Parashah V’ayra 2021 (And I appeared) Exodus 6:2 – 9

We now come to the time of judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt, which God pronounced and performed through the 10 Plagues.

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At first, God allowed Pharaoh to see his power with Moses’ staff turning into a snake, which the magicians of Egypt easily mimicked with their Black Magic. However, Moses’ snake ate their snakes, to show that they may be able to copy God’s power, but he is the most powerful.

As Pharaoh continues to refuse to allow the Israelites to sacrifice, God sends his plagues, each one becoming more severe than the one before it, not just testing the obstinacy of the pharaoh, but to show his authority and power over their gods.

First, the Nile turns to blood. Then the frogs, followed by gnats. With this third plague, the magicians are stumped, unable to create or stop it, and they now go to Pharaoh, convinced that God is superior and they tell him so.

With the fourth plague of flies, not only does God show his authority and power, but he ramps it up a bit, now separating his people in Goshen from the Egyptians, demonstrating without doubt that they are his chosen people and he can protect them. Next, the cattle of the Egyptians (but not of the Israelites) are stricken with disease and they all die.

The next two plagues, boils and hail that turns into fire, have destroyed not just cattle and people, but the crops of the Egyptians, as well.

You’ve got to ask, what the heck is wrong with the Pharaoh? I mean, really? His stubbornness has caused the people to suffer more than all the suffering they had ever undergone, and yet he doesn’t let the Israelites go. How could he be so cruel to his own people? Why didn’t he submit to the power of this remarkably powerful God?

Perhaps for the same reason that so many people do not submit to God, even to this day: they just don’t want to change what they have, or what they think they have.

Let’s take Pharaoh’s side for a moment: for generations, the Pharaoh was raised being told that he was a god. Although he never showed any magical or divine powers, he was convinced he was a god; and the people? Well, they were there to serve him. Let’s not forget that they were also his slaves. Remember how when Joseph was in charge, and the people were buying the stored grain during the 7-year famine? When they first ran out of money, they traded their cattle for grain, then their homes, their land, and in the end they became indentured to Pharaoh. There is nothing in the Torah to indicate that between the Pharaoh of Joseph and the Pharaoh of Moses that this condition changed. So, as far as Pharaoh was concerned, although you would think he should care about his people, again, his whole life they were nothing more than property to him.

Pharaoh was shown all the wonders of the power of God, and also that Moses was God’s representative, so as a politician, leader, and just someone with enough sechel (Hebrew for common sense) to see what was happening, he should have relented and let the people go, as Moses asked, three days into the desert to worship.

Now, here’s a question for you… did God cheat the Pharaoh?

Moses asked Pharaoh to allow the people to go three days into the desert to worship God (Exodus 8:23); Moses didn’t ask Pharaoh to release the people forever, he just said let us go into the desert to worship our God. All the way back in Exodus 4:1, all that Moses asked was to let the people go to the desert to hold a feast unto God. Even later, after the death of the firstborn, Pharaoh relents and says take everyone and everything to go worship God, but he never says don’t come back.

God never told Moses to ask that Pharaoh let the people go, forever.

But, from the very moment God chose Moses, he already planned to release the people forever, so why didn’t he send Moses to tell Pharaoh that he had to free the slaves? Moses never asked for freedom, just to be allowed to go into the desert to worship.

But it seems that Pharaoh knew their plan was to escape, and I say this because, after the flies, he says they can sacrifice, but only in the land of Egypt, and then when Moses says that isn’t good, Pharaoh says go, but not too far.

Later, in the following parashot, Pharaoh tries to negotiate with Moses, saying to go worship but leave the children, then to take the children but leave the cattle, so it seems to me that somewhere Pharaoh got the idea that once they were gone, they weren’t coming back.

I mean, who would want to go back to a life of cruel slavery, right?

But my point is, when all was said and done, God never had Moses say let my people go, forever, and I don’t see anywhere that Moses even implied the people would never come back.

