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Shoreshim (Roots)


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Out of Ashes Ministries was birthed out of lives that were broken and desperate for truth. Our hearts are first to know and love our King. We desire to be pleasing to Him. Only then can we be of eternal benefit to the Kingdom and the world. Out of your brokenness, God will bring life!

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This Ain’t That #5

Last week we established that good works are pretty important to God. But that leaves a huge, gaping question to consider. What exactly is good? I mean, we have a societal norm of how good is defined, we have family definitions of good, and we have our own personal peace with what we consider good. As I said before, some of what we talk about in this series is going to seem like a mental gymnastic as we renew our minds and change long-held mindsets to mold to Messiah’s way of thinking. So it helps me to think of it like this…have you ever noticed that Scripture never refers to us as the “Adults of God”?   We are consistently called the “Children of God”. Have you ever wondered why that is? Maybe it’s because no matter how old or mature in the faith we are, He is so much bigger than anything we can fathom that it takes a loooooong time and ALOT of work with Him for us to begin to think, and therefore act, like He does.

You can see this play out with children you’re around everyday. Have your children ever done something for you that they were so proud of but in reality, it wasn’t done quite like you would’ve liked it? Maybe they’ve “cleaned” their room, when really all they’ve done is cleared a path from the door to the bed? But to them they’ve accomplished a huge milestone. Or maybe they’ve cooked you something that isn’t really edible, but they’re SO proud that you eat it with a smile because they’re you’re children. If you were paying for that same meal in a restaurant, you’d likely send it back. Why? Because one meal is cooked by your children, who don’t yet fully comprehend how to put ingredients together, manage temperature, cooking times, etc. and the other is prepared by an adult, someone who purportedly is trained and has experience in providing quality meals that people enjoy. Now understand this…There is a difference in the one doing the work, but there’s also a different expectation from the one receiving the work. As adults, we expect more from adults than we do from children. How do children grow up to be adults? Well it’s our responsibility to train them. Its what we do as parents to teach them what cleanliness is and how to mix ingredients and prepare a meal that’s fitting. See, It is our role as parents and adults to define terms for our children. We set the standard in our children’ s lives for what “good” is. And this is really not at all about perfection, but teaching them to live and act in ways that not only benefit them, but that uphold our values and our reputations. When we think about our relationship with God in this way, I think it’s easy to see why we’re referred to as children…because, whether we’re 20  or  60, that’s exactly what we are.

Now the cool thing about how God has set this whole thing up is that there are physical/spiritual parallels for everything in life. So it stands to reason that if we truly are children of God, then we have to look to Him to define what is good because…we’re children. And even to a greater degree, we not only don’t know what God expects, but because we have been under the influence of sin for so long, we actually have the opposite understandings of much of how and what God thinks about things. So again, there’s much work to be done…hence this series.

So let’s start to look at how Abba defines good. Psalm 37:27 says, Turn away from evil, and do good; And dwell forever. Well that seems pretty easy. We can easily define “evil”, right? We all know evil…mass murder, child molestation, terrorism, Hitler…just to name a few. So if we aren’t lumped into one of those classes of evil, we’re good, right? Well not so fast.  Psalm 51:3-4 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You alone, have I sinned, And done evil in Your eyes; That You might be proven right in Your words; Be clear when You judge. You see, when we think of evil, our leaning is to think of those kinds of atrocities we’ve witnessed all too often. But evil, from a Scriptural perspective, is anything that is against or contradicts God’s holy nature and His commands. Evil is essentially a lack of goodness. Here, Psalm 51 links evil with transgression, or sin. 1 John 3 tells us that sin is lawlessness. What law? The speed limit? The Norwegian Constitution? Leviticus 24:22- You are to have one right-ruling, or law, for the stranger and for the native, for I am ???? your Elohim.’ ” For the sake of time, we won’t read all of Psalm 119, but take a minute to read through it sometime. David is pouring out his heart in love for God’s commandments. So what is good? God’s law is good. Now I know that may be different than what you were taught. But God’s law, or, the Torah, is His instructions for living in His house…the kingdom. Remember the illustration we gave of adopting a child? Well here’s where it really comes together. See, we are adopted into His family but we don’t know how to act like He wants us to…we weren’t raised that way. We are legally adopted, but many are not finding the fulfillment that comes with being a child of the King because we haven’t learned how to do things His way. You know, you’ve heard your parents say, “if you’re going to live in my house, you’re going to have to live by my rules”. Even scarier is when you say the same thing, in the same voice, to your own kids, right? But that’s really how simple this is.

