Monday, April 23, 2012

The Eleventh Hour

Worshipping in Water-1

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches....

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" Revelation 3:20-22

Then the LORD closed the door behind them...Genesis 7:16

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
Revelation 4:1-3
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all the that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:1-11
And we have the word of prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is seated at God's right hand- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way open for us through the curtain that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the DAY approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Revelation 1:4
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:3
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Revelation 1:7
Since everything will end in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:11-13
Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation. 2 Peter 3:15

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13


Post written October 10, 2011
New International Version, Key Word Study Bible



Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Gate


Sundown over the Sea of Galilee-1
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
A little background, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath. The blind man was brought before the Pharisees for questioning. The Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest where no work is to be done. The Pharisees threw the blind man out of the synagogue for telling the truth that Jesus did in fact heal him on the Sabbath and that he was indeed blind from birth. After being thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus found him and asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?," to which he replied, "Lord, I believe."
Some of the Pharisees' followed him out of the synagogue, in doing so they ran into Jesus who was outside waiting to confront their hypocrisy, Jesus states, "For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." John 9:39. To which the religious leaders respond,"What, are we blind too?" Jesus answers,"If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."
He goes on to say in John 10. "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers voice." "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers ,but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd . The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. John 10:1-14
You see Jesus' audience was the religious leaders of his day and some of his followers. He was clearly stating who He was by claiming that He was the gate for the sheep. Jesus also states that He is the good shepherd. Jesus' sheep listen to his voice and follow him. They recognize false teaching, in fact, they flee from it! I wanted to mention the audience because Jesus in the above passage is quoting the Book of Ezekiel.
Let's jump back to the Old Testament to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel lived during the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon. He was deported from Judah and taken captive to Babylon. All the Jews were living in captivity during the time of Ezekiel's prophecies. Ezekiel was written around 571 BC. 500 years before the birth of Christ. I want you to notice the woe of Ezekiel...Woe to the shepherds of Israel that only take care of themselves. Remember Jesus just healed a boy on the Sabbath. In fact most of Jesus' miracles took place on the Sabbath.
You see, Ezekiel, claimed that there would be a shepherd who would care for his flock unlike the religious leaders of his day and the days leading up to Christ. The Pharisees' would have known what Christ was claiming by stating that he was the shepherd of the sheep. They would have realized that He was claiming to be the Messiah. They knew the prophecy spoken but they refused to accept the testimony.
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherd's take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I WILL RESCUE my FLOCK from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. For I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. He goes on to say, I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:1-11, 16
Are we still refusing to accept the testimony of who Jesus was and is and why He came? Ezekiel's prophecy was about the the coming Messiah the true shepherd who would come and take care of the people. Jesus tells us plainly in His word that He is the only way and that He is the great shepherd of the sheep referred to in Ezekiel.
He shows us His heart in these verses. His desire to care for us. His desire to look for us and to heal us. His desire to hide us in the cleft of the rock to shelter us from the storm. We have a compassionate, Great Shepherd, who yearns to care for us. Jesus is still searching for His sheep. He is still tending His flock. He still comes after those who have wandered off. How are you going to respond to him today? In Hebrews Paul tells us, that "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
One Shepherd, One Flock, One King, All Nations!
"Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to LIFE, and only a few find it."
Jesus' words in Matthew 7: 13-14

Photo: My husband on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Tale of Two Passovers


Jerusalem-1
I know this post is lengthy. I wanted to give the background of the Jewish celebration of Passover since we are approaching the culmination of this Feast of the Lord. I hope you will take the time to read this post and see the significance of Jesus as our Passover Lamb. I haven't re-read it so excuse the errors. 

This is a re-post written April 2011. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was without sin and became sin for sinners. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated after Passover and it was the feast celebrated where God commanded the children of Israel to eat only pure unleavened bread (made without yeast). Jesus often referred to Himself as the Bread of Life. Leaven or yeast represented sin. The parables of Jesus and the warnings given by Jesus often referred to this symbolism, and so Jesus, the pure unleavened bread, took on our sin or leaven and rendered us pure. Not only was Jesus our Passover Lamb who was worthy to be slain, He was also the Bread of Life, pure and undefiled by sin.

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, I have the authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. Jesus words found in John 10:17-18
It was my sin that held Him to the cross, my sin that pierced His beautiful hands and feet but He went willingly because He loves me.

A Tale of Two Passovers
The Israelites were about to be set free from the heavy yoke of slavery. For 400 years Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, oppressed them. Exodus opens up with the king's order to throw all the baby boys into the Nile river. This he used as a form of genocide. Moses spared from death and rescued by the Princess was pulled from a basket in the Nile River. He was raised in the household of Pharaoh. He was God's chosen servant to set the people free and lead them out of Egypt. God sent 10 plagues to Egypt. With each plague, Pharaoh's heart was hardened.
1445BC, Egypt

Stephen's account of Moses documented in Acts 7
There arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh's dauther took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered His mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together and he tried to reconcile them in peace saying, ' Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?' But the one who was injuring this neighbor pushed him away, saying ' Who made you ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?' At this remark, Moses fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
After fourty years had passed, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 'I am the GOD of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob.' Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. But the LORD said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly see the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them; come now, and I will send you to Egypt. Acts 7:17-34

Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' then tell them, ' It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'At Midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. Exodus 12:21-28,29. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.
Passover is the annual remembrance of this divine deliverance. It was also a celebration commemorating the passing over of the angel of death. The blood on the door kept the destroyer from entering the home of the Israelites, sparing their firstborn. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated the Israelites sudden departure and was to last 7 days.
What was Israel's response to the deliverance? " This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ' Who made you ruler and a judge' is it the one whom God sent to be both ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for 40 years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ' God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.' This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received the living oracles to pass on to you. Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. Acts 7:35-39.

