“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” – Psalm 91:16
Have you ever wondered what’s the secret to a long life?
It’s more than eating healthy foods and exercising your body. It’s the same factor that helped Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many of the Old Testament patriarch’s live long and fruitful lives. It’s the same factor that will help you too.
I recently did some research on the men that encouraged and mentored me in my career as an artist. I came across the online biography of one of these men. He was an older Jewish man who took the time to freely invite me over to his house once a month, to teach me how to develop my artistic skills. He and his wife were always very kind to me and I learned quite a lot from his professional advice.
Mr. Weiss was a busy and successful syndicated cartoonist who also had a mentally challenged autistic son to cope with. Yet despite his busy schedule and demanding family life, he always made time to help me when he could.
Many years have passed now and I feel such gratitude for this man for his generosity. I found out in his biography that he lived to the ripe old age of 98 years old! It was no coincidence that he lived a long life. I’m sure it was God’s blessing, among other reasons, for having such a compassionate and giving heart.
You see, when we love and honor God by our actions, that is, by reflecting His heart of love and compassion for others, our LORD takes into account our righteous deeds. He smiles down upon us from heaven and rewards us in many ways.
One such reward is the blessing of long life.
In Jewish tradition, length of days has always been considered to be the blessing for living a righteous life and honoring God. Living a long and fruitful life is what God desires for us all. Sadly, many people choose to ignore this fact and do not alter their self-destructive ways. They ignore God’s guidance and bring upon themselves trouble, unhappiness, sickness, pain, and premature death. It was never God’s intention that they experience such calamities, but it was their own wrong choices in life that brought about these consequences.
Be fruitful and multiply.
When God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, He created mankind to live forever in paradise. He planted them in the garden of Eden, where there was peace, happiness, bountiful food, health, and every need was taken care of. God Himself met with them in the cool of the afternoon* (Genesis 3:8).
Unfortunately, instead of trusting in God’s direction, they heeded the lies of Satan and ate of the forbidden fruit. As a result, sin and death entered into the world. They not only brought judgment upon themselves, but on the rest of mankind ever since.
Only Jesus can rescue us from this curse.
Despite their disobedience, God had mercy upon them and provided a way to redeem them and their descendents from the consequences of sin and death. Through faith in the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah on the cross, we were freed from this curse. Jesus took the curse upon Himself for us and freed us to be happy and blessed once again.
” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ “ – Galatians 3:13
The day we invited Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, the curse of unhappiness, sickness, pain, and death was broken over our lives and now we can expect to live long and fruitful lives upon the earth.
Let us never forget.
But let us never forget where we came from. We must use this second chance of new life in Christ to avoid making the mistakes and poor choices of the past. By the grace of God we have been forgiven and set free of the old self and have put on the new self in Messiah Jesus. We have a new opportunity to fulfill the good plans God originally purposed for our lives.
As we endeavor to live according to God’s ways and pursue righteousness, God will satisfy us, among other things, with long and fruitful lives. We may not live to be 175 years old like Abraham, but we can expect to live to a ripe old age, full of peace, joy, and good health. We will enjoy the fruits of our labor to the fullest.
We are blessed with faithful Abraham.
” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. “ – Galatians 3:7-9
As with Abraham – the father of our faith, we can expect God to bless our lives in every way and to finally die one day of “a good old age, an old man (or woman), and full of years” (Genesis 25:8).
The Scriptures also tell us that Abraham was “gathered to his people.” This Old Testament expression signifies more than his burial. It refers to a life well lived and the expectation of being reunited with our loved ones after death. Jesus, along with our departed family and friends in Messiah will be there to meet us upon our resurrection. He will welcome us and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
– Luis Josephus
* The natural connotation of Genesis 3:8 is that God was in the habit of meeting with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden each afternoon. Before they sinned, this passage suggests closeness and intimacy and fellowship with God. Although this was not the first time Adam and Eve heard God’s voice in the garden, this was the first time they hid themselves for fear of the sin they had committed.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29
What does it mean to “enter into God’s rest”? It means to lay all your burdens of sin and guilt upon Jesus. The day you accept Him as Savior and Lord, He takes away that heavy weight you carried on your shoulders most of your life. He gives you peace and rest for your souls as you allow Him to teach you and guide you in the way of happiness and fruitfulness God has purposed for you.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews also states, “For he that is entered into his (God’s) rest, has also ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:10). Just as God rested on the seventh day – after laboring for six days when He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:3), He also wants us to cease from our own works and stop striving to earn our salvation, or be good enough to earn God’s favor. Jesus already paid the price for our salvation when He took our place on the cross. The penalty of sin was paid for, and we are now free to rest in Him. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8,9) and there is nothing left for us to do except trust and obey God’s plan and perfect will for our lives.
