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    • By enoch1122 in enoch1122's Blog
      The Biblical Feast of Succoth or Tabernacles is a Biblical Feast celebrated by Christians and Jews alike (see Leviticus 23:29, 41, Deuteronomy 16:15 and related scriptures). The Feast is celebrated as a remembrance of the time the Israelites spent in the wilderness of Sinai after being liberated from Egypt (see the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). During this time the presence of the Lord was with His people in a mighty way. He was with them as a fire by night, a cloud during day and was with them in the enacting of the Levitical Law. God fed them physically during their 40 year stay and eventually guided them into the promised land of Canaan.

      Why did God lead his people into a wilderness experience after His dramatic deliverance of them from Egypt with great signs and wonders? As Christians we have an understanding of a wilderness experience as a time of being devoid of the presence of the Lord. A time of delay and nothing happening from the Lord; a time of being lost. However, a true understanding of the wilderness experience is something else. God spoke to the people of Israel in the wilderness thus: “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘I am the Lord your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. “You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God” (Lev 18:2-4).

      The wilderness was a desolate land between Egypt, which they had left, and Canaan, where they were going. Both societies were idolatrous and evil and in constant contravention of God’s laws. Today we live in a society where the Word and awareness of the Lord is blocked with the distractions and clutter of everyday societal life. The wilderness was a place where there were no such distractions. The Lord was interested in creating a unique people who were aware of Him and were able to pick out His voice from the myriad of surrounding voices. Instead of being a place of desolation it became an oasis of God’s presence. God was training His people to know and follow His voice so that when they finally possessed His promised land they would know the Lord and His ways. Of course history shows that they were unsuccessful in this as they succumbed to the ways of the surrounding nations and displeased God until he had to destroy them.

      Today we often find ourselves in such a wilderness. The Word and presence of God seem far away and the heavens stone. However, despite these outward appearances we should be those who take advantage of the wilderness experience. In the wilderness there is nothing to distract us from reaching into the Lord and learning His voice and ways. In Israel’s Old Testament wilderness God produced a people that eventually conquered Canaan and set up a righteous nation in its place (at least for a time). So too can we regather ourselves in our wilderness where there are no distractions. Of course in this day I am speaking of a spiritual wilderness that God creates as part of our training to be Sons of God. Instead of being discouraged we should take the opportunity to sharpen our spirits to leave there and go conquer.

      God created a mighty army in the first wilderness. Under the authority of Moses and later Joshua they conquered many nations greater then themselves (Deut 4:38; 7:1). So let us use the wilderness experience wisely and so too become a great army of the Lord (see Joel 2).


