). The repetition here was to emphasize to Moses that this was the same God who spoke to him back then.

What does the name I am tell us about God? It means He is the self-existent one, the only noncontingent being in the universe—that is, He doesn’t depend on anybody else for His existence. It also refers to his eternal nature. God is not the great I was or I used to be; He is the great I am. And it highlights His active existence—that He is involved with humanity, not detached or aloof.

In the Bible, a person’s name was far more than just an identity tag. The Hebrew people believed there was a connection between a person’s name and a person’s nature. Whatever they were named was often brought to bear with their character. So this is God’s character, reputation, and authority—His designation: Yahweh, Yahweh El.

That brings us to God’s description of who He is: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation” (vv. 6-7). What a description, isn’t it?

Here’s how Moses responded: he “made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped” (v. 8). God introduced Himself to Moses—”Hi, I’m God. Here’s what I’m like”—and Moses worshiped. All teaching of the Scriptures should lead to this; good theology is the foundation and impetus for true worship. That’s why I tell worship leaders every chance I get, “Make sure your songs are filled with good theology.”

Do you, like Moses, make haste to worship the Lord every time you learn more about Him? It’s the fitting response, and it’s one of the keys to a long, lasting, and satisfying relationship with Him.

http://www.connectwithskip.com/devomail/read/daily-devotional/2020/12/15/this-is-god

Fear, Anxiety and Courage

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

31 July 2012

You can have all three. Crowded places, large gatherings and movie theaters have a growing commonality for many.

The shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado brought the worst and best of us, once again. We as exceptional Americans have unique qualities that help us in many ways. When confronted with an obstacle someone usually finds away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it without waiting for a government solution.

There were several named heroes in the Aurora shootings who gave their lives protecting loved ones or friends, just as their were in the field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 who brought down plane so it would not hit the Capitol building.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in spite of fear.

There are many named and unnamed heroes who serve and have served in the US Military; they gave the government a blank check to include their lives.

There is a commonality with survivors, victims, heroes, first responders, and witnesses of tragic events or crimes. They all experience emotion.  It is possible that each could be diagnosed and treated for the medical condition of a mental illness called PTSD.

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

It is true most people would not want to think of PTSD as medical condition called a mental illness because of the Stigma attached the words mental illness.

PTSD and other the medical conditions of a mental illness are common and treatable.  If you or someone you know experience any of the symptoms please call your Doctor.

When you are confronted with an obstacle you can or someone can help you find away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it.

Fear is okay and often healthy. Having some anxiety can be okay. Fear and anxiety can be debilitating if left unchecked. Have the courage to overcome.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/fear-anxiety-and-courage/


AUDIO The High Priest Who Hated Jesus!

By Rev Bill Woods

Proverbs 29:2 — When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

There’s a lot of groaning going on in our world today.

  • The Bible says that God puts into authority those who He selects to rule.
  • We know that God will either give us what we need or what we deserve.

Throughout the Bible God used government to reward or punish His people depending on their obedience to Him or rebellion against Him.

  • It’s time for our Nation to repent and come back to God!

Today I want to consider a wicked ruler of the people and the consequences he reaped by his actions.

  • For a while he thought he was in control enjoying such luscious power, but the day came when he realized there is a much higher Power that he’d have to give an accounting to.

I’m referring to Annas, the High Priest “Religious Superman” in the time of Christ.

Old Annas thought he had it all put together!

  • He had everything his old heart desired — power, wealth, fame, and prestige.
  • What he had in his day could be compared to a politician in what’s being called  the “Deep Swamp” today, or a Mafia Boss or a Cartel Drug Lord today.

Annas was everything Christ came to destroy!

  • Annas was the power that ran Jerusalem!
  • He held the highest position of his race.
  • He was the political overlord of Jerusalem — WHAT HE SAID, WENT!
  • Annas was the religious and political superman of the Jewish people.

