Tolerance vs. Compassion

     These are turbulent times we live in, folks. The social and political climate of the world is changing rapidly. As society becomes more progressive, we are encouraged to be more tolerant. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that ideal, and I genuinely believe people have the best of intentions with this message. The problem is that I’m afraid those of us in the Body of Messiah have taken the positive aspects of tolerance and spun it to our destruction. So, I have a couple of questions. If you truly love someone, do you allow them to behave in a way or put themselves in a situation that would ultimately harm them? Or, would you correct them out of love and concern for their well-being and prosperity? What I’m trying to say is that there is a HUGE difference between tolerance and compassion. Now, I do want to be crystal clear, so let me tell you what this is not. The word “tolerance” is pretty loaded, but I’m not implying that we should weaponize Scripture to be hateful in any way toward people who do not believe in God or the Bible, or maybe even more importantly, toward people who don’t walk exactly as we walk. See, that’s the irony, tolerance can easily become a vehicle for hatefulness. I’m speaking specifically to and for people who believe in the God of Israel, and for community, for people living life together. For people who know each other well and want what’s best for each other.

     Now that that’s out of the way, let’s examine these terms more closely. I like the idea of the “law of first mention,” therefore, I’ll be looking at the Hebrew here. Tolerance refers to the ability or willingness to accept something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. The Hebrew word is “sovlanut” (סוֹבלָנוּת/sohv-lah-noot), and is not found in Scripture, not even once. That in and of itself should tell us something. On the other hand, to be compassionate means to have concern, sympathy, mercy, or even pity for the suffering and misfortune of others. There are two Hebrew words most commonly used for compassion: “chamal” (חָמַל/khaw-mal/H2550) and “racham” (רָחַם/raw-kham/H7355). See Exodus 2:6 for the former, Deuteronomy 13:17 for the latter. Although these two words, tolerance and compassion, are often used interchangeably, can you see the difference?

     Because of Western society’s “leap forward,” an inaccurate profile of Yeshua has taken shape. Today, the Messiah is portrayed as a mild and meek martyr who would never do anything to upset anyone under any circumstances, no matter what, even if He disagreed with them. His words, actions, and teachings have been misconstrued in order to be more palatable. The truth is that Yeshua was and is not tolerant. “Huh? Did he really just say that?” Yes, I did, He was not tolerant. He was, however, compassionate. Please, bear with me, and let me explain. Opposed to the traits I already mentioned, Yeshua was not afraid to “step on toes” and make others uncomfortable to teach a lesson. He himself said, “I and the Father are one,” so is it so hard to believe that Yeshua showed His love like that of a father, or more specifically, the Father? When I mess up, my dad is often the first to correct me and put me back on track, even if it requires a bit of a “kick to the rear end,” so to speak. My father does this because he wants what is best for me, he wants me to succeed. It’s done out of compassion and love. Yeshua taught in the same way. There are plenty of examples throughout the scriptures that we could look to, but I want to use one in particular that you may even know by heart. However, there’s an important verse in this passage that is often completely ignored. Please read John 8:1-11. We love to use this passage for verse 7’s sake. We love to use it to justify ourselves and perhaps the behavior of others. Context is key here, though. As incredible as that verse is, it’s just a part of an amazing lesson the Master is teaching, not the whole lesson. This one passage, amazingly, shows Yeshua being compassionate for the woman (verse 7, verses 10-11), and intolerant of her sinfulness. He doesn’t command her to “Just believe in me and love me so that you can continue to live life your way.” No! He commands her to “…go and sin no more…” That might sound kind of harsh, impossible even, depending on how you understand sin. But, do you want to talk about the wisdom, grace, and mercy of Messiah? Here’s what he effectively said: “Hey, so now that you’re ok, take this experience and learn from it to avoid another mess like this.” If that is not compassion, I don’t know what is. He wants better for her, He loves her, and He wants her to align herself with the Word and with the Father. Period. So then, to truly love someone is to not be tolerant of their destructive behavior. We need to start to understand that correcting one another and holding one another accountable with love and tact is not “judgement” or “casting stones.” I know that I’m not always so great at this thing called “life,” and not if, but when I mess up please, help me out, help me get right. I would be more offended if you didn’t, because I’ll be held accountable at some point, and I’ll be worse off by then. In fact, I would argue that tolerance and compassion cannot coexist when it comes to building relationships for the Kingdom. We can’t grow if we’re not corrected. I’ve brought up the Kingdom a couple of times now and this passage is the perfect example of our walk and our responsibility when we come to Messiah and enter the Kingdom. We were all once “adulterous,” deserving of the consequences of our actions, but Yeshua stood in the gap and taught us how to live life correctly, and gave Himself up to save us from said consequences. Once we come into the Kingdom through Him, it becomes our duty to do our best to live as He lived, to do our best to “go and sin no more,” not to be saved, but because He saved us. We need each other for that. The secular ideal of tolerance isn’t completely off. It’s just not complete. If you make a minor change in the Hebrew word for tolerance you get “savlanut,” (סַבְלָנוּת/sahv-lah-noot) a word closely related, meaning “patience.” Its root is “saval” (סָבַל/saw-vahl), meaning to bear (a burden). We have to be patient with one another, help each other with the burdens we each bear, and encourage change in each other’s lives. Patience combined with compassion trumps tolerance any day. You know, there’s a certain commandment in the Torah that Yeshua thought was pretty important, that is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” With this in mind, ask yourself: When it comes to tolerance and compassion, which requires more understanding and maturity? Which would you want for yourself and in turn for your neighbor?

     I continue to hope and pray for unity in the Kingdom, so that we can benefit one another and grow in Messiah. I hope that you understand my heart here, and that this gives you a new point of view that will benefit you, your walk, and your relationships. Feel free to reach out to me so that we can grow together! Shalom


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What are our actions doing to His reputation?

What are our actions doing to His reputation?

I have been noticing a common thread lately floating through my Facebook feed and it really has both concerned and frustrated me. I see some criticized for their generations upon generations of traditions, some are attacked for following Torah, celebrating the Feasts, worshipping on the 7th day sabbath, and  some are screamed at because of their “pagan ways”. I watch how people are mocked or told that because they aren’t a part of a certain group or belief, that they are not allowed to study and understand certain things. Now I know that this is not a new occurrence and will be something that continues on because, as human beings, we are drawn to drama, anger, and aggression. However, I hope that if anything, my post will at least cause one to pause and consider the outcome of such actions.

For the past several weeks, I have read articles, watched videos, read comments threads, etc. on Facebook of different groups of believers that seem to do nothing more than attack each other. I have seen Messianic, Hebrew Roots, Christian, and Jew all attacking one another’s beliefs, understandings, view points and I find myself asking why? What good will come of this?

I heard a wise man once say that it doesn’t do any good trying to discuss or debate with someone that is not in your own family, which is SO TRUE!!! In our home, we have certain rules that our children follow. It is our “Torah” if you will. However, we have several neighbors around us who also have rules that function in their own homes. Now, do we go to their homes and start tearing them down and reprimanding them because they are not obeying OUR rules within THEIR homes? OF course not!!! That would do nothing but cause anger, bitterness, and possibly a broken relationship. So why are we doing that very thing to the different “families” of believers?

Now, we are all passionate about our beliefs, about our faith….and that is awesome. However, when we begin tearing down others because they may not believe or see the Scriptures the same way we do, what is that saying about the Father that we serve? If we are supposed to be walking AS the Messiah walked, if we are supposed to be mirroring HaShem in our lives, then what are our actions, how we handle people and other situations saying about His reputation?

For my Torah observant family, it is NOT our job to open their eyes, to reprimand them of their ways, or annihilate them in public and on Facebook. Our job is to be studied and ready for WHEN Abba opens eyes and draws them to this walk. It is our job to answer questions patiently and gracefully when asked, not debate or attack those who do not study as we do. We are meant to be the Psalm 1 tree, planted and immovable no matter who or what steps in our way. Yes, we will get frustrated when we see Scripture used incorrectly, misquoted, or used partially to justify a certain idea or lifestyle. However, remember we must never group everything into one pot, not all are the same, and not everyone has the same intentions. There are genuine people not following Torah who are loving the Father and serving Him the best they know how….and that IS O.K. Respect them for that and when/if they come asking questions or interested in learning this walk…do not belittle their understanding or mock their beliefs. Do not talk down to them or degrade them for not knowing what you know. Walk beside them, live with them, and be the light that HaShem needs you to be.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, stop labeling and criticizing those who are studying Torah, who are following the Father’s instructions, and who are wanting to live and walk as Yeshua did. The fact of the matter is, Yeshua was/is a Jew (he didn’t convert on the cross) and the Father’s Torah/instructions are still as valid today as they were when He spoke everything into existence….period. Any Scripture that is used to “nullify” this statement is being cherry picked and/or taken out of context. That being said, if you feel that this way of following the Father is not for you, that is o.k. Your relationship with Abba is between you and Him. However, be very careful of what you say and how you treat others in that walk, because the Father COULD draw you into following Torah and you will need someone to help support and walk with you. Stop being judgmental when you hear them speaking the Hebrew language. Stop accusing them or assuming certain things about them or their beliefs before you take the time to personally ask. I have heard many comments about groups in the Torah walk, even OAM, about how we do not believe in Yeshua, that we believe one has to follow Torah for salvation, they we are speaking blasphemy, or mocking/making fun of the Holy Spirit. All of which are furthest from the truth. I understand the way we read, study, and walk out the Scripture looks different, may seem a little weird and uncomfortable. I would have thought the same over 10 years ago before I started studying. I DO also know there are what we call “Torah Terrorists”, who thrive on intentionally attacking those not living/believing as they do. However, as I challenged my Torah observant family, I also will challenge you, do not lump everyone in the same pot.  So please, before you starting making false assumptions, consider the possibility that you might have misunderstood or misheard what they were saying or teaching. Instead of coming to quick conclusions, contact them and ask them to clarify so that way you can fully understand their heart and intent. We get frustrated when people make false assumptions about us….let us know be quick to do the same about others.

