The Hand of YHWH ><>

In 1996 I had the opportunity to take my family on a tour of Italy. One of the most fascinating sites was the Sistine Chapel. On the ceiling was painted the Biblical scene entitled: “The Creation of Adam”. {Michelangelo – circa 1511-1512 A.D.}. This scene is one of the most replicated paintings in history.
It depicts the ‘hand’ of GOD reaching down from heaven. The hand of Adam is reaching up towards the ‘hand’ of GOD. The hands are similar symbolizing the fact that humans are made in the “image” of GOD {Genesis 1:26,27}. The hands do not touch. To me this offers a challenging question to mankind. Do we believe in GOD? Do we believe that GOD is ‘reaching’ out to have a relationship with us? And most critically, will we reach up and take hold of the hand of our CREATOR?
My contention and belief is that GOD is our CREATOR, REDEEMER and SUSTAINER. HE emphatically desires for us to seek and develop a personal relationship with HIM. Exodus 33:11 states, “Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” GOD desires us to be intimately connected with HIM. HE desired a relationship with us so much that HE was willing to put HIS life on the cross to make that a possibility.
We can only realize this type of relationship with GOD if we come to HIM through the salvation provided for us by HIS SON – JESUS CHRIST. We can willingly reach up and take hold of the hand of GOD and allow HIM to lead us into life that will invite HIS guidance and blessing. As the Prophet Isaiah writes, “And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden , like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” {Isaiah 58:11}
CHRISTian Counseling Services is an extension of the ‘reaching hand’ depicted in “The Creation of Adam”. We strive to be a place of refuge for anyone who needs encouragement and strength to face the challenges of their lives. Thank you for visiting our website and if we can be of service please call. We prayerfully look forward to hearing from you. Larry ><>

“Happy New Year – 2016”

Trials & Tribulations – did you have any of these in 2015?? John 16:33 states: “In this life you will have trials & tribulations, but take heart I [CHRIST] have overcome the world.”

Trials & Tribulations are part of all of our lives and if we focus on them our joy will be stolen. Paul wrote to the church @ Philippi – “Rejoice in the LORD always, again I will say Rejoice….” // James wrote to believers – “Count it all joy, my brothers when you fall into trials of various kinds….”

Worry about the past steals our joy for the present. Anxiety about the future steals our time for today. “Fear not” is stated 365 times in the scriptures and is the most frequently stated command in the scriptures.
So how do we find true joy & happiness in this life? It’s by placing our faith and hope in the ONE WHO does not change. Our circumstances change daily. Trials & Tribulations ebb and flow through the fabric of our daily lives. In Hebrews 13:8 we read, “JESUS CHRIST is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Drawing close to HIM in spite of our circumstances is the Biblical formula for a truly Happy New Year…

My prayers is that each of us would get to know our CREATOR – REDEEMER & SUSTAINER even better in 2016!!!
Shalom!!! Larry ><>

Olive Oil and Light

In John 10:22 we read that JESUS was at the Temple celebrating the Feast of Dedication. That Feast on the Hebrew Calendar is also know as Hanukkah and is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights. The Feast of Dedication  generally coincides with the CHRISTmas season.
In 167 B.C. a Seleucid Greek ruler by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes IV came into Jerusalem and defiled the Temple. He slaughtered a pig on the altar and forced the Jews to eat pig flesh. If any refused, and most did, they were murdered. He then took the pig broth and cast it into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Daniel called this act the ‘abomination of desolation’. Antiochus made it illegal to worship YHWH. The Jews revolted and followed Judah ‘The Hammer’ Maccabbee to victory and regained control of the Temple. They desired to re-consecrate the Temple for worship of YHWH. There was only one canister of olive oil remaining and YHWH allowed that one canister of olive oil to burn for 8 days and the Temple was placed in operational order for the worship of YHWH.

In the Holy Place of the Temple there was only one light…the Menorah or Lampstand. The Priests were to keep Olive Oil in the Menorah constantly so the Menorah would burn brightly. 

As we think of this CHRISTmas season our thoughts turn to YESHUA bin YHWH….JESUS the SON of GOD. HE came into this darkened world as the ONE TRUE LIGHT. In fact after healing the man who was blind in John 9 JESUS declared, “I AM THE LIGHT of the world”.
The light of CHRIST shines brightly in this darkened world. The only real cure for the evil we witness on a regular basis is CHRIST. May you allow CHRIST to illuminate your life and guide you on the path that is pleasing to HIM.
May the “LIGHT of the World” be Your personal light. If You do not know CHRIST as Your SAVIOR this would be a perfect time to accept the greatest “GIFT” that has ever been given. Your CREATOR loved You so much that HE paid the price on the cross to become Your REDEEMER……

We all @ CHRISTian Counseling Services pray that You and Your families have a very Merry & Meaningful CHRISTmas!!!

