Is God a Bigot?

I just read a Dear Amy letter about a gay man whose sister, marrying into a very Christian family, wrote him and asked that he not attend the wedding because of his lifestyle choice not being in line with their beliefs.

I can’t stand that attitude. What  a terrible way to demonstrate God’s effect on us.  And what hypocrisy! They don’t understand what God sees in us, and they certainly don’t understand what being a “Good Christian” means.

OK. I’m a little opinionated on this. I gotta tell ‘ya, I hate it when people use God as an excuse to act out their own hatefulness and to justify their sins.

What’s God say about homosexuality? He calls it an abomination. He commands that women should not dress as men and men should not lie with another man, as with a woman. He clearly does not want people to be homosexual.  Does that mean I should ignore and snub every gay person? After all, God also says don’t steal. In fact, not stealing is one of the Big Ten, and homosexuality gets nothing more than a dishonourable mention on page 5.  But do you tell a brother, a sister, or a friend who steals pens from the office or doesn’t tithe or who eats ham (I had to throw that one in- after all, it is a Jewish Blog) that you cannot condone their presence at your wedding? Oh, like you never took anything? What? You NEVER sin?

Wasn’t one of the most commonly used complaints about Yeshua the fact that He hung around with tax collectors, prostitutes and other sinners?  If Yeshua wanted to show them what God’s Spirit can achieve, and how God sees the heart, what makes these people think they are better than Yeshua?

I don’t condone homosexuality, it is a sin. But I was taught we should hate the sin, and love the sinner. I have homosexual family members, and I love them. Do I agree with their lifestyle choice? No, and they know that, but they also know I love them. If I was to keep every sinner away from me, well…I would be all alone. In fact, I wouldn’t even be able to talk to myself.

I wish these people with their “Holier than thou” attitudes would stop trampling the blood of the Messiah in the dirt, and start to act like humans. They think they’re God, themselves, judging others. Oh, wait- didn’t God say judge not, lest ye be judged? Doesn’t the Bible tell us that we are all sinners? Didn’t Yeshua tell us we are a light unto the world, we are salt? If salt loses it’s flavor it is thrown away. What is the flavor?- love and compassion. Not acceptance, not tolerance, but love. We don’t have to agree with what some people do, but we should not be hateful and judgemental. We will all face God one day, and only He is a fair judge. I believe that what you do is wrong and sinful, but I am wrong and sinful, too. That’s why Yeshua had to die. He died for the gay person just as much as he died for the straight person.  And if Yeshua died for them, but we ignore them and treat them like they had tza’ar at (leprosy) then aren’t we undoing what Yeshua died to do?

Too many times I have heard people use God as their excuse for doing something, or not doing something. It’s not His fault. Get a grip, man-up, and take responsibility for your own actions.

I say that when I do something wonderful and helpful to others, it is God working through me. When I act like a jerk and do something really mean and stupid, well, that’s when I can take full credit.

If someone is going to be hateful, judgemental or just ignore someone else because of a sin in that person’s life,  they better not say it’s because God tells them to be so. That is a lie from the pit of Sheol (hell). God tells us to love our neighbor, to be a light unto them, to show them the truth about Him, His Messiah, and His grace so they can turn from their sin and be saved.

You can’t help someone save their soul when you won’t have anything to do with them.

Politics and Religion Should Mix

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Shalu Shalom Yerushalayim). I hear this, we pray it, it’s written on my Tallit. It is even commanded for us to do, is it not? Yet, in the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days) won’t the whole world come against Jerusalem? Isn’t nearly 2/3 of the Earth (and people) to be destroyed, and a new Earth and a new Jerusalem to be created?

When we pray for Yeshua to return, isn’t that going to happen only at the very end of the near total destruction of the World and of the “religious” center of the Universe (that’s Jerusalem, by the way), according to Revelations?

