K.I.S.S.

Can I assume that most, if not all of you reading this know what K.I.S.S stands for?  If not, I’ll explain: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Of course, being Messianic I prefer to say: Keep It Simple, Schlemiel!

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

As humans, we tend to complicate things that do not need to be complicated. I see this often in the postings that people make on Facebook.  I see constant posts about the “correct” name of God, about the fact that the Sabbath is not on Sunday, about the Christian “church” changing the laws, and many other truths that are stated over and over…and over. These topics are important for people to know, but they are not really that important.

When it comes to deciding what is important and what is not, I have my own “Acid Test” question, which is:

“How does this affect my salvation?”

And here is where many people don’t get it: just because something is important to you doesn’t mean it is important to know. Too many people (and to be truthful, I could also be guilty of this, even as I am writing it) pridefully will present their own idea of what is right (or wrong) with the “church” or a particular tradition, or how to pronounce a name or whatever as being of the highest importance.  And I am not saying these things are not important, but after a while, there has to be something else to write about other than the same topic over and over and over, especially when that topic will not save anyone or bring them into a proper, truthful knowledge of who God is, who Yeshua (Jesus) is, or how they can find peace of mind and heart in this life and complete joy throughout eternity.

If something is going to be repeated, what needs to be repeated is that which brings people into communion with God. We need to repeat the message that sin can only be forgiven through Yeshua; we need to remind people that God will not allow those who sin unrepentantly (whether they know it or not) to be saved; and even something as simple as exclaiming that God does exist, Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send, and only by faith in them both can anyone have a chance of surviving the first death.

These things definitely affect your salvation, and these are the types of topics we should be concentrating on. Anything beyond or added to this knowledge is good-to-know stuff, but not need-to-know stuff.

Let me state this again- I am NOT against knowing as much as we can about God, Yeshua, the Bible, biblical history, ancient cultures, paleo-Hebrew, …WHATEVER!…so long as it doesn’t lead people into a Gnostic mindset and generate arguments that are useless because, when all is said and done, they won’t save anyone from destruction.  We need to help new and existing Believers in the Lord stay focused on God and Yeshua, and one of the most important things of all: how to properly interpret the Bible.

It isn’t useful to just know what the Bible says, we need to know how to properly interpret what is said in the Bible, to use Circles of Context so that we don’t get stuck on a single sentence. We need to read every sentence as part of the one before and the one after it, as part of the entire thought, as part of the entire chapter, entire book, and the entire Bible. We need to know who was writing to whom, and how it all fits in hermeneutically with the rest of the Bible.

To know the proper way to interpret the Bible ABSOLUTELY will affect your salvation! For example, the typical Christian interpretation of the letter Shaul (Paul) wrote to the Romans is that it is a polemic against the Torah; however, understanding who Shaul was and to whom he was writing this letter (and why), it then becomes clear that he was actually writing an apologetic for the Torah!

This is what I am talking about when I say it is important to know how to properly interpret the Bible because the proper interpretation of Romans will lead you to obedience and salvation and the improper interpretation will lead you to sinfulness and destruction.

The purpose of my ministry is not to change anyone’s mind or to convert people to Judaism or to convince anyone of anything: it is in response to Hosea 4:6:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 

Let me finish today’s message with this: knowledge is useless unless it is used correctly, and when it comes to God, Yeshua and salvation, that means keeping it simple. Stay focused on what edifies, what leads one towards the narrow gate, and what keeps one on the narrow path.

Thank you for being here, and if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe. Also, share this out with friends and family, especially the ones who are looking for answers.

And please help with my campaign to send Bibles and study materials to Ugandans in three Messianic synagogues who subscribe to this ministry and have asked me for help. I can’t afford to send too much to them and need help. Please share this out with your church or synagogue, send it to your contacts and help bless these poor people who don’t even have computers to get closer to God. Here is a link to that campaign:

Help for Messianic Ugandan Synagogues

 

Thank you, again, and until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Why I Do This

In this ministry, I have been posting about 3 times a week for nearly 6 years now. I have added different categories, improved my website, created a Facebook page, purchased a video creation program (so people can either read or watch my messages), and written three books.  I also have started to add personal pictures and videos now and then.

