For love’s sake i appeal to you

Now, therefore, fear YWHW, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve YWHW! And if it seems evil to you to serve YWHW, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve YWHW.” Joshua 24:14-15

This is my yearly appeal to you out of love, walk away from Easter and all of its pagan roots. We know it to be true that Yahshua fulfilled the Passover. John the Baptist declared on the river’s edge, “Behold, the Lamb of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world!” Yahshua is the final Passover Lamb, we should be honoring that and not the combination of a pagan festival mixed with the richness of the Feast of Elohim that tears the vale and covers us in righteousness, cleansing us from our sin.

In Emperor Constantine’s letter to “all those not present at the council,” following the Council of Nicea wrote how it would be better to separate from Jewish custom. He called out the Jews for killing Yahshua and in many instances called for anti-Semitism. For instance, he wrote, “We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews.” He goes on to say, “They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? for to celebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people [the Jews]. Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Saviour has left us only one festal day of our redemption, that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired[to establish] only one Catholic Church.”

The question of whether or not Constantine truly converted to Christianity or not has been debated for centuries. However, we do know for a fact that rather than adhere strictly to Christian tradition and belief; for the sake of the unity of the empire, he combined the festal days of paganism and Christianity. His disdain for the Jews as represented in his letter, and his lack of judgment in establishing a new religion where we see the combination of paganism and Christianity should certainly call into question our adherence to these traditions.

When Adonai your Elohim cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? —that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship Adonai your Elohim in that way, for every abominable thing that Adonai hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I caommand you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32

i want to make a clarification here about Constantine’s reference to two Passover’s, clearly he was unaware and sadly none of the scholars of his day enlightened him. In Numbers 9 we read of some men who were cerimonially unclean and therefore unable to bring the sacrifice of Passover. They inquired of Moses and Aaron on what to do. YWHW told Moses to give this instruction: Numbers 9:10-11 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, if any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through tourching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to YWHW. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. . .”

Concerning the idea that Passover or any of the Feast of Adonai are strictly Jewish, i present Leviticus 23:1-2 “Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of Adonai that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are MY appointed feasts.” Clearly they are HIS feasts, much like the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

Finally, let me close with this, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:23) Passover this year begins at Sundown on Friday April 15, in line with Good Friday services, however, the tomb would not be discovered empty until Tuesday morning fulfilling the three days and three nights. Often Easter and Passover do not line up and occasionally are off by a months time. Although this year is very close in timing i will refuse to attend any church that is honoring Easter, hosting an egg hunt, or in any way mixing pagan tradition with this most Holy of Feasts, Passover.

You are loved,

cj

Elevator to Eternity

i read an article today about a girl who, for all that could be seen, was a happy, healthy, successful, accomplished, beautiful young lady, she died by suicide. She was just 22. i recently found out that a childhood friend died from a drug overdose in 2019, she was 45. Another childhood friend was found dead in her home last year, i don’t know the cause of death but i know that it was unexpected. There has been a rash of celebrity deaths, many of them were sudden all of them tragic. Sudden, unexpected, like a thief in the night, death lurks at all of our doors. No one knows when your ticket will be punched as you step out of this world and into the elevator to eternity.

Everyone expects to step into that elevator and hear the words, “Going up!” Sadly, far too many will hear the opposite. In a world of uncertainty, one can be certain about one thing, what you will hear when stepping into that elevator to eternity. Yahshua, said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) His entire goal, His life mission, was to save a world standing in line for the down elevator. He made it possible for anyone to step over to the up elevator. He did this out of love; out of a desire to restore creation. Paul records it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:19 “that is, that Elohim was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

So how does one switch lines from down to up? It isn’t complicated but it requires death, not physical, although we will all die eventually, this is a metaphorical death. Dying to the flesh, the desires of this world, and living new. Again Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” How does one become new?

Yahshua said in John 14:6 “Yahshua answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Earlier in John Yahshua said, “For Elohim so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For Elohim did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of Elohim’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18). We read in Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Yahshua is Lord,” and believe in your heart that Elohim raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” That’s it!

Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Yahshua is Adonai and you will be saved. In John 10:9-10 Yahshua said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” He doesn’t stop there however, He continues, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. . .” You see one never knows when their time on earth is up, sudden death, is around the corner, simply meaning we will all one day die. Where you spend eternity can be secured right now by simply calling out to Yahshua. Believing and confessing as stated above and with it comes the assurance of salvation. Of course with believing also comes a life change but that isn’t the first step, that is the journey. The pressing question today is, which line are you in?

You are loved,

cj

The days of Noah

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39

Yahshua’s words here in Matthew are so much more than just evil continually. All though we can see the increase in evil and lawlessness, and not just by the average citizen but also those in government who were elected to govern and not rule. i looked at my monthly budget last night and i am $300 over budget on gasoline. i am $75 over budget on electricity (i have all-electric heat). i am $100 over budget on groceries. Combined, that is nearly $500 in the hole. At this rate, it won’t be long before my account is upside-down. One would say cut back. Well, gas prices have increased where i was able to fill up at the end of my day for $20, i now pay $35 which is $15 a day, five days a week, four weeks in a month. Electricity, i only heat a portion of the house, i can’t imagine what my bill would be if i heated the entire house. i leave minimal lights on and always wear a sweatshirt, in the winter. As far as groceries, i buy the same things every week. even cutting back on the quality of meat i buy and still the same items are now costing $25 more a week. This is just three of my examples and their are many facing the same reality. So why am i telling you this?

It is easy to get fixated on these things and make that the focus of every moment. i need to pay my bills, i need to eat, i need to, fill in the blank. It’s not all about bills either, one wants to also live life, and that becomes a focal point. The days of Noah were days in which evil was abundant, yes, but also, life was focused on living and surviving the best they could, “Your best life now.” The solution being offered by Noah seemed out of touch with life. Judgment was coming but their children wanted to get married and have children. They wanted to eat and drink and make merry. The thought of doom and gloom wasn’t a part of that plan. Fast forward to today, and we are on point with the days of Noah. And the return of Messiah is mocked and scoffed at . . . even within the church.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:3-4

Believe it or not, we are being set up to receive a leader who can bring peace and safety, not just on a local level but a global one. Those that are asleep are falling in line with the narrative, hook, line, and sinker. i am not saying you shouldn’t worry about paying your bills, but don’t worry about it. i mean make the necessary changes in order to meet your obligations, of course. However, we are not to worry about tomorrow and to pray without ceasing. Still this isn’t why i write this . . . i am writing to warn us to not get too fixated on living life here on earth. The Kingdom of our Elohim and King is coming and although we will face many many hardships in this life, do not lose heart, keep your eyes on Yahshua. Our hope is in Him and not in this world or anything it has to offer. It is going to become increasingly difficult to hold that line; The Word is clear on that point. If you aren’t in the Word daily you will fall in line with the world.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10

You are loved,

cj

the love of many

“And because of the increase in lawlessness, the love of many shall become cold.” Matthew 24:12

Are you getting discouraged with the direction of the world? There are so many hot spots. We are told that the entire Middle East would be and it is a powder keg. However, let’s mention a few others, China and Taiwan, Russia and Ukraine, North Korea and its testing of long range missiles, that’s a few global, not to mention local uprisings in France, Australia, Germany. Even here at home lawlessness is increasing all over the USA, mainly in your bigger cities but we also have a crisis at our southern border.

Frustration and discouragement lead to bitterness and a loss of understanding, respect, civility, and ultimately love. i am writing to encourage you not depress but knowledge is key here. You have to be aware of what is going on so that you can fight off these feelings. As believers we have the Holy Spirit, we have a Prince of Peace, we have an Almighty Elohim. Knowing this is vital!

There is a reason the early church was given warnings and told what to look out for in the future. Many of them were living under constant persecution. We in the west really cannot relate, but we need to start preparing spiritually, and mentally, for what is coming. Remind yourself of who you are in Messiah. As things become more unhinged knowing these things would come to pass before His return should give us peace and hope.

