How to Argue with an Idiot

First off, the best way to start is to realize that this idiot probably isn’t really an idiot, just someone who has been misinformed or is afraid of hearing the truth.

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How many people have you met in your lifetime who, when you try to inform them of something, scream, “Shields Up, Scotty!!”?

People want to believe what they want to believe, and often that means they have selective hearing or selective memory. No matter what you say, or how you say it (which is a very important part of today’s discussion), they will only remember the bits and pieces they want to, which (most often) allows them to totally twist your meaning to what they want it to be.

What an idiot, right? Not right.

People who don’t agree with you are more than likely misinformed, but then again, there is always the chance we are misinformed and we all must always be open to that possibility.

The best way to argue is to not argue: don’t even try to make them understand your position, but instead, get them to explain to you their position.

That’s right- the best way to get someone to listen to you is to first listen to them.

Let them tell you why they believe what they believe, then ask questions that will force them to re-think their position.

Step 1– The person asking the questions is the person controlling the discussion.

For example, someone says they do not believe in God. Your response is not to explain why you do, but to say something along the lines of, “OK, why is that? ” and then let them tell you their reasons for not believing. After they speak, then you can take each of those reasons and ask deeper questions. Such as if they respond with, “I have never seen any evidence that God exists.” you can respond with, “I understand. If you saw absolute evidence that God existed, would that change your mind?” Of course, the only answer they can give you now is “Yes.”

Step 2– Always ask questions which you already know the answer to.

After they answer yes, then you can say there is plenty of evidence of God’s existence, but people only recognize it as science. Just because we can understand how something works in the natural world, doesn’t mean there isn’t a supernatural explanation for how it started. Even evolution (Ahh!! He used the “E” word!) had to start somewhere, and if we accept that the idea of intelligent design is a possible way of explaining things, then God certainly has demonstrated his existence.

This is just a single example, and when you gain experience at asking questions you know will elicit a specific response, and a response for which you have an answer, you will find it easier to make people doubt what they have always thought was the truth.

People will not believe what you say is true until they begin to doubt that what they say is true, and the only way they will doubt their own beliefs is when you force them to justify those beliefs. When they begin to hear themselves say things like, “Because that’s how it is” or “That’s what I was taught”, they will realize they really don’t have an answer.

Truism: People believe only 50% of what you say, but 100% of what they say.

And here is the final and probably most important step:

Step 3- Practice explaining your beliefs in a simple manner which anyone can understand.

And that is it. When you have a discussion with someone, no matter what the topic, you must take these steps in this order:

  1. Ask them questions so you know why they think that way;
  2. Using their reasons to believe what they do, ask questions which they can’t answer without causing them to doubt their beliefs;
  3. Only now can you tell them why you believe what you do, and they might be open to accepting what you say.

This takes us back to what I said earlier, how what you say is not as important as how you say it. I learned that lesson myself many years ago, when I couldn’t figure out why at meetings I attended someone else made the same suggestion I did, usually 10 or 15 minutes after I made it, but everyone thought it was the other person’s idea. I was always ahead of the curve, and because I was explaining it in the way I understood it, no one else was catching on, but someone would always figure it out later and rephrase it, and that person made the point better than I did.

You need to know your stuff before you go out there, and you need to discipline yourself to keep quiet when someone else is answering you. People only want to hear themselves talk, and when you find someone is waiting for you to take a breath so they can tell you what they want to, realize that they aren’t listening to what you say, they’re only waiting for a chance to jump in, and when that happens you have lost control.

And if you are trying to teach someone the truth about God, if you lose control you are not the one who loses, they are because you failed to help them come to God. They may win the argument, but they lose the battle that really matters, so please realize your responsibility when talking to people, whether they are non-Believers or Believers, and discipline yourself to do what needs to be done to save their soul. Do NOT allow pridefulness to cause you to forget these important rules of engagement.