I don’t know what this means if it even means anything. Again, it seems that God cheated Pharaoh, having Moses ask to allow them to go three days into the desert to worship, but never saying they wouldn’t come back. Why didn’t God have Moses, right from the git-go, tell Pharaoh, “Look- I’m God, I’m all-powerful, and these are my people. You’ve had them long enough, so let them go so I can fulfill my promise to their ancestors.”?

That would have been straight forward, completely truthful, and I think still would have allowed God the opportunity to kick Pharaoh’s butt because when given that demand, I can easily see Pharaoh replying with, “No way, Pal!”

So, nu? I have a question that I can’t answer; yet, maybe you can? Do you have any idea why God would not tell Pharaoh, straight-out, that he had to release the Israelites forever so that God could fulfill his promises to them?

Perhaps as we continue to read about this event we will receive some revelation to lead us to understanding why God handled things in this way.

For now, thank you for being here, and please subscribe, share these messages with others, and I always welcome (especially today!) your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

What Romans 14 Means

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Let me start off by saying that anyone who says what my title says, i.e. “What (something) means” is telling you what they think it means. That doesn’t make it true, but it isn’t automatically wrong, either. It is incumbent on you, the one receiving the message, to verify that what is being said is true and valid. And if that is too much work for you, then you are a fool and will probably end up being one of the first ones on the line to take the mark.

That’s a pretty rough start to my message, isn’t it? Well, sometimes people need to be reminded that it isn’t what they hear that matters as much as what they accept, and acceptance should only be based on good information, taken from the Bible and verified by yourself, asking God to show you what it means, for you.

So, now we can talk about Romans 14. This chapter is about judging based on what people eat or which days they celebrate. Shaul (Paul) says, and this is a very condensed version of his explanation, that so long as what people do is to honor the Lord, then no one should judge them. This is stated most clearly in Romans 14: 6-8, so let’s take a look at that (this is from the Complete Jewish Bible):

He who observes a day as special does so to honor the Lord. Also he who eats anything, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; likewise the abstainer abstains to honor the Lord, and he too gives thanks to God. For none of us lives only in relation to himself, and none of us dies only in relation to himself; for if we live, we live in relation to the Lord; and if we die, we die in relation to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord —

The rest of the chapter goes into a little more detail, further teaching us that when we judge someone based on what they believe they are doing to honor the Lord, God, but is different from what we believe honors God, then we are placing a stumbling block in their path to becoming holier.

He says the kingdom of God is not of food but of righteousness (Romans 14:17) so we shouldn’t be telling someone, regarding food or worship days, that what they do is bad when they believe it to be good, meaning that in their minds and hearts they are doing it to honor the Lord.

The real-life examples of people judging others wrongly are too often seen in postings on these discussion groups regarding what I consider to be the Big Three Issues:

  1. Which calendar is correct?;
  2. What is God’s name and how to use it?; and
  3. What days are to be celebrated?

I have seen people accuse others, others who are truly trying to worship God correctly, to be praying to the devil or celebrating a pagan holiday, or that when calling upon Jesus they are praying to a horse (yes, that has been there a few times.) They say doing these things dishonors God.

I have seen so many different people declare that only their calendar is correct, insinuating that if someone else uses a different calendar then they are sinning because they aren’t celebrating a Holy Day or the Shabbat correctly.

Really? How can anyone believe that God will reject someone celebrating, oh, let’s say, Yom Kippur, on the evening their Jewish calendar says it starts, because it may be a day or two off from the absolutely correct date measured from the very first Yom Kippur?

Is God really that anal-retentive? Is he more worried about us doing something on the absolutely correct date, or using the one and only absolutely correct pronunciation of his name? Or he is more concerned with the attitude of our heart? If I eat ham but try to love others, forgive and treat people the way that the Torah says I should, will God tell me to go to hell when I come before him because even though I tried my whole life to be as he says I should be, I ate ham?

I don’t think so. Maybe I will not be as honored in heaven as someone who did everything I did and never ate ham, but I will still be there.

How do I know this? Because Yeshua said so: in Matthew 5:17 Yeshua says that he did not come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it (which means to interpret it correctly), and after saying that he adds in Matthew 5:19:

So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, nu! There you have it! Yeshua, himself, indicates that we may sin, and even teach others to do so, but we can still end up in the Kingdom of Heaven. Maybe, just maybe, do you think this is what Shaul is talking about here in Romans?

