No video today, but please take a moment to Subscribe if you haven’t already done so, and check out the deals for my new book, “Parashot Drashim” on my Kickstarter campaign page.
About a month ago, when I began the Kickstarter campaign to sell my newest (third) book I was feeling rather low. I have had this online ministry for about 6 years, and only have about 70 followers. I am a member of half a dozen discussion groups (Christian and Messianic) but still haven’t made book sales or even gained subscribers. My other two books are very dear to me and writing them was a cleansing for me, similar (I suspect) to how Jeremiah felt when he gave God’s word.
Of course, we know Jeremiah wasn’t the happiest of prophets, and I felt the same way he did. I couldn’t figure out why so few people were interested in what I have to say and began to think that I wasn’t treating God’s Word, or God, with the honor he deserves. Maybe I thought I was preaching truth but I wasn’t…could that be why God hasn’t blessed this blog/ministry with more followers?
So I sent out a post (maybe some of you remember it?) asking for confirmation. This wasn’t an Ego Trip…not at all! I wasn’t asking or fishing for compliments- I wanted to know, really, if I was doing anything that edified or helped anyone. If what I do is useless to people, why should I continue to go through the time and financial expense of doing it? Right?
I did receive some confirmation from people, and again, felt bad that I only had one or two people answer. None of my own friends and most of my family did not reply, either (then again, we all know a prophet has no honor in his home town), so even though I was somewhat uplifted by the couple of confirmations I received, I didn’t feel useful.
The Pity Party was well underway and I was praying to God (as I rode my bike to the gym) asking why he wasn’t helping me. And he answered me: I felt him telling me to look at the “popular” sites to see why they are so popular. So I did, and I also recalled many of the postings from people with many followers. And you know what I realized?
I wasn’t a “happy” site. I don’t constantly post messages about the love of God and the forgiveness of Messiah. I don’t constantly post quotations from the Bible that relate how God saved me, how God has helped me, how God has been my shield and my salvation. I have never implied or stated that salvation is a “Come as you are” party (although, in a way, it is.) These are the types of things the “popular” sites post, and when I thought about it, it was also the type of messages you hear from the mega-churches.
I don’t do that. Oh, well, every once in a while I do post about forgiveness, but it is mostly how God requires us to forgive others, not how he has forgiven us. I do post about God’s love, but it isn’t about how he loves us but how we should work to love others as he tells us we should. In fact, I rarely post about what God does for us and almost always post about what we are supposed to do for God.
And that is what God was telling me: I am not popular because the messages I post aren’t about how God does things for people; I post about what people are supposed to do for God.
In other words, I am preaching about what God wants from us instead of what God does for us.
Yes-salvation is a “Come as you are” party, but it is NOT a “Stay as you were” party. The popular messages are all about how Yeshua did away with the law, all food is good to eat, and you are forgiven now and always, known as “Once saved, always saved.” The messages that are popular are the ones that tell you all about how God loves you and you don’t have to do anything different, just call on his name and be saved. Don’t worry about changing your lifestyle or your desires, and when you make a mistake God will forgive you because Jesus loves you and died for your sins, so you are
You will not hear any of that dribble from me. What I preach is what people need to know to continue in their salvation: the Torah is valid, God’s commandments are still necessary to obey, and salvation is given for free but costs a lot to keep. You must change, you must truly do T’shuvah (repent), and you must be an example to others of how God has changed you through your actions and your words. You are commanded to forgive or you will not be forgiven: how you judge will be the way you are judged
“Hey- this isn’t fun! Are you really telling me I can’t be forgiven unless I change? You’re saying that if I ask for forgiveness but I don’t change I won’t be ‘saved’ anymore? I can lose my salvation? You say I have to obey the Torah? Well, if that’s what you preach, forget you, Pal! I am going to listen to the other people who tell me how wonderful I am, how I am saved forever and no one can take it away from me. I want to hear how much God loves me just as I am; I want to be told I don’t have to do that ‘Jewish’ stuff because Jesus nailed it to the cross. I want to be assured that I will be in heaven for eternity no matter what I do because I called on Jesus’s name once.”
Yes, that is what I am telling you. And I will take my lead from Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
That is how God crashed my Pity Party, and am I ever glad he did. I realize now that I may never be “popular” because I speak the hard truth that most people don’t want to hear. When I trained people (in the corporate world and as a mentor to volunteers) I did not hold back from telling the truth, even when it wasn’t pleasant for them to hear. I didn’t do that to hurt them but to help them become better. If everyone that takes a class passes, then the class work was too easy, and the students probably didn’t learn what they really needed to know. Just like when preachers tell all about the goodness of God and what he does for you- yes, God does much for you but he expects you to do much for him. And that is what people, who are naturally self-absorbed and selfish, do not want to hear.
So I will remain unpopular. I will continue to speak the truth that God has, through his Ruach HaKodesh, inspired me to teach. I will not sugarcoat salvation or preach all about God’s love and forgiveness as a one-way street, only traveling from God to you.
Salvation is free to have but hard to keep. God says we are to be holy as he is holy, which means we are not to do as the world does. We are to separate ourselves from the world, spiritually and actively, so that when people see us they see what God wants us to be. Not what we want to be, but what God wants us to be. That is a message that will be popular only to the truly spiritual mature person, to the one who is humble before God, to the one who is here to serve and not to be served.
My Pity Party was all about the fact that I wasn’t “popular” and because I didn’t have so many followers on my website and FaceBook that they were coming out of my ears. God crashed that party by showing me I would never be popular preaching the hard truths of salvation and T’shuvah. He showed me that, like Jeremiah, like Elijah, like Elisha, and like most every single prophet we read about in the Bible, I was not going to be asked to the A-List parties.
I was looking for human confirmation but God stepped in and took over, showing me that I was in good company by being unpopular.
And you know what? I felt G-R-E-A-T when he did that!