I know we’ve been taught that the law is some evil bondage, but the truth is that God’s Torah is His instructions for His creation. God loved us so much that He gave us step by step guidance for how to live this life. That doesn’t sound like bondage to me…it sounds like an incredible gift! from our Creator In His Torah, we find everything from how to eat, how to have fulfilling relationships, to how to worship Him in the ways He desires to be worshipped. The Torah is so much deeper and more beautiful than we’ve ever imagined. Even more beautiful is that we have a Messiah that showed us how to live out the Father’s instructions perfectly as He fulfilled them…or brought fulness to them. Now we, as humans, have a tendency to twist the things of God…it’s almost inherent in our nature. And we can become so militant and belligerent about the physical commandments that we forget altogether about the heart and intent of what Abba is trying to communicate to us through them. That is called religion. And THIS AIN’T THAT. Should we do our best to keep the physical commandments? Absolutely! Is it just enough for your kids to understand WHY they need to clean their room? Or do you expect them to actually keep it clean? So yes, we should keep the physical commandments and do our very best to do so as we follow Yeshua. But in keeping the sabbath, the feasts, and eating kosher, we can not forget that all of these things are teaching us about how God wants to be loved. The commandments are not a checklist that, if we do them correctly, we can present them to God and get a gold star. And that’s not what it’s about. If that’s the way we treat them, we’ve changed one set of religious rules for another…and THIS AIN’T THAT. As we’re “cleaning our rooms” we should be learning more about the heart and holiness of God.

There’s a big misconception out there that the Old Testament was all about works but the New Testament is all about the heart. The Old Testament was all about circumcision of the flesh, but the New Testament is all about the circumcision of the heart. That’s actually a huge lie. All over the Old Testament, we see that there were always two circumcisions…a circumcision of the flesh and a corresponding circumcision of the heart. See, this is God’s way. Like any good parent, He gives us physical directions in order to teach a spiritual concept. The commandments are also reminders of who we are and Who’s we are. Sounds a lot like the parables Yeshua taught, doesn’t it? Where did He get that from? The Father…it’s always been His way of transmitting spiritual understanding into the physical world.

So I hope that if you’re against the idea that Christians have any obligation to follow Torah that this will provoke some thought and study of God’s Word. If you’re new to learning Torah, I hope this helps you approach the commandments without becoming so overwhelmed. And if you’ve been studying and following Torah for some time, I pray this brings some balance to your walk and breathes new life into your relationship with the Creator. Wherever you find yourself, welcome to the journey…I pray your life will never be the same.


This Ain’t That #4

Last week we began thinking about the traditionally held view that faith & works contradict or oppose each other. We looked at several passages that seem, on the surface, to support this understanding, and it’s where we get those doctrines from, but as we read those passages in context, we see that the works that were really being rebuked were not righteous acts at all, but some perversion of God’s commands. We hopefully have seen that works are not at all in opposition to faith. They’re only in opposition to our “faith” if what we do contradicts what we say we believe.

In this week’s video, big question is: Just how important are works to God? And try not to think of this as to whether it’s a salvation issue or not. Is it? Well, I can only say that from what I understand of Scripture, Yeshua, and the patriarchs is that they weren’t really concerned about an eternal salvation like we are today, in other words, they weren’t concerned about just “making it in.” but HOW they made it in. They believed in and even hoped in a Messianic Kingdom and because of that they put their full energy into being obedient and honoring God in their present lives, in the ways they lived. With us today, we want to make everything a salvation issue. And if it’s not a salvation issue, we toss it to the side as being ancillary to our lives. I mean, just how shallow are we trying to be here? We are given salvation through Yeshua. I assume that if you’re watching this video, you have already dedicated your allegiance to God and believed on Yeshua as Messiah. That’s a given. I assume you’re already in the family. So let’s move on from this being about salvation and let’s see what the Word bears out and see truth for what it really is.