So my challenge and plea to you, stop arguing with those who are not walking in “your lane”. Stop attacking, baiting, and intentionally “poking the bear” to try to prove your point. Trying to make the other person stumble in their understanding does NOTHING for you as a representative of the Father, but instead makes you look like a jerk. We hear the argument all of the time “well Yeshua corrected and scolded the Pharisees so we are just following what He did”. My answer….YES HE did….HOWEVER…HUGE difference. Yeshua debated with leadership who were “IN HIS LANE”. He didn’t argue, bait, or poke those who were not living and following the Jewish lifestyle/beliefs. He CALMLY DISCUSSED when asked, TAUGHT and ALLOWED them to draw near, LIVED it before engaging. If we are going to be HaShem’s example until the Messiah’s return, then we have GOT to stop with the drama, anger, and attacking. Stop being “triggered” by those who are not in your “family” and BE the representation that you were put here to be. Remember that if you say you are part of THE Kingdom and are a follower of the Most High, then your actions, your words, how you live are going to affect how other’s perceive who you serve.

Make sure your life is all about the sake of His reputation…..


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And the Word became flesh…

“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the One and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Like me, these are probably some of the first verses you ever learned. However, as I reflected on my life this week and asked myself the tough questions, this verse came to mind. I’ve spent countless Sunday school and “life group” meetings pondering the mysticism within this passage. Aside from being some of the most powerful (and poetic) verses in the Gospels, there is some pragmatic application here as well. Now, I’m not offering a new interpretation of this passage here, just a little perspective. What exactly is this passage about? The first chapter of John perfectly sums up the Messiah’s lifestyle; He was the Word made flesh. He was so obedient in his actions that His life was the personification of the Word. Think about that for moment, that alone doesn’t often get its due credit. It really isn’t all that mysterious, the Messiah was just that obedient. So, what exactly does that mean for us? I used to hear all the time that to be a “Christian” means to be “Christ-like.” Ok, perfect, I appreciate the sentiment, but can anyone quantify that concept in and of itself? Lord knows I used to have trouble. Consider the following: 1 John 2:5-6, “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is truly made perfect. We know that we are in Him by this— whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked.” You see, the whole reason that Yeshua lived and taught was for our instruction, and as previously stated He is the Word made flesh. Interestingly, we are instructed to walk as He walked, to live as He lived. The question I’ve been asking myself this week is this, “Are you living your life in a way in which the Word is seen to be alive?” At work, at school, at home, am I in some degree personifying the Word? Does my life show the one and only of the Father, full of grace and truth? I can postulate, theorize, and study for countless hours, but if my life is no evidence of my study, it is all in vain. That may seem really basic and foundational, but it is also something we should be constantly examining within ourselves. Every day the Father allows us to wake up, we have the opportunity to be personifications of His Word. One of the biggest lies propagated by believers is that obedience is unattainable. That, my friends, is just simply not biblical. We need to stop lying to one another, and start empowering one another; the goal is not perfection, the goal is obedience. The Messiah says in John 14, “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.” We show our love for our Savior by keeping the commandments, and in turn Yeshua manifests in us and His love is shown to our neighbors. In this way, the image of God is perfectly transmitted. Be a living example of Scripture by guarding the commandments, this is how we can be like Messiah. I hope everyone has had an amazing Passover, and I hope this week has drawn you closer to the Father. Shalom, everyone!


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Consistency of Community

Have had something on my heart for the past several weeks and was given release today to finally post this in hopes to bring peace and encouragement.

So often we have received texts, private messages, or phone calls from both sides of the spectrum…either people just now coming into this walk, this Way of Truth or those who have BEEN walking in it and have their own fellowships. The common thread is the consistency of community. 

You see, before we began living a Torah observant life, many of us were involved in the mainstream church. It was always bigger is better, doing whatever it took to make people happy, even to the extreme of exhausting the ministry to the point of dry, emptiness just to keep everyone at peace and everything “looking” first class.  However, we HAVE to remember…..THIS AIN’T THAT!!!

Sadly, we are bringing a lot of the drama that we left into this Truth and are becoming the very thing we swore we never would. People are tearing each other apart, bad mouthing, and breaking community because not everyone follows the same calendar, we may not say the Father’s name the same way, the distance is too far to travel, I’m not going back to “church”,  or its just too hard to change “my” schedule to go. The list continues to grow……and it truly breaks my heart.

Here is the deal, Abba wants us to be in UNITY….not uniformity. Are we all going to agree all of the time? Of course not, that is impossible. We are human beings. We  each have thoughts, ideas, imaginations all unique, which the Father instilled in us for a purpose. And that is AWESOME! The main thing is….what is our final goal? That is where the “walking in unity” part comes in. The desire to please our Messiah, to walk AS He walked, live AS He lived, celebrate WHAT and HOW He celebrated, living out the ENTIRE Word….THAT is our common goal. If we can agree on that, then we should be able  to come together, to respect each other’s differences, and join in community to focus on the bigger picture…His Kingdom. And how important that coming together as a community truly is!

All of us remember when the Father began speaking to us, disturbing our shalom, unveiling our eyes. Our first thoughts were “What’s wrong with me? Why isn’t everyone hearing or seeing this? Am I crazy? “ Then as we began to listen to His voice and dig deeper…we began to wonder if anyone else out there was hearing the same. Were we alone?  All we wanted was to talk to SOME ONE who understood and were walking the same path as we were.  You see, THAT is where the community part comes in and WHY it is so vital.

I understand many of us are in rural areas where there might not be a Torah community within 10-20 minutes, many in our own OAM community drive 30 minutes to 2 hours just to be with their OAM mishpacha every Shabbat. You may think that is nuts and there is no way you would travel that far just to be with others….but wait. You HAVE to remember what it was like to be a new person in this Way…the excitement when you realized you were not alone, and that you were able to come together with a community of like minded people to talk, study, worship, to LIVE life. To be able to walk into a room and see so many that are hearing the same voice as you have been, gave you so much peace.

For those that have been walking Torah for a while, your community NEEDS you. They need your smiles, your hugs, your wisdom. But as much as your community needs you, YOU need your community. You NEED to be surrounded by others, digging out and discussing the Scripture together. You need a community of people who MIGHT NOT see the Scripture just as you do, challenging you, causing you to search out what you believe and why….Iron sharpens iron. Life is not easy, this walk is NOT easy no matter how long you have been walking, and we need to be with like minded people living, supporting, and searching out Word together while having the same end goal.

You need to be surrounded by believers who are new in this way, to help guide and walk beside them as they learn, picking them up when they fall and help guide them back when they get distracted.  AT THE SAME TIME, you need to be surrounded by those who have walked longer than you, have more wisdom and experience than you, so that YOU can continue to grow and learn yourself. Someone to help guide YOU back to the path whenever you become side tracked or distracted. A healthy Torah community is where all of that takes place, as a body, as echad (as one)…growing, living, breathing, as one body.

Consistency of the community is SO vital and SO important for the Remnant that is being called out. Whether you can make it every week or once/twice a month, those new people NEED to see you there, they NEED to see your face, HEAR your story, and FEEL your understanding and encouragement. Many of them either have or will find that this walk is not easy and can be very lonely. Family, friends, church members and leadership will cast them aside and break all ties and they need to see they have a community to run to for support, wisdom, understanding, and to share similar stories and experiences with. Your participation in your Torah community is so much bigger than you and is so important for the Kingdom.

So I encourage each of you across the country, the world or maybe just in our area. If you are hearing His voice calling you out to live a Torah life, a set-apart lifestyle, find a like minded community to celebrate with. Be active, be consistent, be supportive, but most importantly….BE THERE.  Whether it is every Shabbat, every Feast, or (due to distance) just once or twice a month….be there. This is a preparation season and it is all hands on deck. We have to prepare ourselves for what the Father is doing, to be ready for what He has coming, and there is no way we will be able to do that alone!!!

Shalom my Torah family and Shavua Tov


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Have you been looking for a sign???

How many times have you cried out to the Father for direction or an answer. In the midst of a storm or chaos, we cry out to Abba, many times for Him to simply give us a sign that He is still there, that He is listening. It seems many are those dry seasons where our valleys are deep, the air is silent, we have no direction, we seek and speak to the Father however, all we hear are crickets…and all we want is for Him to make His presence known and to remind us that we are still His, that His hand is still upon us. Those times can be some of the loneliest, most frustrating, empty and anxious times that we walk through. Many of us become desperate, taking matters into our own hands…HOPING that at some point…Abba will step in and move.

All we are asking for…..is a sign….

Through studying the weekly Torah portions, recently digging into the episode of the golden calf, the Father began walking me through some of my own scenarios that are not too much unlike those of the Hebrew children. You see….for so long we have taken this golden calf incident and began throwing stones at the Hebrews. What in the world would cause them to do such a thing? How evil were they to turn their backs on God. How could they forget all that they had been delivered from and go to that extreme level of forming an idol? They must not have loved Him as much as they “proclaimed”….the list goes on.

HOWEVER, we must (as we should do will ALL scripture) put what is going on into context, into perspective. Put yourself in THEIR shoes, understand WHO is a part of the equation, understand their culture and remember their experiences. Sooo, let’s go back.

The Hebrew children along with the mixed multitude had experienced plague after plague. What we have to remember is that they had been living in Egypt for hundreds of years. Picture the generations upon generations that lived and died, the whole time becoming more and more assimilated into Egypt and the people living there. It had become a part of their every day lives. They probably formed relationships with the Egyptians. For some, their children might have played together, some may even had married the Egyptians. So with each plague that went through, they watched places they used to go, people they had befriended, their neighbors animals and lively hoods be destroyed. Yes, they knew the reason for the plagues and that they were chosen for the Father’s master plan, however, they were human, they had emotions. So I have to believe, they still felt guilt, pain, and  sorrow for their loved ones. As Noah before them, I am sure many of them pleaded for their friends and family to follow them. Traditions tell us that there were only around 20% of the Hebrews that actually left. Many studies I read said that one reason they left in such a hurry was so that the ones who DID leave were not given time to begin second guessing and end up staying behind. So you can imagine…yes they were excited and ready for freedom and a new life…yet the pain and sorrow they felt of leaving family, friends, and their comfort behind was very real.

Fast forward through the many miracles they experienced as Pharaoh chased after them, the miracle of the manna that was supplied for them to eat, the many times they ran to Mosheh (Moses) for wisdom and direction on what the next step was to be. Now they are at Mt. Sinai and after hearing the commandments, the Torah given straight from the Father, asked Mosheh to go up and speak to God for them. THEY created a mediator between them and the Father, something which God had never wanted in the first place.

