Welcome to the Café Logos thought bakery where I assemble the ingredients of my daily experiences to share with our diners.
February 27, 2023
January 18, 2023
My husband and I have always put Jesus first in our lives. Because of this we have been accused of being, too “religious;” once by a close family member who was a Christian, and another time by a neighbor who was a witch.
The scriptures show us that it pleases the Lord when His people are exuberant about Him. We see a picture of this zeal in action when David stripped himself of his royal robes, humbling himself before the Lord as he danced exuberantly through the streets celebrating the ark’s return (II Samuel 6:14).
Jesus provoked the ire of the religious leadership of His day when He overturned the tables of their business of religion, fulfilling David’s prophecy, “The zeal of Your house has eaten me up” (Matthew 21:12, John 2:17).
Never be ashamed of letting your light shine brilliantly for the Lord, you are in good company, even if the beam of your desire is offensive to some.
So if you are ever accused of being “too religious,” take it as a compliment. Tell them to substitute the word, “Religious” for “zealous” and remind them that Jesus spits the lukewarm out of His mouth and you do not want to be a puddle on His floor.
Copyright 2023 by H. D. Shively
Related Content: How Far Can God Spit?
While most people celebrate the beginning of a new year, our family celebrates the fact that the Lord got us through the old one.
As I look ahead to the immediate future that has been labeled, “2023,” the impression I am getting from the Lord is that it will be a year of many deaths, (possibly unprecedented?) through natural and man-man catastrophes. But those believers who are seeking and following the Lord, will experience a renewal in their spirits and an underlying current of the Lord’s joy which will be their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
This joy is like a current that the overcomers will ride through the chaos. These ones have their eyes fixed on Jesus and their eternal future with God. They know that their treasure is in heaven. They will shine as lights in the darkness of material losses. This remnant will make a difference in the lives of those who are floundering in the turmoil.
I hope everyone who reads these words will be among that remnant. And when 2023 comes to its conclusion, we all will be able to look back upon our journey through those days, and thank the Lord for bringing us through in victory.
Much love, and God bless everyone one of you.
December 6, 2022
The Christmas Controversy
As I write these words, the celebration of Jesus’ birth is fast approaching. While multitudes of Christians eagerly anticipate the day, there are other professed believers who regard it as pagan. They cite Constantine’s endeavors to coincide the day with a previously established pagan festival. One individual among the many who protest the celebration of Jesus’ birth, wrote to me, “God did not establish this celebration, it is manmade.”
God did not specifically establish the Jewish celebration called Purim either. That special day was instigated by Mordicai as a memorial to commemorate the Jew’s deliverance from extermination which is recorded in the ninth chapter of the book of Esther. They also exchanged gifts at this celebration (verse 19), which is the real origin of the Christmas tradition.
Just as Purim was established as a day to remember the Jew’s deliverance from death, so Christmas was established for the same reason. This one special day was set aside to commemorate the birth of the Messiah Jesus, who was born to deliver all who believe from death, an eternal separation from God.
Constantine’s motive for coinciding the Christian celebration on the same day as the pagan festival, was to hopefully bring the pagans into the Christian faith.
I was shopping in a grocery store the other day, listening to the Christmas music that was playing for the customers as they browsed through the aisles. I smiled as I listened to the words of a familiar carol that burst forth in-between Jingle Bells and the reminder to have myself a merry little Christmas. Suddenly the words of that carol were proclaiming Jesus’ arrival to everyone in that store. Because of Constantine’s attempt to evangelize his people, today every year, twice a year at Christmas and Easter, unbelievers all over the world are reminded that Jesus was born, was killed and rose from the dead. If it had not been for Constantine, that particular witness would be absent.
I am also very sure that the devil would also like to remove those reminders that proclaim Christ to an unbelieving world. Public celebrations of Christmas are non-existent in communist countries and it baffles me that so many opponents to Christmas want to follow the communist's example.
The traditional custom of decorating a tree every year at Christmas is also attacked, citing the references in Jeremiah to prove that the tradition has a pagan origin. –
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not (Jeremiah 10:3,4).
However, in the pagan custom, all the branches are removed down to a bare pole. The pole was decorated and worshipped as an idol. Evergreen trees in scripture are used symbolically to represent the righteous who are God’s people. -
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon (Psalm 92:12).
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious (Isaiah 60:13).
The traditional evergreen Christmas tree is a symbol of the eternal life that is the gift that is given to us through Jesus, who came to save us from our sins, an event worth celebrating.
Please take a few minutes to enjoy this video that shows us how to make the Christmas tree even more special.
October 4, 2022
September 26, 2022
A popular mantra that is parroted by some professed believers in God, is that all roads lead to Him. In other words, all religions are seeking God and will eventually find Him. In actuality, all roads must lead to the one road that leads to God, and that is Jesus the Messiah. There is only one plan of redemption that God has provided for mankind. He ordained it before the foundation of the world, initiated it in Eden, and fulfilled it through Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead.
Jesus said that there is only one narrow road, and few would find it (Matthew 7:14). That’s not a popular doctrine in our day and age of anything goes theology. But because there is only one God, there can only be one absolute truth, not multiple truths and multiple roads.
God has ordained how He wants mankind to come to Him. That is His right. He made everything and He has the right to tell His creation what to do for our own welfare. When we submit to what He has ordained for our salvation, then the spirit of rebellion that ruined our planet in the first place and blocks our access to God, is removed.
God has placed His Holy Spirit of Eternal life in the blood of the One Man who is the only one holy enough to be born with it. That life in the blood of Jesus is transferred into anyone who sincerely repents and believes the Gospel; that Jesus died to remove our sins and rose from the dead so we can have eternal life.
Jesus removes our sins, so we can receive the Spirit of Eternal life, the Holy Spirit that is in His blood. No one can have eternal life until the soul is unified with God’s Spirit.
There are many roads with many travelers upon them all seeking God; yet all of those roads must eventually come to one Cross road and choose the only road that leads to eternity in the presence of the One True God of Israel, the God that Jesus, the Son of God represents.
Discover the “Spiritually Scientific” reason why Jesus has to be the only way to God in our feature, “You can’t get to Heaven without a Space Suit.”
It’s not easy to be a Christian. Jesus said that we would be “hated of all nations for My name’s sake”(Matthew 24:9). He also said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). And He explains why the world hates Him in John 7:7. – “Because I testify of it that the works of it are evil.”
Members of the government of Finland recently declared that the Bible was hate speech and tried to persecute one of its political representatives for maintaining the Biblical perspective on marriage and sexuality. To anyone who loves evil, the Bible’s admonishments against sin would seem to be hateful to those who refuse to repent and align themselves with the Creator’s instructions for our health and wellbeing.
Whenever there is an abundance of falsehood, the Truth of God’s word will always be offensive and divisive.
Those who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah and Light of the world, become lights themselves, reflecting their Redeemer as beacons of hope in the world’s darkness. We cannot allow our light to go out, no matter what forces come against us. We can rejoice that the growing persecution against Christians is a verification of the prophecies that foretold it. We can point to Jesus’ words as evidence of the truth of scripture. – “They shall put you out of the synagogues: Yes, the time comes, that whoever kills you will think that he does God service. And these things they will do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me” (John 16:2,3).
Because of the anti-Christian spirit that is in the world, people who are motivated by this spirit are going to try and talk you out of your faith. Therefore it is vitally important for any believer to understand that the Christian faith is the fulfillment of prophecies that were instigated at the beginning of creation. It is the absolute truth; and that is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).