Here’s a hypothetical: if I eat ham because I have been taught (as many, many Christians have been for thousands of years) that the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) are not necessary for Gentile Believers to obey, I am in violation of the Torah. But, it is not my intention to sin: I am, in my heart and mind, a grateful believer in God and Messiah and in many other ways I try to be as God wants me to be. But I was taught Kosher isn’t required for Gentiles. And that was most likely taught to me by someone who also thought they were not doing anything against God.

Here we have people sinning and teaching others to sin, but not on purpose and not in their minds or hearts. These are the ones who will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

What Shaul is saying in Romans is that when someone does what they do to honor the Lord, then neither you nor I nor anyone should tell them they are wrong or try to stop them. If someone uses the title “God” or “Adonai”, but you believe people should always use the Holy Name for God and pronounce it as “Yahweh”, that’s fine for you and you have no right- in fact, you would be wrong- to correct them.

If you are biblically Kosher (as I am) and see someone pray before eating their dinner, which has an appetizer of Bang Bang Shrimp and the main course is lobster, instead of chiding them in your mind for violating God’s commandments, just eat your food and mind your own business.

We will all come before the Lord (this is also something Shaul points out) and have to give an account of ourselves, and it is up to the Lord, God Almighty to judge us.

Here’s a news flash, people: you ain’t HIM! So don’t judge ’cause you yourself will be judged the way you judge (Matthew 7:2); in other words, we should only worry about ourselves because that is more than enough for any of us to have to do.

Don’t miss the important difference between those who sin because they reject God or who say they worship God and sin just because they want to, from those who worship God but sin from ignorance or misguided teaching. The former will certainly be in hot water when they come before God, and the latter will be in heaven, but not as esteemed as those who have obeyed more faithfully to do as God told us to do in the Torah.

One last thing: you may be thinking that this isn’t fair! Maybe you would say to God, “I really tried hard to be a “good” Christian but I was taught that Kosher isn’t important and Christmas and Easter are fine. They said I didn’t have to celebrate any of those “Jewish” holidays, so why am I being treated as less than others in heaven? After all, it isn’t my fault- I did what my religious leaders told me to do.”

Well, sorry to say, it is your fault because you did what you were told without checking if it was right or wrong. God gave us the Torah, and that is the only place in the Bible where God tells us how to worship him and how to treat others- the rest of the Bible, from Joshua through Revelations, is essentially not much more than commentary. Even what Yeshua taught was what God had already said, but Yeshua taught the deeper, spiritual meaning of those commandments. The Letter to the Romans Shaul wrote, as well as his other letters, are designed to help Gentiles that didn’t know God, the Bible or the Jewish lifestyle to adapt to it.

So if you want to obey Shaul then treat others as you would want them to treat you (Leviticus 19:18) and stop judging others who are trying to honor God in the way they know or have been taught. Of course, it is OK to try to steer them in the right direction: after all, that is what this ministry is all about, but you will never hear me tell someone they must worship or pronounce or celebrate the way I believe they should. I will tell them what God says in the Torah and leave it up to them to decide whether they will listen to God or religion.

I’ll end with this: as I said, as Shaul said, as God has said, we will all have to come before his throne of judgment, and when we do if you try saying something like, “But that’s what they told me I should do.” I believe God will answer with something like this:

“I understand, my child, that is what they told you to do, but it’s what I say that counts!”

Thank you for being here and please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, share these messages with everyone you know, and if you like what you hear consider buying my books because you will like them, too.

And remember- I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah Sh’mot 2021 (The names) Exodus 1 – 6:1

We now come to one of the most well-known biblical tales, known even to those who aren’t of the Judeo-Christian faiths: the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, brought about by God working his miracles through Moses and Aaron against the kingdom and gods of Egypt.