The Bill of Rights guarantees that there will be a separation of church and state. That is a fundamental right of all Americans. But is that a fundamental right of all believers? It shouldn’t be, should it? After all, isn’t the way God wants us to live politically called a Theocracy? A God-led government? The Torah is our Constitution, it is our Penal Code, it is our Miss Manners, it is our Ketubah (Marriage Certificate) with God: it is all we need.

When the Israelites wanted a King, didn’t Shmuel (Samuel) warn them? Wasn’t having a separation between God and Government, in fact, a rejection of God’s authority in our everyday lives?

When people ask me if I am going to a Pro-Israel meeting or event, I usually refuse. Why? Am I against Israel? Certainly not! I don’t do politics, I do God.

You probably won’t agree, but because I want Yeshua to return as soon as possible, to me praying for the (immediate) peace of Jerusalem is almost tantamount to telling Yeshua to stay away. I know…I know…how can I think that? We are commanded to pray for the peace  of Jerusalem. Well, I do. But not for now. I want Jerusalem to have the ultimate peace, an eternal peace, and that will only come with the End Times. Right now what we should expect is anything but peace.

If you believe, as I do, that we are in prophetic times, that we are getting nearer to the End Times (of course, that’s an oxymoron- since the End Times are in the future, by definition every day brings us closer) I look forward to the return of Messiah. I don’t look forward to what that means to us- tribulation, war, death and destruction on a scale never before witnessed by human beings. Not a pretty picture. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Shaul (Paul) told us to keep our eyes on the prize, i.e, the final victory.

When you play golf and you come to a hole with sand traps and water all over it, the methodology is simple- don’t look at where you don’t want to go, keep focused only on the areas you want to hit to. If you look at the sand trap, you will be in it. Let’s look to the end of the end, the new Earth and the new Jerusalem.

I can’t tell you what to do when it comes to praying for Jerusalem or attending political events. If you want to be told, get religion. They’re good at telling you what to do, how to do it, and what will happen if you don’t. This blog/ministry won’t tell you anything but what I see in God’s Word, and to make up your own mind. I don’t want to put myself on a level with the Prophets , but I feel the same responsibility that they had: God told them if they spoke His words they were innocent of the blood that will be shed for disobedience, but if they didn’t they would have the sinners blood on their head. I want you to know what God says, but it is still me interpreting God’s word for you. And I’m a sinner and a bit of a Shlemiel, so you can’t take what I say as an a priori truth.

You need to make up your own minds because, ultimately, it will be you before God and He will hold you responsible for what you do and don’t do. There are no excuses, and what you do or don’t do is your decision. He gave us all Free Will, and he gave us His word to read and , by reading, to understand Him and what He wants from us. Which means we are accountable for ourselves, and it’s no one else’s fault.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, by all means, if for no other reason than we are told to do so. Which “peace” you pray for, the peace made by men (how long has that ever lasted?) or the peace that God promises, is up to you.

Hidden Idolotry

The below is an excerpt from my book, “Back to Basics: God’s Word vs. Religion” (there is a link to it somewhere around here, and it’s on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites):

I must have read at least four different versions of the Bible over the years, and read the Bible itself from cover to cover over 2 dozen times, not to mention all the commentaries I’ve read to prepare a Bible study or a sermon.  And yet, after all that reading and study, I don’t recall anywhere where Yeshua said to worship Him (Yeshua). Yes, He says He is the Son of God, and He says He is the Messiah, and He told His Talmudim (Disciples) that they should call Him Lord, for He is their Lord, but He never told anyone to worship anybody or anything other than His Father in heaven. If we worship anyone or anything other than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are guilty of idolatry.

    Strong words. And words that might make some readers uncomfortable, since most of the Christians I know almost always pray to Jesus, exclusively. Yet, as I said, I have never found anywhere in the Manual the instructions for praying to Yeshua. All I have ever read is how we should be praying to God.