“Peace I leave with you – My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

” Yahshua answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and we shall come to him and make Our stay with him.’” John 14:23

There isn’t a need for me to analyze these crises, there are many already doing that. i am simply highlighting them to bring awareness to the fact that the reason these things are happening is that the lawless one is currently running the show. Yahshua said, “I shall no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he possesses naught in Me.” John 14:30

“But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7 KJV

Do not let your love grow cold. Stay focused on Adonai. Stay obedient to His Word, by staying IN His Word. Know that these things are coming and we are called to endure, and to love.

You are loved,

cj

Concerning the coming of our Adonai

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Adonai Yahshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Messiah had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NKJ (Italic’s & Hebrew Names added by me)

i feel a pressing urgency to write to you, in light of current events. i hear many talking about getting ready because the rapture is going to happen. Yet, time and time again as Paul wrote above, and Yahshua, said in Matthew 24:12; “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Many are not ready for what is at the doorstep of the world.

i want to say this as succinctly as possible. Instead of hoping for a rapture, what we should be doing is strengthening our faith in order to endure. There are times that are coming, as Yahshua declared and as Paul taught, that will try every man (humanity), and we are called to endure. Paul says it this way, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Adonai Yahshua HaMashiach Himself, and our Elohim and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

Yahshua says it this way, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” John writes to the Churches in Revelation, saying, “repent,” “overcome,” “endure.” These are not merely empty sayings but warnings; we as believers are going to see a time like nothing seen before and we must be able to endure. Not with fear but with hope. Not alone but by and with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

i fear the reason we read about a falling away is because many are not ready to endure, not many are willing to give up the pleasures of this world. Rather, they are putting their hope in it which only leads to destruction. Narrow is the way to salvation and few find it, are you ready to endure?

You are loved,

cj

Living for the Lord

“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:19

For all that was taking place in Corinth at the time. For everything that Paul was addressing. i don’t think, although it appears a footnote, that his mentioning the commandments is a small matter. It wasn’t about ritual; it wasn’t about Abrahamic Covenant or Mosaic Law; it was instead a call to obedience to God through His commandments. Specifically, The Ten Commandments.

In the full context of what Paul was addressing, we find that he was qualifying the new believer. This is no small point either. However, you came into a relationship with Jesus, remain. If you were circumcised, then remain; if not, don’t seek it out. If slave, don’t concern yourself with freedom; if free, don’t seek to be enslaved by man. Instead, both should consider it a joy to be now a slave to Christ, obedient to the one who calls us out of the bondage of sin into a life made free in Christ Jesus.

Yet, one point in this, “but keeping the commandments of God.” What are the commandments of God? Here, specifically, The Ten Commandments. That’s right; Paul qualified his remarks by stating it should be our concern to follow the commandments of God. Paul didn’t seem to think it was too much for the new believer to find himself a slave to Christ and a subject to the Law of God.

1. Have no other Gods before me. (How might we put other gods before the Great I AM? Could it be in our traditions steeped in pagan practices?)

2. Do not Worship any graven image. (This one is a bit more speculative on my part, but could it be our adoration for electronics, or even perhaps the use of statues within Catholicism?)

3. Do Not Take the Lord’s name in Vain. (Beyond a curse word, this also implies the use of the Lord’s name to make a statement more impactful, “The Lord told me!” Be careful, my friends, on how you use the Lord’s name!)

4. Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy. (Certainly, this doesn’t mean any ol’day of the week. Clearly, a day was chosen. History reveals to us that Jesus observed the Sabbath, what we refer to as Saturday. It is clearly written here, to remember it and keep it Holy . . . yet so many dismiss this commandment with ease, why?)

5. Honor your father and mother. (This is more than a child being obedient, this is a grown child caring for his elderly parent. It goes far beyond simply obeying your parent as a kid under their roof).