Christians take comfort in the fact that we have been given the gift of eternal life through faith in the atoning death and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus. And for this reason we know that we will be around long after the voices of our opposition have been silenced.
We know that the Bible is divided into two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament. I want you to picture the Old Testament as the Cocoon, and the New Testament as the butterfly that is formed within it and emerges from it.
In order to help reinforce you in your faith we are providing a free online copy of our book, “Why Jesus has to be the Messiah.” I encourage you to download, read and share this valuable tool that will give you an easy to understand review of the prophecies, foreshadows and typologies that will enable you to firmly declare with Jesus that He truly is the only way to salvation.
Why Jesus has to be the Messiah
July 4, 2022
Right to Life
Many years ago my husband and I were displaying some of his art work at a prolife event in California. A young woman approached our display and shared with us a poem she had written. She expressed her desire to be able to share it with more people.
I read the poem and the Holy Spirit took over. “Come with me,” I told her, and with a Spirit enforced boldness I led her up to the podium where the main speaker of the event was about to make her presentation. I introduced her to the poet, and said, “She wants to share this.”
The speaker took the poem, read it, and to the poet’s overwhelming blessed surprise, the speaker incorporated it into her presentation and read it to a large room packed with listeners.
In the wake of all the outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade, I would also like to incorporate the poet's words into my blog to share with you. -
Prayer of the Unborn
I firmly believe in a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body, but as Jenny’s poem shows us, that is someone else’s body that is being temporarily housed in the mother’s womb. To terminate a life that belongs to someone else is murder.
The Ostrich People
In Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the master of the house gives his three servants money and trusts them to increase what he has given them while he is away on a journey. Two of his servants are productive and increase what they had been given. But the other was afraid and hid what he had been entrusted with in the earth, much like the description of the ostrich in the book of Job; …which lays her eggs in the earth, and warms them in the dust, and forgets that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them (Job 39:14,15).
The bird’s lack of wisdom is attributed to a judgment from God. - Because God has deprived her of wisdom, neither has He imparted to her understanding (Job 39:17).
People who prefer man’s words above God’s instructions are also subject to the same judgment. - Wherefore the Lord said, “Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precepts of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isaiah 29:13,14).
These people are putting all their eggs in one basket, the world, so to speak, instead of relying totally on God and those things that pertain to Him and His kingdom.
These “Ostrich people” basically love the world, and the things of the world and the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15). As a result they become smothered in a spirit of compromise and fill the church with doctrines and behaviors that God’s word has forbidden. Their works, their “eggs” are buried in the world, and subject to destruction. Their treasure is not heaven (Matthew 6:21) and they do not value the things of God. Thus all their worldly endeavors will count for nothing on the day of reckoning at the last judgment.
Preferring the world and its standards above what God has ordained for us to follow has serious consequences, but the ostrich people really don’t care. Their heads are in buried in the dust along with their eggs. Anyone in that position can’t see the cobra of their consequences slithering up behind them.
Serve God with all of your heart and put the fruit of your labors in the things of God where the reward of your service is stored safely, waiting for you in heaven, not in the temporal sands of this life.
June 1, 2022
Altering God’s Word
On March 20, 1969, Dr. Lawrence Dunegan attended a lecture at a meeting of the Pittsburg Pediatric Society. The lecture was given by Dr. Richard Day, who was at that time, professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. He was formerly the Medical Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. He died in 1989. Dr. Dunegan was a former student of Dr. Day at the University of Pittsburgh.
On October 10, 1991, Dr. Dunegan was interviewed by Randy Engel of the U.S. Coalition for Life, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In this interview, Dr. Dunegan recalled what he heard at that lecture which had very little to do with pediatrics. The speaker, Dr. Day, began to predict future events based on his knowledge of the organization of which he was a member. That organization was aggressively working to orchestrate a “New World Order.” Most students of God’s Word understand that this one world government is prophesied in the Bible and also in the Apocrypha in II Esdras.
Dr. Day said he could speak about these things because "everything is in place and nobody can stop us now." He went on to describe his organization’s agenda and today we are seeing much of what he predicted coming to fruition. One of the things he described was their plans to create a one world religion, eliminate Christianity and change the Bible. The following are quotes from Dr. Dunegan. -
“Another area of discussion was Religion. This is an avowed atheist speaking. He said, ‘Religion is not necessarily bad. A lot of people seem to need religion, with it's mysteries and rituals - so they will have religion. But the major religions of today have to be changed because they are not compatible with the changes to come. The old religions will have to go especially Christianity. Once the Roman Catholic Church is brought down, the rest of Christianity will follow easily. Then a new religion can be accepted for use all over the world. It will incorporate something from all of the old ones to make it easier for people to accept, and feel at home. Most people won't be too concerned with religion. They will realize that they don't need it. In order to do this, the Bible will be changed. It will be rewritten to fit the new religion. Gradually, key words will be replaced with new words having various shades of meaning. Then the meaning attached to the new word can be close to the old word - and as time goes on, other shades of meaning of that word can be emphasized, and then gradually that word replaced with another word.’
Dr. Donegan, continues. “I don't know if I'm making that clear, but the idea is that everything in Scripture need not be rewritten, just key words replaced by other words. The variability in meaning attached to any word can be used as a tool to change the entire meaning of Scripture, and therefore make it acceptable to this new religion. Most people won't know the difference; and this was another one of the times where he said, ‘the few who do notice the difference won't be enough to matter.’”
We can see now why there is such an influx of new Bible translations, and why the King James Version is often the subject of so much criticism. Of course it would be, it was given to us way before the one world agenda had come into existence. The King James translation of course is not perfect, no Bible translation really is. But in view of the attempts to change the meaning of God’s word through these new translations, we would do well to keep the King James as a valued reference.
This new world order will be allowed by God to come to its horrific fulfillment as prophesied in Revelation 13. It is a Biblical principle that God permits evil to come to its fullness before He destroys it (Genesis 15:16). Like the tower of Babylon, this evil kingdom will only be permitted to rise so far before the sky quakes and Jesus descends with His multitudes to remove the wicked and create His New World Order (Revelation 19). We can take comfort and be encouraged by the fact that Jesus’ victory has been predetermined by God, everything is in place and no evil will ever be able to stop it.
You can read a transcript of Dr. Donegan's interview here - Interview
April 17, 2022
Go tell Somebody
Today, Christians all over the world are celebrating the miraculous resurrection of the Messiah Jesus. Try and visualize the wonder those first Apostles of the Lord must have experienced when they discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty. Then contemplate the stunning exhilaration they must have felt when Jesus first appeared to them after His triumphant exit from the tomb.
Try and picture yourself in the same room with them, and quell any doubts as you reach out your hand with Thomas to touch for yourself the wounds in Jesus’ hands and His side. Then allow the realization that death has been vanquished take root in your heart and mind.
No matter how dark the world is, and no matter how many monsters lie in wait alongside the road of your journey through this life, you are walking toward the Light of Life that broke forth out of the darkness on that first resurrection Day morning.
Death has been extinguished in your life because you have placed your faith in the Messiah Jesus. You have received the gift of eternal life by faith His atonement for your sins. You have been filled with the joy of knowing Him and no matter what happens in this life, you have hope and a future. The joy and exhilaration of that first resurrection morning is your own. Celebrate it every day. And don’t keep the celebration to yourself. Go tell somebody.
Related Content -Yes,There Is Hope
March 15, 2022
Setting a Back Fire
When a forest fire is raging out of control, firefighters will create a “Back Fire” to try and contain the blaze. Fire cannot burn what has already been burned, so another fire is started along the perimeter of the fire to prevent it from spreading into other areas.
