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How to enter into God’s presence

Daily Inspiration_Logo_sm_300 x 230_jpgBefore we pray, before we petition our Lord or ask Him for anything, we should thank Him and give Him praise. The first words out of our mouths and hearts should be, “Lord, I praise You and thank You for all your blessings in my life.” A grateful and thankful heart prepares us to come into His holy presence and opens up the windows of heaven through which blessings will fall.

In Old Testament days, it was considered an arrogant intrusion to enter the presence of an earthly king without first bowing down to his majesty, praising his greatness and authority, and thanking him for the privilege of his audience. Since God is our Creator, our Savior, and our King, doesn’t He deserve the same honor and respect?

Acknowledge how much He has done for us. Not only has He sacrificed His only begotten Son to pay the penalty of our sins, but He has also has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Colossians 4:2 also tells to be “watchful” and alert when we pray. Alert for what? Alert for what God has to say to us. Prayer is not a one-way communication. God will also speak to us, as we speak to Him. If we are not alert for His still, small voice, we might just miss it. He has something new to say to us every day. Have you heard Him speak to you lately?

Let us worship the King of kings, and Lord of Lords today! Let us enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His holy courts with praise. Let us bless His holy name and ask Him to give us fresh new revelation and guidance. Amen.

–         Luis Josephus

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Scripture References:

“Enter in His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” – Psalm 100:4

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” – Ephesians 1:3

“Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray.” – Colossians 4:2

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Rebuke a Wise Man

A Wise Man_jpg

“Do not correct a fool or he will hate you; correct a wise man and he will appreciate you.” – Proverbs 9:8

Do you love God? I’m sure you do.

Do you love your church pastor?
Ah, maybe you have to think about that question some more. You see, too many Christians do not fully recognize that their local church pastor  or elder is God’s representative and spiritual authority over your life. They have been given the responsibility to look after you…to teach you and disciple you and protect you from straying away from God’s flock or making mistakes that will hurt your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Your local church pastor is your overseer (1 Peter 5:12). His is the ruling shepherd in the church and is accountable to God for you under the “Chief Shepherd” Jesus Christ. Their job is to feed you the Word of God, guide you in your spiritual walk, and guard over your souls.

Loving Reproof

It is also a pastor’s job to correct you when you’re doing something wrong. Some believers don’t like this part of a pastor’s function, but it is a biblical fact. Reproof and rebuke is often necessary for all of us. When your pastor reproves you, don’t get angry at him or falsely accuse him of being unloving. If he cares enough to correct you, he is demonstrating the same love that God has for you:

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son [or daughter] He receives.” – Hebrews 12:6

The Greek word used here for “chastening” is paideia. It not only carries the nuances of “discipline,” “rebuke,” and “correction,” but also the positive connotation of “training” and “guiding instruction” by a loving parent to bring their son or daughter to mature adulthood.

When a pastor chastens us for something that needs to be corrected in our lives, we should do the right and wise thing and accept his correction with humility. We should recognize that He loves us and desires to see us achieve our fullest potential in Christ.

“Reprove not a fool, lest he hate you.” The fool, on the other hand, does not respond well to reproof or discipline. He faints when being rebuked and becomes angry and resentful towards his pastor or God. The fool is destined to never learn from his mistakes or reach any spiritual maturity. Some are so prideful they will actually leave the church when reproved and fall away from God.

”… rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”

The wise Christian doesn’t get their feelings hurt when reproved by their pastor because he regards the Lord’s discipline as evidence of his pastor’s love and concern. He sees God’s grace and commitment to us as our Father in his actions.

” Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

When we receive correction from those in church authority – such as a pastor or elder, instead of getting mad, let us remember the admonition of Jesus who declared that whom He loves, He rebukes. Instead of sulking in self-pity, let us repent quickly and learn to love reproof.

” As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.“ – Revelation 3:19

– Luis Josephus

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Are you really saved?

By Luis Josephus

“Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me?” – John 14:9

Come Unto JesusIt is quite possible to think you are a “Christian” and not really know the Lord Jesus in a personal way. Many might find that hard to believe, but it happens a lot. I can truthfully say that I had considered myself a Christian for most of my early life. As a boy I went to church regularly, prayed, learned my catechism, confessed my sins to the priest, and took the Holy Communion. But I really wasn’t saved. nor really knew the true Jesus of the Bible. I was practicing a religion without having a genuine relationship with God.

Calling yourself a “Christian” doesn’t automatically make you a Christian. Today, the term “Christian” has become more of a cultural label than a true testimony that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, dwells in you.

Until I was spiritually “born again” and personally invited Jesus the Messiah to become my Savior and Lord, I didn’t really become a true Christian. When I had this life-altering experience at the age of 29, I didn’t really know God. Jesus came to dwell in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and my life was transformed for the better. I realized what I had been missing all of my life was a personal encounter with the Living God. I finally understood the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, a religious Jew and leader in his church, that he needed to be born again.