Last thing to cover today: as much as I would like to think everyone can be taught, there are idiots out there, and when someone stops discussing and turns to personal attacks, the discussion is over. When that happens, despite how much you want to cut them a new one (as I often want to do), you need to be the “better person” and an example of godliness, and simply say something to the effect of:

“I have learned that when within a discussion, one side resorts to attacking the person instead of their beliefs, it is because they cannot deny the truth of the other person’s beliefs so resort to personal insults. Since that is the point we are at now, there’s no sense to continuing.”

Proverbs tells us not to argue with a fool in the same manner as the fool, and after years in the Sales profession, I have found these simple steps help people to be open to the information I wanted to give them. I never tell anyone what they must or even should believe because I believe God gave us all free will and the right to choose. What most people don’t realize is that whatever they believe, they choose to do so, and they WILL be held accountable for that choice. That is why I have this ministry: it is not to proselytize anyone or convince them to convert or even to get them to accept Yeshua, although it would be great if anything I did led them to that. My purpose is to teach what God says, so that whatever decision someone makes, it is an informed decision.

And if the information I present helps save only one soul during my lifetime, I will have accomplished much more than anything else I have ever done.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe, check out my books, and I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

What Does it Mean, Really, to “Call on the Name of the Lord”?

The Bible is rife with passages that state we are to “call on the name of the Lord”, or that we are to “call upon his name.” There are many Believers who understand these terms to mean that we are commanded to use the actual name of God, which is called the Tetragrammaton when we are to call upon his name.

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There is a term for this belief, which includes the many different opinions about how the name is pronounced, a term which is not such a nice term, and we call these people “Holy Namers.” These are the people who insist that we should write, speak, and in every way, whatsoever, use the holy name of the Lord whenever we can. And, I know this sounds wrong to say, but in my experience, nearly every one of these people was raised as a Gentile.

Now, I can understand this, to a degree, because Gentiles are brought up praising and worshiping Jesus, and calling out his name over and over. After all, he did say to pray in his name, didn’t he?

Of course he did, BUT…what does that mean?

So, here we are, back to the original question: what does it mean, really, to call on the name of the Lord?

It means to pray to him and not to some other god. It has nothing to do with his name, and everything to do with who he is.

When we first see this term, it is in Genesis 4, where we are told that after Enoch was born men began to call on the name of the Lord.

Does that mean the people all called him by his holy name? According to the Jewish commentary in my Chumash, it meant that people began to call God by Adonai. The Tetragrammaton was used in the Tanakh before we see it used in Exodus when God told Moses his name, so maybe people not only knew but used the holy name from the very beginning. When Moses asked God what name he should use to tell the Israelites who sent him, God uses the holy name, which (at least, to me) implies that someone must have known that name so when Moses used it, they recognized it.

I believe the holy name, the Y-H-V-H was not only known, but the actual pronunciation was known (which we really don’t know today), so you might ask why not use it?

The reason is simple (at least, if you’re Jewish it is): we don’t use God’s actual, holy name in order to show our respect for him.

And, when the Bible tells us to call upon his name, the cultural use of that terminology was (and still is) to pray to him. Not to call out his name like you were screaming out the front door to your children (“Steven! If you don’t get in this door right now, you will be grounded for a week!”)

No, we shouldn’t use God’s holy name like we were calling a friend on the phone or shouting hello to someone.

The other cultural use of calling on God’s name means to represent God’s renown, reputation, and refer to his holiness and power.

For instance, in 1 Chronicles 22:8-10 God tells David that David’s son, Solomon, will build the temple David wanted to build, so let’s see what God says (I added the bold print):

But a message from ADONAI came to me, ‘You have shed much blood and fought great wars. You are not to build a house for my name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth in my sight.  But you will have a son who will be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies that surround him; for his name is to be Shlomo, and during his reign I will give peace [Hebrew: shalom] and quiet to Isra’el. It is he who will build a house for my name. 