So Mosheh is up on Mt. Sinai, speaking with the Father, and the people begin to grow concerned by his delayed return. One study I read was that they actually had miscalculated the days of his return and that is what caused them to act. So, they go to Aaron for help, he tells them what to do, and the golden calf incident takes place. There is SO MUCH more happening here, and MUCH more study as to WHY Aaron would follow through with this…but that is another blog.

This is where many of us have gotten all high and mighty. We would NEVER do that, we would NEVER disobey God to the point of creating an idol to worship. But wait….let’s back up a moment. Let’s back up to the very beginning and put ourselves in their shoes.

Like them…many of us have had to leave our comfort zones. We have many family and friends that may not be living for God, and no matter how much we try to warn them…they refuse to follow the Messiah. Many of us have stepped into a new season the Father has called us to, having to change lifestyles, jobs, family, friends…..causing us to shed everything that defined us as US, all stepping out in faith that the Father has something bigger for us to do and be a part of.

Then….life begins to hit. You see…we were told when you begin to follow the Father…he will answer your prayers, give you the desires of your heart, and be your everything. Which is true….HOWEVER….#1 those come with requirements of following His commands…and #2 a life walking with the Father is NOT without hardships and sacrifices. So when life begins to rain down, when the storm begins to rage, the winds begin to blow, and our feet get knocked out from under us…we begin to doubt.  The Hebrew children had experienced miracle after miracle and yet, they still struggled with faith and doubt. How many times have we gone to the Father about a problem…needed help in finances, a loved one that was sick and needed healing, farmers needed rain for their crops to grow? The Father comes our rescue, providing the much needed rain, we are blessed with extra finances by an unknown source, our sick family or friend begins to make a full recovery from their illness and we praise Him for all that he is…for a while. Then life hits again…and even though (like the Hebrews) we saw and experienced those miracles…we too begin to doubt.

That seems to be the times where our dry seasons begin, where we hear no answers and feel like our prayers are hitting a brick wall. So like the Hebrew children with the golden calf….we get desperate…needing to KNOW that someone is hearing our pleas. You see, they weren’t forming an idol to worship instead of God. They had JUST come out of Egypt and therefore, in fear and desperation, were falling back on all that they knew. They thought that Mosheh was dead and were trying to create (as only they knew how) another “mediator” to go before the Father on their behalf. Were they in the wrong? Most definitely and they were severely punished for it. However, how much have we done the same? We search and seek out the Father…we pray and get restless. So instead of having faith and believing that the Father has this….we seek out a friend, we seek out a pastor, an evangelist, a “prophet” to give us the answers we need. We spend time and money flocking to conferences in hopes of being told the direction we need to take. Now…I am not saying that seeking your pastor or a wise friend for guidance is taboo, however, when you begin to go to them first before seeking out the Father time after time, when you begin to put the “pastor’s words” above anything and everything else, not checking them with the Word, and setting him up on a pedestal…THAT is where we get off track and are acting no better than the Hebrew children.

You see….the Father knew what was happening with the Hebrew children. He KNEW they were going to get anxious, that they were going to need a “sign” to not only remind them of who they were and whose they were, but also something to remind them that He was close. So he gives Mosheh instructions to give to them tangible reassurance of His presence and our relationship with Him. The last instruction He  gave Mosheh, before He descended with the tablets was to tell Israel that they “must keep My Sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the Lord have consecrated you.”  God called the Shabbat (the seventh day Sabbath) a sign of the relationship between Himself and Israel. Because of Yeshua, we have been grafted into Israel, so this promise, this “sign” is for us as well. However….WE have to observe it. We have to set it apart and make it as special and significant as HE does.

From personal experience, there is just SOMETHING about setting apart the Shabbat. Now I am not going to get into a debate on “when the Sabbath really is”.  The Father rested on the SEVENTH day. Yeshua observed the SEVENTH DAY Sabbath. Yeshua DID NOT come and die to change the sabbath day…period. That out of the way, when you begin to spend time with the Father, studying His instructions, seeking Him out on the day that HE scheduled to meet with us……WOW. That will be all “the sign” that you need. When you begin to follow His instructions and observe the Sabbath day as HE intended, life may not get easier, difficulties will not stop from coming, storms will still rage from time to time…BUT you will begin to deal with them differently. There will be a peace that comes over you like never before, your head will become more clear and wisdom will begin to spill forth. You will begin to feel more fulfilled and more prepared for WHEN the storms come rather than trying to play catch up when they hit.

So my encouragement…take the step…if you are looking for “the sign” to get you through this next “plague”, this next “dessert”, don’t make the mistake that our ancestors did. Don’t be hasty. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t seek out a person to be your mediator. You have already been given a sign. Observe the Sabbath, seek the Father and spend time with Him on THE DAY that HE has ALREADY set apart and made Kadosh (holy). Come together with fellow believers, as we are commanded, and dig out/wrestle with the Scriptures together.  Celebrate the Sabbath when and how the FATHER said, this in turn will set YOU apart…as His child.

Shalom


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TORAH…Fad or Lifestyle?

As I sit here during my quiet time with Abba this morning, a certain topic keeps circling in my head that truly grieves my heart. As these last days begin to wind down, more and more people are grasping for truth, some sort of peace and stability in KNOWING they are going to be ok. Conferences, sermons, bible studies, “self-help” books are focusing on end times, the last days, the book of Revelation.

However, people are still wanting more and are beginning to dig into the Hebrew Scriptures….longing to know WHO their Messiah is, how He walked, and what He EXPECTS of His children. So, as with before, we are seeing more and more teachings, books, studies, sermons on Hebrew Scriptures, Torah, Feasts, etc.

And that is AWESOME!

I am so ecstatic about the hunger, the desire, the focus that is beginning to rise in my fellow brothers and sisters in Yeshua, wanting to know MORE of our Messiah.

However, here is where my heart begins to grieve….

The danger is that we have pastors, teachers, leaders “teaching” about Torah, the Feasts, the Sabbath, yet they are not LIVING what they are teaching.

I hear people say, we are doing a series on Torah…or we are having a special sermon or mini conference on the Feasts…and my heart begins to cry. For you see…Torah is not “a series” that you can sum up in a month or two. Torah is a life style, it is complete instructions on how we are to LIVE in His Kingdom. It is the very fingerprint of our Messiah on our hearts.

The Feasts are not some “show stopping topic” for one to use in a sermon to gain excitement and interest. They are not this “new thing” for us to use as way to increase our congregation and pocket books. The Feasts are holy, they are rich, they are prophetic. They deserve respect and deep study to TRULY understand the fullness of these “appointed times”.  This is not a “fad or hot topic” you can’t throw a lesson together about it or “wing it”….you can not TRULY teach what you yourself are not walking. By doing that, you are not only cheating the ones you are teaching, but you yourself are missing out on the most amazing, intimate, deep, enriching, and peaceful relationship/walk with Yeshua that you could ever imagine.

So my first question is to teachers, bible study leaders, preachers, etc. who have begun teaching Torah, Feasts, Hebrew Scripture….are you LIVING what you are teaching?  Are you walking as He walked, celebrating HOW and WHEN he celebrated, teaching as He taught, and being a TRUE and WHOLE living witness of His Word? Is your heart beating in unison with our Messiah?

My second question is to those seeking Truth. Those who the Father is beginning to disturb your Shalom (peace), opening your eyes, and putting a hunger inside of you to know Him in a more deeper and intimate way. Are the teachers you are listening to, are the leaders you are following, is the congregation you are a part of….are they LIVING what they are teaching? Does their lives mirror what they say they believe and what they proclaim to be Scriptural Truth? Is the community that you are surrounding yourself with (though at different speeds) all headed the same direction and striving for the same goal?

For you see…Torah is not education…it is transformation. If you “say” you are studying Torah, yet your lifestyle, your beliefs, your thought process is not transforming  and growing you into alignment WITH His instructions….then you are NOT studying Torah.

So my challenge and encouragement…LIVE what you are teaching, MAKE your lives align with your words, SEEK OUT communities that are working as echad (as one) toward the same goal, the same mark….Torah. Because you see this is not some “fad” that will ebb and flow, making way for the next “big thing”. Torah is His instructions, His Tabnith (blueprint) for living in His Kingdom….and He takes that VERY seriously.

Shalom


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Are you a Lover of Gossip and Drama?

Why do we seek gossip and drama???

It never ceases to amaze me the great lengths people will go to destroy others…and the most disappointing is the percentage that call themselves “a child of God”. Be it in retaliation, pride, or fear of the unknown, we as human beings would rather tear each other apart, spread division, and invent lies, than do what the Father has instructed and seek out the matter for ourselves. We would rather kill our own, than work together to build and strengthen the Kingdom…HIS Kingdom.

We get so upset when people jump to conclusions about us, spread untruth and darken our reputation….yet we are so quick to do that very thing to someone or something else.

Why are we so hungry to listen to negative gossip and BELIEVE the rumors? Why are we so excited to spread what we have been told, never taking the time or chance to search the truth out for ourselves….but when the roles are reversed, we wish people would have the decency and maturity to take the time to seek out the matter for themselves?

Why are we so quick to form opinions about people based solely on what other people say, rather than seeing for OURSELVES if what is being perceived, is truth or merely hearsay?

When are we as Christians going to GROW UP, realize that: we don’t know it all, we aren’t the whole piece of the puzzle, we ALL make mistakes, and that not everyone in the body of Yeshua has to function as we do? And you know what…..that is O.K.!!! We are all walking, learning, and growing at different levels. Our paths are NOT supposed to all look the same. We are NOT supposed to be “cookie-cutters”. We have GOT to be open to the fact that what we might THINK we know….might not be the entire picture and there MIGHT yet still be something we have yet to learn. 

So, the next time you hear someone gossiping, tearing down, or just trashing someone or something else, pause. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a conversation where your tongue is overloading your mouth, stop and take a breath. If there are people you have formed opinions about just because you “heard” this about them or you “think” this is who they are…. be VERY careful.  For that person just MAY be the very person God has put in your path for this season. That person MIGHT just be THE ONE you needed to lift you up when you were broken and down, meant to pray for and support you in your time of need (yet to come). Those people may be the help and strength you need when your world begins to crumble. They may be the person God was sending you to take you to the next level that He had in His plans for you, but you let your pride, rumors, hear say, and preformed, misguided assumptions stop you from taking the chance. 