Annas was the power behind the politics.

  • He was the power behind the economy.

His home was in Jerusalem where the Temple was.

He’d been able to bribe and use his influence to become High Priest.

  • The Jews didn’t want him there, but Rome did!
  • He was appointed to the High Priesthood about A.D. 6 by Quirinius, Governor of Syria.
  • He was deposed in A.D. 15.

Annas was the man whose fingers were in all social pies — whose hand grasped the most luscious political plums.

  • Whose scheming mind carefully planned every evil course taken by the religious elite in Jesus’ day.

Annas was the man who inspired and ordered Jesus to be harassed and embarrassed in front of the multitudes.

  • The problem was, his plans usually failed and Jesus would win the debates.
  • The people loved to see these intellectual exchanges.

Annas was dethroned as a religious leader because he overstepped his bounds with Rome once too often.

  • Actually, that didn’t discourage Annas.
  • He’d still run his little empire!
  • He was replaced by another man whom Rome appointed.

But Annas would not be set aside that easily or quickly.

  • There was money, power, and prestige in the Office of High Priest!
  • He wanted it all!

The High Priest was the most powerful Jew in the land and Annas intended to keep that power and all the perks that came with it!

While he was still High Priest, Annas insured his position of power.

  • He set up his political fences with care and shrewdness.
  • He put his henchmen in all the key positions until he was able to control the Jewish Religious life and gather the Religious taxes.

He knew that someday he’d probably overstep his authority and make somebody mad.

  • He also knew he’d never lose his power if he played his cards right.

When the day came, he stepped down as High Priest, but he never released the power he’d gained.

  • The new High Priest lasted less than a year.

When he was ousted from his position, Annas maneuvered his oldest son into the position.

  • Annas was still in full control!

In fact, Annas was able to put 5 of his sons in this key position.

  • They served their daddy like puppets on a string.

When his 5th son was finally removed from office, He managed to open the position up for his son-in-law, Joseph Caiaphas — the Caiaphas of the Bible.

For 16 years after losing his office, Annas had control of the position of High Priest.

  • The people looked to him as the actual High Priest.
  • WHAT POWER!  WHAT WONDERFUL POWER!

Probably the first time Annas heard of Jesus was when Jesus was 12 years old.

  • Jesus had gone to the Temple and had amazed some of the Temple Priests with His Wisdom and Understanding of the Scriptures.

Luke 2:41-52
41  Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.
42  When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.
43  After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first,
44  because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45  When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there.
46  Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
47  All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48  His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49  “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50  But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51  Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52  Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Annas was probably informed of this child prodigy.

Nothing more was heard about this carpenter’s son for a long time after that.

Then one day a rugged, loud-mouthed, uncivilized, uncouth fellow by the name of John (the people called him John the Baptist) began to preach in the wilderness and denounce the corruptness and unrighteousness of the Jewish people and their religious leaders.

Annas didn’t like what John was saying!

  • Who did this long-haired, loud-mouthed unkept, smelly man in animal skins think he was?

He was criticizing Annas’ little empire and calling it corrupt — he was stirring the people against all that Annas and his crowd stood for!

  • Annas was the power behind the High Priest’s throne!
  • He’d do something about this!
  • His word was law, his schemes were commands, his plans called for action!

Annas would settle things with this fellow — John would know he’d tangled with Annas!

The ultimate insult came one day when Annas was listening to John rant and rave — trying to catch him in some legal or religious mistake so he could have him  arrested — when suddenly Jesus showed up.

  • John immediately began proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah — THE SON OF GOD!
  • Then John baptized Jesus!

Matthew 3:13-17
13  Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
14  But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15  But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
16  After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
17  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

After having heard John’s challenging message calling men to repentance, the people were ready to accept this Jesus for whom He said He was — THE SON OF GOD!

Annas didn’t know how John and Jesus pulled that dove and voice thing off, but he did know that his authority as head of the Religious World was under attack.