6. Do not kill. (This is about cold-hearted murder, don’t confuse the issue with self-defense).

7. Do not commit adultery. (More than a physical relationship, this is also emotional, Jesus talks about adultery of the heart through the lust of the eyes, or inappropriate texts, etc.).

8. Do not steal. (When having a peaceful protest, it still isn’t ok to loot).

9. Do not bear false witness. (Beyond lying, this is also gossip that is based on rumor and not fact. Be careful what you say and of whom you say it).

10. Do not covet. (Be content. Live in the moment. Don’t concern yourself about how your neighbor lives; concern yourself with your relationship with the God of the Universe, one day, you will meet Him and receive either reward or condemnation).

You are loved,

cj

Your days are numbered!

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16 ESV

”Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” Job 14:5 NASB

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27 NASB

A glimpse into the knowledge of Creator God, He has ordained our days. His knowledge supersedes our own in every way imaginable, and this includes knowing the exact amount of days we will walk this earth. Worry will not add any time; knowledge will not add any time; in fact, nothing we can do will add a day to our lives. You might say a good diet, exercise, or just healthy habits, in general, will add to our lives. But not in the book, not in God’s knowledge.

i am not discouraging good eating or healthy habits, i am simply pointing out that God already knows, has already counted, has already ordained our days. It is, however, within God’s power to add if He so desires, to our days, as we read: “Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.’” Isaiah 38:1-5 NASB

So why am i writing this? What is my reasoning? We have a tendency to assume or believe that we are in control of our days and that we always have tomorrow. But we are not guaranteed tomorrow. As we read in Luke, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”

The most important thing you can do isn’t a good diet or exercise. It isn’t financial security or healthy habits. The most important thing you can do is prepare your heart, soul, and mind. Life has always been spiritual, we are spiritual beings, and the battle we fight is spiritual; worship is spiritual, yet Satan is actively attempting to distract us with physical things and making it seem as if physical things or physical appearance will be what makes us happy. i assure you, we find our happiness, not in the physical realm but the spiritual.

You will never be satisfied with the things of this world. The word is clear, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 ESV

So, if you were to die, if God were to require your soul tonight, do you know where your soul will go? You can have the assurance of tomorrow in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word says, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:13 ESV) There is no secret initiation, just simply: “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart, you believe and are justified, and with your mouth, you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10 Berean Study Bible

You see, God so loved the world that He made a way for us; we only need to respond in faith, repent of our sins, and seek first His Kingdom. If you want more information or have a question, please don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out via messenger on our Facebook page, Coffee with Jesus.

You are loved,

cj

spiritual forces of evil

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

i think we need a reminder of something. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) This is as true today as it was when Peter wrote it, and as true as: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say,’” (Genesis 3:1) Not only is he crafty, he is the father of lies. If you are a true born-again believer, he knows who you are, and he hates you.

There is a fascinating book within scripture that has many difficult sub-stories within the main story, and that is Job. There is much we could talk about, but i would point you to the beginning and the interaction between God and Satan, Job 1:6-12. Consider the entire context but for emphasis, let me share what Satan already knew of Job. Verse 9 “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’” Truly Satan did know all there was to know about Job. Consider also this passage from Acts 19:15 “But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The spirit was talking to itinerant Jewish exorcists; they were not followers of Jesus.

Although Satan will use the non-believer for his purposes, he doesn’t, nor do his minions know them. They don’t care to know them. However, if you are a child of God, you have a target on your back, and i can assure you, Satan and the fallen ones know exactly who you are and want nothing more than to see you fail. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their mission. They have crept into the Church, they have crept into the family, they have crept into governments, and their mission is to devour the children of God. To usurp the authority of God, and we can read in Revelation, they will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal.

