Happy New Year to partners and visitors of Cross of Jesus Christ Ministries. This week I felt lead to open up this week’s partner teaching for all, so this is a gift from this ministry to you.
Have you ever heard someone preach a sermon on Phil 4:7 and Isaiah 26:3? We all want what these two scriptures promise us, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Usually, we are told this peace is only obtainable if we keep our minds focused on the cross and what Yehoshua (Yeshua/Jesus) did for us. At the same time, we have Yehoshua in John 14:15 telling us not to focus on Him but instead focus on His Father Yehovah. So let me ask you an all-out honest question, have you experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding by focusing on the cross?
There are two answers to this question; one is the answer you would give when everything is running smoothly in your life. The other solution is the one you would provide when everything goes wrong, and your life is threatening to implode on you.
If we want a sustainable faith, we have to come to terms with the fact that the Bible can not contradict itself. If we see one scripture contradicting the rest of the Bible, we have to accept we might have misunderstood our interpretation of this one scripture. When we see the promised peace in Phil 4:7 and Isaiah 26:3, and we read John 14:15, we have to accept that John 14:15 can not contradict the other two. So our understanding of John 14:15 has to be wrong, and this might explain why so few of us have experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding.
In our part of the world, we would understand Isaiah 26:3 and Phil 4:7 to mean a lack of conflict, a lack of stress, a lack of upheaval and terror. At the same time, we read Psalm 23 and 91, which clearly does not promise an absence of conflict, sickness, stress, upheavals, and terror. Instead, it promises us peace amid the storms of life. Considering how scripture can not contradict scripture, we have to accept that the Bible has a different understanding of peace then we do.
When I first got saved in 2001, I was promised the peace that surpasses all understanding, if I had the cross as the object of my faith. I quickly learned and accepted peace did not mean a lack of conflict or stress. Salvation did not mean I stopped being a human being exposed to the daily stress and stuff that comes with being a human. So in my mind, I believed the Bible was talking about having a sort of stoic peace amid the storm and living with complete confidence in Jesus and what He would do for me.
As the years went by, I was shocked and amazed at how little peace I had amid the storm. No matter how hard I tried to focus on the cross, my emotions off-balance was always thrown of balance, so soon, I found myself beating myself up for lack of faith. In my mind, I was convinced that this had to do with a lack of faith on my part, and if I only had more faith in the cross, my life circumstances would not have that kind of power over me.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation, blaming yourself for “not having enough faith”? Thinking to yourself, “if I had more faith, I would be stronger and more at peace”?
In 2010 I started taking an interest in the Hebrew roots of my faith. I had come to terms with the fact that my Bible was a Jewish book, Jesus was Jewish, the Apostles were all Jews, and Christianity did not exist until 300 years after the death of Christ. To me, this was an eye-opener. How could I claim to believe in the Bible as a Christian when the Bible was Jewish? When I confronted my pastor with this question, I was told Paul had become a Christian on the road to Damascus, but even so, I could not shake the fact that the Bible clearly said Paul never stopped living as a Jew. So something was wrong somewhere, and it was not the Bible.
As the years went by, I started to read how the Jews understood things like peace, faith, and trust. At first, it was difficult, and my mind went something like this “you are a Christian, not Jewish. How can a Jewish understanding of these concepts help you?”. But when I reminded myself how the Bible is a Jewish book, the arguments in my mind got silent.
There is a vast difference between how a Jew would understand faith, trust, and peace and how we understand faith, trust, and peace. In Judaism, faith and trust are compared to living without a care in the world in unstable, chaotic, and sometimes horrifying circumstances. We see this kind of faith illustrated in the life of Moses standing on the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian Army in hot pursuit, the Red Sea in front of them, being in total peace, trusting Yehovah would help them and do something miraculous. It is almost a kind of childlike trust that provides peace in our lives. At the same time, peace in Judaism is not the absence of conflict; it is Shalom, and Shalom means wholeness of life. It is a promise to have what you need to have right here and right now to handle whatever might happen in your life (Matt 6:25-34).