  • He’d have to put a stop to this right now!

The day Annas actually master-minded Jesus’ death was when Christ tore into his plans for turning the Temple into his private money mart.

John 2:13-16 
13  It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.
14  In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.
15  Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.
16  Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

When Jesus drove the money-changers, the sellers, buyers, and all the animals from the Temple, He’d gone too far!

  • Annas’ greedy heart couldn’t take anymore!

He made up his mind, JESUS WAS GOING TO DIE FOR THAT!

Annas was like most of our society — if you really want to hurt them, hit their pocketbook!

Annas heard many of Jesus’ sermons and saw His miracles.

  • Annas might’ve wondered secretly if Jesus might really be The Son of God just like He claimed — but wealth and power had gotten such a grip on him that even God would have to step down for him………….

There was no room in the earthly kingdom Annas had built for God or love or anyone else!

  • To Annas, SELF WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT GOD!
  • Self was all he had room for!
  • “A man all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package.”

With his power, he put the machinery in motion that would eventually take this man who called Himself, “GOD” to the cross!

The hands that crucified Jesus might’ve belonged to Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, the Romans and others, but it was Annas’ backing those hands that nailed Jesus to the Cross.

  • The mob would cry, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”  – but behind the blood-thirsty voices you’d find Annas pushing and adding fuel to the excitement until finally the decision was made to nail Jesus to the tree.

The hammer strokes might’ve been those of the soldiers, but it was Annas who actually held the hammer.

  • What music it must’ve been to his ears then to rid himself of this fly in his ointment!
  •  — WHAT TORMENT THE MEMORIES MUST BE NOW!

Annas wanted it to appear that he was playing a minor role in the hideous death, but he master-minded it all.

  • He had so much recognized power in what happened that Jesus was brought to him first after His arrest instead of being taken to Caiaphas, the actual High Priest. 

John 18:12-24 
12  So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up.
13  First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.
14  Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”
15  Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus.
16  Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in.
17  The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.”
18  Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.
19  Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them.
20  Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret.
21  Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”
22  Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23  Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”
24  Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Annas didn’t want it to look like everything had been planned so he tried to ask Jesus some questions about His Doctrines and His teachings.

  • Jesus saw right through him.
  • Jesus answered, “I have taught openly.”

Annas laughed gleefully when a soldier slapped Jesus in the mouth for His disrespect of the High Priest.

Annas finally gave the nod that sent Jesus to Caiaphas, then to Pilate, then to Herod, and back to Pilate, and finally to the Cross.

  • Annas signed Christ’s death warrant as much as any man did.

Poor Pilate was caught as a pawn in a huge game of power………………..

Annas was there to see cowardly Judas bring the 30 measly pieces of silver back to the Temple.

  • All the priests laughed at the misery that scumbag was going through…………….
  •  Satan always laughs at us when sin has run its course!……….

Annas thought he’d won!  This pest wouldn’t threaten his kingdom anymore!

  • Oh the sweet taste of power and revenge!

Then, 3 days later reports came that Jesus Christ was not dead, but alive!

  • THE TOMB WAS EMPTY!

Annas would not — COULD NOT — stand for that!

  • He put out the report that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body……….
  • He bribed the soldiers to lie!……….

That was over 2000 years ago.

  • The pride and godless ambition of Annas took him to Hell.
  • For 2000 years he has been tormented with what he did to Christ!
  • You probably think, “WHAT A WICKED MAN!  IT SERVES HIM RIGHT TO BE IN HELL!”

Wait!  Before you pass judgment on Annas for being so wicked, you’d better look inside yourself!

  • How can you blame him if you’re putting yourself and your plans ahead of God?………….

Aren’t you as guilty as he was when you crowd Jesus out of your life?

If Annas could do it over again, I imagine he’d act differently.

  • He’d probably be more open to God.
  • He’d probably pray more and search the scriptures more……………
  • I imagine he’d think less of himself and more of God.
  • Put down your foolish pride and egotism which won’t mean a thing in Hell!