This technique can also be applied in spiritual principle. Whenever people are being motivated by the devil to cause others harm by the flames of their hatred and rage, a spiritual back fire can be formed around them though forgiveness, love and prayers for the salvation of their souls. Believers also have been given the authority in Jesus’ name to come against the demonic forces that are using the people as the devil’s tools. We have been given the power to bind the influencing demons and command them in the name of Jesus to stop operating in the people, and eliminate this additional source of fuel upon the fire.
Sometimes we do not realize the power and might of the spiritual weapons of love, prayer and authority we have been given, and we should not be afraid to use them as we are directed by the Lord. But none of them will be effective if we cannot apply them with forgiveness.
It is difficult to forgive when we have been victimized unjustly, but God gives us the power to overcome and He can replace hatred with love, and heal our inner wounds enabling us to forgive and love our enemies. Without Jesus we can do nothing, John 15:5.
Nothing is more powerful than the weapon of love. When we love and forgive, we set a spiritual back fire that will glorify God around any conflagration of evil. The direction of the fires coming against us can be redirected by the prayer sent wind of His Holy Spirit. We can pray the rain of His Spirit to fall upon the heads of our enemies to put out the fire of hatred and change hearts.
When we have allowed the Holy Spirit full control of our lives, we can have the inner strength to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, just as Jesus loved His enemies; and that would include all of us at one time before we came to faith. Believers have experienced the forgiving love of the Messiah Jesus. As disciples of the Lord we are required to follow His example and forgive as He forgave us.
The people who persecute us need the same forgiveness and to see the reality of Jesus in us. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” as the spikes were being driven into His hands. Our enemies also do not know what they are doing, because they have not known the Lord and experienced His loving forgiveness as we have.
We can douse the flames of hatred by setting a powerful “Back fire” of love and forgiveness around those who so desperately need to be ignited by the life changing holy flames of God’s Spirit. We are the spiritual firefighters God has ordained to fight the flames of this word’s evil as representatives of His love. Get to work, children, the fires are raging.
Related Content -God's Weaponry
War and Rumors of Wars
As I write this, Russia has invaded the Ukraine. Jesus prophesied that in the period of time before the great tribulation and His second coming, there would be “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6). He labeled this segment of human history as “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). In other words, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
This is the time when believers in Messiah Jesus need to strengthen their faith and their resolve to walk above the waters of this life with Jesus and refuse to be moved away from our faith in spite of the turmoil around us that threatens our survival.
The scriptures show us that the main instigator of the horrors to come arises to power as the result of people’s rebellion against God. The Lord gives people what they want. If they want a world without God, He will give them a taste of what their own choices have brought them.
The future shown to us in Daniel, the book of Revelation, and Matthew 24, all paint the same picture of a last one world dictatorship. The leader of this empire is described to us in Daniel 11:36-45. We see a portrait of a war monger who is in league with what is now Iran and Ethiopia (verse 43). Currently, Russia, coincidentally matches this description.
If we examine the four horses of Revelation in chapter six, as symbolic representatives of the prophesied antichrist world leader, we can see the white horse representing an apostate Christian who is actually a communist represented by the red horse. This leader will eventually gain control of the world’s economy (Daniel 11:43) through his conquests and the money controlling bankers who support him, causing massive inflation represented by the imbalanced scales of the black horse. The death and misery of his reign is represented by the pale horse, although the word pale can be translated as green; a color associated with Islam, the religion of his Iranian allies.
This evil one will invade the holy land at some point (Daniel 11:41), and permit the Jews to rebuild their temple, which he will desecrate by demanding that he be worshipped as God, (II Thessalonians 2:3,4); “the abomination that makes desolate” (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15). To have men worship the government and its leaders is a goal of godless communism.
The scriptures have given us a map of the future that just might be beginning to be fulfilled in this moment of time. We are all standing on a conveyor belt that is leading us to the culmination of prophecy. We have graciously been prepared by God’s word to expect what is coming so we can be spiritually and physically prepared.
Christians have a responsibility to make the most of the time we have left to expand His kingdom by sharing the gospel. We have been told that there is coming a time when no man can work because the spiritual darkness will be so great (John 9:4).
Prepare your spiritual life rafts now, children, because the storm is coming.
February 18, 2022
Recently my spirit received this message from the Lord. He said in essence that if His people did not reinforce themselves in their faith, they were in danger of being overcome by the forces that will and are bearing down upon them in these last days. In other words, a once a week, Sunday only relationship with the Lord isn’t going to cut it.
God is calling His people in this hour to seek Him with all of their hearts. Learn to listen for His Still Small Voice. This only comes from spending quality time alone with Him in His word and prayer. His guidance is essential for our spiritual and physical survival. We need to be able to hear Him guide us out of the road when the forces of evil are speeding toward our destruction. Otherwise many will end up as “Spiritual Roadkill” because their faith is not strong enough to carry them through the trials that are coming.
We must remind ourselves of Jesus’ instructions for us to build our spiritual houses upon the solid rock of His word which is our safety. –
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, shall be compared to a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27).
Jesus also said that in this life we would have tribulation (John 16:33). So many times nominal Christians end up having their faith smashed upon the highways of this life because of unexpected hardships. When the bad things happen these people turn on God, when all the while His word has been there to prepare us for these times. Listen to the Apostle Peter. He begins by reminding us of the joy we have in our salvation. –
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:6,7).
Peter wrote those words when the church was enduring much persecution. Peter was eventually martyred during that season. Thousands of Christians are being martyred all across the world in this present day. Opposition to the Christian faith is increasing everywhere. God wants His people to be able to stand and be a wall of loving resistance that will repel any attempt to eradicate our faith.
Our faith, which is more precious and valuable than gold, is the bridge that will carry us above the turbulence of these unstable times.
Reinforce yourselves in God's word, my children, and protect yourselves from becoming spiritual roadkill.
February 3, 2022
The Reward of a Good Child
A while back I saw a documentary on parenting. A couple in England had an eight year old daughter who had become quite unmanageable. They had come to the point where they were considering having to give her up to social services. Then they were put in touch with a gifted counsellor who used a unique approach. He never met with the child, only the parents. He has one meeting with them, then they are required to call him every day to report on any progress and receive further counseling.
The parents were told to refrain from anger, but to use a reward system instead. When the child was good, she received some money, but when she behaved badly, she lost her reward for that day. The parents were also instructed to show the child more love in the process.
After a relatively short time the transformation in the child’s behavior was amazing. The constructive discipline she received along with the parental assurance that she was loved, brought about a change that was so beautiful to behold.
The Lord is also a loving parent who originally devised the same program that the gifted counsellor was utilizing. God told His people that if they obeyed Him, they would be blessed. Likewise, if they didn’t they would be cursed (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). In other words, the rewards of their good behavior would be removed.
Any good parent uses discipline. And God has set the standard. His discipline is evidence of His love. God receives a great deal of satisfaction when He sees progress in the raising of His children. He also loves to reward us when we do well, either here in this life or in His presence when that time arrives.
And as we grow in our love for Him, we will eventually no longer need the restraints of His reward system, for we will be obeying Him for the simple reason that we love him and want to please Him, just because He is our loving Father. And our best reward is knowing that He is pleased, and to hear Him say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21).
January 6, 2022
Jesus Wept, Too
Just before the start of the New Year, I learned of the death of a pastor I had known for years. He was a unique individual, an eclectic wonder, who was a gifted storyteller with a personality that drew people in and packed his small, rural church. He captivated his congregation with Bible teachings that were embellished by his creativity, joy and humor. He is greatly missed.