If you prefer to watch a video (which is why I bought the app), click on this link: Watch the video.

I have not made money from any of this. Although the people who have bought and read my books have given me positive feedback, they are not making any professional authors shake in their boots. I doubt Oprah will ever recommend me. I do this because I have the same feeling that Jeremiah had (not that I could ever come close to the class he is in) in that I feel a need to announce to everyone what I believe to be correct information about God and his salvation through the Messiah.

I do not tell anyone what they should believe in or what they should do- that is totally their decision. All I want to do is make sure that whatever decision they make, they make it using good information.

It’s just like when I used to go to people’s homes from telemarketing leads to sell them siding or windows. That type of sale is called a One Call Close, but you actually need to “close” them three times:

  1. your first close is to get the homeowner to buy the idea that they should let you into the house;
  2. the second close is to get them to admit they would like to buy your product; and
  3. the final close is to get them to actually buy it.

When I was working on the first close, I very often was met with the statement,” If you are going to try to sell me something you might as well leave now. No matter what you say I am not buying anything today!” My answer was, “It’s your money- I won’t tell you how to use it. But let me ask you something: when you do buy something, do you buy it without any knowledge of what you are buying, or do you make an informed decision about what you buy?”

The answer was always that they make an informed decision- this is what we call asking a question to which you already know the answer.

So, once they answered me, I would say, “That’s the best way to buy something. All I want to do is give you the information you need to make an informed decision. What you do after that is up to you.”

I am not interested in telling people what to do, only giving them the correct information so they know what they are doing.

When we read the Bible, this is what God has always done. God has never dictated what we must do. What he has done is to tell us IF you do this I will bless you this way, and IF you don’t you will be punished this way. He gives us the information then tells us to choose life or death. He then recommends we choose life, i.e. to obey him.

In Deuteronomy 28, Moses states the blessings God promises for obedience to his instructions, as well as the curses for disobedience, and after telling all these things to the people, in Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Moses says:

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I try to teach the truth about who God is and how “salvation” works. Most religions teach that God loves us and wants to bless us (which is all true) and that when we accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah we are “saved” from hell because he died for our sins. This is all true, but it isn’t the whole truth. They tell you when you faithfully accept Yeshua as your Messiah you are forgiven of your sins, but what they neglect to mention (what Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story”) is that without repentance, there cannot be forgiveness. God will not forgive someone who isn’t repentant. They also forget to remind us that the blessings God has for us are dependent upon our obedience-when we reject what God says we should do, we reject the blessings he wants to give us.

Here is what I have found to be a very hard thing for many people to grasp:

we are saved by our faith and not by what we do, but what we do shows how genuine our faith really is.

In other words, you can’t have your cake (constant, unrepentant sin) and eat it, too (still receive forgiveness.)

You can’t be a consistent, unrepentant sinner and receive forgiveness. Unfortunately, this is the message many religions teach.

God has no religion and his commandments, all of them, are for everyone. This is what I announce to the world, in different ways using different stories, so that people have the information they need to make the right decision about where they will spend eternity.

 

Thank you for being here; if you like what you hear please SUBSCRIBE using the button in the right-hand margin, and use the link above to subscribe to my Youtube channel, as well. Share me out, buy my books, help me get the information people need to know out to them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

The Meaning of Life in a Nutshell

There won’t be a video today because coming off a cruise Donna and I were on last week we both got sick, which has left me voiceless. Apparently an answer to someone’s prayer.

 

Today I would like to talk about something that seems complex but is really quite simple: the meaning of life.

This is what we call the “Eternal Question,” one that people have always wondered about and no one has really ever answered to everyone’s satisfaction.

My answer is simple and it is based on my understanding of the instructions God gave to us in the Torah. I also have considered the writings of Moses, the Prophets and especially the teachings of Yeshua. I have studied and thought about these with my focus on what the future holds.