God stated what Solomon’s name is to be, indicating the actual name. But, when using the term “for my name” he clearly doesn’t mean his actual name but is referring to his reputation and his renown. That is the proper way any term referring to “the name of the Lord” is to be used.

I wanted to list the many times in the Bible this term is used, but there were just too many times, And picking one or two examples isn’t going to make any more difference to those who will reject what I am saying here than if I found one or two hundred examples.

The holy name of the Lord, יהוה, is, for simplicity, the first name of God. When you meet someone who you respect, such as a leader of the country, or an important person in your company, a Minister or a Rabbi, do you just automatically call him or her by their first name? I hope not! That is disrespectful, and if we pay that modicum of respect to a human being, doesn’t the creator of the universe, the Lord God, Almighty, deserve at least that much respect?

If none of this makes sense to you, then I guess you will continue to use the Tetragrammaton whenever you feel like it, and I don’t think that it is a sin to do that. I do think, probably because I am Jewish, that you are being somewhat too friendly with God. Yes, we can march boldly to God’s throne (Hebrews 4:16) but that doesn’t mean we can walk up to God, slap him on the back, and say, “Yo, Y-H-V-H, how’s it hanging?”

Would you do that to a king or queen, or a president? If not, then what makes you think it is OK to do that with God?

Here’s it is, in simple English: to call upon the name of the Lord has always meant to pray to him. It never meant to use his holy name, and when we read a reference to or statement about “the name of the Lord”, it doesn’t mean the Tetragrammaton, it means God’s renown and reputation.

Yes, there are some rare exceptions, but they aren’t the rule.

God used these terms throughout the Tanakh to refer to his renown and reputation and holiness, and that is how Yeshua and every single one of his Talmudim (Disciples) understood and used them.

As I said earlier, if you want to use God’s holy name with no more respect for him than if he was one of your drinking buddies, I don’t think it is a sin, I believe it is disrespectful but, then again, I also believe God will understand this is what you were taught to do.

That doesn’t mean you can’t change.

As for me, I would much rather pray to God in a respectful and grateful way than to assume it is OK for me to use his holy name, even though he did tell us what it is.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share, and comment if you feel you have something to add. I am not afraid of a drash, so long as we are respectful and courteous to each other.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Sukkot 2020 Message

Tonight begins Sukkot, the third pilgrimage festival and the last High Holy Day for this year.

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The traditional reading on the first day of Sukkot is Zachariah 14:1-21. This passage talks of a terrible future, when the whole world comes against Jerusalem. Even Judah will fight against the Holy City! At that time there won’t be night or day, and there will be a terrible plague sent by God against all those who come against Jerusalem. At the end of it all, whoever survives will go to Jerusalem for the festival of Sukkot, and anyone refusing to come will not receive rain.

Wow! Talk about your scary End Times prophecy!

We could say that much of what is supposed to happen is already happening. The whole world, pretty much, is against Israel, even within the United States, despite the current administration’s support. And what about that prophecy of Judah coming against Jerusalem? How could anyone think that a tribe of Israel would fight against their own Holy City?

Yet that is happening, today. There are many Jewish members of the Democratic Party who support their party, which has constantly come out against Jerusalem and Israel. There are Congress members, such as Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even Bernie Sanders (a JEW!) who have been very vocal about their hatred of Israel and Jews.

These people also support abortion up to the 9th month, which should be, in anyone’s book, murder. Remember what God said about child sacrifice? Think about it!

Sukkot is a joyous festival, memorializing how God took care of his people while they traveled in the desert for some 40 years, which is why we build and (should) live in a Sukkah for the entire week. Most people today who do build a Sukkah will eat one or more meals in it and often allow the children to sleep in it.

On the 8th day, the day after Sukkot is over, we celebrate Simchat Torah (Joy of Torah), also called Shemini Atzeret (the 8th Day) which is the end of the annual reading cycle of the Torah. During the service, we read the last few lines of Deuteronomy, then as the people dance and sing, the Torah is (carefully) rolled back to the very beginning, and we read the first line or two of Genesis. This is also a joyful celebration because we get to read the Torah, all over again.