We grieve deeply when we lose the people we love. Our suffering is encased in two levels of misery. On the one conscious level, we grieve for the absence of the person who is suddenly no longer there where we have been accustomed for him to be. On the other more subconscious level we grieve because death is something that God never intended to exist in this realm. It is not natural for these rare, unique human beings to vanish from this existence, leaving such sorrow in their wake. Human beings were intended to live on this planet forever. The inner, inbred knowledge of the unnaturalness of death is thus integrated with our sorrow, adding fuel to our anguish, compounding our grief whether we realize it or not.
God understands when we are looking down at the empty void that is left in our hearts when we lose a loved one. Jesus wept, too at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus. He wept, even though He knew that in a few moments his friend would be joyfully brought back to life. Jesus wept because of the knowledge that death even existed; that evil thorn that pierces us with its vengeance and makes us cry.
Jesus let death pierce Him, too, so He could destroy it forever. Remember this; the suffering we experience now is only temporary. Our believing loved ones are safe in heaven, and someday we will be with them also, rejoicing in the victory that God has given us over the grave.
Death entered through man’s disobedience to God. The Lord was left with no choice but to deal with humans who refuse to obey a command that was only there to maintain their safety and welfare. We must learn the lesson that sin has consequences and now we must live in a world that is the result of mankind’s rebellion against God’s word.
But the love that gave us life in the first place, would never give up on His children. God was willing to sacrifice His Child, so we could have an eternal existence with Him on another level; one we can’t see for now, but the reality of it is given to us through faith in the atoning death of the Messiah Jesus, and His miraculous resurrection from the dead which is the punctuation mark on our faith.
We comfort ourselves with the fact that death is only temporary in Christ, and our life in Him is permanent and everlasting. While the future we face in this life may seem dark and threatening at times, harboring death in its shadows, we can walk through this valley by faith, with joy and confidence; keeping our eyes upon our Savior who leads the way toward the light of the eternal life He purchased for us through His selfless love.
Let’s begin the New Year with the goal in our hearts of reflecting Jesus’ selfless love in us and walk toward the future calling as many as we can to join us in our victory march over death.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – Jesus, from John 3:16
A Christmas Memory
When I was a child, every Christmas my grandparents would take me to the large living nativity in our town (at least until the llama spit on my grandmother). That nativity which I remember so clearly, was a beautiful public witness to the birth of Jesus. Now thanks to the communists working in our federal, state and local governments, public displays associated with the Christian faith are swiftly being eradicated. Nativities like the one I attended as a child are now just a Christmas memory.
Some Christians are also vehemently opposed to Christmas by claiming that it is a pagan celebration and are inadvertently working along with the communists to eliminate Christmas. While certain elements associated with Christmas have pagan origins, that does not negate the fact that the day was established to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Like the Hebrew celebration of Purim, Christmas is a man designated celebration of our deliverance from death through the birth of the Messiah Jesus. We feast and exchange gifts just as the Jews celebrated their deliverance from death (Esther 9:22). The Biblical celebration called Purim can be viewed as a foreshadow of our celebration of Jesus.
It is the responsibility of true Christians to affirm the Christ in Christmas which overrides any pagan influences.
I am sure the communists and the devil who is influencing them, would like to see all Christmas celebrations eliminated. Let’s not co-operate with them. Make the day a glorious celebration of Jesus’ birth and keep our Christmas heritage from becoming just a memory.
December 14, 2021
The True Meaning of Christmas
As I write these words, Christmas is fast approaching, which is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Messiah. His coming is the culmination of every prophecy, foreshadow and typology that God has woven throughout His word to prepare us for Messiah’s coming. Unfortunately, there are still many who reject Him as the Messiah, in spite of the overwhelming Biblical evidence that supports the truth of His arrival and His purpose.
Jesus came to instigate the prophesied New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33). This covenant would be given to the Israelites after their 70 year captivity in Babylon, when God permitted them to return to their land (Jeremiah 32:37-40). This covenant would enable them to have their sins forgiven and their relationship with God restored. Everyone who received this covenant would “know the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:34) and He would be their God and they would be His people.
Jesus came, was killed and the New Covenant, or Testament, was instigated by His prophesied death (Isaiah 53) and resurrection (Psalm 16:10).
Jesus’ coming and death was prophesied specifically by the prophet Daniel who accurately foretold that the Messiah (Anointed One), would come and be killed before the destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:26). The city was destroyed in 70AD, forty years after Jesus came and the Lord also prophesied of the event (Luke 19:43,44, Matthew 24:2). The remainder of Daniel’s prophecy also shows that there would be no other benevolent Messiah coming after Jesus.
While the majority of the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, He was gladly received by the Gentiles as prophesied (Isaiah 60:3,49:6).
The Roman emperor, Constantine, who recognized the benefits of Christianity upon all nations, combined the celebration of Jesus’ birth with an established pagan festival, in the hopes the Christian celebration would have a beneficial influence on the pagans.
Many today protest Christmas by saying the event has pagan roots. But because of Constantine’s efforts to promote Christianity, today, every year pagans all over the world are reminded that this Man Jesus was born to save mankind.
Because of Christmas, multiple songs have been written to commemorate the day and the event. These early gospel songs are broadcast all over the world and sometimes even on grocery store intercoms while people are shopping for the holiday, reminding all of the Savior who came to save our souls and give us eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
While some of the customs associated with the day may be pagan in origin, those roots have long been forgotten by the masses and trampled by the Truth that God’s Anointed One has come into the world.
It doesn’t matter whether December 25 is Jesus’ actual birth date. No one knows what the exact day is for sure, but what matters is, the day is a witness to the greatest event in human history.
So celebrate the Lord this Christmas – and every minute of every day in your hearts.
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!”
November 26, 2021
Psalm 118:8 is located in the very center of the Bible. Its message is as follows: It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. How true. We are to put our trust in God, rather than depend upon the arm of flesh - and that includes doctors. A dear friend of mine had a cancer that his doctor diagnosed as a hemorrhoid. As a result, my friend had to have his bowels removed.
When it was reported that medical malpractice was the third leading cause of death in the United States, the American Medical Association immediately respond by declaring, “No, it’s not number three! It’s number five!” – And it seems they are working very hard to make it number one.
So for our own protection, we must follow scripture; don’t put your trust in frail and sometimes incompetent human flesh. Respond to any diagnosis with questions and get a second, and even third opinion.
This advice also applies to our religious leaders. Whatever we hear from the mouths of men, we should get a second confirmation directly from the Word of God. That includes anything you read on this website or any other Christian writings.
We can guard our hearts from being led astray by false doctrine by doing our own research and fortifying ourselves with scripture. This is the only way we can learn the difference between what is someone’s philosophy and legitimate logical, conclusions that are based solidly on scriptural evidence. Sometimes we have to rely on theologians who have done in depth studies in the original languages. Using this knowledge can help illuminate what the translators are saying in certain texts. It is helpful knowledge that again must be examined under the spiritual microscope of the texts themselves. Scripture interprets scripture and many false doctrines have arisen when one verse is taken out of context. We must be well versed in the scriptures ourselves to discern when this error is being used to promote someone’s own doctrinal agenda.
Doctors have to be thoroughly trained in the intricate workings of the human body. People’s lives depend on it. Likewise every believer should be fully knowledgeable of what the scriptures actually teach because the life of the soul is dependent upon correct doctrine.