Think about it like this. If I, who already have my own biological children, were to adopt a child who was not raised the way I’ve raised my children. And some of you watching this have experienced this. He/She would bring a different set of standards, behaviors, ways of thinking into our home. They could be LEGALLY adopted as mine. He’s mine. He’s in. But if they don’t begin to learn how to live in my house, under my rules, learn how to do life the way we do, have relationship with me like my own kids do, if they don’t integrate, or, assimilate into our family, WILL they ever enjoy all of the benefits of being adopted? They can be mine, yet never fully enjoy what it means to be mine.

As you know, Hebrews 11 is all about the “Heroes of Faith”. We hold such admiration for those mentioned in Hebrews 11 and we are all in awe of their stories. And while we tend to focus on the belief part of their faith, we rarely focus, I mean really focus, as in with a desire to imitate, on the works part of their faith. In the opening of Hebrews 11, verses 1-2, the writer of Hebrews says, “And belief (faith) is the substance of what is expected (hoped for), the proof (evidence) of what is not seen. For by this the elders obtained witness.” This entire chapter is about how the elders, the heroes of our faith, materialized by their lifestyles what they understood as the promised kingdom of God. By belief, Abel offered. By belief, Noah built. By belief, Abraham obeyed and left his home land…throughout the whole chapter. Their hopes, their belief was manifested in works. Because they believed, they ACTED. As verse 1 says, faith is substance & evidence. Those are two very physical, tangible describers. Substance and evidence. They are physical proof of something unknown or unseen. I bring out this point again because we have made living for God and the things of God so ethereal and mystical and magical that it has actually damaged the people of God and the body. I mean, of course there’s a spiritual side to faith. But when we make everything so mentally and emotionally or, “spiritually” subjective, then everything loses its meaning and we begin to actually pervert the things of God instead of honoring Him by His ways, because each person is molding God after their own desires, not willing to be molded to the truth of God’s word instead.

This is exactly what James tells us. I love James because he’s so matter of fact. If you ever want to be slapped around, just read the book of James. In chapter 2 he says, “So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead. But someone might say, “You have belief, and I have works.” Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works. In other words, what I believe will be shown in my physical actions. Interestingly enough, James goes on to talk about Abraham who we just referred to in Hebrews 11… v 21…Was not Ab?raham our father declared right by works when he offered Yitsh?aq his son on the altar? Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected? And the Scripture was filled which says, “Ab?raham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.” You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.” Hmmm…so Abraham was not called Elohim’s friend, nor was he declared righteous because of what he understood in his head or even the words that he proclaimed out of his mouth. He was called the friend of God and counted righteous because of works. Let that sink in a little. In a religious culture where “faith” is all about mental ascent, these often read scriptures should be read again because frankly, guys, we’ve missed it.

See the biblical understanding of faith is all about action. It works like this: I believe so much, I’m so confident, so convinced, so trusting in what I believe, that I act in accordance with that belief. I have no choice. To not act at all, or act in a way contrary to what I say I believe is NOT faith at all. It’s schizophrenic at best. Do you see how this contradicts what is often taught using passages like Isaiah that we talked about last week? Israel’s “acts of righteousness” were not for a lack actions, but actions that were contrary to what they supposedly believed and spoke. Righteousness comes down to what we do and that lining up with the Truth of Scripture. Not what we believe and not what we say. And believe me, I understand that we can genuinely believe certain doctrines and dogmas. And when we speak about those beliefs, we sincerely want to believe what we say. Please understand that I’m in no way questioning anyone’s sincerity. I don’t know your heart but I chose to believe the best about everyone’s intentions. You know, a phrase I hear all the time is “Well, God knows my heart”. As a matter of fact, I used to say this all the time. Ever notice when we say that? Isn’t it usually when we’ve messed up? Or when we know we should do one thing thats what God expects, but we decide to do another? Really it’s often a justification to simply do what we want or excuse an intentional sin. “Well, I may have messed up but God knows my heart”. 

