About Judaism

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Who is Jewish? It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But it’s not! There is more than one basis for being called Jewish.

1. The first basis is ETHNICITY. People who have Jewish parents are referred to as Jewish. Regardless of their religious beliefs or practices, this group of people are still considered Jewish because they are ethnic Jews.

2. The second basis is RELIGION. Ethnic Jews who practice the religion known as Judaism are called Jewish. However, any person who can convert to Judaism and will then be referred to as a Jew.

In Genesis 12:2, the Lord said to Abraham, “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.Today, it’s easy for us to see that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham! Abraham’s descendants can be found anywhere in the world including the great nation of Israel. God always keeps His promises because He is faithful. 

With over 300 prophecies about the coming Messiah pointing to Jesus, it may be hard to understand why Jewish people do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Well, some Jewish people do accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. Jewish people practicing Jewish traditions that have accepted Jesus are called Messianic Jews.

Yet there are many more Jewish people who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Here are two major reasons why:

1. The first reason is CONTEXT. Jewish people think Christians take Messianic prophecies out of context. Christians argue the Bible passages that contain prophecy have a dual meaning.

2. The second reason is the JEWISH BIBLE. The Jewish translation of the Bible renders certain passages differently. For instance, Christian Bible state Immanuel will be born to a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. In the Jewish Bible, it simply says Immanuel will be born to a young woman.

There are whole books written on the subject, and the many words written do not apply to every Jewish person. However, I hope this blog has helped a little to unravel the mystery of why Jewish people are still waiting for their Messiah while the rest of us are waiting for His return!

In the Bible, we read God promised a chosen nation to Jacob’s descendants including the Promised Land of Israel. We know one major reason God set this nation apart was to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to bring non-Jews into a reconciled relationship to God. Now that Jesus Christ accomplished His Father’s will, does it nullify God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants? Should Israel belong to the Jewish people in modern day times?

The belief that Israel should belong to the Jewish people is called Zionism. Many Christians support Zionism because they believe the book of Romans confirms the original promise stated in Genesis 12. Many Jewish people support Zionism because they have a continued faith God’s promise to them, which is stated in the Jewish Bible. Even people who do not believe in the Bible at all may support Zionism for political or other reasons.

What do you think? I see the existence of Israel as a miracle and a reminder that God has not forsaken us. As Christians, we know for certain God will one day call us to our own spiritual Promised Land in heaven where we can reside forever with Him.

If you are not a Christian, it is easy to become one with simple heartfelt prayer: Dear Lord, I believe your Son Jesus is the Messiah who washed my sin away with his suffering and death on the cross. I believe he was raised up from the dead. His blood guarantees me a place in heaven. I accept the gift of salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen. 

If you prayed that heartfelt prayer, you are now an heir of God. Congratulations! Click here to read a poem on our spiritual Promised Land in heaven. 

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Praying the Bible

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According to Ephesians 6:18, we should “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” Besides praying dreams, thoughts, and lists, we can also pray our Bibles. Here are a couple of ways:

  • Promise Book. In this way to pray the Bible, you find a promise in the Bible to support your request. For instance, I pray for healing in my back because Isaiah 53:5 says, “…with his stripes we are healed.”
  • Conversationally. In this way, God speaks first. You read along in the book of Matthew and stop at Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Your prayer might sound like, Forgive me, Lord, for looking at people with lust. Help me to see with pure eyes. 

This is just the beginning. There are many more ways to pray your Bible. Click here to read an example of a beautiful and elaborate prayer using Scripture.
If you have kids, make sure they have their own Bible so they can know the promises of God and engage in their own prayer conversations with Him.

When you pray God’s will according to His Word, you put God ahead of your own desires. He will be eager to hear and answer these types of prayers because they have a pure motive. This is a wonderful way for you (and your family) to draw near to God.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Spiritual Gifts

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Do you believe in spiritual gifts? Some Christians do not believe all of the gifts of the Spirit can be exercised in modern day. Other Christians use them to build up the kingdom of God on a regular basis. I believe God’s power is limitless and He can do all things through us.

What is your spiritual gift? There are some fun question/answer tests a Christian can take to see what spiritual gifts they excel in, which can be beneficial for Christians looking for a place to serve in a church. However, it is important to note that as Christians we have offered our bodies as vessels for God to use. Therefore, we may be called into action as a situation dictates. Therefore, we should always be open to the Holy Spirit’s use of any spiritual gift through us (even if we do not normally excel at that gift).