To keep the body healthy it must be fed well and kept from harmful pollutants. This same principle applies to the human soul. Be diligent in maintaining what is necessary for good physical health and be even more diligent and zealous to guard your spiritual health. Your body will eventually die no matter what you do to try and maintain it, but the eternal life that God promises in His word that is only obtained by faith in His plan of redemption through Jesus, will enable your soul to live forever. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.- John 3:16
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The Kingdom First
While some Christians eagerly hope that Donald Trump will run again for president of the United States in the near future, those Christians who support him, or any candidate for that matter, must come to the realization that there will be no political solutions to the nation’s problems. Only God will make things better, and He has attached a condition to His interventions. He has promised that if His people will seek the kingdom first (Matthew 6:33), His kingdom, then He will take care of everything else. The early church was focused on sharing the gospel, making disciples and taking care of the needs of others.
Over the last thirty years or so that focus within the church in the United States has been eroded through the insertion of prosperity doctrines which are focused on the health and welfare of the believer. The emphasis among these believers is no longer on seeking the expansion of God’s kingdom, but on their own.
The Lord says that if we humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways, then He will heal the land. Selfishness is one of those wicked ways. Contempt for the poor is another insidious root that has entwined itself around the hearts of some that adhere to certain political ideologies that operate in opposition to God’s word on the subject.
Christians who have substituted a political agenda for God’s agenda, will find themselves living in a state of frustration, for these earthly goals will never be satisfied.
The Book of Revelation paints a graphic picture of the future road we are on. As we march to the future, the events depicted in that prophecy are beginning to unfold around us as I write these words.
The material kingdoms of this world are going to pass away, but God’s words and His kingdom are eternal. Those who follow God’s instructions will remain on the path that leads to an abundant entrance into the Kingdom they help to expand.
Let’s re-focus and get our priorities in line with God’s word, and do the “first works,” (Rev. 2:5) and trust Him for the outcome.
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November 14, 2021
The following is based on a true story. No kidding.
A senior gentleman was stabbing at his brussel sprouts and determined that the reason he was having so much trouble impaling the object was that his fork must be too dull.
So one day, unbeknownst to his wife, he took his special fork, (the one he always preferred to use above all others for some strange reason), crept into the basement with it and carefully sharpened it with his file – the one he uses to sharpen knives and weed hackers.
Several days later, while he was resting in the living room, he heard a cry from his wife who was in the kitchen doing the dishes. He rushed in to see what was wrong and she showed him her bleeding thumb. “I cut myself on a fork!” she cried in disbelief. “Look how sharp this is!” she exclaimed showing him the weapon.
He replied calmly as if there was absolutely nothing to be alarmed about. “That’s my special fork. I sharpened it.”
“You sharpened it?!” She cried in horror. “This is dangerous. I’m throwing it out right now!” And she immediately threw open the cabinet door under the sink, pitched the weapon into trash and slammed the door shut.
Concerned about her aging husband’s mental capabilities (he was always a little eccentric, which she found to be endearing, but this was the first time she had ever been physically injured because of it), she began to question him as to why did he have to sharpen a fork and didn’t he know how dangerous it was; he could end up stabbing his tongue or worse.
“I can handle it,” he replied as if he was a trained military combatant, expert in handling dangerous weapons.
“Why didn’t you tell me you planted this mine in my dish water?!” She retorted angrily. “I hurt myself. Why did you do this!?”
“It wasn’t sharp enough,” he relied calmly, as if she would understand, nod her head and agree with him.
This couple had been married for over half a century and had learned the secret of a happy marriage - if you don’t have a sense of humor you are not going to make it.
Immediately the wife began getting images in her mind of her husband in combat uniform violently stabbing the enemies on his plate.
“I know why you did this,” she replied with all the seriousness she could muster. “You are afraid of vegetables and you needed a weapon that would make you feel more secure around them. We are going to immediately begin vegetable therapy until you get to the point where you can actually eat them with your fingers and you won’t need a weapon!” Her voice rose a few decibels toward the end in spite of herself. “We will begin by placing a carrot, a raw one, on your lap and leave it there until you can pet it calmly.”
By now the soldier was laughing, actually they both were.
He retrieved the fork from the trash when she wasn’t looking, washed it and stashed it in a secret place. From that point on he would wash his own fork and maintain his command over the army on his plate.
Humor is a great peacemaker, a weapon of its own and a powerful one. It’s also one of many such devices, like love and kindness that God arms us with to bring us into the category of the blessed.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. – Matthew 5:9
October 28, 2021
The Antichrist and Seventh Day Adventism
The Bible shows us that at some point in the future there will arise a last one world empire which will be the culmination of all the previous world empires. We see the vision of this empire represented in Daniel’s visions and in Revelation (Rev. 13). This empire will have at its head a leader who is referred to as the antichrist, or false prophet. We see him operating specifically in verses 36-45 of Daniel 11.
He is called the antichrist because he is anti-Christianity. It is his goal to destroy the Christian faith. Christianity is founded on the atoning death of the Messiah Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. If this foundation is removed, then there can be no salvation for Christians or anyone. Jesus and His founding apostles have made it very clear how salvation is given to mankind. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have, everlasting life (John 3:16).
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption that He instigated before the foundation of the world. – Jesus was slain “before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
If the anti-christ can dupe people into thinking there is some other way to obtain salvation apart from the cross of Jesus, then he has accomplished his goal. For example, Seventh Day Adventists believe that at some point in the future their salvation will depend on which day they attend church. They believe that the mark of the beast prophesied in Revelation (Rev. 13:16,17, 14:9,10), is going to church on Sunday. They believe this because their guru, Ellen G. White, told them that an angel appeared to her and told her Sunday worship was the mark of the beast. Therefore, to the Adventist, salvation will no longer depend on what Jesus’ accomplished on the cross, making God’s plan of redemption obsolete.
Keeping in mind the fact that it is the goal of the antichrist to destroy Christianity by removing the atonement, it seems that antichrist spirit has accomplished its goal already among the eight million adherents to Ellen G. White’s deception. Jesus said many false prophets would arise and deceive many (Matthew 24:11,24). The Apostle Paul reiterated by saying that the devil’s agents appear as ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14,15).
Make no mistake, if there is no cross, there is no salvation. Taking the mark of the beast has to in some way be a denial of God’s plan of redemption through Jesus. That mark will be taken by people who are willing to align themselves with a system that seems outwardly good, but will affirm that people must accept that all religions are a valid means of attaining heaven.
To the Adventist, God’s plan of redemption is only temporary to be replaced at some point by Ellen G. White’s hallucination. Even though they believe that this “mark” is in the future, because they have accepted that the gospel as it was preached by Jesus and His apostles is only temporary, psychologically they cleave to Saturday worship as the means of their salvation now. Their allegiance to the cross has been subtly eroded whether they realize it or not.
The Apostle Paul warns “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Adherence to the doctrine of Jesus and His disciples must override allegiance to anyone.
The Saturday Sabbath was always intended to be a day of physical rest and refreshment. Religious services were added to it at a later time. The Apostles recognized that the Sabbath was designed to be a foreshadow of the rest we are given when we receive God’s plan of redemption through Jesus. If we are not resting in Jesus for our salvation we are not keeping the Sabbath as it is designed to be kept under the New Covenant.
Those who are resting in Christ, will not fall victim to the antichrist’s deception, and they will be the sole survivors found clinging to the raft of eternal life found only in Jesus’ sacrifice.
October 22, 21
I had a dream last Friday night about a pastor I have known for a long time, but I had not seen for many years. In this dream I was shown that he needed some rest.
The next day, I called him at the church to give him the message of the dream, not really expecting him to be there on a Saturday. To my surprise, he answered the telephone. After our initial greetings I told him that I had been given a dream about him from the Lord. Then I asked, “Do you need some rest?”