Be very careful…because rumors and false accusations will not only hurt the people they are about and the people spreading them….but also the people that BELIEVE them without seeking the Truth for themselves.

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God’s Love Language

We all know the 5 love languages:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service 
Receiving of Gifts
Quality Time
Personal Touch
 
Books upon books have been written on them, giving us precise details on how to better understand ourselves and our loved ones. We are given directions on how to show them just how much we cherish them in the way that Abba created them to receive love.
In the book “The Five Love Languages”, author Gary Chapman spends much of his time explaining how each of us receive love. Understanding this is really important. Let’s think about this in a marital context. A husband may feel as if he is doing all he can to show his wife how much he loves and appreciates her. Over time, though, he may come to realize that she has not felt loved for quite some time and it may severely affect their marriage. How can this be when he was doing his sincere best? What’s wrong with him…or with her? Is this what happens when two people “fall out of love”?
 
Chapman’s point is that we all have a way that we receive love. Chapman’s five categories are those mentioned above: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving of gifts, quality time, and personal touch. The issue is that we generally give love in the same way we receive love. So, if a husband receives love by his wife giving him encouraging words, then he will naturally love her that same way in return. It’s the way we’re wired as human beings. We tend to love through our eyes. We love, not based on what others need, but in the only “language” we know…our love language. Only when we begin to learn what’simportant to them can we love them in a way they understand and receive…their love language.
 
This begs the question, what is our Messiah’s love language? How do we show the Father that our heart’s desire is to please Him and worship Him for all that He is? How do we love Him? Are our affections based on what we desire or on what He desires? John 14:15 Reads:
 
 “If you love Me, you shall guard my commands.”
 
The bible is full of verses just like this talking about showing God our love by guarding or keeping His commands. What are His commands…His Torah (His commandments or instructions). This doesn’t at all mean that we are trying to earn God’s love or approval. It’s not about us. The point is that we want to prove our love for Him, to Him.
 
Let’s jump back to our marriage illustration for a second. If a spouse only does things that are pleasing to their mate so they can receive something in return, what would we say about them? Selfish? Manipulative? Both adjectives are probably appropriate. Instead, we love our spouses, friends, relatives because of them…not because of us. Our expressions are based on what is important to them. We want to express our appreciation for them.
 
In this line of thought, is that how we want to be seen by Elohim? Selfish? Manipulative? I would guess your answer would be a resounding “NO!”. If that’s the case, then think about how you love God today. Do we love Him in ways that are easy or convenient for us? Do we expect God to take whatever we present to Him because we’re so great that God is privileged that we would throw Him a bone once or twice a week? Or are we like a spouse, working hard to love our mate, to no end. Are we working hard to love God but the things we are doing, although well intended, are not the things He desires?
 
Today, think about the “how”. Is it that important? Test the Scriptures and see just how important it really is.
 
 

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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.


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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.


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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.


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This Ain’t That #2

Before we jump in this week, I want to say a couple of things that I did not mention last week. So, first off, who is this series for? These videos are intended to speak mostly to those who grew up in a religious system and are now seeking the truths of God not bound by religious culture, especially those who have found that Torah or, “the law” is still valid, applicable, and yes even profitable for believers today. If you are new to imitating Yeshua’s way of living the Torah as your lifestyle of worship of the King, many mindsets that you brought over from Christianity will make this walk incredibly difficult if we don’t get them sorted out. Most of you watching this have some sort of religious background, whether catholic or protestant, conservative or liberal, christian or Jewish. In this series, we are going to be contrasting some mindsets that we all may have, or still do see as normal and right, with some opposing ideas from Scripture. One point I want to make is that, listen, I grew up in conservative evangelical Christianity so that will be my reference point. I am going to be saying things like “In the church we believed, but” or “in the church we taught, but” or “Christianity teaches this, but” and I want to be very clear that my intent is not to divide us from nor offend any of our Christian brothers or sisters who are actively seeking and doing their best to serve the Father. But there are some mindsets that those of us who grew up in church hold to that are simply not in line with God’s heart and are actually directly contradictory to His Words. There are ideas being propagated by preachers, teachers, evangelists, and “prophets” that are creating a false sense of hope and when that falsity is realized and people’s lives begin to fall apart, many, many sadly turn away from Yeshua and the Father. This series is not about encouraging you to simply be comfortable and stay in the frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness where you currently live. Listen, we ALL think and act in ways that Messiah never thought nor acted and if He is the mark we aim to imitate, we have to deal with some of these hard issues. The reputation of our King is at stake. Let’s jump in.

So the first “This Ain’t That” that we are going to tackle is “the Sabbath” vs Sunday, but we’re not going to spend any time proving why Saturday is the Sabbath and why it is still a blessing and our responsibility to keep and guard the sabbath, there is plenty of info online and it’s incredibly clear in Scripture, but I want to address some other things surrounding the sabbath that I think are important and if you’re coming from a traditional Christian background I want to tackle some mindsets that may make the Sabbath a difficult thing to grasp. Let’s look at some ways “This” (the Sabbath) “Ain’t That” (sunday worship).

Alright, let’s set a baseline. In Deuteronomy 30 God says, “For this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. “It is not in the heavens, to say, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “Nor is it beyond the sea, to say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it. So straight off the jump I want to remind you that if keeping the sabbath seems like a burden, seems like it’s difficult when God clearly said it is not, it’s not the sabbath that’s the problem…it’s us. There is something in us that God is wanting to change so that we can think like He does. This is part of the “dying to flesh”. Fun, right?

So how is the Sabbath not like traditional sunday worship? In this video, I want to address one glaring difference that many struggle with in hopes that we can gain a better understanding and practice of keeping the sabbath. Gen. 1 tells us that the day actually begins at sunset. In God’s calendar, a “day” is from sunset to sunset. Exodus 31 and Leviticus 23, (among other places) are where we find the instructions of the Sabbath Day. Sunday worship isn’t really a “day”. Let’s be honest. If you’ve gone to church on a sunday, had a worship experience, heard a message, maybe even participated in a sunday school or discipleship class, you’ve basically honored the day of worship. This Ain’t That! God’s instruction to us is that we would dedicate a “DAY” to Him, not a part of a day. When we begin to celebrate the Sabbath, our tendency is to treat it like what we’ve done our whole lives in church. If you have a Sabbath fellowship to attend, simply going to the Sabbath meeting and doing your religious duty is not keeping the Shabbat. Congregational meeting is a part of the Sabbath, but not the whole of the Sabbath.

See, the Sabbath doesn’t start when service starts and it doesn’t end when service ends. If your congregation or fellowship meets on Friday evenings, you don’t have all of saturday to do what you want just because you’ve already met on Friday evening, you still have a whole day to “shabbat”, to rest. Likewise, if your fellowship meets on saturday, it’s not just enough to carve out of your saturday enough time to go to fellowship then take the rest of the day to do what you want. If that’s how we’re keeping the sabbath, all we’ve really done is moved sunday church to saturday.

You know how it goes…”if I can just make it to church” or “it’s sunday so we have to go to church”. Or we get all dressed up and geared up emotionally and mentally for sunday worship so we can put our best face on and then when it’s over, we go back to whoever we were. We tend to think that just because we enter a building on sunday that we are honoring God and will get His blessing. The keeping of the sabbath is not about simply entering a building, but it is a segment of space in time where we get to rest in Him and turn our hearts away from what we want to Him and what He desires. It’s SO important that we understand this. What did you go to church for? For some, it was rest. For some it was encouragement, hope, joy, relationship and belonging. I’m not downplaying these things as they’re all very important. But in keeping the sabbath, we shouldn’t have to put on a pretty face in order to walk into the building. We shouldn’t have to strive to get to the building in hopes of finding a breath of life and hope. The sabbath doesn’t begin when the first notes of worship are struck or the first song is sung. When you walk into your sabbath meeting, you should have already been “shabbatting” since sunset. You shouldn’t have to be encouraged to worship or to pray or to participate in the service. You should have been worshipping and praying since Friday evening. There is such a huge weight on ministers in churches because of the pressure to coax people into worship. Pastors are leaving the ministry in droves because of the weight of having to cause people to be excited about God. The Sabbath should be teaching us that it is our responsibility to meet with the King, not the pastor’s responsibility to bring the King to us. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility to tell you how to think or what to believe and grow your relationship with the Father. Then, when we come together for our sabbath convocation, it is full of joy, peace, and hope, because we are all of the same mind…we are in God’s rhythm because we have taken it upon ourselves to honor His timing and prepare for the King. So ask yourself, is this a mindset that I need to look at in my life? Would an adjustment here help me understand the blessing of the Father’s sabbath better?

Here’s another way “This Ain’t That”. Exodus 31:13 tells us ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, ????, am setting you apart. Was (or is) sunday church simply an addition to your life, something you didn’t really bother with except when it was sunday? Or was it maybe something that really didn’t affect the rest of your week? Were you simply committed to an institution? In Exodus 31, Abba tells us that the Sabbath, in contrast to the way many approach sunday worship, is a SIGN, not simply something we do because of religious guilt or cultural expectations, but that it tells everyone who we are and whose we are because we are acknowledging the day that HE set apart. I like to think of the sabbaths and feasts of the LORD as His heartbeat in time. Every seven days the heart of God is beating and calling for us to meet with Him. If we believe God’s words, that the Sabbath is a SIGN, then our entire lives should revolve around the shabbat. If He were to look over the earth to find His children, would the sign we’re carrying identify us as His? It shouldn’t be something that sneaks up on us guys. Again, if your fellowship meeting on shabbat, while important, is the main way you keep the sabbath, then you’re honestly not understanding the heart of the sabbath instruction and you aren’t getting the true blessing of rest that He has for you. Is the sabbath just a meeting you attend? Or do you carry it as a sign that you’re His? If you find yourself struggling with the sabbath in this way, it may be that you need to address this mindset.

The sabbath is not sunday church guys. And if we don’t correct this mindset we will continue to be frustrated and empty just like many of us were in traditional Christianity. I pray you find the heart of the Father’s sabbath rest and begin to rely on Him for the blessing that only comes from honoring His ways.

If you like these videos, please remember to give us a thumbs up. If you aren’t yet, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel where we have many more devos just like this as well as our weekly Shabbat Torah portions & teachings. Also, If you hit the bell icon you’ll be notified automatically every time we upload a new video. Until next time, shalom.