The truth is that God indeed does know our hearts. Yeremiyahu (Jeremiah) tells us in chapter 17 that ““The heart is crooked above all, and desperately sick – who shall know it? “I, ????, search the heart, I try the kidneys, or innermost parts, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”  And what does a wicked heart produce? “And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are these: adultery, whoring, uncleanness, indecency, idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like – of which I forewarn you, even as I also said before, that those who practice such as these shall not inherit the reign of Elohim.” Galatiyim (Galatians) 5:19-21. What are our works showing evidence of? The amazing thing about how God designed us is that we don’t need for someone else to tell us how we’re doing, we have a mirror in our own lives that we face everyday called our actions, our behavior, our works.

Think about this: if Abraham would’ve received God’s promise and the challenge to leave his home and follow God, but just said, nah, that’s cool, I have the promise, you can bless me here, what would’ve been the outcome? If Abraham hadn’t proved his belief by his actions, would he be considered the “father of the faith”? So how important are works to God? Well if it’s how Abraham was reckoned righteous and attained friendship status with God, if its how the elders, the heroes of faith, attained their witness, if it’s how we are rewarded, according to our works, then it seems to be pretty significant, much more significant than we’ve been led to believe.  Now I know this video may have been a little harder than what you expected. But sorry not sorry. Because here’s the deal…is loving each other just encouraging us to stay in our own little comfort zones…comfort zones that will inevitably lead to our own destruction? That’s not Biblical love at all…heck, that’s not even human love. We love one another by spurring each other on to good works…works that are pleasing to the Father and draw us closer to Him…works that perfect our beliefs. So now that we’ve seen how important works are to God, next week, we are going to start looking at “What exactly are these works?” How do we defined which works are good? What is “good”? So thanks for joining us on the journey…I pray your life will never be the same.


This Ain’t That #3

In this post in our “This Ain’t That” series, I want to talk about how faith is not what most of us think and it’s not what most of us have been told to believe it was. There has been a long-standing debate over faith vs works. The sad thing is that we see it as FAITH…versus…WORKS. Do the two really work in opposition to each other? I want to propose that if they do, if faith and works are really in direct opposition to one another, it would’ve been news to the disciples of Yeshua, Paul, and even Yeshua Himself.

As I said in our last video, I grew up in traditional evangelical Christianity, so that’s my reference point and in that traditional understanding, I can’t tell you how many sermons, Sunday school lessons, devotionals I sat through that pounded into my head the idea that “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags”. I had become so convinced that I could do absolutely nothing to ever please God that I eventually quit trying. Oh, I still went to church faithfully. Heck, I even started teaching and preaching. I even went so far as to make my entire life about teaching other people about God. But I always struggled with this idea that not even my most earnest, humble, heart-felt desire to please God and do things that He says are pleasing, would please Him. For instance, Yeshua Himself commanded us to care for the widows and orphans, those downtrodden and less fortunate than us. So if we do those things, does that not please the Father? We are commanded also to love God above all and to love our neighbors as ourselves…does that not please God? The 10 commandments…when we do our best to live out the “Big 10”, does God not look upon that with pleasure?

There seems to be a disconnect here somewhere. Christendom is filled with writings telling us that all we have to do is put our “faith” in the finished work of Christ on the cross. That when God sees us in our despicable, rotten, sinful state, He looks at us through Yeshua’s righteousness and we are able to commune with Him because of Christ’s sacrifice. So the big question is, what does that mean? I mean, tangibly, what does that mean. Because I don’t know about you, but for me, there is a real life out here that I have to live. One with challenges, opportunities, relationships, careers and families. Is all that we need to please God “faith”? Well, yes, that’s certainly the basis and the foundation. But what is faith? Thousands, maybe millions, of people have defined faith. Just do a Google search for “what is faith” and you could literally spend the next 2 weeks reading opinions and attempts at defining it. I’ve done this and have read for days and days, people’s outlook on what faith is and honestly, very little of what I’ve read seems to reconnect this disconnect.