Indeed, we must be vigilant, sober-minded, watchful! “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. . . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me . . .” (Ephesians 6:13,18,19a)

You are loved,

cj

“Just the facts, ma’am.” -Sgt. Joe Friday

It has been somewhat challenging not to read Christain books. i usually alternate between a good, who done it, mystery novel, or just a novel based on somewhat real life, and a book on spiritual formation from a Christian perspective. However, since the beginning of this year, i have cut out all of the latter and have been focused on a biblical foundation to my understandings rather than the interpretations of someone else. i will look for insight as needed or perspective from others, but i have cut out reading extensively on one subject. That isn’t to say i won’t ever again, just not in this season.

i want to focus on Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. i know a novel concept. Yet, so few dive into this idea of coming to Biblical truth by simply reading the Bible and seeking wisdom and understanding or interpretation from the pages of God’s Word. After all, Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Therefore, i have deemed 2021 my year to set aside all my favorite Christian authors and seek wisdom from the purest source, the Bible. With some helpful commentaries or specific short writings but from several perspectives and interpretations to gain perspectives i may not have seen before with the understanding the Biblical text will determine the outcome of what it says . . . if i cannot make sense of a passage in the pages of Scripture, i will sit in it, pray through it until it is made clear. Knowing, however, that there are mysteries and that at present, i am looking through a mirror dimly.

Meanwhile, i am also enjoying my reading of secular novels. As i turn the pages and enter into the life of the characters, i ask myself, “how would i respond, or what would i do given the circumstances presented?” Or “how would i reach this person with the Gospel?” i am not a fast reader, so the fact that i am on my fourth novel this year is awe-inspiring for me. my current book is going to be very interesting for sure and will be a great source of inspiration as i turn the pages of Scripture in order to seek ways to present the Gospel to Edward, the main character. Who often says, like SGT. Joe Friday, from the old TV series Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

One of the verses that have spurred this idea or venture on is found in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” i think we are living in similar days now. Now because i have a desire to understand Scripture and to know God, just not know of Him, i am searching Scripture as a miner seeks after gold, and silver, or as Indiana Jones, hunts down treasures.

i hope that my journey inspires you. That you are encouraged to seek the Truth of God through the pages of His Holy Word, with the filter of the Holy Spirit. John records Jesus saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) Why do i find it essential to have a personal understanding, one based on Scripture first, confirmed by the Holy Spirit . . . because difficult times are upon us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Finally, let me remind us of Jesus’ words during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

You are loved,

cj

Canyon Kids

When i was a kid growing up, from 12 to 18, i lived in a place known simply as the canyon. The canyon consisted of several campgrounds and homesteads; Follows Camp, where i lived, Camp Williams, was just up the road. Between the two was Whispering Rivers, which was more of a homestead. These were located up East Fork Rd. West Folk had Crystal Lake Campground as well as a State Park with camping sites. Throughout the canyon were trails, old abandoned gold mines, seasonal waterfalls, and swimming holes dotted the East Fork headwaters of the San Gabriel River. To this day, i am friends with many of those who made up my extended childhood crew, the canyon kids, as we were known.

Follows Camp was host to many significant camping events each year; my favorites were the Blue Grass Festival, hosted twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. The Renaissance weekend was another favorite, and of course, as a teenage boy who wouldn’t like a weekend packed full of other teens? That weekend was known as the fishbowl; among my friends, to everyone else, it was PWP, Parents without Partners.

Each weekend brought new people, new stories, and cherished memories. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to the family that was the canyon. i could tell countless stories of how families’ needs were met; people came to the support of others as they could; for the most part, people knew and would do anything for each other. Of course, we had our gossipers, our trouble makers, and the like, but even they had their place . . . good and evil.

This leads me to the idea of community and what the Body of Christ should look like; with all of its imperfections, Follows Camp was a greater community than that of the modern Church. That is a sad statement and even a more tragic reality. In Acts, we read about the early church; it definitely wasn’t perfect either. In fact, after reading about how great it was, we read about its flaws as well. So looking for a utopian society on earth isn’t what i am talking about . . . it is, however the target we should all be aiming for and then relying on the Word of God for governance and justice.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 ESV

And from Colossians . . .

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (2:6,7)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1,2)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (3:23,24)

Finally, from Revelation 3:8-11,

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”

The remnant of the church needs to come together. i don’t know what that looks like but it needs to start in homes, with like-minded people, and soon!

You are loved,

cj