The Clarion, Jan. 2022
Happy New Year Everyone!
We pray that this year will be a year of renewal and revival and restoration.
We pray this for the Body of Messiah. We pray this for you!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says this, “Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And Psalm 51:10, “ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” And in Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Psalm 69:30-32, says this about being revived, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.”
And Isaiah 57:15 says this, “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
Lamentations 5:21-22 says this, “Restore us to You, Lord, so that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old, unless You have utterly rejected us
and are exceedingly angry with us.”
Psalm 19:7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Living by God’s Word will lead to renewal, revival, and restoration.
We hope that this is your prayer also this New Year!
Have We Lost our Way?
As we begin this new year, we will begin with either a new fresh start, or we will find ourselves carrying baggage from the past year into the new year. Life is always a series of events, challenges to overcome, and hurdles to jump over. We find ourselves traveling from one day to the next and the days turn to years, and every day is a new day with new experiences, for life is a journey. As believers, the Word of God gives us our direction. It is our road map, our compass in life. But it seems that at times the road signs are not clear. Our vision becomes muddled and we find ourselves lost, going in the wrong direction.
In the book Pilgrim’s Progress, which was written by John Bunyan in 1678, is a classic allegory of the Christian life. The believer in the story is called Christian and the story is about his journey from the time he accepts the Messiah to reaching the celestial shores of heaven. We are all like this Pilgrim in one way or another. Pilgrim encounters all kinds of friends and foes. He has many trials to overcome. He goes from doubt to despair to lies and deceit, from false teachers to false friends. But our Pilgrim makes it through his journey.
Today people are encountering many things that cause them to question, “Am I on the right road?” It seems at churches today that pastors are not as committed as years ago, and less and less people are sitting in the pews and those who are, go from one church to another looking to be fed.
We have seen the statistics that the number of Americans who consider themselves members of a church, synagogue or mosque has dropped below 50 percent, from 73 percent a few decades ago.
Another survey shows that only 9% of Christians read their Bibles and at that, only once a week.
Many believe that Yeshua was nothing other than a great teacher and 52 percent of adults do not believe that He was God, and many, many pastors today fall into these statistics.
We know that in the 1800’s, people like Moody and Seymour and Beecher, and so many others, preached a different message than today. They preached about sin and repentance. They preached about holiness and godliness. They kept no parishioner sitting on the fence. They did not whitewash the salvation message. There was no church friendly compromise.The Word of God was preached in its full intent.
So where did we go wrong? And can we come back? We must start by being honest with ourselves. God’s Word will lead us back, if we are willing to accept its truths. Yeshua tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us this, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
And Matthew 13-14 says this, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We have forgotten how to be holy. We have wandered off the narrow road that leads to eternal life. We have become like the world. Yes, we have become so much like the world today. We have fallen so far that we speak, and think, and even at times act like the world. We watch TV shows and movies and listen to music that does not uplift us, let alone give glory to God.
1 John 2:15 tells us this, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Today people think that they can live life without a moral compass. God loves everyone, but He does hate sin.
Romans 12:1-2, reminds us of this very important truth. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Today, do we even consider what God’s will is in our lives, or do we just live our lives the way we wish? God has a plan for each one of our lives, and He has given us talents and abilities and gifts that we must use for the kingdom, yes, for the kingdom, for God gives them to us not for our own lives, but to reach out to others who may need our talents and gifts and abilities. This is the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22: 37-40)
We have forgotten that we are not to be like the world, for it makes us enemies of God as James 4:4 tells us, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
When we are not taught and reminded frequently about sin and repentance, then we begin to drift away from holiness and godliness, and the narrow road becomes as wide as a four lane highway.
If it feels right, do it, or you deserve it, or what is right for you may not be right for me, are all lies from the devil.
Yes, we have lost our way, but what is sad is that we do not even realize it. As we begin this new year let’s spend time in God’s Word and let’s allow the Holy Spirit
to speak to us. We do not need to try and figure out what the Word is saying to us, for God’s Word is clear, and when it is not, it explains to us the meaning of our questions as we continue in our reading. And God’s Word is one as He is one, so let us study God’s Word from cover to cover, because you can not build without a foundation, and that is where we begin having our problems. Sadly to say that the new translations have twisted the Word of God. It has done away with the blood of Yeshua, and many other concepts of Christianity. This was all done intentionally, so that Chrisitans would live a more repentance free life, but we know that sin separates us from God, and that is exactly the end game. Let’s get back on the straight and narrow road as Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
God will lead us and guide us back, but we have to want to come back to holiness and godliness, keeping His Commandments, being set-apart for His glory and that might require discipline to train us, as Hebrews 12:10-13, “For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
God’s Word will strengthen us, and make our paths straight. This new year, this new beginning, let’s start with returning to Gods’ truth.
Salted Dark Chocolate Tart by Taste of Home
1-1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs 1/3 cup butter, melted
CARAMEL: 3/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons water 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream Two tablespoons butter, cubed Dash salt
FILLING: 4 cups dark chocolate chips 1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream One teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon large-crystal sea salt
Directions : 1. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. For caramel, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sugar is melted and mixture is almost clear (do not boil).
3. Increase heat to medium high; bring to a boil, without stirring. Cover and boil for 2 minutes while tightly holding lid of pan down. Uncover; shake pan. Cook 1-2 minutes longer or until mixture is amber, shaking pan several times.
4. Remove from the heat; stir in cream (mixture will bubble) until smooth. Stir in butter (mixture will bubble) and salt until blended. Pour into crust; refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Place chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Let stand for 20 minutes.
6. Pour chocolate mixture over caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before serving.
The letter Resh
The letter Resh is the twentieth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It’s numerical value is 200. It represents a person who is bent over, but a person who only gratifies himself. One who only has evil intentions. The prophet Nathan tells David this story after he took Bathsheba from her husband in 2 Samuel 12:1-6,
“A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man’s little lamb and served it instead.David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die! And because he didn’t have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.” Then Nathan told David: You are that rich man!”
Resh almost sounds like wretch. God wants us to love one another and to do that we must put others first as Philippians 2:3-4 tells us, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
God Bless Your New Year as you love one another.