Syncretism or the Love of Jesus

God is love.  Jesus is love.  Unfortunately, postmodernism has changed the very concept of love especially the love that Jesus offers.  His love is defined in the Bible.  You loving Jesus is not necessarily a list or set of rules but it is not the ignoring of the Bible. Redefining terms to meet your unwillingness to follow Jesus is not love.  Jesus laid His life down at the request of the Father, can you/we lay ours down at His request?

What picture is your idea of love?

A baby,                                    a crucified Savior,       whip-carrying corrector,

cropped-jesus-2.jpgCrucifix from Misson Espiritu in Goliad,TXThe_Moneychangers001

Jesus on the Donkey

Jesus on the Donkey




The one leperJesus_Curses_Fig_Tree_James




a victorious healer, a

curser of fig trees,     OR


preacher Sermon_on_the_Mount005Communion005woman healed

Jesus at the Tomb


worshipping the calf






a nice concept that lets you do what you want to do?

Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam left a legacy of confusion and syncretism of the worship of Jehovah that sentenced Israel/Judah to separation from God and the Land.

The truth is Jesus died on the cross and came out of the tomb in victory over SIN.  He did all He did to show us that He is the Way and that our way will not work.

I believe that 2015 will be a time to Clean-up So We Can Celebrate.  Jesus still stands at the door of your heart and is knocking but letting Him in means your way goes to the Cross so you can join Him outside of the empty TOMB!
jesus at door

I think I got all of the credits but if not let me know and I will find it. They should also be attached to the picture.  I did take several of these.


Jesus Asked for a Drink

Friday of Holy Week has Jesus tried before Pilate, the Roman governor, beaten and sent to Herod, king of Galilee, made to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem Crux fish 2and finally nailed to that cross for all to see.  Jesus said very little during this time period, which is part of the type and shadow He fulfilled as the sacrificial lamb.  He spoke to Pilate, women in the street, Mary His mother and John, and asked God a question but for the most part He said little and did not defend His actions when accused.

The_Crucifixion025John 19:28 records one time He spoke and said, “I am thirsty.”  Since He has lost a lot of blood by this time it naturally makes sense that He would be thirsty.  Those three words have caused a lot of thought on my part this week.  Would a man who has resigned himself to die be asking for fluid?  Is this a sign of struggling to stay alive?  The Romans had vinegar there not to ease the suffering of those on the cross but to prolong it.

Verse twenty-eight answers some of my questions.  Jesus knew “all was completed” but that Scripture had to be fulfilled He asked for the drink.  The drink and how it was offered to Him are part of what needed to be fulfilled.  In Matthew 27:34 He was first offered wine and gall (a pain killer) but He refused to drink that.  Remember during communion He said He would not drink wine again until He was with them in Heaven.  The NIV says wine vinegar but vinegar has become a different drink because of the continued fermenting action.  In John it was offered to Him on a hyssop stalk.  Hyssop in the Old Testament deals with cleansing and has several places where this is mentioned. (A new Bible study in the making.)  So this fits in with the “types” being Crucifix from Misson Espiritu in Goliad,TXfulfilled.

My own curiosity drove this experiment.  It seems that hyssop stalks are about two feet long and if the soldier was about five foot eight inches tall that would have put Jesus’ head about eight feet in the air (about standard room height).  We always tend to make our crosses really big, I was just curious.

Think about the power in the statement “knowing that all was now completed.”  The disciples were picked and trained, parables had been taught, miracles and healings had been accomplished, and every type and shadow and prophecy had been fulfilled.  The last thing left to do on this Friday was to ask for a drink and leave.

Matthew 27: 17 – 75, Mark 15:1- 47, Luke 22:66 -23:56, John 18:28 – 19:42

Fruit and Nuts – Grapes + Recabites

Grapes, raisins, vines/branches, and wine

When it comes to symbolism what better icon is there than the grape plant for representing the Church of Jesus?  Jesus used it in parables, it is part of our communion and it is referred to throughout Scriptures. Now as with most symbols you can attach several meanings to grapes and its vines; I am going to look at a few and let God reveal others to you.

  1. Part of Communion – The wine is to represent the Blood of Jesus. * Sorry, I did not say grape juice! I do go to a church that uses grape juice but ancient Israel would have had to ferment it in order to keep it. Several churches I know use grape juice so as to not have weaker Christians stumble and I am good with that!* But wine is a “living drink” having come from many individual grapes all put together and joined by yeast (it does not have to symbolize sin) to become something new. Yeast in Luke 13:21 is used as a picture of the Kingdom of God.
  2. Jesus refers to Himself, as the Vine and we, the Church, are the branches. John 15:5
  3. Nazirites – People separated to God for a season could not eat or drink any part of the grape plant while under the vow. (Look in Numbers 6 and remember that Samson was a Nazirite and so was John the Baptist, probably.) Interesting type and shadow, that people in the Old Testament who choose to get close to God had to give up grapes, a symbol for the church.
  4. Medicine – In 1 Timothy 5:23 Paul urges Timothy to use a little wine because of his stomach; the alcohol can kill germs.
  5. The vine in Judges 9: 12+13 – refuses to rule over other plants so that it can do its job. I did not find any reference to a “vine” that was not grape.
  6. Misuse of wine – I guess the one that stands out is Noah getting drunk after the Flood. Proverbs 20: 1- “Wine is a mocker” (NIV) speaks for its self or Proverbs 23:29-35, “When will I awake so I can get another drink.”
  7. Raisins – They are grapes with most of the water (Holy Spirit) taken out of them but they still can revive a weak individual. Ex. 1 Samuel 30:12

However, you view wine drinking is between you and Jesus but the grape plant and its fruit are and always will be part of Church symbolism.