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In this parashah, which is quite a long one, we start with the names of those children of Israel who went into Egypt. Joseph has died and over the next couple of hundred years (remember that in Genesis 15:13 God told Abraham his descendants would be in a foreign land for 400 years) the Israelites blossom from a large family into a nation, and the Pharaoh in power did not remember Joseph. All he saw was a mighty nation living in his land and the potential danger to his rule. So, in order to protect his rulership, he enslaved the people and worked them mercilessly. However, even under the harshness of Egyptian slavery, the population grew, so Pharaoh ordered the Israelite midwives to kill all the male children but leave the females alive. The midwives disobeyed, so Pharaoh then ordered his own people to kill any new-born male Israelite children.

During this time, Moses is born and hidden, and after three months the child couldn’t be hidden anymore, so his mother placed him in a waterproof basket and sent him down the Nile (or up the Nile, as the case may be), leaving his future in God’s hands. The daughter of Pharaoh sees the basket and knows the child is an Israelite but raises him as her own son. Miriam, Moses’s older sister, had followed the basket and was wise enough to offer to have one of the Israelite women nurse the baby, which Pharaoh’s daughter agreed to. Once weaned, which was probably at about 4 years of age, Moses was raised in the household of the Pharaoh, but he knew who he was and who his people were.

One day when Moses was a full-grown man, he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite, and his anger flared up within him. He killed the Egyptian and hid the body, thinking no one would ever know, but the very next day he saw two Israelites fighting and tried to stop them. One of them asked who did Moses think he was judging them, and would he kill one of them as he did the Egyptian?

Realizing that the murder was known, and knowing that sooner or later he would have to be tried and killed for the crime, he fled to Midian.

There he helped the daughters of the Chief, or Priest of Midian when they were accosted at a well, and in return, the chief gave one of his daughters to Moses in marriage. Moses stayed there, as a shepherd, until he was 80 years old, which is when he saw the burning bush.

Of course, we all know the story from here- Moses approaches the bush, God speaks to him and tells him to go to Egypt to free his people. Moses hems and haws until God pretty much says, “Enough!” God sends Aaron to help Moses by acting as his mouthpiece, and when they first approach Pharaoh and ask that he let the people go to worship their God, Pharaoh refuses; as punishment for even asking, he adds to the harshness of their slavery by requiring the same tally of bricks, but doesn’t supply the straw. That meant that the people had to glean straw all night, even though they have worked sunup to sunset.
Moses and Aaron, who were welcomed by the Israelites when they came saying God had sent them to free the people, now are hated and blamed for the additional problems. Moses asks God why he hasn’t done what he said he would do, and free the people, but God says that now Moses will see his wonders at work.

OMG!!! Where do I start? How do I stop?

Let’s do this, first: a point of interest. When we read this, God not only tells Moses he will work wonders but also tells Moses that he will kill the firstborn of the Pharaoh (Exodus 4:23), so Moses knows what the endgame play will be, before the game even starts.

What I want to do today is open a can of worms by discussing the name of God, which we are given, by God, himself, in Exodus 3:14. And I call this a can of worms because of the divisive and eternal argument within the Believing communities as to how to pronounce God’s name, the Tetragrammaton, which is יהוה, the Hebrew letters Y-H-V-H.

In the Torah, God doesn’t answer Moses’ question with the Tetragrammaton but instead says this:

And God said unto Moses: “I am that I am”; and he said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I am hath sent you.”

So why, if God’s name is Y-H-V-H, didn’t he tell Moses that was his name?

The answer is what I have been trying to tell people for years, which is the very crux of the problem with the “Holy Namers”: the use of the word “name” in ancient days didn’t just mean what someone was called, but who and what they were.

The Chumash explains it this way (this is from the Soncino 1965 Second Edition, and is not a quote): when Moses asked “מה שמו?” (What name?), it wasn’t an inquiry for knowing what God is called because the people must have already known what God was called. When Moses proclaimed that he was sent by the God of their fathers, it is unthinkable that this would be some unknown God. In those days, “name” meant fame or reputation. And in Exodus 9:16, it is used to indicate that God’s name represents his power.

So, from God’s view, what his name is, as in first or last name, is less important than what his reputation and fame are to those whom he wants to know about him. God is telling Moses, who wants to know what to call him, that what to call him isn’t important. What is important is that he is who he is: this is a statement not of personal identity but of eternal nature and omnipotence.