And what the future holds is destruction on a universal scale. It started with the iniquity of Mankind destroying the ideal world God created. He chose the descendants of Abraham (through Isaac, the son of the Promise) to bring order back into the world, but they failed to do the job well. Ultimately, it resulted in the dispersion of God’s people throughout the world. God sent his Messiah to bring us back into communion with him, but (again) people screwed that up and it resulted in man’s creation of many different religions, most of them losing sight of the original instructions God gave us. We are now at the point where the next major step will be the end of everything through the Tribulation, which I believe we are seeing come to fruition today.

What the future holds is death and destruction like no one has ever seen before, not even those in the Flood, which will result with the end of humanity as we know it.

Not too happy a prospect, is it? Well, it’s not my idea- that’s what we are told to expect. So we may also ask what meaning can life have if everything we do is going to be for nothing?

The answer is: we aren’t doing it for this life!

From birth through death the existence we all suffer through is only a “Waiting Room.”

The meaning of life is this: we are given this life to decide where we want to live for eternity. 

That’s it! Like I said from the beginning, it’s simple- what we do while we are alive in this physical plane of existence is going to determine where we spend eternity. God gives us two lives: the one we live for a short period of time and the one we live forever.  What we do during this short life God has given us will determine where we will live for all eternity.

Now all that is left for each of us to ask ourselves is this: Where do I want to spend eternity? The good news is that you have the right to choose: the bad news is you don’t know how much time you are given to make that choice.

My advice is don’t waste whatever time you have thinking about it.

 

The Other Side of the Doom and Gloom

If you prefer to watch a video, please click on this link: Watch the Video.

 

OK, OK…yes, I have been a little on the “It’s the end of the world” tirade lately. I have been told by my older sister, who one always has to listen to, that I need to “lighten up”, so let’s see what the balance scales have against the doom and gloom of God’s judgement on the nations.

Hey, guess what? It’s pretty good stuff on the other side! Those who have accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah; who worship God as He has commanded (that means obeying the Torah); who live their lives always repentant of their sins; who are trying to follow the leading of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) which they accepted when they asked God for it as part of their forgiveness prayer…all those people are going to be spending eternity in total joy and peace, basking in the presence of the Almighty.

Now they will have to go through tribulations- not everyone will be lucky enough to escape this. God promises He will judge the nations in the Acharit haYamim (End Dyas) and I DO believe we are in them, now. The astrological signs (4 blood moons in a single year in 2017), the significant climatic changes we are seeing and the world-wide social unrest are all signs that we have been warned about from the Prophets in the Tanakh all the way through the Bible, including the letters from Shaul (Paul) and John’s recording of his vision in the book of Revelation.

It is happening now, it’s going to get worse and it is not going to be fun for anyone.

The good news is that for those of us who are God-fearing and working through our salvation, we will live past this event. We will not suffer the second death or be left in the cold and dark where people gnash their teeth. We will be presented before the Judge of All Things, the Lord, God and have at our side Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) to represent us. God will not see our unworthiness but rather Messiah’s righteousness in us. We will be absolved, forgiven and welcomed into the presence of the Lord. Forever.

No more tears, no more sickness, no more disparity, no more suffering. Now that’s what I call a good word!

Going forward let’s recall what every Prophet in the Tanakh did when they spoke God’s warning to repent: they started off relating God’s promises of punishment for those who choose to reject His commandments, specifying the horrors that will befall them (that’s the doom and gloom), then they ended with a word of comfort for those who will choose repentance (REAL repentance), confirming for them that God promises they will have joy and eternal peace.

God tells us in Ezekiel 18:32 what He wants:

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

God’s judgement on those that have rejected Him will be terrible, and His blessings for those that worship Him will be wonderful.

Like the bank commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” I am asking you now: “What’s in your heart?”