   But didn’t Yeshua tell us that anything we ask for in His name we will receive? (John 14:13) Yes, He did, but that’s not the same as saying, “Pray to me and you will receive what you ask for.” Far from it! He is simply saying that what we ask for from God will be given when we ask Yeshua to intercede for us (there is an implied understanding here that what we ask for “in His name” will be something that is within God’s will, and not just for selfish or evil purposes). We are to utilize the fact that Yeshua sacrificed Himself for us, and by means of that sacrifice we are able to receive the salvation that used to be attainable only through the sacrificial system with the Temple. Yeshua is the one and last, ultimate sacrifice, and he sits at God’s right hand, interceding for us. That is why we pray in His name, to utilize the pathway He has provided. Maybe that’s why He both instructs and reminds us that the only way to the Father is through the Son ( John 14:6).

   It was by Yeshua’s death that we can now get past the Parokhet, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the average person. That’s why the curtain was torn from the top down, from God to us, when Yeshua died. He provides the pathway, He says to follow Him (and no one else), and He is the one who tells us how to pray (Matthew 6:9), which is to “Our Father, who art in Heaven…”.  He didn’t say, “pray to me”. He told us to pray to God. If we pray to anyone else, we are placing a barrier between God and us. Yeshua is an intercessor, not a barrier.”

I hear people, especially in one of the oldest “Christian” religions, where the prayer is almost always to Yeshua/Jesus. They also pray to saints, people. Not God, Adonai, El Elyon, but to people. They ask people to ask Jesus to ask God! But they kneel before a graven image and pray to that person. And they see nothing wrong with that!

Oy!! No graven images, pray to Our Father, ask in my name…what part of this don’t they understand? Where do they come up with this stuff?

Who do you pray to?  Is it God, the Father? Is it Jesus/Yeshua? Is it somebody that is supposed to intercede with Yeshua to ask the Father? Why so many middlemen? No wonder Jewish people are uncomfortable with this program- we would never purposely do retail when wholesale is available!

Think about the hidden idols in your life, and I’m not talking about statues of Ba’al in the living room.Is football more important than Church? Do you read the Bible for a few minutes each morning or the newspaper (which is always the same?)

Think about it, and if you see the hidden idols in your life, get rid of them.

Salvation: Good News, Bad News

What is salvation? Whether you believe Messiah had already arrived or whether you are still waiting, it’s clear God saves us from the eternal consequence of our sins by means of His Anointed One, Mashiach/The Messiah. When you accept God’s Messiah as your Saviour and King, then you are “saved”. And,when you are saved, you spend Eternity in a really, really nice place. If you aren’t saved, you spend Eternity in a really, really lousy place. Saved= Eternity in a nice place; not saved= Eternity in a lousy place. That’s Salvation, in a nutshell.

But that’s not the good news, bad news.

From my childhood I wanted a relationship with God and felt unfilled and unfulfilled, yet what kept me from even thinking about being saved for over forty years was the thought that being saved meant I had to be a different person. I couldn’t make dirty jokes, I had to be nice to everyone, I couldn’t get mad, I always had to be holy; no jokes, always serious, no fun…not me at all.

Truth be told, I wasn’t all too happy about who I was, anyway, but I certainly preferred who I was to what I thought I would have to become.

Here’s the Good News about Salvation: you don’t have to become a different person to be saved.

Here’s the Bad News about Salvation: you don’t become a different person just because you’re saved.

Huh? What is this guy talking about?

I am saved, and I am still me. Being saved by Messiah, I am a Saint (according to the Bible, not because I did 3  miracles and was voted in), but I am still me. I still like dirty jokes (but I tell less of them because I am more aware of other’s feelings), I still like to drink alcohol (but I do so moderately), I still curse (but less- a lot less), and I still act like a dope. I am Steve, but Steve is saved. All those years of being afraid of losing myself were for naught. So, why is this bad news?