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Tolerance vs. Compassion

     These are turbulent times we live in, folks. The social and political climate of the world is changing rapidly. As society becomes more progressive, we are encouraged to be more tolerant. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that ideal, and I genuinely believe people have the best of intentions with this message. The problem is that I’m afraid those of us in the Body of Messiah have taken the positive aspects of tolerance and spun it to our destruction. So, I have a couple of questions. If you truly love someone, do you allow them to behave in a way or put themselves in a situation that would ultimately harm them? Or, would you correct them out of love and concern for their well-being and prosperity? What I’m trying to say is that there is a HUGE difference between tolerance and compassion. Now, I do want to be crystal clear, so let me tell you what this is not. The word “tolerance” is pretty loaded, but I’m not implying that we should weaponize Scripture to be hateful in any way toward people who do not believe in God or the Bible, or maybe even more importantly, toward people who don’t walk exactly as we walk. See, that’s the irony, tolerance can easily become a vehicle for hatefulness. I’m speaking specifically to and for people who believe in the God of Israel, and for community, for people living life together. For people who know each other well and want what’s best for each other.

     Now that that’s out of the way, let’s examine these terms more closely. I like the idea of the “law of first mention,” therefore, I’ll be looking at the Hebrew here. Tolerance refers to the ability or willingness to accept something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. The Hebrew word is “sovlanut” (סוֹבלָנוּת/sohv-lah-noot), and is not found in Scripture, not even once. That in and of itself should tell us something. On the other hand, to be compassionate means to have concern, sympathy, mercy, or even pity for the suffering and misfortune of others. There are two Hebrew words most commonly used for compassion: “chamal” (חָמַל/khaw-mal/H2550) and “racham” (רָחַם/raw-kham/H7355). See Exodus 2:6 for the former, Deuteronomy 13:17 for the latter. Although these two words, tolerance and compassion, are often used interchangeably, can you see the difference?

     Because of Western society’s “leap forward,” an inaccurate profile of Yeshua has taken shape. Today, the Messiah is portrayed as a mild and meek martyr who would never do anything to upset anyone under any circumstances, no matter what, even if He disagreed with them. His words, actions, and teachings have been misconstrued in order to be more palatable. The truth is that Yeshua was and is not tolerant. “Huh? Did he really just say that?” Yes, I did, He was not tolerant. He was, however, compassionate. Please, bear with me, and let me explain. Opposed to the traits I already mentioned, Yeshua was not afraid to “step on toes” and make others uncomfortable to teach a lesson. He himself said, “I and the Father are one,” so is it so hard to believe that Yeshua showed His love like that of a father, or more specifically, the Father? When I mess up, my dad is often the first to correct me and put me back on track, even if it requires a bit of a “kick to the rear end,” so to speak. My father does this because he wants what is best for me, he wants me to succeed. It’s done out of compassion and love. Yeshua taught in the same way. There are plenty of examples throughout the scriptures that we could look to, but I want to use one in particular that you may even know by heart. However, there’s an important verse in this passage that is often completely ignored. Please read John 8:1-11. We love to use this passage for verse 7’s sake. We love to use it to justify ourselves and perhaps the behavior of others. Context is key here, though. As incredible as that verse is, it’s just a part of an amazing lesson the Master is teaching, not the whole lesson. This one passage, amazingly, shows Yeshua being compassionate for the woman (verse 7, verses 10-11), and intolerant of her sinfulness. He doesn’t command her to “Just believe in me and love me so that you can continue to live life your way.” No! He commands her to “…go and sin no more…” That might sound kind of harsh, impossible even, depending on how you understand sin. But, do you want to talk about the wisdom, grace, and mercy of Messiah? Here’s what he effectively said: “Hey, so now that you’re ok, take this experience and learn from it to avoid another mess like this.” If that is not compassion, I don’t know what is. He wants better for her, He loves her, and He wants her to align herself with the Word and with the Father. Period. So then, to truly love someone is to not be tolerant of their destructive behavior. We need to start to understand that correcting one another and holding one another accountable with love and tact is not “judgement” or “casting stones.” I know that I’m not always so great at this thing called “life,” and not if, but when I mess up please, help me out, help me get right. I would be more offended if you didn’t, because I’ll be held accountable at some point, and I’ll be worse off by then. In fact, I would argue that tolerance and compassion cannot coexist when it comes to building relationships for the Kingdom. We can’t grow if we’re not corrected. I’ve brought up the Kingdom a couple of times now and this passage is the perfect example of our walk and our responsibility when we come to Messiah and enter the Kingdom. We were all once “adulterous,” deserving of the consequences of our actions, but Yeshua stood in the gap and taught us how to live life correctly, and gave Himself up to save us from said consequences. Once we come into the Kingdom through Him, it becomes our duty to do our best to live as He lived, to do our best to “go and sin no more,” not to be saved, but because He saved us. We need each other for that. The secular ideal of tolerance isn’t completely off. It’s just not complete. If you make a minor change in the Hebrew word for tolerance you get “savlanut,” (סַבְלָנוּת/sahv-lah-noot) a word closely related, meaning “patience.” Its root is “saval” (סָבַל/saw-vahl), meaning to bear (a burden). We have to be patient with one another, help each other with the burdens we each bear, and encourage change in each other’s lives. Patience combined with compassion trumps tolerance any day. You know, there’s a certain commandment in the Torah that Yeshua thought was pretty important, that is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” With this in mind, ask yourself: When it comes to tolerance and compassion, which requires more understanding and maturity? Which would you want for yourself and in turn for your neighbor?

     I continue to hope and pray for unity in the Kingdom, so that we can benefit one another and grow in Messiah. I hope that you understand my heart here, and that this gives you a new point of view that will benefit you, your walk, and your relationships. Feel free to reach out to me so that we can grow together! Shalom


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What are our actions doing to His reputation?

What are our actions doing to His reputation?

I have been noticing a common thread lately floating through my Facebook feed and it really has both concerned and frustrated me. I see some criticized for their generations upon generations of traditions, some are attacked for following Torah, celebrating the Feasts, worshipping on the 7th day sabbath, and  some are screamed at because of their “pagan ways”. I watch how people are mocked or told that because they aren’t a part of a certain group or belief, that they are not allowed to study and understand certain things. Now I know that this is not a new occurrence and will be something that continues on because, as human beings, we are drawn to drama, anger, and aggression. However, I hope that if anything, my post will at least cause one to pause and consider the outcome of such actions.

For the past several weeks, I have read articles, watched videos, read comments threads, etc. on Facebook of different groups of believers that seem to do nothing more than attack each other. I have seen Messianic, Hebrew Roots, Christian, and Jew all attacking one another’s beliefs, understandings, view points and I find myself asking why? What good will come of this?

I heard a wise man once say that it doesn’t do any good trying to discuss or debate with someone that is not in your own family, which is SO TRUE!!! In our home, we have certain rules that our children follow. It is our “Torah” if you will. However, we have several neighbors around us who also have rules that function in their own homes. Now, do we go to their homes and start tearing them down and reprimanding them because they are not obeying OUR rules within THEIR homes? OF course not!!! That would do nothing but cause anger, bitterness, and possibly a broken relationship. So why are we doing that very thing to the different “families” of believers?

Now, we are all passionate about our beliefs, about our faith….and that is awesome. However, when we begin tearing down others because they may not believe or see the Scriptures the same way we do, what is that saying about the Father that we serve? If we are supposed to be walking AS the Messiah walked, if we are supposed to be mirroring HaShem in our lives, then what are our actions, how we handle people and other situations saying about His reputation?

For my Torah observant family, it is NOT our job to open their eyes, to reprimand them of their ways, or annihilate them in public and on Facebook. Our job is to be studied and ready for WHEN Abba opens eyes and draws them to this walk. It is our job to answer questions patiently and gracefully when asked, not debate or attack those who do not study as we do. We are meant to be the Psalm 1 tree, planted and immovable no matter who or what steps in our way. Yes, we will get frustrated when we see Scripture used incorrectly, misquoted, or used partially to justify a certain idea or lifestyle. However, remember we must never group everything into one pot, not all are the same, and not everyone has the same intentions. There are genuine people not following Torah who are loving the Father and serving Him the best they know how….and that IS O.K. Respect them for that and when/if they come asking questions or interested in learning this walk…do not belittle their understanding or mock their beliefs. Do not talk down to them or degrade them for not knowing what you know. Walk beside them, live with them, and be the light that HaShem needs you to be.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, stop labeling and criticizing those who are studying Torah, who are following the Father’s instructions, and who are wanting to live and walk as Yeshua did. The fact of the matter is, Yeshua was/is a Jew (he didn’t convert on the cross) and the Father’s Torah/instructions are still as valid today as they were when He spoke everything into existence….period. Any Scripture that is used to “nullify” this statement is being cherry picked and/or taken out of context. That being said, if you feel that this way of following the Father is not for you, that is o.k. Your relationship with Abba is between you and Him. However, be very careful of what you say and how you treat others in that walk, because the Father COULD draw you into following Torah and you will need someone to help support and walk with you. Stop being judgmental when you hear them speaking the Hebrew language. Stop accusing them or assuming certain things about them or their beliefs before you take the time to personally ask. I have heard many comments about groups in the Torah walk, even OAM, about how we do not believe in Yeshua, that we believe one has to follow Torah for salvation, they we are speaking blasphemy, or mocking/making fun of the Holy Spirit. All of which are furthest from the truth. I understand the way we read, study, and walk out the Scripture looks different, may seem a little weird and uncomfortable. I would have thought the same over 10 years ago before I started studying. I DO also know there are what we call “Torah Terrorists”, who thrive on intentionally attacking those not living/believing as they do. However, as I challenged my Torah observant family, I also will challenge you, do not lump everyone in the same pot.  So please, before you starting making false assumptions, consider the possibility that you might have misunderstood or misheard what they were saying or teaching. Instead of coming to quick conclusions, contact them and ask them to clarify so that way you can fully understand their heart and intent. We get frustrated when people make false assumptions about us….let us know be quick to do the same about others.