Annas would want to serve God in any way he could……………

    He’d be more loving and kind to others and never stir up trouble with his tongue!

If he had it to do over again, he’d not end up in Hell!  HE WOULDN’T!

I believe the current politicians that are running rough-shod over America today will someday have the same regrets!

My thought is that I can’t reach them but I can warn you!

LEARN A LESSON! — AT ANY COST, DON’T YOU GO TO HELL!

GOD HAS PROVIDED A WAY FOR YOU TO ESCAPE WHAT ANNAS IS HOPELESSLY FACING FOREVER!


PODCAST THE HIGH PRIEST WHO HATED JESUS!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/9025872


The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.

Why The Cross Is Not Enough

By Ray Hollenbach on Jul 24, 2021

Christianity without the cross is a sham, but the cross is not enough. You heard me: the cross is not enough. Before the cross came incarnation, and after the cross came resurrection: Jesus modeled all three, and so should we.

I’ve watched recently as an increasing number of teachers and leaders encourage us to follow Jesus’ example by going to the cross. Our Lord is a model—the only true model, actually—of self-sacrifice and humility. This much is true: he is our example, and he went willingly to the cross. He didn’t miscalculate, he wasn’t blindsided by people or events beyond his control. No one took his life from him: he laid it down freely, and so should we.

Before the cross, however, all of heaven gasped in wonder at the miracle of Incarnation. The Creator became part of creation. He did not stand afar off and offer advice; he became present in his world. He arrived in the usual way for a man and the most unusual way for God. Nor did he simply drop in for a weekend redemption spree. He lived life to the full and left a record of how we should live. This part of his example required humility and sacrifice, as well.

The Apostle Paul tells us the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. The cross, he says, is a scandal to the religiously minded and ridiculous to the wisdom of this age. The world does not value humility and sacrifice, but they are the calling cards of another realm. Still, Paul did not leave Jesus in the grave, nor did the Father. To win by losing is an oxymoron. But Jesus didn’t win by losing. He won by winning, and the winning came by the resurrection.

Jesus’ example did not end with the agonizing beauty of his tortured death. His final words on the cross were not his final words. He had much more to say and plenty for us to do. His work beyond the cross required the Father’s intervention in his life, and our work should require no less. Have you ever considered the humility and faith Jesus displayed by placing his future in the Father’s hands?

Jesus died in faith, trusting in the Father’s promise of resurrection, but he had no guarantee beyond the love and trust he exhibited that night in Gethsemane. In this, too, we can follow his example. The Spirit of God is hovering and poised to infuse our lives with resurrection empowerment even now.

No witness is complete without these three vital elements: incarnation, sacrifice and resurrection. Our attempts at ministry are incomplete without the three. We cannot stand far off and offer advice. We cannot follow Jesus without bearing the cross, and we cannot carry on his work without the Father’s intervention. Our tendency, though, is to prefer one of these above the rest. This week’s meditation asks of us: which is our default position, and how can we make room for the other two aspects Jesus modeled?

Scriptures: Matthew 1:1-28:20

https://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/ray-hollenbach-why-the-cross-is-not-enough-1646?

Deciphering Truth in Word and Concept

June 15, 2021 by Tavis Bohlinger 

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Christopher Croom | Columbia International University

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

Introduction

This famous portion of Scripture that has been rendered as a standalone verse is directly related to the crucifixion scene of Jesus Christ. In this scene, Jesus stands before Pilate, questioned regarding charges leveled at Him by the Jews. In analyzing this verse, we do not want to overstep the boundaries provided to us by the context. Nevertheless, in examining this verse, we cannot help but acknowledge this deeply profound epistemological question. What is truth