God wants not just the Israelites, but Pharaoh and the whole world to know that he IS. And you might ask, “‘What is ‘IS“?” It means he is whatever he needs to be, whenever or wherever he needs or wants to be. He is eternal, he is all-powerful, and he is able to do whatever needs to be done.

He is THE God; the only God, the one, true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator, the King, the Father, the Judge, the Executioner, the Savior…you name it, and God IS.

In other words, I am that I am, which is everything to everyone, all the time, forever and ever. Amen!

So, when people argue about how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton and accuse you of praying to Ba’al if you use the word “Lord”, or that you pray to idols when you use the word “God”, you can ignore them. They are too prideful to think they could be wrong and too stubborn to hear the truth. But you never know- you could meet an exception- so I would suggest you test the waters by asking them, “Would you like to know which name God, himself, told us he wants us to know him by?” And if they answer they would, then quote them Exodus 3:14, and hopefully, they will learn something.

The traditional names for God that Jews have used for millennia are God, Lord, Adonai, and HaShem (the Name); these are what we call God and we do not ever try to pronounce the Hebrew word Y-H-V-H simply out of respect for him. Christians do not understand this and misinterpret the use of the term “call on his name” or “the name of the Lord” because they do not know the Torah, so they do not know that God, himself, doesn’t care about the Tetragrammaton. He is more concerned with our knowing who he is than what to call him.

So don’t be like the ignorant who concentrate their time and energy trying to call God by his first name, as it were, because God doesn’t care about that. The Holy Name controversy has done NOTHING to edify or help people come closer to God, but it has been a divisive and hateful point of contention within the body of Believers. It has served no useful purpose with regard to salvation but has been very helpful to the Enemy, in that it divides and separates the people of God.

God tells us what is important to him in the Torah, in Genesis 15:16 where we are told that because Abraham believed him, his faithfulness was credited as righteousness to him. Abraham was faithful and thus righteous, and there is no mention of which name Abraham called God.

We are saved by faith, not by pronunciation, so know who God is, know what God can do, and know what God wants from you: that is all you need to know. That, along with accepting that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send and through his sacrifice, our sins can be forgiven. If you know that, you are set.

That’s really all you need to know, but you should continue to study so you and grow in spiritual strength and maturity and can be a good example to the world of God’s peace, the joy you receive through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), God’s overwhelming love, and (of course) his salvation through Messiah Yeshua. Also, we can demonstrate God’s power to change us, for the better.

All the self-help books and seminars in the world don’t really change anyone- almost all of them eventually go back to who they were and what they were doing, which is why that drek keeps selling. It’s like fad diets- they work for a while, then people go back to what they were.

But with God, once changed by his spirit, almost everyone stays changed- that is who HE is! He has the power to make effective and lasting change; in fact, he is the only one who can make an eternal change.

He is that he is, and that is how he wants us to know him.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Do You See the End Coming?

I had planned on talking about something totally different, but given the events of yesterday in the United States, I cannot ignore speaking to it. This is not a political ministry, it is a teaching ministry, so let’s analyze what happened from a historical and spiritual viewpoint.

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For those who might not be aware, there was a large gathering of Americans at our nation’s Capitol building yesterday, which was called to support President Trump and require a decision regarding allegations of election fraud. At some point, violence broke out and a handful of people broke windows and stormed into the Capitol building. The police were called in, they shot and killed at least one woman, and other deaths have been reported; eventually, the crowds were told to disperse and they did. There were tens of thousands of people there. No other damages to buildings or looting were done except for the broken windows to the Capitol building.

This country began as a refuge for those who wanted to worship God as they chose. When we felt unfairly controlled by the Crown in England, we rebelled, but at first, it wasn’t to be independent- we only wanted things to go back to how they were. The Boston Tea Party and the rebellion against the Stamp Act- all the people wanted was for those laws to be repealed. It wasn’t until the Declaration of Independence was drafted did anyone really think about breaking from England, altogether.