Jesus Proves Salvation Comes From Torah

(If you would prefer to watch a video, please click on this linkGo to Video )

I know what you’re thinking…”Huh?!? We all know that salvation is from Messiah Yeshua and that we can’t be saved by Torah”

Or maybe you’re thinking that the “cross” is our salvation?

Or maybe you are thinking that salvation is through faith and not through works?

Or maybe you are thinking that Jesus did all we need when He died for us?

If you are thinking any of these, well…you’re right. We are saved by Messiah’s sacrifice, which was proven acceptable to God because He was resurrected.

And you’re right that faith and not works (alone) is the way we are saved, BUT we still need to be obedient. God told us in the Torah how we are to worship Him and treat each other, and we aren’t excused from obedience just because we accepted Yeshua as our Messiah.

So, nu? How does Jesus prove that we can be saved by Torah?

Simple- He was saved by Torah! 

Let’s take this one step at a time:

  1. All mankind is born into the original sin of Adam and Eve.
    1. In Judaism we also believe this: Talmud tells us we are all born with the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination.) When we are at the age we are able to study Talmud and Torah, we develop the Yetzer Tov (Good Inclination.)
  2. Mankind was given the Torah by God, through the Jewish people, so that they could act in accordance with God’s will, thus securing eternal life. To obey Torah is to remain sinless, and to do what is forbidden in Torah is to sin- that has never changed.
    1. God tells us throughout the Tanakh, especially by the Prophets, that He wants us to repent and turn from sin so that we can live. God isn’t all that interested with the finite, so when He says “live” He is talking about eternity.
  3. Yeshua was born of a virgin who was impregnated by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), so He was born sinless (not having the stain of original sin.)
  4. Because He was sinless when He died, Yeshua was resurrected by God to show that God’s promise of eternity with Him by obeying the Torah was true.
  5. Yeshua’s resurrection can mean only one thing: Yeshua received salvation because He lived His life completely obedient to the Torah.

It is only through Yeshua, because of His righteous life and acceptable sacrifice, that we also can achieve salvation. We cannot be saved by Torah ONLY BECAUSE WE CANNOT OBEY THE TORAH PERFECTLY. 

So you see, because Yeshua obeyed Torah perfectly He was resurrected to eternal life, which we call “salvation.” If He hadn’t obeyed Torah, if He had sinned, then His life would not have been acceptable as a sacrifice for us, just as a lamb with a blemish would not be an acceptable sacrifice. And if you are thinking, “Yeshua is the son of God- He would always have been able to return to God.”, then why bother living a sinless life?  In other words, if Yeshua did not give up His divinity and submit Himself to death (which the bible says He did), then He didn’t risk sinning. But Isaiah tells us (Chapter 53) that Messiah is a man of troubles, who knew illness and suffering- God is above all that.  You see, Yeshua had to be 100% human, with all the human weaknesses and frailties in order to prove that Torah was trustworthy.

In order to be a real sacrifice, He had to be able to die without a guarantee of resurrection.

The mission of the Messiah is to bring God’s people back into communion with God. To do that, because of our iniquity (desire to sin) we all need someone to bridge the gap between us and God. That is what Yeshua did, and He did it by showing us that the Torah is the roadmap to salvation. By living a Torah-perfect life, He was “saved”, and through His salvation we can all come into God’s kingdom.

So, nu?  Does that mean I can be saved by Torah alone? Yes, if you could live it perfectly, but since no one can… NO, it doesn’t mean you can be saved by Torah alone.

Does that mean I don’t need to obey Torah at all?  NO, it doesn’t- we all need to be obedient to the Torah because it is God’s commandment that we must, and to ignore or reject Torah is an unrepentant sin. Unrepentance is a wedge between us and God that even belief in Yeshua will not remove. No one who is unrepentant of their sin can be saved.

So then what is my point? It is this: Torah is still valid, it is still part of God’s plan of salvation, and it is what Yeshua taught us we should obey. We can’t do it as He did, but through His accepted sacrifice (which was because He lived Torah perfectly) we can still be saved even when we fail to obey Torah perfectly.