First, we should observe the possible attitude with which Pilate proposes this question. Is Pilate saying this in a mocking tone? Or does Pilate opine with genuine curiosity? John Calvin suggests that Pilate laid out this question in disdain. In his commentary on this passage, Calvin says, “For my own part, I rather think that it is an expression of disdain; for Pilate thought himself highly insulted when Christ represented him as destitute of all knowledge of the truth.”1 D.A. Carson notes something specific in his view of this passage. Carson offers this beautiful observation. “Moreover, there is an implicit invitation in Jesus’ words. The man in the dock invites his judge to be his follower, to align himself with those who are ‘of the truth’.”2 Carson also goes on to suggest that Pilate may be irritated with Jesus and categorizes the question as “curt and cynical.”3

Gerald Borchert stands in opposition, suggesting that perhaps this question did affect Pilate. While Pilate may have resisted the more profound implications for his life, it certainly left him with no condemnation against Christ.4 I tend to agree with Borchert’s position in that the surrounding evidence of the passage does not lend itself to frustration or irritation on Pilate’s part. Moreover, Pilate seems to meet this situation with a certain level of wisdom and prudence. When asking the Jewish leaders for the charges against Christ, he appears less than impressed and may even see himself being used as a pawn in their scheme to rid themselves of the Messiah. Finally, we see Pilate approach the mob and try to provide a way to back out of this act against a seemingly innocent man. I wholeheartedly believe Pilate’s question of “what is truth?” was a genuine question worthy of consideration. 

Addressing the Question

Having now addressed the biblical aspect of this, we must face the question itself and its implications in our world. However, I do not want to address this from a predominantly “spiritual” perspective (or what Christians might perceive as spirituality), but rather, a practical aspect. After all, I am a Ph.D. student of practical theology (with a slight lean focusing on ethics and morality). So, I will do what I think I do best—talk about this question’s practical and ethical aspects. 

The Greek word behind “truth” is ἀλήθεια (aletheia). The word itself carries an intensely distinct semantic range. English speakers may translate this word as “in truth,” or “upon truth,” or “sincerely,” or “genuine,” or “firmness,” among other similar options. Considering the 109 uses of this word in the New Testament, it is translated as we see it here, “truth,” 95.4% of the time (or 104 times). Jesus states just before this verse that He came to testify to the truth. Pilate responds with what this author believes is a genuinely inquisitive query. So, what is Pilate asking, and how can we use this in our lives?

Pilate is asking a question that many people ask today. “How can we know what is true?” Before we address the question, we should determine its significance. When we speak about truth, or as I will often refer to it as “intellectual virtue,”5 In the most practical and simple terms I can provide, what we are discussing is an agreement to the definition of words and concepts and the reality built upon those definitions. In other words, there must be some fundamentally agreed-upon terminology that allows us to understand and decipher the world around us. For now, we will (mostly) lay aside questions of authority for defining those terms and reality and frankly focus on its existence. 

If I took some exegetical liberty with the text, as those before me have, I would like to suggest that Pilate is not so far off in his mindset from the subjectivists of our modern-day America. In other words, Pilate did not have an objective standard for truth, and so, this question persuaded his mind to argue with this philosophical difficulty in a way that those on the Areopagus of Acts 17 might have done. So much was Pilate interested in this; he tried to exonerate Christ after a brief consideration of Christ’s statement. 

What does this mean for the Christian Scholar or Pastor? Well, in today’s world, the Christian Scholar or Pastor finds themselves in one of three positions. The first position: Understanding and struggling to live with biblical clarity in a  rapidly changing world with changing definitions and conceptual truths. The second position: Believing they understand and struggle to live with biblical clarity in a  rapidly changing world with changing definitions and conceptual truths, but sinking further into the world’s subjectivity. The third and final position is being oblivious to the difference between the two and sinking further into the world’s subjectivity. 

A Brief Practice to Address Error

Because this is not designed to be a book or even a full paper outlining all the issues and potential solutions, this is where we shall consider, briefly, a remedy. Having been made aware of the issue that faces us, we should now consider a solution. 