Because now that I am saved, and have the indwelling Ruach (Spirit) of God that leads me (when I allow it), I think differently. What’s has changed is that  my heart of stone is being replaced with one of flesh.  I am not becoming a different person, I am becoming a better me. And because of this, I now wish, sorta, that I would be changed. I often pray God will take away certain thoughts and desires, and replace them with compassion and patience. Now that I understand what God wants, and now that I want to please Him, I want to be different.

I prayed and prayed for God to excise parts of my personality, to make me a different person, and one day He answered my prayer. He said, “That’s not how it works.” He gave me the insight to know why: we need to learn to rely on God’s Spirit and God’s strength because if He miraculously ‘cured” me I would never learn how to depend on Him. You see, the Tribulation is already here. Just living in the world, but no longer being part of it, is a Tribulation all those who are saved must endure. We need to discipline ourselves and steel ourselves against the sin that is all around us, and (more so) the sin that is always inside us. If God just made it go away, we would be like the seed that falls on poor soil, and when the first wind blows we will lose it all. We need to exercise our spiritual muscles and work them to control ourselves, we need to be good soil and in that way when we call on the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) we will have the strength to listen and obey it.

If anyone is reading this and is a little scared about accepting Messiah Yeshua because (like me) you were afraid of being changed, don’t be. You don’t really change that much; at least, not at first and when changes do happen, you are happy about them.

I used to be a sinner that rationalized my sins, and now I am a sinner who regrets my sins. That’s the big change, and that’s the change that makes me want to do better and be better.

Like I said, I am not becoming a different person, I am becoming a better me. If you want to be a better you, accept God’s grace and accept Messiah Yeshua right now. Make a change for the better.

Love Isn’t Enough

The Manual (that is, the Bible. After all, it is the ultimate Users Manual) is full of commandments and exhortations to love each other. Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus), God so loved the world He gave His only son (John), in Ephesians, in Numbers (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and soul) , in the Tanakh, in the B’rit Chadashah, everywhere! We are constantly reminded that God loves us and we should love Him, and each other (in that order).

But love isn’t enough. Why? Because human love isn’t God’s love. We don’t love unconditionally. Oh, yeah….people say they do, but we are sinful and self-absorbed. We love people more for how they make us feel as we do for their individual worthiness. What I mean is this: we love people because we see in them things that remind us of what makes us feel good. We love our parents, so we end up finding a mate that has similar qualities, physical and/or emotional, so we can be constantly bombarded with happy memories and feelings. We love people for how they make us feel. Don’t we? Whereas God loves us for ourselves. His love is unconditional and totally absent of ego. Our human love is drowning in ego.

I recognize that my feelings about people are not be “Godly”. I would LOVE it if they were, but it ain’t happening!  I love the Lord, I love my wife, but I love them each in a totally different way. I love really hot buffalo wings, but in a totally different way (and just like love, those wings can turn on you in a second!)

What we need to do is go beyond love. We need to force ourselves to do what God wants, despite our feelings. We need to forgive when we are wronged, even if we can’t stand the person. Doesn’t Yeshua say that it isn’t anything to brag about (I’m paraphrasing here) when we do something nice for someone we love? Wouldn’t even a sinner, if his son asked for something to eat, give him bread instead of a snake? Real love, God’s kind of love, is doing good for people, even those we can’t stand, and even those who can’t stand us.

In Proverbs it says to give our enemy food and water is like pouring hot coals on his head. The idea is that we should do good, it will shock those who hate us, and maybe, just maybe, wake them up and turn them from their hate. That’s God’s kind of love- doing for those who hate us what is good for them.

That’s why (human) love isn’t enough. We need to do more than feel love, we need to act out love. We need to DO what love does, not just what we feel like doing.  We need to push the envelope and get out of our comfort zone; we need to help when we don’t want to help, be compassionate when we don’t care (that’s me all over) and pray good for people we would rather see die a long and painful death.

Hard words. A hard lesson. But, then again, God never said it would be easy, just that it will be worth it when we reach the end.

 

Proof of Existence Not Required

When did people stop believing and start requiring proof? I mean, when did we lose faith?