He answered, “I had a sabbatical a while ago.”
Then I shared with him the details of the dream that the Lord had given me. He responded, “I have been up since two o’clock in the morning trying to finish my sermon.”
Ah ha! I proceeded to tell him that God intended the Saturday Sabbath to be a day of rest and physical restoration so that we may be “refreshed” (Exodus 23:12). I told him to make sure his sermons are completed by Friday so he can have that once a week oasis of rest before his service on the Lord’s Day, Sunday (Rev. 1:10). I told him I read somewhere that during a sermon a pastor exerts the same amount of energy that is the equivalent of someone working six hours.
I told him he needed a nap and a cookie.
I am sure getting a call from someone he had not talked to in years, who gave him a message that so accurately matched his need at the moment, affirmed that it was a God- appointed communication. And I was rejoicing that God could use me to help one of his servants.
While the New Covenant assures us that believers are no longer under the law, (we are saved by grace, and not by our having to achieve any standard as a qualification for salvation), the law is still intended to be a guide for our spiritual and physical health and welfare.
When the commandment to rest on the seventh day was given, there were no worship services associated with it, the people were told to stay in their tents (Exodus 16:29,30). Attending worship services on that day was added later. The Saturday Sabbath was always intended to be a day of physical restoration, even for the animals (Exodus 23:12). It’s good, practical advice. God did not intend for the human body to work seven days a week. But it’s even more important for us to understand, as did the apostles, that the Sabbath was also designed to be a foreshadow of the rest we have in Jesus (Colossians 2:16,17). Just as the Sabbath was established as a day of rest for mankind at the very beginning of creation (Genesis 2:2,3), the salvation and the rest we are gifted in Jesus was also “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (I Peter 1:20). Jesus was “slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). That is, His atoning death for the sins of mankind was ordained even before the Sabbath was instigated to be the symbol of the rest we have in Jesus through faith in His death and resurrection. – “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And His rest is glorious (Isaiah 11:10).
Have a nap and a cookie.
For another perspective on the same subject see our article The Sabbath Rest
October 14, 2021
First Century Simplicity
How is it brethren? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation: let all things be done unto edifying. – I Corinthians 14:26.
How is it then, brethren, whenever you come together in most cases, if you have a gift to share, there is no place provided for you to share it in today’s structured religious assemblies?
The church in the Apostle Paul’s day was not centered on one man in a pulpit and the concept of the “sermon” had not yet been introduced to the church. These were informal house church gatherings where people were encouraged to share and interact with one another. “Iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). People grow through their interactions and sharing their experiences with the Lord. Today these opportunities have been relegated to the poorly attended Sunday school hour, when the Bible study and sharing should be the focal point of the entire service.
The first century church was an energetic, focused, living, growing organism functioning as the body of Christ. It operated in an orderly fashion (I Cor. 14:40) but it was not stagnated by formality or ritual. It enabled the individual to contribute to the service, and the entire body was enriched.
The formal robes of religiosity made their entrance at a later time when the masses had been subjugated into a form of religious totalitarianism. Worship of the clergy began to replace true worship of God, and the practice continues today when the masses gather at the feet of “star” pastors.
When a pandemic or persecution drives us into our homes, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the enabling of small groups meeting in the warmth of a home can reestablish the atmosphere that enabled the first century believers to grow and eventually spill out into their local neighborhoods with the soul saving message of the gospel.
It worked very well back then in the days when the church was new. And it can work again in the same way, if we recognize the need to return to the working model of first century simplicity.
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
I’ve spent some time on a forum board conversing with Jews about Jesus being the messiah. Of course many objections were raised and I considered the time I spent there as a learning experience. (I admit that out of frustration I was not as gracious as I should have been at times.) Most of the objections I encountered were contrived and farfetched desperate attempts to resist the truth.
I received a rather accurate mental picture from the Lord that summarized the whole experience. I saw all of their objections assembled as bowling pins. Then one bowling ball labeled Daniel 9:25,26, was flung toward its targets. The ball made contact, scattering the pins in every direction.
No matter what arguments are made against Jesus being the Messiah, they all fall apart when confronted by this one fact.- According to the verses in Daniel, there is only one Anointed One, (pronounced Masiah in the Hebrew) that is killed before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. After that there is no other messiah appearing again in scripture up to the judgment in Daniel 12.
Jesus was killed before the destruction of Jerusalem, and He is that Anointed One described in Daniel’s prophecy; He has to be because there is no other.
Jesus described His second coming in Matthew 24, which coordinates with Zechariah 14. In Matthew 25, Jesus also describes the judgment which coordinates with Daniel 12. God in Christ will determine the futures of those who have opposed His Anointed One, and He will make the enemies of Christ His footstool as promised. – The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘sit on My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’. –Psalm 110:1.
Right now the resurrected from the dead Messiah Jesus is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for those who hate Him, echoing the cry He made from His hellish perch of crucifixion; “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
Let us join our Savior in intercession for those who have placed themselves outside of the saving grace of the New Everlasting Covenant that was given to breathe eternal life into all those who receive the Lord.
And let us try to respond to our opponents with all the love we can muster, remembering that at one time we were all like those bowling pins, cleaving to objections that were never able to keep us standing.
For more on this subject please get our free eBook, “Why Jesus has to be the Messiah” Here
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
How to Stay Faithful to God's Word in the Face of Compromise
A pastor I know in Australia expressed his concern to me about his country’s beginning movement toward regulating what pastors are allowed to teach about a certain sexual sin (Leviticus 18:22). Quite a few other countries have already passed laws concerning this issue. This leads to the question; how can a Christian stay faithful to God’s word when the government is trying to force him to compromise?
I think all ministers and church leaders need to remain focused on what I call, “The Three Pillar Principle.” Christianity is based on these three things; the Gospel, discipling and service to others.
We can approach the subject of any sin in the light of the Gospel. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All need repentance. No one should be discriminated against no matter what their sin is because we are all standing on the same feet of clay. This is the point the Apostle Paul is making in Romans chapter two.
Therefore, a pastor can preach from the generic perspective that all need Jesus’ forgiveness and emphasize the need for a genuine repentance. Then all must be encouraged to read God’s word for themselves, and be told that if they find anything in God’s word that He says displeases Him, then we need to come to the place where we are willing to let Him change us into the people He wants us to be. He wants us all to stop clinging to the clay beads of our old lives, relinquish them to Him and believe that He will replace them with diamonds. That initiates the second pillar of discipling which is a continuous process. A strong emphasis needs to be placed on discipleship which is the grand march toward Christlikeness; the magnificent goal of the Christian life. If this commitment is emphasized, then God works to separate the chaff from the wheat in the hearts of a genuine believer.
No sin is acceptable to God, and when we emphasize the enormous sacrifice that God made to cleanse us from our sins by permitting the brutal murder of His Son on our behalf, then the realization of that fact initiates the journey into wholeness.
Jesus said in essence, all sin is an illness that needs to be cured (Luke 5:31). God never intended for His grace to be an excuse to remain in lifestyles that are offensive to Him. The wages of all unrepented, willful, continuous sin is death (Romans 6:23); but all change must begin at the foot of Jesus’ blood soaked cross, where His tremendous love for all of us is exemplified.
A pastor who keeps his focus on the basic gospel message of God’s love, repentance and holiness, will be following the Biblical model, and in the process witness many of those clay beads willingly exchanged for the precious treasure of a changed life that will live forever.
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
A Message from this Hour from the Book of Hebrews
A friend of mine in Australia recently had a dream where Jesus appeared to her and told her adamantly to read the book of Hebrews.