So my challenge and plea to you, stop arguing with those who are not walking in “your lane”. Stop attacking, baiting, and intentionally “poking the bear” to try to prove your point. Trying to make the other person stumble in their understanding does NOTHING for you as a representative of the Father, but instead makes you look like a jerk. We hear the argument all of the time “well Yeshua corrected and scolded the Pharisees so we are just following what He did”. My answer….YES HE did….HOWEVER…HUGE difference. Yeshua debated with leadership who were “IN HIS LANE”. He didn’t argue, bait, or poke those who were not living and following the Jewish lifestyle/beliefs. He CALMLY DISCUSSED when asked, TAUGHT and ALLOWED them to draw near, LIVED it before engaging. If we are going to be HaShem’s example until the Messiah’s return, then we have GOT to stop with the drama, anger, and attacking. Stop being “triggered” by those who are not in your “family” and BE the representation that you were put here to be. Remember that if you say you are part of THE Kingdom and are a follower of the Most High, then your actions, your words, how you live are going to affect how other’s perceive who you serve.

Make sure your life is all about the sake of His reputation…..


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And the Word became flesh…

“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the One and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Like me, these are probably some of the first verses you ever learned. However, as I reflected on my life this week and asked myself the tough questions, this verse came to mind. I’ve spent countless Sunday school and “life group” meetings pondering the mysticism within this passage. Aside from being some of the most powerful (and poetic) verses in the Gospels, there is some pragmatic application here as well. Now, I’m not offering a new interpretation of this passage here, just a little perspective. What exactly is this passage about? The first chapter of John perfectly sums up the Messiah’s lifestyle; He was the Word made flesh. He was so obedient in his actions that His life was the personification of the Word. Think about that for moment, that alone doesn’t often get its due credit. It really isn’t all that mysterious, the Messiah was just that obedient. So, what exactly does that mean for us? I used to hear all the time that to be a “Christian” means to be “Christ-like.” Ok, perfect, I appreciate the sentiment, but can anyone quantify that concept in and of itself? Lord knows I used to have trouble. Consider the following: 1 John 2:5-6, “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is truly made perfect. We know that we are in Him by this— whoever claims to abide in Him must walk just as He walked.” You see, the whole reason that Yeshua lived and taught was for our instruction, and as previously stated He is the Word made flesh. Interestingly, we are instructed to walk as He walked, to live as He lived. The question I’ve been asking myself this week is this, “Are you living your life in a way in which the Word is seen to be alive?” At work, at school, at home, am I in some degree personifying the Word? Does my life show the one and only of the Father, full of grace and truth? I can postulate, theorize, and study for countless hours, but if my life is no evidence of my study, it is all in vain. That may seem really basic and foundational, but it is also something we should be constantly examining within ourselves. Every day the Father allows us to wake up, we have the opportunity to be personifications of His Word. One of the biggest lies propagated by believers is that obedience is unattainable. That, my friends, is just simply not biblical. We need to stop lying to one another, and start empowering one another; the goal is not perfection, the goal is obedience. The Messiah says in John 14, “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.” We show our love for our Savior by keeping the commandments, and in turn Yeshua manifests in us and His love is shown to our neighbors. In this way, the image of God is perfectly transmitted. Be a living example of Scripture by guarding the commandments, this is how we can be like Messiah. I hope everyone has had an amazing Passover, and I hope this week has drawn you closer to the Father. Shalom, everyone!


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Consistency of Community

Have had something on my heart for the past several weeks and was given release today to finally post this in hopes to bring peace and encouragement.

So often we have received texts, private messages, or phone calls from both sides of the spectrum…either people just now coming into this walk, this Way of Truth or those who have BEEN walking in it and have their own fellowships. The common thread is the consistency of community. 

You see, before we began living a Torah observant life, many of us were involved in the mainstream church. It was always bigger is better, doing whatever it took to make people happy, even to the extreme of exhausting the ministry to the point of dry, emptiness just to keep everyone at peace and everything “looking” first class.  However, we HAVE to remember…..THIS AIN’T THAT!!!

Sadly, we are bringing a lot of the drama that we left into this Truth and are becoming the very thing we swore we never would. People are tearing each other apart, bad mouthing, and breaking community because not everyone follows the same calendar, we may not say the Father’s name the same way, the distance is too far to travel, I’m not going back to “church”,  or its just too hard to change “my” schedule to go. The list continues to grow……and it truly breaks my heart.

Here is the deal, Abba wants us to be in UNITY….not uniformity. Are we all going to agree all of the time? Of course not, that is impossible. We are human beings. We  each have thoughts, ideas, imaginations all unique, which the Father instilled in us for a purpose. And that is AWESOME! The main thing is….what is our final goal? That is where the “walking in unity” part comes in. The desire to please our Messiah, to walk AS He walked, live AS He lived, celebrate WHAT and HOW He celebrated, living out the ENTIRE Word….THAT is our common goal. If we can agree on that, then we should be able  to come together, to respect each other’s differences, and join in community to focus on the bigger picture…His Kingdom. And how important that coming together as a community truly is!

All of us remember when the Father began speaking to us, disturbing our shalom, unveiling our eyes. Our first thoughts were “What’s wrong with me? Why isn’t everyone hearing or seeing this? Am I crazy? “ Then as we began to listen to His voice and dig deeper…we began to wonder if anyone else out there was hearing the same. Were we alone?  All we wanted was to talk to SOME ONE who understood and were walking the same path as we were.  You see, THAT is where the community part comes in and WHY it is so vital.

I understand many of us are in rural areas where there might not be a Torah community within 10-20 minutes, many in our own OAM community drive 30 minutes to 2 hours just to be with their OAM mishpacha every Shabbat. You may think that is nuts and there is no way you would travel that far just to be with others….but wait. You HAVE to remember what it was like to be a new person in this Way…the excitement when you realized you were not alone, and that you were able to come together with a community of like minded people to talk, study, worship, to LIVE life. To be able to walk into a room and see so many that are hearing the same voice as you have been, gave you so much peace.

For those that have been walking Torah for a while, your community NEEDS you. They need your smiles, your hugs, your wisdom. But as much as your community needs you, YOU need your community. You NEED to be surrounded by others, digging out and discussing the Scripture together. You need a community of people who MIGHT NOT see the Scripture just as you do, challenging you, causing you to search out what you believe and why….Iron sharpens iron. Life is not easy, this walk is NOT easy no matter how long you have been walking, and we need to be with like minded people living, supporting, and searching out Word together while having the same end goal.

You need to be surrounded by believers who are new in this way, to help guide and walk beside them as they learn, picking them up when they fall and help guide them back when they get distracted.  AT THE SAME TIME, you need to be surrounded by those who have walked longer than you, have more wisdom and experience than you, so that YOU can continue to grow and learn yourself. Someone to help guide YOU back to the path whenever you become side tracked or distracted. A healthy Torah community is where all of that takes place, as a body, as echad (as one)…growing, living, breathing, as one body.

Consistency of the community is SO vital and SO important for the Remnant that is being called out. Whether you can make it every week or once/twice a month, those new people NEED to see you there, they NEED to see your face, HEAR your story, and FEEL your understanding and encouragement. Many of them either have or will find that this walk is not easy and can be very lonely. Family, friends, church members and leadership will cast them aside and break all ties and they need to see they have a community to run to for support, wisdom, understanding, and to share similar stories and experiences with. Your participation in your Torah community is so much bigger than you and is so important for the Kingdom.

So I encourage each of you across the country, the world or maybe just in our area. If you are hearing His voice calling you out to live a Torah life, a set-apart lifestyle, find a like minded community to celebrate with. Be active, be consistent, be supportive, but most importantly….BE THERE.  Whether it is every Shabbat, every Feast, or (due to distance) just once or twice a month….be there. This is a preparation season and it is all hands on deck. We have to prepare ourselves for what the Father is doing, to be ready for what He has coming, and there is no way we will be able to do that alone!!!

Shalom my Torah family and Shavua Tov


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Have you been looking for a sign???

How many times have you cried out to the Father for direction or an answer. In the midst of a storm or chaos, we cry out to Abba, many times for Him to simply give us a sign that He is still there, that He is listening. It seems many are those dry seasons where our valleys are deep, the air is silent, we have no direction, we seek and speak to the Father however, all we hear are crickets…and all we want is for Him to make His presence known and to remind us that we are still His, that His hand is still upon us. Those times can be some of the loneliest, most frustrating, empty and anxious times that we walk through. Many of us become desperate, taking matters into our own hands…HOPING that at some point…Abba will step in and move.

All we are asking for…..is a sign….

Through studying the weekly Torah portions, recently digging into the episode of the golden calf, the Father began walking me through some of my own scenarios that are not too much unlike those of the Hebrew children. You see….for so long we have taken this golden calf incident and began throwing stones at the Hebrews. What in the world would cause them to do such a thing? How evil were they to turn their backs on God. How could they forget all that they had been delivered from and go to that extreme level of forming an idol? They must not have loved Him as much as they “proclaimed”….the list goes on.

HOWEVER, we must (as we should do will ALL scripture) put what is going on into context, into perspective. Put yourself in THEIR shoes, understand WHO is a part of the equation, understand their culture and remember their experiences. Sooo, let’s go back.

The Hebrew children along with the mixed multitude had experienced plague after plague. What we have to remember is that they had been living in Egypt for hundreds of years. Picture the generations upon generations that lived and died, the whole time becoming more and more assimilated into Egypt and the people living there. It had become a part of their every day lives. They probably formed relationships with the Egyptians. For some, their children might have played together, some may even had married the Egyptians. So with each plague that went through, they watched places they used to go, people they had befriended, their neighbors animals and lively hoods be destroyed. Yes, they knew the reason for the plagues and that they were chosen for the Father’s master plan, however, they were human, they had emotions. So I have to believe, they still felt guilt, pain, and  sorrow for their loved ones. As Noah before them, I am sure many of them pleaded for their friends and family to follow them. Traditions tell us that there were only around 20% of the Hebrews that actually left. Many studies I read said that one reason they left in such a hurry was so that the ones who DID leave were not given time to begin second guessing and end up staying behind. So you can imagine…yes they were excited and ready for freedom and a new life…yet the pain and sorrow they felt of leaving family, friends, and their comfort behind was very real.

Fast forward through the many miracles they experienced as Pharaoh chased after them, the miracle of the manna that was supplied for them to eat, the many times they ran to Mosheh (Moses) for wisdom and direction on what the next step was to be. Now they are at Mt. Sinai and after hearing the commandments, the Torah given straight from the Father, asked Mosheh to go up and speak to God for them. THEY created a mediator between them and the Father, something which God had never wanted in the first place.