AD33, Jerusalem During the feast of Unleavened Bread
The Triumphal Entry, When the crowd heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the feast, they took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, Fear not, Daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt. John 12:12-15.
The statement above is a fulfillment to the prophesy found in Zechariah, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
When He approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. Luke 20:41. Jesus spent his final week teaching in Jerusalem. The final four days became known as His inspection period.
Then came Preparation Day, the day before the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus tells his disciples to go and prepare the Passover Feast. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table . And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:7,13-21.
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives and then to the Garden of Gethsemane, which literally means "oil press", Matthew 26:30,36. When he arrived at the place, He said to them, " Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation." While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, " Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest. Luke 22:40-48,54
Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward and said, " This man stated, ' I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.' The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do you not answer What is it that these men are testifying against you?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, " I adjure You by the living God, that tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of the God." Jesus said to him, " Y0u have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, " he has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!" Then they spat on His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the the one who hit you?"

Isaiah 53 The Suffering Servant, written sometime between 739-686BC
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; he has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the inequity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgement He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgressions of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave assigned with wicked me, yet He was a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; BY His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and he will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with transgressor; yet He Himself bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Prophesy Revealed in Revelation, written by John sometime between 81-96AD
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."Revelation 7:9-12

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nehushtan

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We just spent 8 days in Watersound Beach, Florida. It was such an amazing week! It was a week spent enjoying my husband and our four girls, de-pluging from the world and enjoying every moment at the beach. Many moments of chaos, as Jocelyn is into everything and never STOPS, right now as I'm typing this she is emptying out the drawer where we keep all the sandwich bags and tin foil. As chaotic as it was inside the house, she was the perfect angel on the beach because she hated the sand, she was terrified of the sand. The only time we could contain her was when we put her on a towel at the beach, she didn't cry or move, it was as if she didn't want to draw any attention to herself for fear that the sand might swallow her up. This ensured her staying put (she never stops moving) because she didn't want to get her hands or feet in the sand. Hysterical, of my four girls, she is the first to hate sand. This ended up being a blessing as she was not going to go anywhere. This is truly a first for her. At home I have found her standing on top of the kitchen table more times than I would like to admit. We have ADD tendencies in our home and she is the poster child for ADD. Never STOPS MOVING or CLIMBING. She is into EVERYTHING. I was reading a book called, Driven to Distraction, I'm also ADD, and later on in the day we found the book in the toilet. Jozy, took the book and dropped it in the toilet the same day me and my husband joked about her busyness and inability to sit still. She is our little Houdini. She can get out of any contraption including her high chair, grocery cart, crib.

I wanted to repost this entry entitled Nehushtan. If you haven't read, Be Lifted High, please take a moment to read it before reading this post. This post is a continuation of Be Lifted High.
The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by the snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9
This snake came to be known as Nehushtan. The Israelites worshiped the image of the bronze snake and burned incense to it. They worshiped what their hands created and the power of the image instead of the One who gave the image it's power. It was King Hezekiah that destroyed the adulterous image for the people burned incense to Nehushtan in the temple of God. For God never intended the image by which men are saved to be worshiped but only the One through whom we are saved. It was God who gave the image it's power and it was His grace that provided the means of escaping death. The image should have been a constant reminder of the Israelites sin in the wilderness and the consequences of their rebellion. But instead the image lured them further into idolatry.
What is idolatry? In the book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller gives us this definition of idolatry, An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of doctrine for their standing faith with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. Page 131. Tim Keller gives us further insight into the meaning of idolatry when he states, "Sin isn't only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God." Talking about Idolatry in a Postmodern Age
We commit idolatry when we burn our incense to religion and moralism instead of to Jesus, who did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We nullify His death when we base our salvation on what we do, instead of what has been done on our behalf. We bow down to the false god of moralism when we trust in our good deeds and our ability to perform as the means of salvation rather than place our trust in Jesus, who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exulted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow in heaven, and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
This truth is what separates Christianity from every other world religion. It is because sinless perfection wrapped himself in humanity and did for us what we could not do for ourselves, shedding His holy blood for the forgiveness of sin, raised again on the third day and at this very moment sits at the right hand of God praying continuously for you. It was at His death that religion died and with His resurrection, death conquered and grace triumphant. W
hen we burn our incense to lesser things, we are in fact exchanging the truth of God for a lie worshiping and serving created things rather than the Creator, who is forever to be praised. Romans 1:25.

Picture above taken in 2009 at Watersound Beach, Florida. I hope to have the pictures from this last trip edited and posted sometime this week.