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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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Our belief in one God.

Abraham, the father of our faith.

Abraham, the father of our faith.

“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” – Deuteronomy 6:4

New Testament believers can gain a deeper understanding of our faith in God and Jesus our Messiah when we study the history of Abraham, the “Father of our faith” (Romans 4:11). Abraham was the man that God personally chose to begin a new nation of people who would willingly separate themselves from the worship of false gods and follow the one true (YHVH) God, Creator of the universe. Yahovah God wants a people that would devote themselves to Him alone, and teach others the same. He is to be the sole object of our love, obedience and worship.

“The LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:1-3

In God’s divine purpose to redeem fallen humanity, Abraham became the first person of his generation to know, teach and follow the one true God. As a result of Abraham’s faithfulness, God promised to bless him and his descendants – far above all other people of the earth, and greatly multiply his offspring to become as numerous as the sand in the sea and the stars in heaven. Through him all nations have been blessed that believe (Genesis 17:1-5).

Monotheism in the Old Covenant.

Abraham’s monotheistic* faith was unique in his day since most of the people around him were pluralistic in their religious beliefs. They worshipped multiple false gods such as Dagon, Baal, Molech, Chemosh, Ishtar, Horus, Isis, Gilgamesh, Marduk, Tammuz, and so on.

God taught Abraham to separate himself from all this religious confusion (babel) and superstition, and discontinue the idolatrous practice of bowing down to graven images made of wood and stone, gold and silver. He was also to teach others to worship the one true God in Spirit and truth.

The new monotheistic religion that Abraham founded later became known as “Judaism”, and the enlightened people he fathered became known as the “Nation of Israel.” Today, under the New Covenant, all believers in Jesus the Messiah are the true Israel of God, and spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham.

The Mezuzah, traditionally hung on most doorposts which contains the SHEMA prayer.

The Mezuzah, traditionally hung on most doorposts which contains the SHEMA prayer.

The Shema prayer

For thousands of years, the holy people of God have recited the SHEMA prayer as a reminder and affirmation of their belief in the one true God. The Shema prayer comes from Deuteronomy 6:4, “Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Echad”, meaning, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Yahovah] our God, the LORD [Yahovah] is one.” Even today, the Shema is the central prayer in the Jewish prayerbook and is often the first prayer a child learns. Many Jews recite the Shema at least twice daily: once in the morning and once in the evening. The Shema is also written on a small scroll which is then rolled up and put inside a Mezuzah attached to the front doors of many homes.

Abraham preaches the one true God.

The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, relates how God used Abraham to teach many in his day about the importance of monotheism and the worship of the one true God, Yahovah, also referred to as YHVH or Yahweh or Jehovah.

“When Abraham was 75 years old, he left the land of Chaldea, by the command of God, and went into another country called Canaan. He was the first to declare boldly that God, the Creator of the universe is ONE…Because of these opinions, the Chaldeans rose up against him, and so he migrated to Canaan with God’s help.’

It is interesting to note that his own countrymen in Ur of the Chaldeas, where Abraham was born, got so angry at him for preaching the truth about a “one true God” that they chased him out of their land. He probably escaped with his life. If it had not been for God’s protection, he might have been murdered by his own countrymen. These Chaldeans and Babylonians were pantheistic idol worshippers and resented being told they were wrong in their religious beliefs. Many likely refused to give up their worship of multiple gods and became furious with Abraham for pointing out their error.

Abraham then fled to the land of Canaan, and later Egypt, where he also preached the truth. Flavius Josephus doesn’t mention whether Abraham experienced the same type of religious persecution in these other nations, but it is very likely that he did. Although God always has a remnant of people in every nation that will receive the truth and worship Him alone, the majority it seems will turn a deaf ear. The apostle Paul described these type of people in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4…

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world system [Satan] has blinded the minds of them which choose to believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Messiah, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Have you been persecuted for your faith?

Has God called you to ‘come out from among them’ and separate yourself from those who are living in religious darkness? Are you being persecuted for refusing to participate in idol worship and pagan practices? Be encouraged by Abraham’s example of courage against the opposition that comes from those who believe not. Remember that all who will live godly in Messiah will suffer persecution.

Our Lord taught us, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12

– Luis Josephus

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*Monotheism: From the Greek monos, meaning “single”, and theos meaning “god.” Are you worshipping the only one (YHVH) God, Creator of heaven and earth?