And through the indwelling of the Ruach haKodesh, we can be strengthened to overcome our iniquity and comforted when we fail to.

As I often say: we can never be sinless, but we can always sin less. Yeshua has saved the world from it’s iniquity, but we still have to have faith in Him and God, do T’shuvah (repent) and live as sinless a life as we can.

The instruction manual for living a sinless life is called the Torah.

 

 

 

 

God Likes Being a Partner

God is awesome. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and doesn’t need any help from anyone. Whatever God needs to have or wants to do He can make happen with a thought.

Still and all, throughout the bible we see that God wants companionship with His creation. He wants us to be holy, as He is, so that we can be in His presence. He wants us to obey His commandments so that we can live; not so much in this plane of physical and mortal existence, but more importantly in His plane of existence, which is spiritual and eternal.

That is why He formed covenants with us. A covenant needs (at least) two sides to it. A covenant is, by its very definition, a partnership.

There are some things He has just out-and-out given us: He gave the land of Israel to the Jews, He gave Solomon wisdom, He gave the world His only begotten son, and He gave us all the Torah. These things God gave us, unconditionally, and so that we can partner with Him. Other things God gave us are from His covenants, which are conditional aspects of our partnership: there are the commandments in Torah, which when we obey we receive blessings as a result. God also partners with us through prayer, through family relationships that are centered around God, through community work that helps the poor and widowed, and through fellowship with others which helps to honor and glorify God.

The most important partnership is, of course, the one we form with God through Messiah Yeshua, which grants us forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

It’s true that God wants us to worship Him, and that is evident throughout the bible. But God doesn’t want us just to worship Him from afar or for fear of reprisal- He wants us to worship Him so that we can be with Him.  He wants us to walk in His presence, to talk with Him, and to fellowship with Him through friendship and thanksgiving offerings. These offerings aren’t for His benefit or use- as we said earlier, He doesn’t need anything because He can create whatever He wants. The offerings are for our benefit: they help us to exercise and grow our faithful love for God. Think about it in human terms- when you love someone you want to do things that please them, right? When you perform a “Labor of Love” it mutually strengthens the bonds of affection. The same is true regarding our relationship with God, so when we do what He has told us pleases Him (check it out in Micah 6:8) we are strengthening our partnership with the Almighty.

This is a very easy message to understand: God loves us and wants us to love Him back, of our own free will. He offers us the chance to partner with Him so that we can live eternal lives of joy and peace and does so through His Torah and His son, Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ). It is up to each and every one of us to choose life, because the only other choice is death.

I am blessed in that I have the three best partners anyone in the universe could ever want: God, Yeshua and my wife, Donna. I love them all, I want to please them all, and I will continually do my very best to carry my weight in this partnership so that we can all be together, forever.

My partnership with God was formed when I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah, and since then I have done my best to do what pleases God, and in return He “has my back.”  Who’s got your back?

Let’s Talk End Times for a Moment

Thursday is usually a non-posting day for me, but after I did the Crossword Puzzle, Cryptogram, and finished reading the Comics (the only really worthwhile parts of the newspaper) I decided to check out the article about how some psychiatrists say that President Trump is exhibiting narcissistic, sociopathic behavior.

Last November I didn’t think Clinton or Trump were good choices, and the rest weren’t anything to “write home to Mommy” about, either. But I accepted what the country wanted. Of course, since last November all we have heard is that what we got is not what the country wanted but what Russia wanted. Oh wait! Maybe it isn’t what Russia wanted because both Clinton and Trump had secrets with Russia, or was that Obama? No, he was secretly a terrorist benefactor. Or was it…well, I am all confused now. Seems that the last couple of Presidents and presidential hopefuls are all in cahoots with someone, and all are working against the Constitution one way or another.

So I need to ask you: is this the sign of the times? Yeshua said that we know when the weather will be good or bad but we can’t read the sign of the times.