Not just faith, but the belief in faith as a realistic notion?

In the “olden days” people made up stories to explain what they couldn’t understand. Today, of course, with science as advanced as it is, we know these stories to be unfounded and, pardon my saying so, even archaic and naive. But back then, they believed. And it wasn’t based on facts or scientific proof, but because they chose to believe.

The Earth is flat, witches float on water, the “Evil Eye”, and so many other beliefs that were not even questioned. And even though today we know these beliefs to be wrong, choosing to believe in something isn’t.

Maybe it’s no surprise that today, with science and knowledge and technology, we find it very hard to believe in anything, especially things unseen and unproven, such as , oh, what? God?

We have archaeological evidence that constantly indicates the Bible is an historically accurate document, but we don’t have definite, absolute proof of God’s existence. Or…do we?

I believe in God. I see proof of His existence every day, I have seen Him work in my life, and the lives of others. I still take many things I hear about how He has moved in other people’s lives with a grain of salt, but I concentrate on my life to remind myself of what He has done for me. Why do I believe? Because I chose to believe. That’s right- it’s not scientific or even “sensible”. It’s an ancient and emotional thing. It isn’t verifiable, and diminishes my ability to convince others. It’s a made-up crutch to avoid the real problems in the world. It’s my own little fantasy.

That’s what I used to think about people who believed in God. Thank God I don’t anymore.

I wonder why God doesn’t show Himself anymore like He did in Biblical times. He used to split the sea, rain fire down on His enemies, make earthquakes swallow up people, and heal the lame. Oh, yeah- a lot of this still happens today and I believe it is God, but it’s not like in the Bible. Or, maybe, it’s just not accepted by people like it was in the Bible.

I believe that we will never see definitive, absolute, scientifically acceptable proof of God’s existence until it is too late for anyone to argue about it. Why? Because we are saved by faith, not empirical evidence. The Bible doesn’t say Abraham was able to recreate God’s works in a laboratory experiment, thereby proving He existed, and thus it was credited to Him as righteousness. It says he believed Him, and that because of his faith it was credited to him as righteousness. Faith is defined by Shaul (Paul) as believing in things unseen, unproven. That is what God wants from us; he wants us to believe in Him. He does give us proof, all around us, every day, but if we don’t choose to faithfully see it and accept it for what it is, we can’t believe. No faith, no belief, no salvation.

Stop looking for proof. Oh, yes- read, investigate, keep an open mind and ask questions. That is how we learn. There is much to learn, but when it comes down to it, when the time comes to poop or get off the pot, you will not have enough proof. Ever.

You need to chose to believe or not to believe. There is no middle of the road because God is binomial- it is or it isn’t, black or white, is you or isn’t you my Baby? No wishy-washy when it comes to the Almighty.

We always have a choice, and in todays’ world people want choices but they don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of those choices. Brothers and Sisters, there is a consequence of rejecting God, and you WILL have to deal with it. Eventually, and for all Eternity.

Make a good choice, please.

Masei: Ever Wonder if You’re Just Wandering?

The parashot for this Shabbat is Masei, and it reviews the wanderings of the people in the desert from the time they left Egypt to that moment. It is in B’midbar (Numbers) starting at Chapter 33.

Did the people really wander? According to Bing (not Crosby), wandering is:

“travel without destination: to move from place to place, either without a purpose or without a known destination.”

That certainly seems to be what they did. When the cloud above the Tent of Meeting stayed, they stayed. When the cloud lifted and travelled, they travelled. They didn’t know where they were going, or how long they would stay in any one place. And, miraculously, over a million people and millions of animals all had food and water in the desert. Not just for a day or a week, but for forty years.

But, again, let me ask: Did the people really wander? From a human perspective, yes, but from God’s perspective, no. I don’t think so. I think God was simply moving them in a pre-planned route which kept them going to where He had already prepared for their needs. From their perspective it was, “Oy! I just got the bathroom remodeled (dug a new hole) and now we have to move again!”  but God knew where they were going and how long they would stay there.