This Salvation-Rest was a free gift from God through His Son Jesus Christ. We didn’t earn it for being good, nor can we lose it for messing up and missing the mark. We just need to hold on to the unchanging, loving hand of Jesus by faith, and He will accomplish the work He needs to do in us. His Spirit now indwells our earthly bodies and He has taken a firm hold of our mind and our will, so that we may do what is well-pleasing in God’s sight. When we sin again, He convicts us to confess and get back on the right track. The blood of Jesus shed on the cross forgives us once again and cleanses us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
God has blessed us with an earthly rest – as well as an eternal rest.
The day we received Jesus’ forgiveness and salvation, we entered into His earthly rest. We no longer have to live in condemnation, anxiety, insecurity or fear of God’s judgment. We are now His beloved children that He blesses and cares for. In the future, as we die in the Lord, we enter into His perfect rest in heaven where we will enjoy unending peace, joy, delight, love and fellowship with God and other sanctified ones who were also redeemed.
My Conversion Testimony – How I found my rest in God.
Because of an abusive father and dysfunctional family life, I lived most of my early life enslaved to my fleshly passions, living in fear, insecurity and self-condemnation. For many years I didn’t know what real love and acceptance was until I met the “real Jesus” – not the angry and intolerant Jesus falsely portrayed by some religions. I felt unworthy, insecure and guilty all the time fearing something bad was going to happen to me. I also feared that God was ready to strike me down at any minute for all my rebelliousness and wrongdoing. I didn’t know the true loving, merciful and patient God of the Bible (John 3:16)
Although I was generally taught right and wrong by my parents, they themselves were not good role models of what they preached. My father was an angry atheist who hated any mention of God. He once set out to write a book to discredit the Bible but never finished it. He believed in UFO’s and that we were the offspring of aliens from another universe. Fortunately, just before my father died of cancer, he repented and prayed the Sinners Prayer. My mother, on the other hand was very spiritual but a troubled and insecure woman. My father was very abusive and controlling towards her; she rebelled and resented his abuse and they fought like cats and dogs most of the time. There was no peace or stability in our home. I was very rebellious myself, had an explosive temper, and was always getting into trouble. I didn’t do well in school. I was a loner and secretive and never had many friends. I was very critical of others (a trait I inherited from dad) and difficult to get along with.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic religion.
I would repent and confess my sins to the priest on Saturday so I could take Holy Communion on Sunday at church. But as soon as Monday would come along, I was back to my evil ways. It became a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing, sinning and confessing. I stuck it out as long as I did out of obligation to my mother who had dedicated me to God while I was still in her womb during pregnancy. Finally in my teenage years I had had enough of the futility of Roman Catholicism; it wasn’t doing me any good, just making me feel guiltier. “There must be something better than this,” I reasoned, “I’ll find spirituality some other place.” So I started to look into other religions. I discovered that they all claimed to be able to show me the way to God without feeling guilty about my sins. I could keep on living a sinful lifestyle and still have spirituality. I tried Spiritism, Metaphysics, New Age Philosophies, and finally Hinduism.
I was approached by several people who belonged to a Guru worshipping cult. They talked to me about spirituality and joining their group. They promised me that I would be able to find God and experience a “natural high” by learning to meditate. I noticed some of the women were pretty nice looking in this cult so I decided to attend their nightly meetings hoping to be able to get hooked up with them. They called these meetings “Satsangs” (Sanskrit for “gathering for truth”). These Satsang meetings were held at a different members house each night on South Beach. Everyone would come in quietly, prostrate themselves before a large photo of the guru, and then sit down on the floor cross-legged anywhere there was room. One by one, each person would voluntarily take turns going up to the front and to testify of how much they loved the Hindu guru and what “incredible bliss” and miracles he had blessed them with when they prayed to him. I have to admit, there was a very powerful spiritual presence in those meetings. You would get so supernaturally high you felt you were floating on air when you finally left there. I realize now this strong spiritual presence was demonic and not from God. Remember that Satan has supernatural power too. He can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and counterfeit the power and anointing of God in order to deceive people (Revelation 13:14).
Well, I certainly fell for Satan’s deception – hook, line and sinker.
I joined the group of “Premies” (followers) of this guru-worshipping cult. I became a vegetarian and was initiated into a their secret rite of receiving “Knowledge” – a special meditation technique for experiencing divine “light”, “music” and “nectar.” Each day I would spend a couple of hours in the cross-legged lotus position experiencing (supposedly) divine bliss. I stayed in this cult for a number of years until God started to send Christians into my life to witness to me. Earlier, my mother had been saved in a Spanish Baptist church. My father’s cousin, Mariita, had been witnessing to mom and inviting her to come to her Baptist church. Mom did, and heard the true gospel for the first time. One day, she responded to the preacher’s altar call and accepted Jesus Christ. She came out of the Roman Catholic religion, got rid of all the statues and idol altars in our house, and received water baptism as a true Christian. She also began to tell me about the real Jesus of the Bible and his plan of redemption for my life.
At first, I thought my mother and other Christians were a little “wierd.”