Shalom!!!  Larry ><>


Gethsemane – “Olive Press”

In June 2014 I traveled to Israel. We stopped to see the original site of Nazareth. Nazareth during the time of JESUS processed olives. The pressing of olives was a 3-part process. The 1st pressing produced olive oil that would be consecrated for ‘holy’ use such as keeping the Menorah in the Holy Place in the Temple burning. The 2nd pressing would be utilized for food. The 3rd pressing would then be used for heating purposes.
CHRIST and HIS disciples spent a considerable amount of time on the Mt. of Olives on the eastern side of Jerusalem. One particular area that was prominent on the Mt. of Olives was ‘Gethsemane’ which means ‘oil press’ or ‘olive press’. The night of HIS arrest our LORD was going to spend time with HIS disciples sharing HIS final Passover meal with them. After singing a hymn, Psalm 118, they exited Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley and came to Gethsemane.
JESUS was ‘pressed’ into intense prayer that night. Interestingly HE prayed on 3 separate occasions:
1st Prayer “Press” – “Going a little farther, HE fell with HIS face to the ground and prayed, “MY FATHER, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from ME, yet not as I will, but as YOU will.” {Mt. 26:39}
2nd Prayer “Press” – “HE went away a second time and prayed, ‘MY FATHER, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may YOUR will be done.” {Mt. 26:42}
3rd Prayer “Press” – “So HE left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.” {Mt. 26:44}

Dr. Luke records: “FATHER, if YOU are willing, take this cup from ME, yet not MY will, but YOURS be done. An angel from heaven appeared to HIM and strengthened HIM. And being in anguish, HE prayed more earnestly, and HIS sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” {Luke 22:42-44} Hematidrosis is medical condition whereby perspiration is mingled with blood in severe cases of extreme anguish {NIV Notation}. From a human standpoint CHRIST was severely ‘pressed’ as he faced the brutal reality of the crucifixion. Bearing the burden of paying the penalty for sin caused HIM unbelievable anguish. HE would not be deterred…HE loved us too much to abandon the plan that was agreed upon. HE is our CREATOR – REDEEMER – SUSTAINER. HE knew what it was like to have turmoil in HIS life and can identify with us fully when we experience trials and tribulations.

The three different purposes for pressing the olive are symbolic in the life of our LORD:
HE is holy and HIS desire for us is to be holy {Lev. 19:2; I Peter 1:16}

HE is ‘the Bread of Life” {John 6:35}

HIS PRESENCE & HIS word provides ‘warmth’ for our lives {Luke 24:32}….HIS PRESENCE in our lives is the ultimate source of comfort.

Shalom!!! Larry ><>

The Olive Branch – Symbol of Peace

The Olive Branch is internationally recognized as a symbol for peace.  That concept originated in the Bible in Genesis 8:11 – “And the dove came back to him [Noah] in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked Olive leaf. So Noah knew the waters had subsided from the earth.”

Mankind had distanced himself from his CREATOR due to sinful choices.  The behavior of man became filled with evil and violence.  The attitude of mankind was controlled by arrogance and pride.  GOD decided upon a course of redemption and restoration and that required a cleansing of planet earth.  Thankfully a man by the name of Noah was righteous in the sight of GOD and GOD decided to bring salvation to humanity through Noah.  Noah was instructed by GOD to build a huge floating vessel, an ark, which was 450′ long X 75′ wide X 45′ in height. GOD informed Noah that HE was going to flood the earth and start over.  Noah believed GOD and he and his family worked on the ark for 100 years.  GOD then gave the final altar call and only 8 human beings decided to enter the safety of the ark – placing their faith in the provision of GOD.

This was a terrific step of faith by Noah as up to this time it had not even rained.  The earth was evidently like a giant terrarium and a mist provided the hydration needs for life on earth [Gen. 2:6]. There were ‘waters above’ the earth and ‘waters below’ on the earth. The atmosphere of earth was no doubt much thicker prior to the universal deluge. When Noah and his family entered the ark, GOD closed the door. GOD then sent forth the waters of judgment. The thick vapor canopy of the ‘waters above’ the earth dissipated and the ‘waters below’ on the earth exceeded their boundaries. The waters continued to rise and prevail on the earth for 150 days.  Noah and his family were on the ark for 371 days until the waters receded and the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat.  Noah knew it was safe to leave the ark and begin replenishing the earth when the dove brought back the Olive leaf.

Rabbi’s teach that the Olive leaf was plucked by the dove from an Olive tree on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is Mt. Moriah. Mt. Moriah is where our LORD gave HIS life as the ultimate sacrifice to make peace with our LORD.

The Olive Branch is incorporated into the logo of Christian Counseling Services. The Olive branch demonstrates the desire of all of us who provide services at Christian Counseling Services – we want the folks who GOD sends our way to Find Peace in Difficult Situations.   Shalom!!!  Larry ><>