And after the new country of America had been under the Articles of Confederation for 11 years and was dying, economically as well as socially, the Continental Congress was called to revise the Articles. They closed and locked the doors and in secret, illegally revised the Articles of Confederation by deep-sixing them and creating the one thing the first Continental Congress did NOT want: a strong, central government.

And thank God they did! And because this country and its leaders at that time were God-fearing men, they were able to come up with the U.S. Constitution.

And because our government, courts, and society were faithfully adherent to the way God said we should live and treat each other, he blessed this nation with financial and societal strength, making it a place where everyone else in the world wanted to go to live for the opportunities it provided.

In the last couple of decades, we have decided that God has no place in our system of government, or in our courts, schools, or even society. And the leaders of this country, who at the beginning made sure that everything they did was based on what God said, have done a complete “180”: God says there are two genders, today the government says people can be any gender they want to be, even going as far as to support the idea that children who haven’t even gone through puberty yet can decide which gender they want to be.

The murder of children, which is no different than child sacrifice to the pagan gods of the Semitic tribes of ancient days, is now financially supported and guaranteed by the government. It’s called abortion.

Our government leaders, especially the ones who are now coming into nearly complete power, have decided that Israel is not to be allowed to exist. They support verbally and financially the Palestinian people (who never really existed until Yasser Arafat created them as a propaganda campaign), a people who only want to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews they can. They teach their children, as early as kindergarten, that it is a good thing to kill Jews and the more Jews they kill the more reward they will receive in heaven!

Who would have ever thought that America would not just condone, but support both verbally and financially, any country that teaches its children it is a good thing to kill other people?

The Democrats have denounced the violence at the Capital but didn’t say one word about all the BLM and ANTIFA rioting and destruction of property (not to mention the murder of police) in the past except for the fact that these were, in truth, peaceful protests. C’mon, people…really? Yet, there are many people who believed that… and why? Because their hatred is stronger than their love, stronger than their common sense, and stronger than their judgment.

In Matthew 7:2 Yeshua teaches us all about judging others:

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

So all who hate will be treated the same way they treat the ones they hate. And when you ask people why they hate, so often all I hear is “because he or she is (a certain type of person).”

Is this a country or a high school? Are our elected officials, especially the President, qualified by how nice a person they are, or by what plans they have for improving the country and their ability to accomplish those plans? Is the President supposed to be friendly to everyone and smiling all the time, never offending anyone (which means the same as not having any moral compass) or is he supposed to a leader with a specific set of standards?

People, this country is not the America I was willing to fight and die for when I was in the Marine Corps. It is most certainly not the America my father fought for in WWII or my uncle, who was a MASH doctor, risked his life for during the Korean War.

And it is no longer blessed by God because we have rejected him. We have replaced him with sexual perversity, sports figures, fast cars, technology, and financial gain. We don’t have time to pray because we are too busy on Facebook or Twitter, reading and spreading gossip, believing what we are told on the Internet or from the corrupted media.

And when we reject God, God will give us time to repent and come back to him, despite how sinful we may have become. But eventually, even God will have to accept that repentance is not coming, and as such, the only thing left is judgment.

God told Jeremiah not to pray for Judea (Jeremiah 7:16) because the time for judgment had come- it was too late to turn away the fierce anger and just punishment that God now had to deal out on them. And, my brothers and sisters, I am telling you here and now that we in America are in the same spot.

God used the Assyrians to punish Shomron, and he used the Babylonians to punish Judea. Now, he is using our own leaders to destroy us from inside.

Pray if you want to, but don’t pray for these people or this country because our time for repentance has come and gone. Pray for quick relief, pray that you will be able to financially survive the punishment, and pray that God will lift up, in the midst of this tsouris we will be undergoing, a leader who will bring God back into our society and courts, and that this country will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the destroying fire we have brought down on ourselves, and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Our God, Father, Lord, Creator, and King, please be merciful in this, your righteous indignation with our country and leaders, and speed an end to the punishment we and our fathers deserve. We have sinned against thee, and have committed grievous abominations, all the while ignoring your good instructions. Forgive our stupidity, pride, and selfishness; remove the stain of our sexual perversity and spiritual misguidance of the people, and bring us back into communion with you through your Messiah, Yeshua.