And let me tell you, if you want to get forearms that look like Popeye’s, you can by rolling back a Torah scroll!

God has always taken care of those who fear (meaning worship) him. Even when we fail to do as God wants, which the Israelites did SO many times, he is not just willing to forgive us, but actually desires to do so. God wants so much to do good for us that he is just waiting for us to ask for forgiveness so he can be in communion with us, and we with him. And he wants us all to have eternal life, which he tells us in Ezekiel 18:23.

But there is still this prophecy from Zachariah. We are in for some pretty terrible times ahead. Maybe we are already in it, maybe we are just starting to get into it, or maybe what is happening today is just more of the same and we are nowhere near it. It doesn’t really matter because you need to be ready for it, NOW. I mean you need to know God and his Messiah, Yeshua. I mean you need to get your spiritual life in order and make sure that in the physical world you do, and support those who do, godly things and not those who work against God’s commandments.

I almost never talk politics in my messages, but this upcoming election is more than just politics. In my opinion, as a life-long student of history, it is as important as the 1864 election, and America is just as polarized as the people were back then. We aren’t just voting for a person, we are voting for a set of morals, an agenda of protecting Americans against invaders, or protecting the invaders. We are choosing an administration that wants to help Americans pull themselves up, even though it means taking away certain government support, or an administration that wants to give Americans everything they need and, thereby, subjugate them to a form of financial slavery by enabling them to stay on welfare instead of becoming financially self-supporting. It means choosing an administration that is supporting Israel or one that hates Israel.

It means the difference between an administration that wants to protect children or one that supports sacrificing children to Molech.

You must decide for yourselves, and I only ask that whichever decision you make, whether it be about a President or about God, please don’t make your decision based solely on your emotions. Research both sides of the story, listen to people, and read the Bible to see what is right and what is wrong, then you can make a decision based on information, not on emotion.

Please decide as if your life will depend on it, because in both this world and the world to come, it will!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, check out my books and share these messages with everyone you know, even people you don’t like.

Until next time, Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

Do You Need Facts for Faith?

I have faith in God and that Yeshua is the Messiah- that is a fact. But facts have nothing to do with my faith.

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In Hebrews 11:1 we are told that faith, or trusting, is being confident in what we hope for and convinced about things that we do not see. So, by definition, faith and facts are almost the antitheses of each other.

If we can see, touch, smell, hear or taste something, we know it is real because our senses tell us it is. However, our senses can be fooled, quite easily, so facts aren’t really the best reason for having faith.

Here’s an example: experiments have been done where a person is told they will have a hot poker or lit match placed against their skin. They are blindfolded, then allowed to smell the match or feel the heat of the hot item. Then they are touched with a piece of ice and the person’s reaction, including sometimes the physical reaction of their skin, is the same as if they were being burned. Their belief made ice feel like fire, which to me means that faith is stronger than fact.

Faith in God and faith that Yeshua is the Messiah is what God wants from us, and the strength of our faith is proven in how we act with each other and how we worship God. God gave us the instructions for how to live, and if we faithfully believe in his existence, in his authority, and in his promises to reward (and punish), then we would be stupid to do anything BUT what God says we should do.

The kind of faith God wants from us is based on nothing more than our decision to believe. Facts should have nothing to do with it.

It is similar when believing that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send. Although we have eye-witnessed attestations to the miracles Yeshua performed, there is no scientific or archaeological evidence of his miracles. In fact (pardon the expression), the only evidence of his existence is in the writings of Josephus, who mentions him briefly as the brother of James who was killed.

People who choose to believe based on what they are told can easily be swayed from one belief to another. Think of all the people you know who started off as a Catholic or a Jew, then became something else, went from Western to Eastern religious theology, then back again, and now (at least, for the moment) believe in something totally different. Again. They are making a choice, but their faith is weak because they see-saw from one system to another, most likely because (from my experience) they are looking for something they want instead of recognizing what is there.