We have a political civil war raging, and racial hatred is rising at an alarming pace. Some of the country’s professional medical associations are now publicly discussing if the president is a narcissistic sociopath, and some of his own people are publicly saying they are concerned that Trump has full and unrestricted access to the nuclear codes, implying they think he might launch a nuclear attack against another country without consulting his Cabinet or Congress beforehand.

Sign of the times? So nu? … when do we start to hear people accusing Trump of being the Anti-Christ? Or has that already happened and I just haven’t heard it yet?

I have no answers, and I have no opinion on whether or not Trump is the Anti-Christ, or if he even wants to be (I doubt he does because I think he already considers taking that job as a step down from his current position.) I don’t have any answers, but I have absolutely no doubt that we are very close to entering the End Times, if not already in the initial phases.

The world is having climate issues (regardless of one’s position on Global Warming, the climate is worsening for whatever reason), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and social unrest globally. Worldwide terrorism is rising at an alarming rate and the worst part of all this is that the world leaders are doing nothing to stop it. In fact, some are encouraging it by allowing immigrants into their country without concern for their own people’s safety!

Everyone today is a victim of one sort or another, and everything that is wrong is wrong because someone else made it that way. We are so irresponsible, individually, that when you buy a radio the warning label has to tell you not to use it in the bath or shower!  What’s up with that?

And the biggest sign I see is that while the world’s country’s are being attacked by Islamic terrorists from the inside, the United Nations constantly holds up Israel as the reason for this unrest. They accuse Israel of violating human rights, while at the same time ignoring the Arab diatribe about how Israel has no right to exist and all Jews should be killed. The world turns a blind eye to how the Arab countries teach their children (from kindergarten age and up) that it is not only legal and useful to kill Jews, but an honor, and the accelerating terrorism attacks throughout Europe and in America by Islamic terrorists is blamed on Israel!

The bible tells us that in the End Days the entire world will come against Israel; sign of the times?

I have to admit that I am scared. I am ready to fight for God, I am ready to suffer when I refuse to take the microchip, and I am ready to die today in order that I may live forever. I am ready, but I don’t want to see this happen to my loved ones. I don’t want to be separated from those I care about because they take the mark, and I know that most everyone in my life that I love or care about will be in that group. Anyone who says otherwise is putting blinders on their eyes. For me, one of the hardest things to live with is the knowledge that I will suffer, not so much physically as emotionally, when I see my loved ones come against me. And I know what they don’t; they are destroying their eternal soul, and while the suffering I go through is temporary, the suffering they will have to endure will be eternal. That tears me up inside, so I repress it and try to go on without thinking about it.

Sign of the times, my Brothers and Sisters…sign of the times.

I call on all Believers to go to Ephesians 6:10-18 and get into the habit of wearing your armor every day. Many are already used to wearing it, and for those that aren’t, it’s time.

Forget about Eschatological studies, forget about arguing who the Anti-Christ is or might be, and give up worrying about the fate of your loved ones because none of that will make any difference or help you. All that is left today, and going forward, is to wear the armor, double your efforts to show people how much better it is when you trust God instead of people (given the current political and social environment, we have a really good chance of people listening to us now) and prepare yourself for suffering.

Protect your heart, prepare your spirit, and toughen up!

Signs of the times.

 

Your Salvation is Not in God’s Hands

Salvation is provided for you by God, and guaranteed to remain available to you by God, but your personal salvation is not in God’s hands- it is in your hands.

God has provided Messiah, and Messiah provided the means for us to be forgiven without the Temple ( the sin and guilt sacrifices had to be slaughtered in the courtyard of the Temple, so after it was destroyed there was no longer any place for us to sacrifice and be forgiven), so the only thing left with regard to our salvation is now in our hands.

We must be the ones to ask for it; we must do T’shuvah (repentance, literally “to turn” from sin), and we must maintain that attitude and demonstrate our true repentance by producing good fruits, which starts with observance and obedience to God’s will and commandments found in Torah and subsequent scripture. 