So Mosheh is up on Mt. Sinai, speaking with the Father, and the people begin to grow concerned by his delayed return. One study I read was that they actually had miscalculated the days of his return and that is what caused them to act. So, they go to Aaron for help, he tells them what to do, and the golden calf incident takes place. There is SO MUCH more happening here, and MUCH more study as to WHY Aaron would follow through with this…but that is another blog.

This is where many of us have gotten all high and mighty. We would NEVER do that, we would NEVER disobey God to the point of creating an idol to worship. But wait….let’s back up a moment. Let’s back up to the very beginning and put ourselves in their shoes.

Like them…many of us have had to leave our comfort zones. We have many family and friends that may not be living for God, and no matter how much we try to warn them…they refuse to follow the Messiah. Many of us have stepped into a new season the Father has called us to, having to change lifestyles, jobs, family, friends…..causing us to shed everything that defined us as US, all stepping out in faith that the Father has something bigger for us to do and be a part of.

Then….life begins to hit. You see…we were told when you begin to follow the Father…he will answer your prayers, give you the desires of your heart, and be your everything. Which is true….HOWEVER….#1 those come with requirements of following His commands…and #2 a life walking with the Father is NOT without hardships and sacrifices. So when life begins to rain down, when the storm begins to rage, the winds begin to blow, and our feet get knocked out from under us…we begin to doubt.  The Hebrew children had experienced miracle after miracle and yet, they still struggled with faith and doubt. How many times have we gone to the Father about a problem…needed help in finances, a loved one that was sick and needed healing, farmers needed rain for their crops to grow? The Father comes our rescue, providing the much needed rain, we are blessed with extra finances by an unknown source, our sick family or friend begins to make a full recovery from their illness and we praise Him for all that he is…for a while. Then life hits again…and even though (like the Hebrews) we saw and experienced those miracles…we too begin to doubt.

That seems to be the times where our dry seasons begin, where we hear no answers and feel like our prayers are hitting a brick wall. So like the Hebrew children with the golden calf….we get desperate…needing to KNOW that someone is hearing our pleas. You see, they weren’t forming an idol to worship instead of God. They had JUST come out of Egypt and therefore, in fear and desperation, were falling back on all that they knew. They thought that Mosheh was dead and were trying to create (as only they knew how) another “mediator” to go before the Father on their behalf. Were they in the wrong? Most definitely and they were severely punished for it. However, how much have we done the same? We search and seek out the Father…we pray and get restless. So instead of having faith and believing that the Father has this….we seek out a friend, we seek out a pastor, an evangelist, a “prophet” to give us the answers we need. We spend time and money flocking to conferences in hopes of being told the direction we need to take. Now…I am not saying that seeking your pastor or a wise friend for guidance is taboo, however, when you begin to go to them first before seeking out the Father time after time, when you begin to put the “pastor’s words” above anything and everything else, not checking them with the Word, and setting him up on a pedestal…THAT is where we get off track and are acting no better than the Hebrew children.

You see….the Father knew what was happening with the Hebrew children. He KNEW they were going to get anxious, that they were going to need a “sign” to not only remind them of who they were and whose they were, but also something to remind them that He was close. So he gives Mosheh instructions to give to them tangible reassurance of His presence and our relationship with Him. The last instruction He  gave Mosheh, before He descended with the tablets was to tell Israel that they “must keep My Sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the Lord have consecrated you.”  God called the Shabbat (the seventh day Sabbath) a sign of the relationship between Himself and Israel. Because of Yeshua, we have been grafted into Israel, so this promise, this “sign” is for us as well. However….WE have to observe it. We have to set it apart and make it as special and significant as HE does.

From personal experience, there is just SOMETHING about setting apart the Shabbat. Now I am not going to get into a debate on “when the Sabbath really is”.  The Father rested on the SEVENTH day. Yeshua observed the SEVENTH DAY Sabbath. Yeshua DID NOT come and die to change the sabbath day…period. That out of the way, when you begin to spend time with the Father, studying His instructions, seeking Him out on the day that HE scheduled to meet with us……WOW. That will be all “the sign” that you need. When you begin to follow His instructions and observe the Sabbath day as HE intended, life may not get easier, difficulties will not stop from coming, storms will still rage from time to time…BUT you will begin to deal with them differently. There will be a peace that comes over you like never before, your head will become more clear and wisdom will begin to spill forth. You will begin to feel more fulfilled and more prepared for WHEN the storms come rather than trying to play catch up when they hit.

So my encouragement…take the step…if you are looking for “the sign” to get you through this next “plague”, this next “dessert”, don’t make the mistake that our ancestors did. Don’t be hasty. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t seek out a person to be your mediator. You have already been given a sign. Observe the Sabbath, seek the Father and spend time with Him on THE DAY that HE has ALREADY set apart and made Kadosh (holy). Come together with fellow believers, as we are commanded, and dig out/wrestle with the Scriptures together.  Celebrate the Sabbath when and how the FATHER said, this in turn will set YOU apart…as His child.

Shalom


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TORAH…Fad or Lifestyle?

As I sit here during my quiet time with Abba this morning, a certain topic keeps circling in my head that truly grieves my heart. As these last days begin to wind down, more and more people are grasping for truth, some sort of peace and stability in KNOWING they are going to be ok. Conferences, sermons, bible studies, “self-help” books are focusing on end times, the last days, the book of Revelation.

However, people are still wanting more and are beginning to dig into the Hebrew Scriptures….longing to know WHO their Messiah is, how He walked, and what He EXPECTS of His children. So, as with before, we are seeing more and more teachings, books, studies, sermons on Hebrew Scriptures, Torah, Feasts, etc.

And that is AWESOME!

I am so ecstatic about the hunger, the desire, the focus that is beginning to rise in my fellow brothers and sisters in Yeshua, wanting to know MORE of our Messiah.

However, here is where my heart begins to grieve….

The danger is that we have pastors, teachers, leaders “teaching” about Torah, the Feasts, the Sabbath, yet they are not LIVING what they are teaching.

I hear people say, we are doing a series on Torah…or we are having a special sermon or mini conference on the Feasts…and my heart begins to cry. For you see…Torah is not “a series” that you can sum up in a month or two. Torah is a life style, it is complete instructions on how we are to LIVE in His Kingdom. It is the very fingerprint of our Messiah on our hearts.

The Feasts are not some “show stopping topic” for one to use in a sermon to gain excitement and interest. They are not this “new thing” for us to use as way to increase our congregation and pocket books. The Feasts are holy, they are rich, they are prophetic. They deserve respect and deep study to TRULY understand the fullness of these “appointed times”.  This is not a “fad or hot topic” you can’t throw a lesson together about it or “wing it”….you can not TRULY teach what you yourself are not walking. By doing that, you are not only cheating the ones you are teaching, but you yourself are missing out on the most amazing, intimate, deep, enriching, and peaceful relationship/walk with Yeshua that you could ever imagine.

So my first question is to teachers, bible study leaders, preachers, etc. who have begun teaching Torah, Feasts, Hebrew Scripture….are you LIVING what you are teaching?  Are you walking as He walked, celebrating HOW and WHEN he celebrated, teaching as He taught, and being a TRUE and WHOLE living witness of His Word? Is your heart beating in unison with our Messiah?

My second question is to those seeking Truth. Those who the Father is beginning to disturb your Shalom (peace), opening your eyes, and putting a hunger inside of you to know Him in a more deeper and intimate way. Are the teachers you are listening to, are the leaders you are following, is the congregation you are a part of….are they LIVING what they are teaching? Does their lives mirror what they say they believe and what they proclaim to be Scriptural Truth? Is the community that you are surrounding yourself with (though at different speeds) all headed the same direction and striving for the same goal?

For you see…Torah is not education…it is transformation. If you “say” you are studying Torah, yet your lifestyle, your beliefs, your thought process is not transforming  and growing you into alignment WITH His instructions….then you are NOT studying Torah.

So my challenge and encouragement…LIVE what you are teaching, MAKE your lives align with your words, SEEK OUT communities that are working as echad (as one) toward the same goal, the same mark….Torah. Because you see this is not some “fad” that will ebb and flow, making way for the next “big thing”. Torah is His instructions, His Tabnith (blueprint) for living in His Kingdom….and He takes that VERY seriously.

Shalom


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Are you a Lover of Gossip and Drama?

Why do we seek gossip and drama???

It never ceases to amaze me the great lengths people will go to destroy others…and the most disappointing is the percentage that call themselves “a child of God”. Be it in retaliation, pride, or fear of the unknown, we as human beings would rather tear each other apart, spread division, and invent lies, than do what the Father has instructed and seek out the matter for ourselves. We would rather kill our own, than work together to build and strengthen the Kingdom…HIS Kingdom.

We get so upset when people jump to conclusions about us, spread untruth and darken our reputation….yet we are so quick to do that very thing to someone or something else.

Why are we so hungry to listen to negative gossip and BELIEVE the rumors? Why are we so excited to spread what we have been told, never taking the time or chance to search the truth out for ourselves….but when the roles are reversed, we wish people would have the decency and maturity to take the time to seek out the matter for themselves?

Why are we so quick to form opinions about people based solely on what other people say, rather than seeing for OURSELVES if what is being perceived, is truth or merely hearsay?

When are we as Christians going to GROW UP, realize that: we don’t know it all, we aren’t the whole piece of the puzzle, we ALL make mistakes, and that not everyone in the body of Yeshua has to function as we do? And you know what…..that is O.K.!!! We are all walking, learning, and growing at different levels. Our paths are NOT supposed to all look the same. We are NOT supposed to be “cookie-cutters”. We have GOT to be open to the fact that what we might THINK we know….might not be the entire picture and there MIGHT yet still be something we have yet to learn. 

So, the next time you hear someone gossiping, tearing down, or just trashing someone or something else, pause. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a conversation where your tongue is overloading your mouth, stop and take a breath. If there are people you have formed opinions about just because you “heard” this about them or you “think” this is who they are…. be VERY careful.  For that person just MAY be the very person God has put in your path for this season. That person MIGHT just be THE ONE you needed to lift you up when you were broken and down, meant to pray for and support you in your time of need (yet to come). Those people may be the help and strength you need when your world begins to crumble. They may be the person God was sending you to take you to the next level that He had in His plans for you, but you let your pride, rumors, hear say, and preformed, misguided assumptions stop you from taking the chance. 