Do you use your spiritual gifts to build up the kingdom of God?Several spiritual gifts offer us the privilege of acting as God’s mouthpiece like prophecy, words of knowledge, and words of wisdom. All Christians receive communication from God in some way or another. Some receive impressions about things they should say or do. Others may hear an audible voice. And yet others believe God uses some combination of the two. We are in obedience to God’s Word when we relay God’s communication to other people for Matthew 10:27 states, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

Are you effective with your spiritual gift? We have all heard (and in fact whole religions have been based on) false prophecy. If we are not grounded in God’s Word, we are susceptible to such foolishness—which has proven to be not only hurtful to God’s reputation but deadly to their followers. Studying our Bibles cannot be shrugged off. It is critical. Even interpreting the Bible with no outside input can be dangerous. You must study what the Holy Spirit is communicating through other Christians. My own writing reflects the influence of Dr. Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer, and my own beloved pastors Shawn Craig (of Philips, Craig, & Dean) and Josiah Serra in my writing. If I listed all of the amazing godly pastors and authors I have studied, we would be here all day. Stay in the vine that is Christ, His Word, and in fellowship with His people.

Lord, I pray You would bestow spiritual gifts on Your children. Help them to know, use, and be effective with spiritual gifts for Your glory. We thank You and praise You that You know how to give good gifts to those who ask for them. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

MINI HISTORY OF THE BIBLE

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The history of Christianity is not taught in many sanctuaries. Instead, churches focus on the principles of Scripture and how they apply to modern-day life. Additionally, they stress the authority of the Bible. They remind us it is God-breathed according to 2Timothy 3:16. Pastors may even mention the author or background of a particular book of the Bible before preaching from it. However, congregations in general typically do not seem that interested in hearing the history of Christianity or origins of the Bible on a Sunday morning.

Some of us are interested though, aren’t we? We may not want to buy thick non-fiction books to study every detail. Yet, we sort of want to know what happened in between the author writing God’s words on a scroll and this beautifully bound Bible we bought from our local Christian bookstore.

By learning some of the major events in Christianity that have lead up to the publication of the modern-day Bible, we can be better prepared to answer questions about our faith from non-Christians. More importantly, we understand God’s ways so we can know Him more.

The Old Testament originated with our Father in heaven. God breathed His words to Moses and the other prophets so they could write it down for future generations. It is believed that over 20 authors were inspired to write the Old Testament. Scholars believe these authors wrote mostly in ancient Hebrew on scrolls.

Jewish rabbis and scholars decided which books were regarded as Scripture. All of the books of the Old Testament were completed by 500 BC. They were translated into Greek (called the Septuagint or LXX) in 200 BC.

God closely guarded His Word through the process of being written by prophets, replicated by scribes, and translated into other languages. There are a couple of ways we sure of this. First, Jesus confirmed its authenticity when He quoted from the Old Testament. Second, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 confirms Old Testament accuracy. The ancient Old Testament scrolls found in caves and the modern-day Old Testament we study today are astoundingly similar! Thanks to God’s preservation of His Word, we can still say with confidence, Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).

Can you imagine what it would be like to live during the time of Jesus? We can only imagine how filled with awe they were at the life of Jesus and all the miracles he performed. If I were one of those awe-struck disciples, I would probably have begun to write them down. In fact, that is what some of them did.

All 27 books of the New Testament were written within 100 years of Jesus’ lifetime. Several authors of the New Testament actually met Jesus in person. By 315 AD, Christians began to recognize the Scripture that makes up the New Testament as sacred writing. The New Testament was believed to have been written originally in Greek on papyrus. It was copied so many times that thousands of ancient manuscripts still exist today.

The first Bible was printed in 1455. The Bible was translated into the English language in 1526. In spite of the many versions available, the New International Version (NIV) is a topseller. It was developed using over 100 scholars working from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.

Today we can be as sure as ever that the Bible we read is not from men, but is actually the word of God as is stated in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. –1 Thessalonians 2:13

If you are interested in the sources I reviewed to write this blog, you can check them out here

http://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html

http://godisforus.com/information/bible/ntdocs/authors.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/#vinfo

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!  

*The above image was found at morguefile.com. No copyright is claimed over this image.