The next question in my mind was, how do I get the kind of peace and trust Moses had while standing on the banks of the Red Sea? I was told, in Christianity, focus on Jesus and set your eyes on the cross. In the Bible, in Isaiah 26:3, Phil 4:7, I was told if I focused on the Father of Jesus, whose name is Yehovah He would give me Shalom and trust. When I asked my pastors about this, they told me Isaiah 26:3 was referring to Yehovah, but Phil 4:7 was referring to Jesus. When I asked them how this could be, considering John 14:15, where Jesus tells us to focus on Yehovah, I was told Jesus was referring to Yehovah, but Paul was referring to Jesus. I then proceeded to ask them about 1. Cor 11, where Paul says he imitated the life of Christ, so I wanted to know how Paul could be referring to Jesus when Paul imitated Jesus, who was referring to Yehovah.
So was I, and to this day, I have yet to meet a pastor capable of answering how Paul could be referring to Yeshua when he imitated the life of Yeshua, who referred to Yehovah.
My confusion motivated me to seek the answers in the Bible and the Bible only. I knew, as a historical fact, the New Testament did not exist until 300 years after Christ. The Bible Yeshua and His disciples used, including Paul, was the Old Testament. So it was apparent to me the Old Testament was essential to my faith, and I needed to take it seriously.
If I was to take into consideration how the new testament did not exist when Yehoshua (Yeshua/Jesus) spoke those words in John 14:15, and Paul wrote Phil 4:7, I could not ignore the fact that Yehoshua AND Paul were both referring to Yehovah. So I made up my mind from that day on to have only Yehovah as the object of my faith.
This decision changed my life in ways I could not even have imagined. Am I now living a carefree life without any problems, walking, and breathing a supernatural existence? No, not at all. I am still very much a human being who has to face everyday challenges and unexpected curveballs in life. But the difference is this, now I have the Shalom Yehoshua (Yeshua/Jesus), and Paul talks about in John 14:15 and Phil 4:7.
Just the other day, I received two unexpected letters in the mail that had the potential to throw me off course and rock my world emotionally. In the past, as a mainstream Christian, I would have gotten all emotional and tried to really focus my faith on Jesus and the cross. When nothing happened, I would get really stressed out, worried, filled with a lot of “what if this happens, or that happens?” thoughts. And in the end, I would beat myself up for not having enough faith and not being able to believe strong enough in the cross. This time, none of the above happened.
I opened those two letters; I felt a twitch of worry, stress, and anxiety. Then I made up my mind to focus all my thoughts on Yehovah. I did nothing special except meditating on the name of my heavenly Father, Yehovah. All of a sudden, I was filled with peace, and I knew what I had to do. My situation did not miraculously change, money did not appear on my nightstand, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what to do. I replied instantly to both letters and clicked on “send,” and then I was able to shut the situation out of my mind and go on with the rest of the day and enjoy myself.
Allow me to repeat myself when I opened those two letters; I reacted as any other human being would do. I felt shocked, anxiety, worrying, stress, but I did not give into them. I obeyed the Bible and chose to focus my thoughts on the name of Yehovah. Nothing miraculous happened; money did not magically appear on my nightstand or my bank account. The letters I was holding in my hand still said what they said. So what was the difference? The difference was peace, I had 100% peace, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what to do. And when I had done what I knew I had to do, the situation was still unresolved, but I was able to emotionally detach myself from those letters and go on and enjoy the rest of my day.
Best of all, I did not have to beat myself up for lack of faith. The only thing I had to do was to focus my mind on the name of Yehovah and faith, peace, trust, Shalom was given to me.
There are numerous examples just like the one above I could tell you, examples of how beneficial it has been for me to obey the Bible and focus on Yehovah instead of Yehoshua (Jesus/Yeshua).
Do you want the peace that surpasses all understanding? Do you want a sustainable faith able to carry you through even the valley of the shadow of death as an overcomer?
If the answer is yes, I am inviting you now to start obeying the Bible instead of human-made religions.
Usually, this would be closed teaching, only for partners of the ministry. Sometimes, I feel led to do a partner teaching available for all, just like this one. I am inviting you to become a partner of this ministry so you to can learn how to have a sustainable faith in 2020. Click this link to read more and to sign up as a partner.
If one of the three partner options is too expensive, please contact me and let me know how much you can give as a partner and for how long you want to register as a partner. I will then make out a PayPal invoice for you on your suggested amount.