I have known people who went from doctor to doctor looking for a doctor to tell them what they wanted to hear.

Faith cannot be based on what happens. If you are faithful because of a miraculous event in your life, the event may have been wonderful but your resultant faith is weak. Why? Because if a miracle can convince you, your choice to believe is based on a factual event, not on what we are told it should be, i.e., on what you can’t see. And the really dangerous aspect to having faith as a result of a miracle is that the Devil can make miracles happen just as easily as God can and if one miracle can turn you from sin to faith, then another miracle can turn you back to sin. Easily!

So don’t believe in God because of the testimony of others, although that testimony isn’t useless. Put it in the back of your head for later. And don’t believe in God because of some Evangelist healing someone on TV. And don’t accept that Yeshua is the Messiah because you were brought up being told that by your Priest or Minister, or that he isn’t the Messiah because your Rabbi said so: many of them, if not most, believe because they were brought up to believe that way. And what they teach isn’t always from the Bible, it’s from their Seminary classes. Why do you think that so much of Christianity has nothing to do, really, with the instructions God gave to the world in the Torah?

And as for my own people, we aren’t any better: so much of Halacha (the Way to Walk) is from the Talmud and not the Tanakh.

Let your faith be based on your choice to be faithful, and don’t let that choice be influenced by others. But, and here’s the caveat- make sure you are totally comfortable with your choice and that is based on what you read in the Bible, and I mean the WHOLE Bible, which is from Genesis through Revelation. This is especially important when you make your choice about Yeshua (Jesus) because everything you are to know about recognizing the Messiah is in the Tanakh (the Old Covenant.)

I can’t stress enough how important it is that your choice be your own and based on the bible because at the final Judgment you will be held accountable for whatever choice you make, no matter why you made it.

I chose to believe over 20 years ago that God really does exist, and that Yeshua is the Messiah he sent. I made that choice, without realizing (at the time) my choice was actually a Leap of Faith. And since I made that choice I have received confirmation through being given the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), which didn’t happen until about 3 months after I made my choice, and from many blessings in my life which have shown me that God is watching after me.

These blessings didn’t motivate my choice, but having made the choice and not swerving from it (despite attacks I received from other Jews and some family members) I know that these blessings confirm I made the correct choice.

And I also believe that because my faith motivated me to be more obedient to God’s instructions in the Torah, the blessings I received, and still do receive, is confirmation that my choice to be faithful was correct.

If you have already chosen to believe in God and Yeshua, that is great, but if your daily life doesn’t demonstrate your faith through good works (James 2:14) then may I suggest you re-evaluate the foundation of your faith.

Faith is also a form of trust, and between humans, as a rule, trust is given only after it has been earned. But with God, it works the other way around. Our trust in God must be first, and when we demonstrate that trusting faithfulness through our actions, he will then earn our trust through the many blessings we will receive from him, just as he promises to do in the Torah.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow, and consider checking out the books I have written, as well. If you like what you get here, you will like my books, as well.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

The Old Folks Ruined It For The Young Ones

I was having a discussion with a 20-something-year-old man the other day and we were discussing the attitude of the members of the Gen-Z, or Centennials, generation, specifically their sense of entitlement.

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He said something that made me realize there is an attitude that has been passed on, generation to generation, that is, sadly enough, true. That attitude is that the older generation has ruined the world that the younger generation is inheriting.

I thought first of air and water pollution, oil spills, the obesity epidemic in America, and other things that my generation, and those before me, caused. As far as the ecological destruction of our country’s natural resources, well heck! You can go all the way back to the Pilgrims to see where that started.

But are the older generations really to blame? To some degree, isn’t it unfair to blame the prior generation for the problems the younger generation has to deal with because the older generation, without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, really had no idea of the long-term effects of what they were doing?

Oy, that’s a tough one, isn’t it?

Then I thought about the spiritual aspect of what he said.