The picture of the grapevine is from

Recabites (NIV) or Rechabites (KJV)

First, my apology to anyone who is not familiar with American slang; the word “nut” can carry several meanings and for this blog, it is someone who is crazy (at least according to worldly standards).

The main story of the Recab family is found in Jeremiah 35. Here the prophet Jeremiah is instructed by God to have all of the men of the family come to the Temple and serve them wine. No pressure right, THE MAN of God invites you to church and expects you to join in “the boys night out” he is throwing. They refuse and state that they don’t drink because of a long-standing family tradition. (Drinking alcohol is not the point but it could be; I know it is a very volatile topic. I don’t drink because it is one thing that God delivered me from when I got saved. I have found out through the years that it is not me who is uncomfortable with not drinking but the drinkers around me.) They also state another family tradition of not owning houses or planting fields. Now all of this combined for some people would qualify them as “NUTS”, no “American Dream” of your own house; then to top all of that off they tell the man of God, NO.

So who were these Recabites who would say no when put into such a pressure situation? According to 1 Chronicles 2:55 they are one of the family groups that came from Caleb, the faithful spy in the Exodus story. Now there are several “Recabs” in the Bible and not all of them are from Caleb and when you read verse 55 you may recognize Kenites and again there are several groups with this name that do not seem to be related. But more specifically they may have come from the Jehonadab who sided with Jehu in 2 Kings 10 (it makes you wonder if they are part of the 7000 in 1 Kings 19) to get rid of Ahab and the prophets of Baal. So taking a stand and following God was a long time family tradition for the Recabites.  And in Jeremiah 35:19 God honors them because they honored the instructions of their ancestors. With a promise to always have a family member who serves God!

The picture of the Recabites is from

Paths and Ways

Jesus is the Path – no that’s not right, Jesus is the Way!

In modern English we think of a “way” and a “path” as being almost the same thing and translators frequently interchange the words but there is a difference in meanings in Hebrew.  In the Greek the ideas are similar but I have always thought that many New Testament writers just express Hebrew thoughts with Greek words. (I will be using NIV scriptures and be referencing my KJV Strong’s Concordance with Vine’s Dictionary)

Orach is the main word used for both path and way it means well-trodden road, caravan route. The word derek (synonymously parallels orach) means a road or course of life, mode of action. Other words for path are: nethibah – to tramp, a beaten path, magalah – a track (circle), rampart.  I like the thought with magalah in Psalm 23:3, that path of righteousness that may lead into the dark valley has the image of a running track that has walls on its side – your protected!

Back to orach and derek.  The best way I figured out how to explain this is if you ask some one where a city in your area is they may point and say it is that way; you now have the general idea where it is. Now if you ask the same person how to get there they may give you a specific path, like take Road 123 and turn left at Route 66. Then some one says no take Road 456 and then a right on Road 21. So you study a map and you find out both of those “paths” will take you to that town. As a kid growing up in Boy Scouts we would go “that way” using a compass and a topographic map; if there was a path great if not we made our own.

Proverbs 3:17 “Her (wisdom) ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. (NIV)” Like many Proverbs this one uses way and path together and I think it illustrates the point well. As long as you are going the right direction the actual road will be good.

Jesus is the Way! I won’t waver on that idea but I know that within Him each of us has our own path.  Our paths may cross similar places in the Way and may even join for a season but it is still my path. For things you can do on a path see “Follow Me.”

Power in The Name

I know you have heard it, someone gets mad and says, “Jesus Christ!” or to be funny as you walk into the room you hear “O Lord.”  I am sure that these get to you, so try these comebacks and maybe you can witness at the same time.  For the loud exclamation of “Jesus Christ” bounce back a “where!”  I have often thanked my students and others who release an “O Lord” when I walk into the room with, “I really look like Jesus” or “See they think I am God.”

These are quaint comebacks but the underlying thought is interesting. People are using the name of Jesus by calling on His name.  Now I will grant that many times it is not edifying, but they are unconsciously acknowledging Jesus as a power.

They could be using any name, like their favorite singer or band if they just wanted to make a flashy statement.  Could you image someone getting mad and blurting out, “O bomb ma!” But as you know they don’t.

I have heard that there is a God-shaped hole in every person, maybe people using/misusing His name is an attempt to work at that void.