Our daily lives are the same. Doesn’t it seem like we just go through the motions? Sometime it feels like years, and we don’t really know where we will end up. Many times we expect to stay, and then we have to move. We think this job is “The One” and the company goes under. We think this job stinks and we’ll be gone as soon as something better comes along, and we stay for 20 years.

In the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) the writer talks about how he can’t understand why things happen. He says that we should just enjoy what we produce, and what we have because it is all a gift from God. This is something along the lines of what I want to do in my life.

I don’t say never make plans, and I don’t want to just wander through life. Yet I know that the best thing I can do for myself is trust in God and let Him make the decisions. So, how do I plan my life and still let God direct  me? I don’t know. I guess I will plan for what I would like to do and keep looking for the cloud, to see if I am wandering off the path instead of walking on it. Walk in faith, look for confirmation, and be prepared to change direction.

Hey- that sounds good! Let’s try to walk along the path instead of wandering off of it. Listen for God, look for the cloud, follow it and you won’t be wandering. And, if you aren’t hearing anything from God, well…listen more carefully.

I guess it boils down to the difference between walking and wandering is whether or not you believe that you are following God. If you are, you’re walking. If you aren’t, well, you’re really just wandering.

Dontcha hate Mondays?

It’s Monday. Again.

Sometimes it seems like Monday all week.

That’s what it’s like to worship God. Not that worshipping God is bad, not at all! But Yeshua said that anyone who wants to follow Him has to leave behind everything, pick up his execution stake and get ready for a life of trial and tribulation. It’s not easy being righteous; especially in this world.

On Mondays, though, what do we do? We get up, brush the ivories, have coffee and do the crosswords. That’s my start, every day, only on the weekend it means when I’m done I can do other things, or nothing. On Mondays it means I have to get ready for work. For the next 5 days. Oy!

I like my job, really, and the people and company are good to work with and for.

It’s just work , in itself, I don’t want to do. But I have to. It’s not time to retire yet.

I feel similar with worship, and trying to do what is right in God’s eyes all the time. Shabbat is a time of rest, from work, not from God. The truth is we never rest from being Godly, or trying to be. And there are no spiritual weekends when we can stop being who He wants us to be and just be ourselves. You see, that’s the problem: “ourselves” are not righteous, “ourselves” are not Godly, and “ourselves” are sinners from the gitgo.

That’s why it is so hard to worship God, correctly. There are no weekends, there are no “Hump Days”, there are no vacation or personal days. It’s a lifetime of Mondays.

That thought….a lifetime of Mondays….stinks. What keeps me going is the other thought- an Eternity of joy and peaceful rest. Nothing but weekends forever.

Now, isn’t that worth suffering through a few Mondays?

Kentucky Windage and Salvation

Donna and I are members of the Brevard County Archers Club. We use recurved bows and shoot once a week or so.

I am an expert with rifle and pistol and just learning with bow, but the methods are pretty much the same.

When your aiming point is not exactly dead-center, and you want to hit dead center, you adjust where you aim so that your arrow or bullet ends up where you want it to be. This is called “Kentucky Windage”.

I think we can use this idea when trying to run the good race and keep our eyes on the prize (statements in the B’rit Chadasha/New Covenant for those not that familiar with it) in that we often try to be exactly what God wants us to be, but we miss the bullseye. We forgive someone that did us wrong, then scream at the jerk driving in front of us who won’t make the left turn until there isn’t a car in sight.

We aim for righteousness, but we barely hit somewhere on the target. For me, it’s usually in the 2 or 3 ring- not very close to the bullseye. Once in a blue moon I will hit the mark, I will do what God wants me to do, and I will give Him honor and glory when someone else sees me do what is right in His eyes.

Actually, maybe that’s really once in every two or three blue moons. But, I digress.