Too many people are taught that “once saved, always saved”, which implies that once you ask for forgiveness through Yeshua’s sacrifice, then you have it always. No matter what you do or say or how you act, once saved…well, that ain’t the way it happens, Folks! Once saved, always saved AS LONG AS you continue to repent of your sins (which we will always do, no matter how hard we try not to) and AS LONG AS you continue to study the word, edify each other, love more than you did before and show everyone that God has changed you through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) by your actions and words. 

We must show that we are able to love more, forgive readily, glorify God, obey His word (all of it, from Genesis through Revelation), maintain an attitude of humility and servitude to God, constantly ask forgiveness in Yeshua’s name, and pray for the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us sin less. 

Not every one of us is going to be able to do every thing on that list, or all of it all at the same time, consistently, but these are the things we need to do. That’s a lot of things to do, and none of them are easy. It’s all up to you to demonstrate your obedience (to Torah), which includes your repentance (of your sins), through which you gain your justification (by Yeshua’s sacrifice), which provides your salvation (the Grace of God.)

The more you obey, the more blessings you get; the more you “die to self”, the more you can be filled with the Ruach haKodesh; the more you work at it, the more you will get from it. 

Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it? And why not? Salvation IS life, and our life on earth is designed for one purpose- we spend time here to choose where we spend eternity. 

And that, again, is totally up to you to decide for yourself. 

 

 

Parashah Terumah (donation), Exodus 25 – 27:19)

From this point on, except for Chapters 32 through 34 (the sin of the Golden Calf) the remaining chapters of this book deal with the construction of the Tabernacle and the articles in it.

The Tabernacle is where God talks to Moses. His instructions were first to built the Ark, after the Ark (which is the holiest of all the items) the rest of the construction was done from that point outwards: the Ark, then the Holy of Holies, then the articles in the area where only the priests were allowed (only the Cohen haGadol, the High Priest, was allowed in the Holy of Holies, and only once a year on Yom Kippur), then the Court, etc., all the way to the main entrance at the far end of the court.

The materials used were of dyed linens, tanned hides, acacia wood, gold, silver and bronze. The people were asked to contribute from their personal stores, much of which they received from the Egyptians when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:36); so, in a way, Egypt helped make building the Tabernacle possible. The most valuable materials were the ones closest to the Holy of Holies, with the less valuable materials being used as the Tabernacle was being built outwards.

We have all heard or used the expressions, “Closer to God” and “Farther from God”, representing, clearly enough, one’s spiritual maturity and faithful obedience to God’s commands. When I think of how the Tabernacle was built, with the purest items items being closest to the center of the Tabernacle (where God was present), I see this as representing how we need to be in our worship life: in order for us to come closer to God, we must first become purer.

Gold and silver are metals unto themselves, bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and each one needs to go through a firing process in order to remove the dross so it can be in it’s purest state; gold is purified using temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius, silver at about 800 degrees Celsius and bronze at a temperature between 230 and 630 degrees Celsius. The purer the metal, the higher the heat used to purify it.

I see people and their relationship to God similar to the way these metals are forged: the closer we want to come to God, the hotter the fire of purification will have to be. Yeshua tells us this when He tells us that anyone who wants to be His Disciple will have to carry His execution stake to follow Him (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23), so we are adequately warned that getting closer to God will not be easy. Consequently, as we are further from faithful obedience and fear of the Lord, we are more like the less pure metals- we will be forged, but at a lower heat. For those who may be no more spiritual than having some recognition of God, such as type who go to services during the High Holy Days only, or at Christmas and Easter, their “spiritual purity” is still full of dross and slag.

The dross is the sin inside of us: that is why, since sin is part of our nature and formed when we are formed, it must be burned out for us to be purified, separated from the world (sin) and brought closer to God.

Oy! That is a very hard word to hear. Basically, what I am saying is that the Tabernacle represents what we need to go through, spiritually and physically, when we decide to worship God as He wants us to do. We are all built with some copper, tin, silver and gold inside of us, and as we approach God, we will have the base metals separated, and the fine metals purified. This is done through Tsouris (suffering) in our lives. It sounds unfair, but that is what is needed. You can’t get rid of the dross without going through the fire, and the reason we do this is to be closer to God.