    • By c taylor in cm taylor
      10 DAYS
      I was in the Church of God in Christ for about twenty years – during my twenty-to-thirty something days. I was taken with the display of God’s power when folks prayed, the level of worship, the soul-stirring music, the depth of fellowship and … the shut-in.
      As I listened to John Paul Jackson talking about Pentecost in Acts 1-2, I realized that the church probably had gotten the idea of the shut-in from that Biblical experience.
      Every now and again, your local COGIC church would call for a shut-in – people would come on the designated evening, bringing pillows and blankets and would lock themselves in the church for non-stop prayer. This could last anywhere from overnight to several days.
      No conversation, no preaching – just prayer. That kind of praying could be both glorious and physically tiring, so … the pillows and blankets. If you got tired, take a power nap, wake up refreshed and ready to jump back in. Miracles galore came out of those sessions. There was a corporate *crying out to God*. And a powerful response *from* God. Haven’t heard of any shut-ins in past years.
      For ten days after Jesus returned to heaven, 120 people were in an upper room in Jerusalem watching, waiting – and praying. For what was promised. And probably fasting.
      And on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came roaring through, lit up everybody in the place and they in turn set Jerusalem on spiritual fire. They were given supernatural ability to speak to people from all over the known world in their native tongues. Those folks would become believers and take the Gospel back to their own nations.
      Assurance. A shut-in. A show-up. A sharing. A sure thing.
    • By David Ettinger in David Ettinger's Blog
      Uncomfortable Topic
      For many Christians, the topic of the Jewish people going to Heaven is an uncomfortable one. Yet, the question is legitimate: Do Jews go to Heaven?
      Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to reply, though the answer is rather simple. Sadly, as a Jewish believer in Christ for 30 years, I have only been asked this question once, but I wish I had been asked this more often. The Bible speaks clearly on the issue, and it should be viewed by believers as an opportunity for Gospel-sharing rather than as a cause for discomfort.
      So, let’s briefly examine the issue and determine the best way to respond to the question: Do Jews go to Heaven?
      Salvation Facts
      If you are ever asked this question, it is important to know your “salvation facts.” The first thing you need to know is that salvation – that is, eternal life with God when this life is over – is found exclusively in the Person of Jesus Christ.
      In John14:6, Jesus proclaims: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No explanation needed; Jesus expressed Himself precisely, and there can be no mistaking His message. This truth is affirmed in Acts 4:12, where the apostle Peter avers: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Again, no explanation needed; the truth is comprehensible as can be.
      The second thing you need to know is that having understood this truth, an individual must acknowledge and accept it. In Romans 10:9, the apostle Paul affirms: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Acts 16:31, Paul says: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Again, no explanation needed, but one thing to consider is that all four verses make no reference to a specific people group, race, or religion: salvation is in Christ, and it is on an individual basis.
      All Israel Will Be Saved?
      The most confusion among Christians regarding the issue of the salvation of the Jewish people concerns Romans 11:25-26, where Paul writes: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (italics added).
      Chapters 9 through 11 of the Book of Romans concern the Jewish people. In Chapters 1 through 8, Paul argues that salvation is by faith alone, apart from the Law of Moses. However, the Jews of the time countered, “But God gave us the Law and for centuries demanded we live by it. Paul, how can you possibly tell us now that the Law is of no account? Your Gospel is heretical.”
      In reply, Paul lays out a brilliant argument regarding the relationship of the Jewish people (“Israel”) and God. The key, as Paul explains, is that among the Jewish people, there is a “remnant” (Romans 9:27; 11:5) who are “chosen by grace” (11:5), and “only the remnant will be saved” (9:27).
      When will this occur? The issue is complex, but judicious Bible study reveals that the time when “all Israel [i.e., the “remnant”] will be saved” (11:26) will occur at the very end of the age at Christ’s return. The Jewish remnant will be those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior; this verse clearly does not reference every Jewish person who has ever lived.
      The Bottom Line
      Having stated the means by which human beings are saved, and discounted the “exemption clause” for the Jewish people, we can now intelligently answer the question: “Do Jews go to Heaven?”
      In a way, it’s a trick question; one that cannot be answered by a “yes” or “no.” In fact, the same applies to the questions: “Do all Muslims go to Heaven? Do all Hindus go to Heaven? Do all church-attenders go to Heaven?” Outside of the appointed time at the end of the age when the “remnant” of Israel will be saved, there is no such thing as “group salvation.” Salvation is individual, hence the reason why a husband can be saved and his wife unsaved; parents can be saved and their children unsaved.
      If you are asked, “Do Jews go to Heaven?” this is how you should reply. “Salvation is on an individual basis. If a specific Jewish individual has accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior, she will go to Heaven; if she has rejected Christ, she will spend eternity separated from God.” The same applies to Muslims, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, and every other “group” you can think of. Salvation is in Christ alone, and is attained exclusively on an individual basis.
      So, do Jews go to Heaven? Some do, some don’t. Does an individual Jew accept Christ as his Lord and Savior? If so, then yes, this individual Jew is going to Heaven. What about the Jews – or Muslims, or JWs, or Mormons – as a whole, as a collective? Collective salvation does not exist.
      But to all individuals, the gracious cry goes forth: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”!
      Read my testimony, "From Judaism to Christ": https://ettingerwriting.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/my-journey-from-judaism-to-christ/
    • By Ragamuffin_John in Ragamusings
      If You'd never worn a robe,
      You'd still be my contemporary, cause you put on the same skin, Jesus Incarnate. You knew what it meant to be sick and have need, to bear the scorn for true worship, to end life in a bleed. Not just your Spirit rose above clouds, but a body  going to get glorified once at Abba's throne. I wrestle my will daily to say, "Thy choice be done"; contrariness'd be crazy, given your Love.
    • By enoch1122 in enoch1122's Blog
      I was reminded of the words of a hymn from my church which says: “By a word of grace you have led us to this place and by a word you will lead us on”.  David said: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The word of God is our leader. It doesn’t matter if you hear it from the pulpit, from the bible, from your neighbor or directly from God. It remains the Word of God. It is an always present reminder that we are on the right path and ready to conquer greater heights in Christ.

      Our ultimate goal is to become a manifested Son of God on the earth. The Word is constantly leading us on towards this goal. A true Son is always led by the Word of God. Romans says: “For all who are being led by the Spirit [word] of God, these are sons of God” (Rom 8:14). The Word of God is spirit and truth (John 4:23).

      “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Word has the power to propel us to greater heights in the spirit. It judges the thoughts and intents of our hearts and points out the difference between spirit and soul. God is Spirit (John 4:24). And those who would have a relationship with Him would have one grounded in Spirit and truth (Jn 4:23).

      The word of God is sure and true. We can put our weight down on it. We have the assurance it will lead us on from where we are right now. When we feel lost we need only consult the word from whatever source and we will find the Word if there to lead us on.

      It is a word of grace. Grace is unmerited favor from God. The Word is there no matter what we have done or not done in our daily pursuit of Him. It is there irrespective of sin (1 John 2:1-2). God is faithful to speak his word to us especially in times of need. His word is never negative; the negative word is from our adversary. He may correct us but always in kindness. We should never fear hearing from God. Take every opportunity to allow God to speak to you as this strengthens our personal relationship with Him.  

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