Scholars and Pastors: Addressing the world with presuppositional truth is not practical in today’s world. I understand how unpopular this will be as a position. Nevertheless, telling a subjectively oriented world of a coming Christ is, while accurate, ineffective—at least, in and of itself. Starting with that will lead to nowhere. However, leading to that point, starting with a classical exposition of the general revelation could yield a more profitable engagement. When Pilate asks, “what is truth?” he questions something already answered in the world around Him that leads back to the Creator of all things. 

The General Revelation helps the created creature agree upon the definition of what exists inside of it. For instance, what does the creation (not explicitly Scripture) tell us about the nature of man and woman? The reason this approach is critical is that, as Jay Wood points out, “there are what are called “basic” or “immediate” beliefs; these form the bedrock of all that we believe, undergirding everything else we are justified in believing.”6 In agreeing upon what exists in the General Revelation, we create what Nicholas Wolterstorff refers to as a control belief.7 That control belief identifies the boundaries in which we can continue to move in our question to build a perimeter around valid words and concepts. 

This reason alone is why the Christian Church and the Christian (Scholar, Clergy, or Laypersons) have lost their foothold in the battle for words and concepts. In stepping away from the pursuit of truth, exchanging it for some undefined or unspecific spirituality, the Church began to, like the world, pursue subjectivity in religion, seeking a feeling of connection to God rather than a knowledge of the truth—or even worse, conflating the two, instead of an emotional connection to God being the result of proper knowledge of Him (Jer 9:23-24). This order is the natural order of true faith and spirituality, rooted in truth and reason.

What Pilate expresses is no different from what the Church expresses; each time, we neglect the pursuit of fundamental knowledge about God or portend to others that a relationship to Christ is the fullness of true religion (to the neglect of reason, doctrine, and similar concepts). We especially, as the Doctors and Pastors of the Church, must avoid both logical fallacies and cognitive biases in his assessment of the truth. As those who have General Revelation on our side, we should strive to define truth by the created world, ultimately pointing to Special Revelation. 

The world is currently busy changing the definition to well-established truths, such as gender, family, sex, and all the like. The result is that concepts are being redefined through that change. Now, love, good, evil, culture,  and ethics are all being manipulated in an unprecedented way. The truth that Jesus proposes to Pilate is not just a truth that leads to salvation. It is a truth that leads to seeing the world as it was truly meant to be seen. 

Conclusion

Pastors, Doctors, Scholars: I call you to a serious pursuit of the truth. A pursuit that starts by understanding how the General (or Natural) Revelation provides a piece of evidence to all men. Whether through the existence of a Creator or the law written on man’s heart and the active consciousness of knowing a right from a wrong, in earnest, that comes with it, Christians must answer the call to challenge the world cognitively. We must satisfy the curious nature of man’s mind and heart and respond to the question that Pilate once asked, and so many have asked after him, “what is truth?” because we are the only ones with meaningful access to the answer. 

If we, the learned and shepherds of the Church, do not understand this, how can we teach those under our care and doctrine? And if those under our care and doctrine do not learn, how can they reach the world?

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!

And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. (Proverbs 16:16)


Christopher Croom holds a Masters’s Degree in Bible Exposition, from Liberty University and is a Ph.D. student of Moral Theology at Columbia International University. He also is the founder and Managing Member of CROSS & Culture, LLC (http://crossandculture.org), a relaunching platform committed to expanding Biblical Scholarship and Discipleship within the Church.

  1. John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentary on the Gospel according to John, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 212.
  2. D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 595.
  3. Carson, John, 595.
  4. Gerald L. Borchert, John 12–21, vol. 25B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 243.
  5. As borrowed from Wood, W. Jay. Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous. Edited by C. Stephen Evans. Contours of Christian Philosophy. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1998.
  6. W. Jay Wood, Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous, ed. C. Stephen Evans, Contours of Christian Philosophy (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1998), 84.
  7. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Reason within the Bounds of Religion. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984.