Be very careful…because rumors and false accusations will not only hurt the people they are about and the people spreading them….but also the people that BELIEVE them without seeking the Truth for themselves.

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God’s Love Language

We all know the 5 love languages:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service 
Receiving of Gifts
Quality Time
Personal Touch
 
Books upon books have been written on them, giving us precise details on how to better understand ourselves and our loved ones. We are given directions on how to show them just how much we cherish them in the way that Abba created them to receive love.
In the book “The Five Love Languages”, author Gary Chapman spends much of his time explaining how each of us receive love. Understanding this is really important. Let’s think about this in a marital context. A husband may feel as if he is doing all he can to show his wife how much he loves and appreciates her. Over time, though, he may come to realize that she has not felt loved for quite some time and it may severely affect their marriage. How can this be when he was doing his sincere best? What’s wrong with him…or with her? Is this what happens when two people “fall out of love”?
 
Chapman’s point is that we all have a way that we receive love. Chapman’s five categories are those mentioned above: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving of gifts, quality time, and personal touch. The issue is that we generally give love in the same way we receive love. So, if a husband receives love by his wife giving him encouraging words, then he will naturally love her that same way in return. It’s the way we’re wired as human beings. We tend to love through our eyes. We love, not based on what others need, but in the only “language” we know…our love language. Only when we begin to learn what’simportant to them can we love them in a way they understand and receive…their love language.
 
This begs the question, what is our Messiah’s love language? How do we show the Father that our heart’s desire is to please Him and worship Him for all that He is? How do we love Him? Are our affections based on what we desire or on what He desires? John 14:15 Reads:
 
 “If you love Me, you shall guard my commands.”
 
The bible is full of verses just like this talking about showing God our love by guarding or keeping His commands. What are His commands…His Torah (His commandments or instructions). This doesn’t at all mean that we are trying to earn God’s love or approval. It’s not about us. The point is that we want to prove our love for Him, to Him.
 
Let’s jump back to our marriage illustration for a second. If a spouse only does things that are pleasing to their mate so they can receive something in return, what would we say about them? Selfish? Manipulative? Both adjectives are probably appropriate. Instead, we love our spouses, friends, relatives because of them…not because of us. Our expressions are based on what is important to them. We want to express our appreciation for them.
 
In this line of thought, is that how we want to be seen by Elohim? Selfish? Manipulative? I would guess your answer would be a resounding “NO!”. If that’s the case, then think about how you love God today. Do we love Him in ways that are easy or convenient for us? Do we expect God to take whatever we present to Him because we’re so great that God is privileged that we would throw Him a bone once or twice a week? Or are we like a spouse, working hard to love our mate, to no end. Are we working hard to love God but the things we are doing, although well intended, are not the things He desires?
 
Today, think about the “how”. Is it that important? Test the Scriptures and see just how important it really is.
 
 

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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.


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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.


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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.


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This Ain’t That #2

Before we jump in this week, I want to say a couple of things that I did not mention last week. So, first off, who is this series for? These videos are intended to speak mostly to those who grew up in a religious system and are now seeking the truths of God not bound by religious culture, especially those who have found that Torah or, “the law” is still valid, applicable, and yes even profitable for believers today. If you are new to imitating Yeshua’s way of living the Torah as your lifestyle of worship of the King, many mindsets that you brought over from Christianity will make this walk incredibly difficult if we don’t get them sorted out. Most of you watching this have some sort of religious background, whether catholic or protestant, conservative or liberal, christian or Jewish. In this series, we are going to be contrasting some mindsets that we all may have, or still do see as normal and right, with some opposing ideas from Scripture. One point I want to make is that, listen, I grew up in conservative evangelical Christianity so that will be my reference point. I am going to be saying things like “In the church we believed, but” or “in the church we taught, but” or “Christianity teaches this, but” and I want to be very clear that my intent is not to divide us from nor offend any of our Christian brothers or sisters who are actively seeking and doing their best to serve the Father. But there are some mindsets that those of us who grew up in church hold to that are simply not in line with God’s heart and are actually directly contradictory to His Words. There are ideas being propagated by preachers, teachers, evangelists, and “prophets” that are creating a false sense of hope and when that falsity is realized and people’s lives begin to fall apart, many, many sadly turn away from Yeshua and the Father. This series is not about encouraging you to simply be comfortable and stay in the frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness where you currently live. Listen, we ALL think and act in ways that Messiah never thought nor acted and if He is the mark we aim to imitate, we have to deal with some of these hard issues. The reputation of our King is at stake. Let’s jump in.

So the first “This Ain’t That” that we are going to tackle is “the Sabbath” vs Sunday, but we’re not going to spend any time proving why Saturday is the Sabbath and why it is still a blessing and our responsibility to keep and guard the sabbath, there is plenty of info online and it’s incredibly clear in Scripture, but I want to address some other things surrounding the sabbath that I think are important and if you’re coming from a traditional Christian background I want to tackle some mindsets that may make the Sabbath a difficult thing to grasp. Let’s look at some ways “This” (the Sabbath) “Ain’t That” (sunday worship).

Alright, let’s set a baseline. In Deuteronomy 30 God says, “For this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. “It is not in the heavens, to say, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “Nor is it beyond the sea, to say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it. So straight off the jump I want to remind you that if keeping the sabbath seems like a burden, seems like it’s difficult when God clearly said it is not, it’s not the sabbath that’s the problem…it’s us. There is something in us that God is wanting to change so that we can think like He does. This is part of the “dying to flesh”. Fun, right?

So how is the Sabbath not like traditional sunday worship? In this video, I want to address one glaring difference that many struggle with in hopes that we can gain a better understanding and practice of keeping the sabbath. Gen. 1 tells us that the day actually begins at sunset. In God’s calendar, a “day” is from sunset to sunset. Exodus 31 and Leviticus 23, (among other places) are where we find the instructions of the Sabbath Day. Sunday worship isn’t really a “day”. Let’s be honest. If you’ve gone to church on a sunday, had a worship experience, heard a message, maybe even participated in a sunday school or discipleship class, you’ve basically honored the day of worship. This Ain’t That! God’s instruction to us is that we would dedicate a “DAY” to Him, not a part of a day. When we begin to celebrate the Sabbath, our tendency is to treat it like what we’ve done our whole lives in church. If you have a Sabbath fellowship to attend, simply going to the Sabbath meeting and doing your religious duty is not keeping the Shabbat. Congregational meeting is a part of the Sabbath, but not the whole of the Sabbath.

See, the Sabbath doesn’t start when service starts and it doesn’t end when service ends. If your congregation or fellowship meets on Friday evenings, you don’t have all of saturday to do what you want just because you’ve already met on Friday evening, you still have a whole day to “shabbat”, to rest. Likewise, if your fellowship meets on saturday, it’s not just enough to carve out of your saturday enough time to go to fellowship then take the rest of the day to do what you want. If that’s how we’re keeping the sabbath, all we’ve really done is moved sunday church to saturday.

You know how it goes…”if I can just make it to church” or “it’s sunday so we have to go to church”. Or we get all dressed up and geared up emotionally and mentally for sunday worship so we can put our best face on and then when it’s over, we go back to whoever we were. We tend to think that just because we enter a building on sunday that we are honoring God and will get His blessing. The keeping of the sabbath is not about simply entering a building, but it is a segment of space in time where we get to rest in Him and turn our hearts away from what we want to Him and what He desires. It’s SO important that we understand this. What did you go to church for? For some, it was rest. For some it was encouragement, hope, joy, relationship and belonging. I’m not downplaying these things as they’re all very important. But in keeping the sabbath, we shouldn’t have to put on a pretty face in order to walk into the building. We shouldn’t have to strive to get to the building in hopes of finding a breath of life and hope. The sabbath doesn’t begin when the first notes of worship are struck or the first song is sung. When you walk into your sabbath meeting, you should have already been “shabbatting” since sunset. You shouldn’t have to be encouraged to worship or to pray or to participate in the service. You should have been worshipping and praying since Friday evening. There is such a huge weight on ministers in churches because of the pressure to coax people into worship. Pastors are leaving the ministry in droves because of the weight of having to cause people to be excited about God. The Sabbath should be teaching us that it is our responsibility to meet with the King, not the pastor’s responsibility to bring the King to us. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility to tell you how to think or what to believe and grow your relationship with the Father. Then, when we come together for our sabbath convocation, it is full of joy, peace, and hope, because we are all of the same mind…we are in God’s rhythm because we have taken it upon ourselves to honor His timing and prepare for the King. So ask yourself, is this a mindset that I need to look at in my life? Would an adjustment here help me understand the blessing of the Father’s sabbath better?

Here’s another way “This Ain’t That”. Exodus 31:13 tells us ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, ????, am setting you apart. Was (or is) sunday church simply an addition to your life, something you didn’t really bother with except when it was sunday? Or was it maybe something that really didn’t affect the rest of your week? Were you simply committed to an institution? In Exodus 31, Abba tells us that the Sabbath, in contrast to the way many approach sunday worship, is a SIGN, not simply something we do because of religious guilt or cultural expectations, but that it tells everyone who we are and whose we are because we are acknowledging the day that HE set apart. I like to think of the sabbaths and feasts of the LORD as His heartbeat in time. Every seven days the heart of God is beating and calling for us to meet with Him. If we believe God’s words, that the Sabbath is a SIGN, then our entire lives should revolve around the shabbat. If He were to look over the earth to find His children, would the sign we’re carrying identify us as His? It shouldn’t be something that sneaks up on us guys. Again, if your fellowship meeting on shabbat, while important, is the main way you keep the sabbath, then you’re honestly not understanding the heart of the sabbath instruction and you aren’t getting the true blessing of rest that He has for you. Is the sabbath just a meeting you attend? Or do you carry it as a sign that you’re His? If you find yourself struggling with the sabbath in this way, it may be that you need to address this mindset.

The sabbath is not sunday church guys. And if we don’t correct this mindset we will continue to be frustrated and empty just like many of us were in traditional Christianity. I pray you find the heart of the Father’s sabbath rest and begin to rely on Him for the blessing that only comes from honoring His ways.

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