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:1-3

Like Nicodemus, you may consider yourself religious, or even believe you are already a Christian, but if you’re not sure that you are really spiritually born again, you’re probably not really saved. If you’re not sure, pray this prayer of faith right now and invite Jesus to become your Savior and Lord of your life:

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who came to die on the cross for the penalty of my sins. I repent of my sins and ask you to forgive me. I invite you today to become my Savior and the Lord of my life. I submit myself in obedience to you and ask you to take full control of me; change me into your image, and help me to be the kind of person you created me to be. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, email us with your complete postal address and let us know so that we can rejoice with you and welcome you into our Christian family. We will also send you some helpful study materials to enrich your Christian growth.

The Next Step

Now that you have received Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life, below are some necessary and practical steps you need to take to grow in your development as a Christian.

1. Prayer – It is important for you to spend time talking to God every day through prayer. Thank Him for your salvation, share your thoughts and concerns, and pray for the needs of others.

2. Bible Study – Personal Bible study is the primary way that God speaks to us and instructs us on how to live. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you which passages apply to your life. A good place to start your study is by reading the Gospel of John in its entirety.

3. Join a Good Church – Attend regularly and get involved with other Christians. As you get plugged into a local church, you will receive the teaching, encouragement, support, and fellowship you need to become a mature Christian.

4. Tell Others About Jesus – Share your new faith with others who need to know God. Invite family and friends to go to church with you.

5. Live a Godly Life – Make every effort to live a new life in Christ by practicing holiness, goodness, self-control, perseverance, kindness, and love.

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This entire message by brother Luis Josephus is available in printed form as an evangelistic leaflet that you can use to witness to your friends. Order your free copy by filling out the form below. If you wish to order larger quantities, go to our Resources page.

 


 

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Did Jesus have long hair?

Jesus_long hairWe actually don’t know what Jesus looked like since there is no archaeological record depicting His appearance dating back to the first century. In addition, the early Christians abstained from making graven images less they find themselves committing the sin of idolatry:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…” -Exodus 20:4-5

Therefore, none of the early disciples captured Jesus’ likeness in any form.

It was only after hundreds of years later that images appeared of Jesus when segments of Christianity were corrupted by the Roman Catholics. During this period, graven images, statues, and paintings were made of Jesus. By that time, no one really remembered what He looked like. These images typically depicted a blonde haired, blue-eyed Jesus, or with European features. However, they were based on the artist’s faulty imagination.

Although it is possible that Jesus had long hair as a “Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23), long hair on men was not the normal hairstyle in the Jewish culture. “The Jewish texts ridiculed long hair as something Roman or Greek,” said New York University’s Lawrence Schiffman (Jesus Scholars Find Fault in Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’”) (1 Cor. 11:14)

It is more likely that Jesus looked like the average Jew of His day with dark brown hair or black, cut relatively short, traditional Jewish beard, and Semitic facial features. He was not the sometimes effeminate-looking man that is commonly pictured in paintings. Since He was a carpenter and a builder, He was most probably muscular and tanned from working long hours outdoors cutting down trees, hauling rocks, and constructing buildings from stone and timber.

– Luis Josephus

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How did the resurrected Jesus appear in John’s vision?
SEE: Revelation 1:9-20


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Teach Me Your Ways, Lord

Young woman reading bible by stream in summerTeach me Lord Jesus
The way of righteousness
Help me to love God
With all my heart

Strengthen my faith
That I may trust You
In the good times
As well as the trials

Let me be confident
That all things work together
For my highest good
Because at all times God is in control

I want to follow
The true way of life
Not empty religion
Which leads to sadness & bondage

You are the Son of God
That sets me free
Salvation from sin,
Life eternal, happiness & peace

Teach me Your ways, Lord
Teach me your ways
Teach me Your ways, Lord
To glorify You in every way

– Poem by Luis Josephus, Real Jesus Ministries, http://www.RealJesus Life.com. (c) Copyright 2014 Luis Josephus


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The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Shavuot (Pentecost), is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks”. “Pentecost” is the Greek word for “50th”. After the Spring Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits you should count exactly fifty days from the last Passover and you will end up on Shavuot seven weeks later  according to the Hebrew calendar.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:15-17

Shavuot, like so many other Jewish holidays began as an ancient agricultural festival, marking the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. All Israelite men were obligated to present themselves at the Temple in Jerusalem. Shavuotwas distinguished in ancient times by bringing firstfruits crop offerings to the Temple, marking the beginning of the summer wheat harvest.

The “Waving Ceremony”.

On the day of Shavuot (usually in May or early June), the priests offered two leavened loaves of wheat bread as firstfruits to the Lord. The waving of these two loaves and sacrifice of two lambs formed a “peace offering.” The priest waved them before the altar and set them aside for the priest’s festive meal eaten in the Temple. Pilgrim worshippers were instructed to offer freewill offerings and to rejoice before the LORD.