What we all need to do is adjust our aiming point so that what we do hits closer and closer to the bullseye. What I mean is, change how we do things when we realize what we are doing isn’t working as we want it to work. When we know that we aren’t doing as God wants, refocus our aim. It’s never that His Ruach (Spirit) is off, it’s that we aren’t listening. So, change your aiming point. If you want to curse less, and it isn’t working, stop trying to curse less and use different curse words, one’s that aren’t offensive. Give up the “F” word and use “Phooey”- it sounds like an F but it isn’t. Use comical words that will lighten your spirit and make others stop what they were saying and ask, “Huh? What did you say?” That way, you help them and yourself.

If you want to forgive and you can’t, change your aiming point. Pray for the person. I have found that when I pray for them, I can’t stay angry. Especially if they don’t know God. How can I do or think anything worse on a person than what will happen to them at Judgement Day when they don’t know God or have Yeshua in their corner? If you stop trying to forgive them, which isn’t working, but you pray for them (use Kentucky Windage) you will find, and I think very quickly, that you’re more compassionate. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will take the lead and, although I won’t guarantee it, I believe you will find sooner than you expect that it is easier to forgive.

If we use Kentucky Windage as we focus on developing our spiritual maturity we will come closer and closer to hitting the bullseye of doing what God wants from us, which is (ultimately) what God wants for us.

 

How Long Does Prayer Have to Be?

How many times have you heard people pray? and pray…and pray…and pray…and pray!  “Father God” this, and “Father God” that, and “Father God”, and (more) “Father God”.

I think He knows who you are talking to.

I also think that prayer doesn’t have to be long and drawn out to be effective. In fact, in Numbers (B’Midbar) 12:13, when Miryam was struck with leprosy, here was Moshe’s big sister, who risked her life following him down the Nile (Nile Crocodiles bask on the river’s edge, where she was walking, and they can get to be 12 feet long and weigh over a ton- yes, she risked her life for him) and when he saw her, white as death, did he cry out in a long and Shakespearean manner? No, he simply said, “Oh Lord, please heal her!” That was it. Five words and God said He would heal her.

Solomon made a long and beautiful prayer when he dedicated the Temple. Even though it was long, it was inclusive of what he was asking for- that God not just bless and sanctify the house they made for His presence, but that in the future when Jews all over the world prayed in the direction of the Temple (prophetic, wasn’t it?) that God listen. And Solomon went through the different problems we may have to cause us to pray to God for relief. That was what most of the prayer was about, which is why I said it was inclusive.

We don’t need to pray until we run out of things to say. I hear, so often (haven’t you?) people searching for things to add. It’s sad, to me. Why can’t they have the faith that God knows what we want, and just ask for that? If we were to intercede for everyone we know, and ask for everything that we think God would want us to ask for, we won’t have time to live any of it. When Yeshua taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:11) He said to just ask for our daily bread. If I can make a quickie Drash on this, I would say it’s not just today’s bread we should ask for, trusting in Ha Shem (God, or literally ‘The Name”) to provide for tomorrow when it comes, but that we should only ask for what is needed, now. With prayer, that means don’t go on and on, asking for this person, and that person, and for this, and for that, ad infinitum. Just use the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Schlemiel!  Pray about what is most important to you. Yeshua also tells us later in Matthew that God knows what we need and what we want.

Personally, I think he wants us to pray, even though He knows what we want, so we can show not just faithful belief that He is listening, but to show that we can be humble in our requests, and that we don’t ask for everything to make ourselves look “holy”. I am not holy, you are not holy. God says to “be thou holy, for I am holy” but it is not possible for humans. That isn’t so much a command as a goal. We can reach it, but only thanks to Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) that dwells in those who have accepted God’s gift of Grace.

Well, I would be a hypocrite if I kept on at this topic any longer. Keep your prayer simple, keep it honest, and if you don’t find the words coming easily and on their own, stop.

When I pray what is truly on my heart, I cry. If you pray and find yourself crying, well, THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!!