I had previously been led to do an expository study of the book a few years ago. After my friend told me about her dream, the Lord began to magnify to me an aspect of the book that I believe is an important emphasis as we seem to be moving into an era of greater persecution against the Christian faith.
While the entire book of Hebrews is an extremely valuable reinforcement of who Jesus is as the Messiah and His fulfillment of the Old Covenant foreshadows and typologies, among those instructions are contained some very strong warnings.
The book of Hebrews was originally written to reinforce the Jews in Jerusalem not to return to Judaism as a means of escaping the increasing persecutions. They are warned specifically that they cannot be partakers of the eternal life that is in the Messiah Jesus, unless they remain in the faith, “steadfast unto the end.” -
But Messiah as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end- Hebrews 3:12
For we are made partakers of Messiah, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. – Hebrews 3:14
We are also warned in chapter six that those who have had full knowledge of the truth and have experienced the fullness of His Spirit, (were partakers of the Holy Spirit), if they fall away, will not be “renewed again to repentance,” Hebrews 6:6. In other words, these ones will be rejected, Hebrews 6:8.
This is not talking about a prodigal who is no longer walking with the Lord, and the Lord knows will eventually return to Him. These warnings in Hebrews six, concern those who have willfully denied Jesus as the Messiah, after having full knowledge of Him and have experienced the presence and reality of the Holy Spirit. The writer of Hebrews is merely confirming the words of Jesus. –
But whoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 10:33
These are very sobering words and must be taken seriously. No Christian can afford to maintain a half-hearted or lukewarm commitment, it must be all or nothing, or else we can make the fatal error of Esau who sold his birthright (the symbolic equivalent of our salvation) for a bowl of lentils to satisfy a momentary dictate of his flesh. God reminds us that the faithful Jacob He loved, and Esau He hated for that reason (Malachi 1:2,3).
Let us not find ourselves walking in Esau’s footsteps, but be followers of those who are described in Hebrews chapter eleven; the faithful ones who would rather suffer and die than to deny the One who suffered and died for them.
The book of Hebrews just may be the book of this current hour. I highly recommend that everyone read it very carefully.
Related Content - Free eBook - Holding onto Fatih - Understanidng the Book of Hebrews for You today
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
A Modern Day Jonah
On Friday, June 11, 2021, Michael Packard was diving for lobster off the coast of Massachusetts near Provincetown on Cape Cod. He said he felt a bump then suddenly he was swallowed up in darkness. Like Jonah in the Bible, this man also experienced being ingested by a large aquatic creature. This it time it was an actual humpback whale. Trapped inside the animal’s mouth, the captive diver banged on the sides of it until he was “spit out.”
Unlike Jonah, the man had his diving apparatus which enabled him to breathe. Some Bible scholars believe that Jonah died inside the “great fish” (Jonah 1:17) that swallowed him and was revived by God when he was “vomited” out of the animal’s mouth.
Jesus said that Jonah’s three days and nights in darkness was a “sign” of the Lord’s own death and resurrection (Matthew 12:39,40). Was this recent incident off the coast of Provincetown also meant to be a “sign” for us today?
In Jonah’s story, he was sent to warn and preach repentance to the residents of Nineveh, a city steeped in vile sins. Unless the people there repented and immediately changed their ways, God was going to allow them to be destroyed.
We don’t hear much nowadays about God’s judgment, even though the book of Revelation makes it clear that the judgment God pronounced upon Nineveh, applies to the whole world in these latter days. The only way that judgment can be averted is if the people will heed God’s warnings and repent.
This modern day Jonah type incident happened off the coast of Provincetown, a town noted for its sexual immorality and rainbow flags. If God has intended this most unusual and rare man swallowing incident as a sign, then those who can read it, will be pricked by the Holy Spirit to emulate Jonah’s call and preach repentance to those who need to hear it. The Bible clearly shows us that if people repent of their gross violations of God’s laws, then He will also prevent the disasters that humans bring on themselves by their rebellion.
All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), all need repentance and the salvation that God has provided through faith in the Messiah Jesus. God is not mocked, we all will reap what we have sown (Galatians 6:7).
God in His infinite mercy has given those in Provincetown, and all of us, a “sign” and a wakeup call. It’s time to repent, and it’s time for God’s church to wake up and preach it.
Copyright 2021 by H.D. Shively
The Lord our Righteousness
As Adam and Eve realized that their vain attempts to cover their nakedness, (their sin) in fig leaves, was a worthless, temporary patch job, they gratefully received a warmer, less scratchy permanent covering made for them by God (Genesis 3:21). They could breathe a sign of relief receiving the cloaks that signified forgiveness and thus they could claim that the Lord was their righteousness, for they realized that they had none of their own.
The prophet Isaiah also recognized this principle that was illustrated in Eden when he said, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
This principle of grace is also repeated through the prophet Jeremiah. –
“In His (the Messiah’s) days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6).
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16).
It must be remembered that our first parent’s forgiveness came at the expense of a life sacrificed. We also must remember that our forgiveness also comes from a life sacrificed, our Messiah who was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities” and whose soul was made an “offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:5,10).
We are reminded as we stand beneath the Messiah’s cross, that we have no righteousness we can claim as our own. Our fig leaves have all withered up and blown away, exposing the nakedness of who we really are before those penetrating eyes of God who can see into the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds. But Messiah’s sacrifice, prophesied so long ago in Eden’s garden, clothes us in the soft, white robes of His righteousness, enabling us to make the words of Jeremiah’s song our own - the lord is our righteousness.
You are invited get our free eBook, “Why Jesus has to be the Messiah” here. Hopefully it will answer any questions you may have about why Jesus has to be the Messiah.
April 1, 2021
The Miracle on the Cross
No one has ever survived a Roman crucifixion, and Jesus was no exception. His last moments are recorded in all four gospels.
In Matthew’s account, before Jesus died, He cried with a loud voice, (Matthew 27:50).
Luke also includes this account in his gospel – “And when Jesus cried with a loud voice…” (Luke 23:46).
Mark’s account records, “And when the centurion, which stood over against Him saw that He so cried out, and gave up the ghost (spirit), he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’, (Mark 15:39).
There was something about the way that Jesus died that caused the centurion that was standing by the Lord to proclaim, “Truly this was the Son of God.” This soldier had witnessed multitudes of crucifixions and he was very well aware of the condition of the human body at the point of death. Even before the body approaches the moment of its decease, it was already extremely difficult to breathe, let alone talk. In order to breathe, the victim had to continuously raise himself up to gather enough air into his lungs, pulling himself up by his impaled wrists, which was an excruciating exertion. It would take an extreme effort to speak, especially at the point of death when the body was so weakened.
But this time the centurion witnessed something he apparently had never seen before. Jesus raised Himself up, and cried with a loud voice. Jesus obviously experienced a moment when His body revived enough to give Him the strength to gather enough air into His lungs enabling Him to actually shout.
The hardened guard knew that he had just witnessed a miracle.
Instantly after Jesus proclamation, “It is finished” (John 19:30), the earth shook and the quake that followed became the punctuation mark on a supernatural event.
Jesus had said, “For as the Father has life in Himself: so He has given to the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26). That life is the Holy Spirit of God that gave Jesus life as a man. That divinity, the Holy Spirit of the Father in the Son, never left Jesus’ body until it was time for Jesus’ soul to be released. With this realization we should, like that centurion, recognize the truth that the miracle on the cross proclaims: Jesus truly is the Son of God.
March 12, 2021
The Amish, Mennonites and Me
I was using my laptop at a fast food restaurant B.C. - before Covid, when an Amish woman and her young daughter came in and sat down to eat. Shortly afterward a Mennonite family entered and sat in a booth opposite the Amish family.