Why Two Loaves?

Each loaf contained about four pounds of flour (Lev. 23:17). According to Rabbinic teaching, each loaf was 7 x 4 handbreadths (28″ x 16″) and seven fingers wide (6″). The two loaves offered on Shavuot represents the Church of Jesus Christ which is “built upon the foundation of the apostles (New Testament believers) and the prophets (Old Testament believers). But just as these loaves contain leaven (yeast), so the Christian church isn’t yet perfected (1 John 1:8). Only Jesus Christ was perfect (Hebrews 4:15). The leaven may also illustrate the presence of “Tares” (weeds) (Matt.13:38) – false brethren living among both the Old and New Testament sanctified ones. The number two in the Bible is the number of WITNESS and TESTIMONY. Two witnesses establish a truth (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:19-20); The Ten Commandments were written on two stones (Ex. 31:18) and are fulfilled by two commandments of love (Matt. 22:34-40).

Rabbis Divert from the True Focus of Shavuot.

After the Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the iron fist of the Roman Empire, the Jewish people were defeated and dispersed all round the world and their homeland devastated.

Since the land was desolate worth nothing to harvest, the Jewish leaders (Sanhedrin) convened in A.D. 140 and decided to change the focus of Shavuot away from an agricultural festival.  In order to keep the holiday alive, the rabbis invented the false doctrine (still believed to this day) that Shavuot was the day that the Torah (Mosaic law) was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.  As a result, the focus of Shavuot was diverted from an agricultural feast to the commemoration of the Law and the birthday of Judaism.  The Bible never associates the Feast of Shavuot with Sinai! Unfortunately, this false man-made doctrine quickly caught on and has been practiced for centuries, although it has no biblical basis.

Pentecost-Shavuot Harvest

Pentecost – The celebration of the Summer Wheat Harvest and the birth of the Christian Church. Fifty days were carefully counted out and on the appointed day, two loaves of bread baked with leaven were waved aloft as an offering to the Lord. This is symbolic of the church being comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. On the day of Pentecost – directly following Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was poured out on a large group of Jewish believers so that they would have the power to witness “to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The New Testament Fulfillment of Shavuot (Day of Pentecost)

As recorded in the Bible (Acts chapter 1 and 2) that the New Testament Church was born. It was on the 50th day after the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits that the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ the Messiah to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot. Christian Pentecost became not only a commemoration of the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marks the birth of Christianity – the uniting of both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus the Messiah.

A Larger Harvest.

The early summer harvest of Shavuot in Israel was a small harvest in comparison to the larger harvest that came in the autumn of each year. This has prophetic significance. Strange as it might seem to mainstream Christianity today, God is not trying to save the whole world right now. He has planned a far larger harvest of souls when Jesus returns. Those of us who are saved today are only part of the smaller harvest. When most people in this present evil age are traveling the broad road to destruction, we have been uniquely called to enter in by the narrow gate that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14) and make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

God Pours Out His Holy Spirit.

As recorded in the Book of Acts chapter 2, that first day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31. God initiated a new covenant with the house of Israel that also included the Gentile people:

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. “ (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

On that morning He poured out His Holy Spirit on all flesh, as He had foretold. And that promise is still available for you today; that if you will turn from your transgression and call upon the name of the Lord, you shall be saved.

–         Luis Josephus

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Question: When is the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) in 2014?

Answer: June 3

Note: The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand.

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God is never far from us

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him – though he is not far from any one of us.” – Acts 17:27

Reaching God

God is closer than we think.

How do you know if someone truly loves you? By testing their love.

Anyone can say, “I love you” with their lips, but do they really mean it? Do they ever call you or try to communicate with you in some other way? Do they find ways to spend time with you, make you happy or demonstrate their love? If not, their love is just empty words – void and meaningless.

God wants us to genuinely love Him – revere, honor, trust and obey Him, with all our hearts. That’s why He purposely tests our love by hiding himself from us for a time, in order to see if of our own free will ,we will seek for Him. He wants us to hunger for His presence and search for Him through prayer, the study of His scriptures, by honoring Him in word and deed, and by worshipping Him through music and song.

After our Heavenly Father is convinced that we genuinely love Him, He reveals Himself to us, and says, “Here I am; you’ve found Me. Now I know you really do love me and want to enjoy my fellowship.”

When God tested Abraham, He asked him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. At the last moment He told Abraham, “Stop. Do not harm the boy. Now I know that you really revere, honor, trust, and obey Me, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” – Genesis 22:12

In what area of your life is God testing you? Do you want to experience God’s greater presence today? Show Him that you really love Him. Don’t be content with shallow religion; seek for all that God has purposed for you. Go deeper in God than you’ve ever gone before.

– Luis Josephus

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to know and love You in a greater way each day. Show me new ways to demonstrate my devotion to You. Bless me with a fuller revelation of your presence today. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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