In Deuteronomy 32. Verse 20 says, “And He said, ‘I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very forward generation, children in whom there is no faith”. Wow, sounds pretty harsh on the Israelites, doesn’t it? Well, let’s look at it like this. Israel had been delivered from Egypt, which is a type and shadow of the greater Exodus that Messiah would provide as He delivered us from slavery to sin. So the Israelites were “saved”, delivered…they had become the nation and people of God that He chose to be His nation of priests to the entire world. So why was He so peeved at the nation? Let’s read up just a few verses. Verse 16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. 18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. 19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. 20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. So apparently Israel had committed some offenses that got God really ticked. But they were already delivered, remember? The point is that their actions AFTER having the FAITH to follow God out of Egypt and leave their slavery was very important to God, both their obedience and their disobedience.

Let’s fast forward to Isaiah 64. Starting in verse 5You shall meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. See, You were wroth when we sinned in them a long time. And should we be saved? 6And all of us have become as one unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as soiled rags. And all of us fade like a leaf, and our crookednesses, like the wind, have taken us away. 7And there is no one who calls on Your Name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our crookednesses. 8And now, O ????, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You our potter. And we are all the work of Your hand. 9Do not be wroth, O ????, nor remember crookedness forever. See, please look, all of us are Your people!

Here we have the famous, or infamous, verse about our righteousness being as filthy rags. The term “filthy rags” is really interesting. Most English translations clean it up to make it less offensive. The word filthy is a translation of the Hebrew word iddah, which literally means “the bodily fluids from a woman’s menstrual cycle.” The word rags is a translation of begged, meaning “a rag or garment.” So, these “righteous acts” are considered by God as repugnant as a soiled feminine hygiene product. Sorry if that disgusts you, but it’s Scripture—so blame Isaiah. Isaiah is drawing a pretty vivid picture of our “righteousness acts” here. But, there’s more to the story.

What righteous acts was Isaiah referring to? Well, in chapter 42, we see that they were indeed worshipping, but they had turned their backs on Him by worshipping false gods, in chapter 65, they were making sacrifices and burning incense…seems like they were doing as God instructed…but they were sacrificing on strange altars. Isaiah had even called Jerusalem a harlot and compared it to Sodom in chapter 3. See they were doing all the things that God had commanded, but they had twisted them and were being haphazard with them. Sounds a lot like the Golden Calf doesn’t it? So God did not esteem their “righteous acts” as anything but “polluted garments” or “bloody tampons” to use today’s vernacular. Their falling away from walking out the Torah of God as He commanded it, had rendered their righteous works totally unclean.

Now we can see that the “righteousness” that is called filthy rags is not actual righteousness. Isaiah may have been imploring the use of a little sarcasm here. Or, he meant that what Israel really was convinced was righteousness was actually way off from what God intended. It was a perversion and twisting of His perfect Torah. But they were still the people of God and in covenant with Him. So does God care what we do after we’re “saved”? Again, if He doesn’t, it would’ve been news to Isaiah and those who heard his words.

Ephesians 2 tells us that by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim, it is not by works, so that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah ????? unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. See, we were delivered from the law of sin and death to be doers of good works. Just as Israel was delivered from Egypt not by their own power, we are not delivered by our own power. But does that mean we’re off the hook to perform righteous acts after our deliverance? Peter encourages us to ADD TO YOUR FAITH. That constitutes actions on our part.

So if you’re understanding of faith is simply an agreeing with the facts of the gospel of Messiah, then guys, this ain’t that. It’s not the fulness of faith. Faith is believing, but it’s believing to the point that it causes us to act in accordance with what we believe (good works). Faith only in the head is not faith at all. James tells us that he shows his faith BY what he DOES. So it’s very important that we rid ourselves of the mindset that we can never do anything to please God and thereby we don’t even try to attain righteousness. Simply understanding gets us nowhere. We are called, even commanded to ACT. That’s true faith. And what do our actions tell us? They tell us unequivocally what we believe and whether what we say we believe and what we actually believe are 2 different things or not. Faith and works are only opposed if they contradict each other. And for too many believers, this is the case. Faith and works are a beautiful choreography of our new lives in Messiah.

If you’ve heard over and over that you can never please God by what you do and that even your best tries at holiness are offensive to Christ’s’ sacrifice, and maybe you’ve given up on working on your faith and you find yourself frustrated and empty thinking there must be more to this life, let these words resound in your mind…THIS AIN’T THAT. It’s time for us to correct this mindset and start being God’s people who God is pleased with.

So welcome to the journey, I pray your life will never be the same.