I watched with amusement as the Amish woman kept glancing over at the Mennonites and the Mennonites discreetly kept peering over at the Amish. Each family was easily distinguished by their distinctive attire that labeled them as members of their respective religious affiliations. In the meantime, I sat in the back in my blue jeans and a sweatshirt and resumed ministering the gospel on a forum board, trying to bring a soul into the kingdom of God.
Looking back on that afternoon, remembering the two religious camps eyeing each other and their outfits, it made me think again about what really matters to the Lord. It's not about the way we dress, or what religious camp we choose to belong to. What really matters is we understand what matters the most to God and that is sharing the gospel and harvesting souls into eternal life.
Everyone that the Lord has gathered into His embrace, no matter what their affiliation and no matter how they choose to adorn their bodies in response to their beliefs, has the same responsibility to work for God’s kingdom. We can’t be preoccupied with religious externals at the expense of the souls God is calling us to reach. We can’t afford to let religious differences interfere with, hinder or put barriers between brethren that are called to work in unity to reach the lost.
I don’t know if the person I was ministering to online that day ever made a commitment to Jesus, that’s for the Lord to know and maybe for me to find out someday in heaven. At least I tried and some seeds were planted.
I looked up and watched the Amish woman and her daughter leave and return to their horse and buggy tethered to a lamp post in the parking lot. The Mennonite family returned to their motor home. Motor homes are nice, but I like horses, too.
February 13, 2021
Laughing with Sarah
Years ago I was doing a presentation at a church in Virginia. It was at a Valentine ’s Day dinner and the guests were asked to dress up as famous couples. As I was ministering and looking out at all the rows of faces before me, it was all I could do to maintain a straight face and keep going. I especially had to avoid looking at the sun and the moon, who never removed their shiny metallic masks through my entire presentation.
The aging pastor and his wife had come as Abraham and an extremely round with child pregnant Sarah.
When the presentation was over, everyone was moved, and the pastor’s wife decided to sing a solemn hymn. Watching this senior sing with her expanded pillow stuffed belly was almost more than I could handle. I did manage to restrain myself from giggling at the sight. I know the others may not have possessed my sense of humor, it’s just the way I am. Everybody else seemed to be maintaining their composure and perhaps I was the only one who saw the humor in this event. At least I have some idea of what it must have been like to see an old woman round with child.
I know the miracle that was bestowed upon the one hundred year old man and his younger ninety-year old wife had to have produced a smile every time they walked around their camp. The incongruity of a senior with an expanded tummy was a joyful testimony of God’s miraculous ability to produce something out of nothing in answer to faith and prayer. It’s also an indication of God’s sense of humor. Sarah got the punchline and she roared with laughter at the thought of this aging woman giving birth to a long awaited son and heir.
I always pictured Sarah in her tent, looking up in surprise to see her ancient husband standing in the entrance, holding a bouquet of flowers he picked for her, beaming with a frisky gleam in his eye that indicated to her she was about to be the recipient of a miracle. She had to have smiled then, and even giggled, knowing what was about to take place for two aging wonders.
They named their miracle child Isaac which means laughter. And Sarah proclaimed, “God has made me to laugh so that all who hear will laugh with me.” – Genesis 21:6
The offspring of this miracle did multiply as God had promised, filling the world like the stars in the sky and sand on the seashore. But more importantly, this lineage produced our Messiah Jesus. As we think of the miracle of His life and the miraculous new life He births in us, how can we keep from smiling and expressing our joy in Him to others?
We know that no matter what this life sends our way, we can keep our eyes fixed on the God who can produce light out of darkness and fill the womb of our hearts with joy, laughter and even a few giggles.
January 25, 2021
The Liberal Church and the Antichrist
In the scriptures, Antiochus Epiphanes is used as a similitude of the future antichrist in Daniel 8:9-14 and 11:21-31. Antiochus was king of the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC to his death in 164 BC.
Antiochus was known for his brutal attempt to eliminate the Jewish religion and replace the worship of the one true God with the worship of Zeus. He was eventually defeated by the Maccabees.
Antiochus was assisted in his endeavor to eradicate Judaism by Hellenized Jews who disdained the orthodox Jews’ dependence on the word of God. The Hellenized Jews would be the equivalent of today’s liberal Christian church that adjusts the word of God to suit their secularized lifestyles.
The word of God is the Christians “constitution” so to speak. The believers who choose to be faithful to God’s word in these latter days, will and are objects of persecution by those who, like the Hellenized Jews of old, resent the convicting intrusion of God’s truth into their semi –pagan world view.
The Bible prophesizes of an apostasy that paves the way for the emergence of the antichrist. In Daniel chapter eleven we see Antiochus’ description from verses 21 through 31. The chapter then transitions us through verses 36 through 45, to view another oppressor of God’s people who is seen operating in the latter days right up to the Lord’s judgment at His return in chapter twelve. Thus the prophet Daniel shows us two villains in one chapter making Antiochus a foreshadow of his counterpart in the future.
Like Antiochus, the latter day antichrist is also defeated when Jesus returns which is detailed for us in Revelation’s nineteenth chapter. (For a study on the book of Revelation click Here).
Today, the term “history repeats itself” is being fulfilled before our eyes as the “Hellenized” church spews its liberal agenda and immorality into the body of Christ.
God allows evil to come to its fullness as a prelude to its destruction (Genesis 15:16). Therefore true Christians should not be distressed at the continuing emergence of these liberal apostates. Those who truly belong to the Lord, will follow Him away from sin and into the obedience of service to His name. We will be about our Father’s business and make sharing the gospel, discipling, loving and serving others our focus and priority. And who knows, maybe if the true followers of the Lord Jesus stay on track (and in some cases, get back on it), some of those liberal, hellenized professed Christians may come to repentance and return to value and uphold the holy constitution of God’s word that saves our souls.
January 12, 2021
The Riot and the Storming of the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.
A friend of mine asked me what I thought about the riot and the storming of the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.. I told him that if the Christians who supported President Trump were as zealous for Jesus, we might have more souls in the kingdom of God and less apostasy in the church.
The first century Christians were not preoccupied with changing their government. They were focused on the “Great Commission.” A survey of Christians that was conducted by Barna discovered that 51% of the Christians they surveyed did not know what the term “Great Commission” was. It’s found in Matthew 28:1-20.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
In order to make a disciple, the gospel must be shared first. For those of you who might be surveyed by Barna at some point, this is how you should answer the question, “What is the Gospel?” -
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life - John 3:16.
Jesus died to remove our sins, and rose form the dead so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life.
When the church loses her focus and becomes distracted with the affairs of this life, she is leaving her “first love” which was the error of the Ephesians (Rev. 2:4). The first love of the church, was doing the "first works” (Rev. 2:5). The first works of the church were obeying the Great Commission; sharing the gospel and making disciples. When the church fails to make the first works her priority she will begin the slide into apostasy as we are shown in Jesus’ admonishments to the churches in Revelation’s chapters two and three.
It is vitally important for the church to regain her focus in this hour. She must realize that in order to avoid apostasy, her future must be secured by returning to the past, by making the first century model her model. She must not allow herself to be moved away from the priorities that fueled her predecessors.
I cringe at the thought that there may have been some professed Christians among the lawless thugs that stormed the capitol Building. I hope by now they have come to realize that there is no profit in following a man, or giving oneself to any political ideology, unless that Man is Jesus and the ideology is the gospel.
|Healthy thoughts are the jam on the bread of our lives.|