I would politely say, “Yes, Yes” to their attempts to reach me with the gospel. But inwardly I would think they were just ignorant and simple-minded people. Little did I know that God was using them to plant seeds of faith in me; I was the ignorant one.
To make a long story short, it took years for these seeds to bear fruit in my life. My mother and others were also praying for my salvation during this time. But finally at the age of 29, I had a major crisis occur in my life. I was living in New York City with a successful advertising career. I was making lots of money, snorting expensive cocaine, hobnobbing with the rich and famous, and enjoying many decadent worldly pleasures. But I was still extremely unhappy.
I hit rock bottom and cried out for help in my desperation. I prayed to the guru I had worshipped for many years and he didn’t answer me. I prayed to other spirits and “ascended masters” and they ignored me too. Finally I remembered Jesus; I cried out to Him and He responded. I prayed a simple prayer in my own home: “Jesus, if you’re really real, help me right now. I promise that if you help me get me out of this mess, I will follow only You. Please forgive me.” As soon as I prayed that prayer, I felt a tremendous peace come over me. I also felt that a heavy weight of sin had been lifted off my shoulders. I realized God had heard me pray and mercifully responded. Jesus was alive! He was the real deal. I renounced all other (false) gods and burned all my occult books and tapes.
I was immediately led of God to move out of New York and move back to Miami. I drove for three days to get back to Florida. I picked up a hitchhiker along the way and started to tell him about Jesus. I was so excited about Jesus that I began to tell everyone I met.
I arrived early on a Sunday morning and decided to surprise my mother at church. By this time she had been attending a Spanish Pentecostal church in Southwest Miami called, “Iglesia de la Biblia Abierta” (Church of the Open Bible) with Jose Vera as Pastor. As soon as she saw me, she burst out in tears. “Mom, I became a Christian!”, I said. “Praise the Lord, glory to God!” she responded. My aunt Carmita who had previously been into prostitution in Cuba, Spiritism and Santeria*, had also been saved and had become a powerful evangelist. She came to me after the service was over and said, “My God, you look like a different person! Your face has changed; you look peaceful and happy!”
I began to attend my mother’s church and was water baptized six month later.
At the baptism, I spoke in public for the first time and gave my testimony in front of the whole church. As I started to grow as a newly born-again Christian, I developed a hunger for studying the Bible, praying, and witnessing to others about Jesus. My life was completely transformed for the better. And since my conversion at the age of 29, I have followed and served the Lord now for many years. My greatest joy is teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ our Messiah. The Lord called me early after conversion into the ministry. Shortly thereafter, I was officially ordained as a Pastor and Evangelist. I have preached and taught at many churches, prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters and evangelistic events throughout the years. I also write and publish books through my own ministry at: http://www.realjesuslife.com/
I pray that my testimony has been an inspiration to you, and that God will anoint this message so that other lost souls will be brought into His kingdom of truth and light. All glory, honor and praise be unto Jesus, our redeemer, Lord and king!
– Evangelist Luis Josephus
If you want to receive the forgiveness of your sins and the life-transforming power of God in your life, pray the simple prayer below and invite Jesus the Messiah to become your Savior and Lord. Don’t put it off another day; God loves you and wants to save you – just as you are. Accept His free gift of salvation-rest right now!
Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God who died on the cross to pay my sin debt. Please forgive me for my sins. I repent and receive You today as my Savior and Lord of my life. Help me to change and become the person You want me to be. I promise I will start going to church, studying the Bible, and living a new life with your help. Amen.
For thousands of years, Jewish people have used the Hebrew word “shalom” when greeting someone, such as we use the word “hello.” Not only is shalom a greeting, but it is also a way of wishing the other person the many blessings of shalom which include: peace, health, prosperity, happiness, well-being, and so on.
In the above verse, Isaiah’s thought is, if we keep our minds on God, confidently lean on Him, and include Him in the seat of all our plans – firmly founding ourselves in His will for our lives, then we will enjoy His shalom in all its implications.
Is your confidence firmly founded in God? Are you trusting Him for every area of your life – peace, happiness, provision, protection, career, relationships, and health? If so, then you are experiencing the blessings of His shalom.
We should commit everything to God in prayer and be just as confident that things are going to work out – when they look out of control, as when everything looks fine.
The opposite is also true. Even when things look peaceful and calm, that is not always an indication of security. When things are going well we have a tendency to trust more in ourselves because we don’t have to rely as much on God. And that often leads us to make mistakes. But isn’t it typical how we go running back to God when we are in a jam? Our faith must be grounded in Him – in the good times, as well as the difficult times. Our security comes from God. It is not at all dependent on what is going on around us. Whether it is the economy, our finances, our children, our marriages – we must trust God with all of it.
The LORD has promised to keep us in perfect, constant peace (shalom) if we confidently trust in Him.
– Luis Josephus
Dear Heavenly Father; I thank You for your love and mercy. Help me to always trust in You for every area of my life. Bless me with your shalom – peace, happiness, health, provision, and protection. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
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