In the Bible, how many times did the younger generation suffer for the sins of the older generation? It seems to me that it happened way too often. The Prophets often prayed for God to forgive the people for what they and their fathers did. But we know that the sins of the father are not to be held against the sins of the children: God, himself, said that in Ezekiel 18. Yet, the children of Jacob suffered slavery in Egypt for 400 years. Do any of us think Jacob went to Egypt, knowing that would happen?

Well, actually he should have, since in Genesis 15:13 God told his grandfather, Abraham, that his descendants would be foreigners in a foreign land for 400 years.

When we read the history of the Northern and Southern kingdoms in the two books of Kings and Chronicles, as well as the books of the Prophets, we see how the actions of the older generations did, indeed, cause the younger generations tremendous tsouris.

So maybe, just maybe, the feeling of entitlement we see in many of the Gen-Z/Centennial generation is the fault of their parents. Truth? It IS the fault of their parents, who they, themselves, are the Gen-Xers and Millennials who were brought up with participation trophies and parents who were brought up with Dr. Spock, TM, and who wanted to be their child’s friend instead of their parent.

And the spiritual abandonment we see in the youth of today is also the fault of the prior generations. It is found not just in the destruction of the nuclear family, thanks a lot to technology, but in the schools and courtrooms where God has been taken out of the picture. It’s also the fault of the entertainment world, where video games are making children totally inured to violence and crime. And TV, movies, and the media, in general, influencing everyone, of all generations, to not only accept sin and satanic events as normal but to adopt them.

The only way to stop this snowball effect of sin within the family and, consequently, within the society is to nip it in the bud, so to speak, and start with training up a new generation, one that is being taught the correct way to act and think. We must, essentially, take the children from their parents at the age when they can know right from wrong and place them in an environment that will teach them what they need to learn in order to defeat the racist attitude, sense of entitlement, and spiritual pollution and misguidance that is corrupting our society.

If you are thinking, “What are you saying, Steve? Are you nuts? You’re talking like a Communist, or like the Middle East terrorists who do that to their kids!”

And you know what? You’re absolutely correct! No way will what I just proposed ever happen in America, and thank God for that. We can’t do that, although it really is the best and only solution I can see. Maybe we can organize what they do in Israel and create Kibbutzim (plural for Kibbutz) here is America? That could work, but then we have the problem of who’s going to decide what is “proper”? The university professors who are teaching alternative history think they are right; the parents who are spoiling their children think they aren’t doing anything wrong; and the media that is creating their own version of the facts don’t think they are doing anything wrong (or, even if they do, they don’t care so long as they sell newspapers and get ratings.)

I don’t really have an answer, only a prayer that the Messiah returns soon because that, to me, seems to be the only way out of this mess. We have created our own “Frankenstein Monster”, and just like what happens in the Mary Shelly book, the monster we created from our own selfishness, pride and lack of foresight will eventually be our downfall.

The newer generations have always had to deal with the stupidity and ignorant actions of the older generation. There are many people today, of all ages, who are trying to consider the future results of our current actions, but there are too few of them, and (I fear) they are too late.

The events in the world today have been prophesied for millennia, and I believe that we are closer than ever to the return of the Messiah, maybe even within my lifetime. I don’t know, but it sure seems like we are past the point of no return: today we see the degradation of the American spirit, a society whose moral compass points wherever they want it to, and a world infested with a rising level of anti-Semitism and racial hatred.

Our leaders are not working together to make the world a better place, but instead are confirming the wicked and enabling the godless.

All of these events are just as described in the Bible as the signs of the Acharit haYamim, the End Days, so what do we have to look forward to?

Not much, except to provide whatever example we can of what is right, according to God, and to hope that either the example of a few good, godly people within the society will help or that the Tribulation will come and just get it over with.

Sorry to sound so dismal, but the light I see at the end of the tunnel is the Tribulation Express, coming right at us!

Thank you for being here, and please subscribe- most of my messages are much cheerier, really. And remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!