Why Trying to Be Happy Won’t Make Us Happy

by Greg Laurie on Mar 5, 2021

In 2002, Jack Whittaker won $315 million in a West Virginia lottery. Years later he told a reporter, “You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.”

His daughter and granddaughter died of drug overdoses, and he was robbed of $545,000 eight months after winning the lottery. “I just don’t like Jack Whittaker,” he went on to say. “I don’t like the hard heart I’ve got. I don’t like what I’ve become.”

There are a lot of things that money can buy, but there are also things that money cannot buy. As Zig Ziglar pointed out, “Money will buy you a bed, but not a good night’s sleep, a house, but not a home, a companion, but not a friend.”

Money isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t intrinsically evil as some would suggest. Maybe you’ve heard people say, “You know, the Bible says that money is the root of all evil.”

But the Bible doesn’t actually say that. Here’s what it does say: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV).

So money isn’t evil. If you love it, however, if you make it your goal, if you think that money will bring you happiness, then you’ll be in for a rude awakening one day. On the other hand, there are uses for money, and money can be a blessing in our lives. The Bible tells us that money is something we can use to touch other lives.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. . . . By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life” (1 Timothy 6:17–19 NLT).

So where do we find the meaning, purpose and happiness in life that we all want? How can we be truly happy people?

According to the Bible, if we seek to know God and discover His plan for our lives, we will find purpose as a result. We will find the meaning and happiness that we so desperately long for—not from seeking it but from seeking him. The Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15 NKJV).

C. S. Lewis wrote, “God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.”

According to the Bible, happiness and fulfillment are not things we should seek outright. Rather, happiness and fulfillment will come as a result of seeking something else. That something else, in fact, is someone else: God Himself.

We won’t be happy by trying to be happy. We won’t find fulfillment by trying everything this world has to offer. But we will find fulfillment when we commit our lives to the Lord and ask Him to reveal His purpose for us. When we align our wills with God’s will, we’ll discover life as it was meant to be lived.

Henry Ward Beecher said, “The strength and happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too.”

In the New Testament we find the account of some men from Greece who were looking for Jesus. They were in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, and they were seeking answers, meaning, and purpose in life.

We’re not quite sure if they ever had a personal encounter with Jesus. John’s Gospel tells us they went to Philip, who then went to Andrew. Together Philip and Andrew approached Jesus, and He gave them His response.

In effect Jesus answered the essential question he could see in their hearts: What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Why do I exist? How can I be happy?

At this time in history, Greece basically was the cultural center of the world, the intellectual capital of Planet Earth. Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle held court there. Greece was the fountainhead of philosophy, the matrix of mythology, the cradle of civilized society.

Not only was Greece an intellectual capital, but it also was a philosophical capital. In this open, free society, devoid of absolutes, the people were encouraged to live as they pleased. Immorality was pervasive, and justice was lacking.

These men who came to Jerusalem were searching for something more, and Jesus gave them what they were asking for.

His words for them, in effect, unlocked the secret to personal happiness and fulfillment: “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity” (John 12:24–25 NLT).

Jesus was saying, “Here it is: If you want to find your life, you need to lose it.”

This seems very difficult to understand. It seems unnatural and certainly impossible. But what Jesus was saying is this: If you want to live life to its fullest, you must be willing to lose your life. Then you will find it.

There are people today who essentially say, “I don’t want to live by anyone’s rules. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’ll do whatever makes me happy and brings me fulfillment, because all that matters is me. It’s all about me.” So they live their lives with that attitude.

But Jesus was saying that if you seek to live for yourself, then you never will find yourself. If a selfish, me-first attitude permeates every aspect of your life, then you’ll come up empty. And ultimately you’ll see the emptiness of life without God.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

This article was originally published at WND.com.