Even after we have been purified, we will still have Tsouris in our life. But as we become more purified we will be able to abide the suffering and stay focused on the reward we are all striving to receive: eternal joy and peace in the presence of God, Almighty.

I don’t mind going through the fire because I know what is on the other side.

What metal are you? Have you accepted your level of purity? Realistically, everyone wants to be gold but very few are willing to go through the fire, so if you really, really want to be gold, then here is what you need to do:

  1. Prepare yourself for troubles
  2. Read the entire bible (Genesis through Revelations) and accept that it is all one book, one God, one way to worship Him (His way) and that all the commandments, from beginning to end, are valid
  3. Accept that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised and ask for forgiveness of sin on your own, meaning that you ask for forgiveness from your heart and not because your Priest or your parents said you had to.
  4. Prepare for even more troubles and steel yourself (gird your loins) for a lifetime of rejection, problems, harassment and persecution.

Read Matthew 5:10, 1 Peter 4:12-19 and James 1:2– all of these verses warn us that we will be persecuted in Messiah’s name, but that it is a blessing we should all strive to achieve.

Doesn’t this sound crazy? I want to have the joy and peace of spirit that worshiping God can bring, which it does, but to get that I have to suffer. Sounds like the ultimate oxymoron- suffer persecution and hatred to have peace of mind and spirit. Huh?!?

But that’s how it works, and it does work. Ask anyone who you know to be devoted to God and they will tell you of all the problems they have had to undergo, but also of all the joy they have felt and blessings they have received from God. It sounds crazy, but that which the world thinks is right is usually the exact opposite of what is acceptable to God.

It’s all up to you- do you want to be bronze or gold? Your choice, your decision, your eternal future.

You don’t learn anything from winning

I like word puzzles. My mornings start with coffee, cryptograms, crosswords and other mind-exercising puzzles that involve wordplay.

This morning I did a cryptogram that was a quote from Nelson Mandela:

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

It reminded me of when I was a Sales Manager and teaching people how to sell. I used to say that is rare when you know what made the sale, but you always know where you lost it. The same held true when I was in High School and on the wrestling team. I always practiced wrestling with the heavy weights and the best wrestlers (of which I was not) on the team. I always lost to them, but it was good practice and taught me where my mistakes were being made.

When it comes to living a righteous life in an unrighteous world, we are going to have failures. Personal and financial failures, failures of faith, failure of judgement, failing to help others, and we will never stop failing in trying to do something, in some way, at some time.

As Mr. Mandela points out, it isn’t the successes that demonstrate the merit and strength of a person, it is the number of times they failed and then got back up and kept trying. Anyone, at any time, can succeed; it isn’t succeeding that is the real acid test of fortitude, it is how consistently you continue to try.

We have a great fail-safe system: it is called the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. We have a great coach- His name is Yeshua (Jesus) and He is always right there at our side, ready to help us up when we fall. And we have a tremendously wonderful prize to win- eternal joy and peace.

The best part is that to win all we have to do is finish. Just make it to the finish line (we call that “death”) still trying to do as God has told us we should do, still maintaining your faith (weak or strong, having faith is what saves us- works are only the evidence of our faith) and still trying to be an example of righteousness to the world.

So don’t be upset or depressed when you fail to live up to the standards God has set for us: no one can. If you start to feel like you can’t do this, you just don’t feel worthy, or that it isn’t really worth the effort, that is the Enemy, the Devil, trying to convince you of a lie. Don’t fall for it. When you feel like you have let the Lord down (and we all do, at one time or another) just remember that God is glad you still want to try; He is there to help you, He has provided the bible so you can review the game plans, and He is very forgiving of errors. Geeze- what a great coach, right?

The only time God will ever be upset or disappointed with you is if you should stop trying. Remember: failure is not when you don’t succeed- that is just a temporary roadblock- failure only happens when you stop trying.