We await your just punishment and ask, in Yeshua’s name, that you mercifully protect those who still honor and worship you, and when the sword strikes, please get it over with quickly.

Amen.

Are You Used to Your Salvation?

David wrote this heartfelt prayer in Psalm 51 (CJB):

Create in me a clean heart, God; renew in me a resolute spirit. Don’t thrust me away from your presence, don’t take your Ruach Kodesh away from me. Restore my joy in your salvation, and let a willing spirit uphold me.

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I confess that I pray this on a regular basis, for myself, and not because it is a beautiful passage (which it is) and not because it tells of my love for God (which it does), but because I have become inured to having received the Grace of God and the indwelling of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

I have been “saved” for nearly a quarter of a century, and didn’t come to know my Messiah until I was in my 40’s; when I decided to accept Yeshua, I still had to wait nearly three months before I received the gift of the Ruach.

And looking back, I remember the many times I would be in prayer or singing to the Lord and felt his touch, you know- that tingling sensation you get all over-and I knew it wasn’t just a chill or something earthly: I knew it was God.

I can’t remember the last time I felt that. And I know it isn’t because God has abandoned me, or withdrawn his Ruach because of all the wonderful blessings I receive from him and also because of these messages I am given, so to speak, to share with you. I can tell you right now that when I do something that is edifying, which I am happy to say I receive confirmation from people regularly that this is what I am doing, then I know that it is from God ’cause it ain’t from me, I can tell you that right now!

Trust me on this: if something good comes from me, it ain’t me. So when I get a positive reply to a Facebook posting or from one of these messages on my ministry, I accept that as confirmation that the Ruach is still at work in me.

But still, I miss that touch. I know it is my fault I don’t feel it; it is not that I have rejected God, but I have become too used to my salvation. I have worked within it for so long that I don’t really appreciate it as much as I first did. I know that is wrong, but I also know it is part of human nature to become adjusted to almost any condition we are in, once we have been there long enough (I wouldn’t want to use the word “bored”, but that is almost what it is like.)

Now don’t get me wrong: I am not saying I am bored with God- heaven forbid! I appreciate everything he does for me and my wife, and I thank him every day. I read his word daily and pray to him always, but it is that peace of mind, that wonder, that overwhelming sense of joy that I recall when I was first saved that I miss. That zealousness, that strong desire to do absolutely everything in the Torah perfectly…where did it go? Am I the victim of that old adage, “Familiarity breeds contempt?”

Again, not that I hate God- heaven forbid! (I sound like Shaul writing to the Romans, don’t I?) But there is something too familiar with my relationship with the Spirit and to God and Messiah Yeshua. It is like a life-long friendship where two people have formed such a close relationship that they don’t feel it as much consciously, but subconsciously they know they are as one.

So, nu? What do I do about this?

You know what? I don’t know. Maybe someone out there has an answer, maybe someone out there feels they are in the same boat as I am, and maybe the answer will come to me when God is ready to slap me upside my head and say, “Get back with the program!”

I trust that God is still with me, I know that he is waiting for me to come closer, his hand out there, in anticipation that sooner or later I will figure it out. It is undoubtedly some level of pridefulness on my part that is acting as a wedge between me and God, keeping me from getting closer to him.

I don’t know: I just…don’t…know.

So what I will do is continue to study his word, continue to pray, continue to do my best to live more in accordance with the instructions God gave us, and continue to trust that God will, one way or another, in his perfect timing show me what I need to do in order to come closer to him.

And, now that I think about it, that sounds like a good plan for anyone.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages to help this ministry grow. I never ask for money because this is a teaching ministry and not a money-grabbing business (although it wouldn’t hurt if you bought some of my books.) I will never tell anyone what they must believe, only what I believe God is saying to us. All I want to do is give people what they need in order to make an informed decision about where they will spend eternity.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

PS: I was making the video for this and as I was reviewing the video, I felt God’s touch! So it seems the answer is as David said elsewhere- a broken heart and a contrite spirit, God will not turn away.

Praise God, now and always, for his love endures forever!