We Are Given the Spirit to Avoid Sin, and the Messiah for When We Fail

Before the Messiah was sent to us, we were given the Torah to identify what sin was, and we had the sacrificial system and the temple in Jerusalem to provide us the means for being forgiven when we did sin.

But after the temple was destroyed, things changed.

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The Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, was always available to us; God gave it when needed, such as with Samson when he needed strength, and Elijah after he defeated the prophets of Ba’al (1 Kings 18), and it came upon King Shaul a few times, as well as many other times with many other people. But that gift of the spirit was a temporary loan- it fell on them, then was retrieved. Except maybe for Moses, no one had an indwelling spirit.

Then God sent Yeshua, the Messiah: after he did his thing, he sent the Ruach to his disciples, but this time it was indwelling- they got it, and they kept it. Even better, they were able to baptize (in Hebrew it is called a Tevilah) people in the name of Yeshua and have others also receive the indwelling Ruach.

Now we had a permanent counselor, sort of like Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, to help us stay on the path of righteousness.

Of course, being humans, we often ignore that small, still voce in the back of our head because we not only have a spirit of righteousness, but our own spirit of sinfulness, called iniquity, which is (sadly) part of our DNA (in Judaism, we call iniquity the Yetzer Hara, and the righteous spirit the Yetzer Tov).

You know what I mean- that little imp in the red suit with the pitchfork on one shoulder, arguing with the little angel on the other shoulder.

After the temple was destroyed, there was no way for us to receive forgiveness of sin, according to the Torah, because God told us a sacrifice is only acceptable if we do it where he places his name (Deuteronomy 12:5-6), which was the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 9:3).

So, nu? Now what can we do to be forgiven?

This is where Yeshua comes in: when we faithfully accept him as the Messiah God promised to send and believe in his resurrection as proof that his sacrifice was acceptable to God as a sin sacrifice, then we can ask forgiveness by means of Yeshua’s blood being spilt on our behalf. We don’t need to sacrifice an animal at the temple, or even be in Israel!

And more than that, when we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, we can then ask for, and be given, the Ruach HaKodesh, which will guide us in many ways: it will advise us when sin rises in our heart, it will give us supernatural understanding of God’s word, and it will convict us when we stray off the path of righteousness.

Before Yeshua we had the Torah, and – for the record- we STILL have the Torah to identify sin from righteousness, and we STILL are subject to obedience to the Torah, which are the instructions we have directly from God telling us how to worship him and how to treat each other, but now we also have the Ruach HaKodesh to guide us from committing sin, and Yeshua to provide the means of forgiveness for when we fail to listen to the Ruach.

Which, if we are honest with ourselves, is more often than I think any of us would like to admit.

If you ask me, I think it is better to have Yeshua and the Ruach than it was to have animal sacrifice at the temple, if for no other reason, I don’t have to buy round-trip tickets to Israel every time I screw up.

I would be bankrupt within a week.

Thank you, again, for being here and until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Forgive Them, Lord- the Ones Who Worship You Incorrectly

God told us how to worship him, which Holy Days he wants us to observe, and how to treat each other. he did all that right at the very beginning of the bible, in those first 5 books, called the Torah.

So why is it that the vast majority of Christians ignore most of those instructions, yet say they worship God and love him?

When you love someone, do you ignore them?

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Today’s message is really very simple: do you observe what God said to do, or do you follow what your man-made religion tells you to do?

“I follow Christ!”

Yeah, OK… how did he worship God? I’ll tell you how- by following the commandments God gave in the Torah. And if you wish to dispute that, then explain how, since the Torah was the only scripture at that time, if Yeshua disobeyed the Torah, which is a sin, he was able to be a sinless sacrifice?

Maybe you’d like to get back to me on that?

The simple truth is that religions, all religions (yes, that includes current-day Judaism, too) are way too influenced by man-made traditions, ceremonies, holidays, and tenets.

Moses tells us, in Deuteronomy 30:11, that the law is not too hard to follow. God tells us not to add to or take away from anything he tells us (Deuteronomy 4:2), yet we have additional holidays (holiday meaning man-made, whereas Holy Days are the ones God commanded us to observe) and ceremonies that have been added to the list God gave us. Now, that doesn’t mean these are sinful; so long as we don’t remove what God said to do (such as Christians ignoring Leviticus Chapters 11 and 23) or add to it, such as Halacha (rabbinical requirements adding to what God said to do with regard to fulfilling Torah law) in Judaism.

So, what do you think is best, really? Doing what your religious leader says you should do or doing what God says you should do?

I will leave you with this, something I say often: We will all meet God, so when you do and he asks why you worshipped the way you did, you might say something like…

“But Lord, I was only doing what they told me I am supposed to do!”

And although I won’t even try to speak for God, I think he may say something to the effect of…

“I know, my child, you only did what they told you to do, but it’s what I say that counts.”

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!

Are People in Fear of the Lord, or Just Afraid of What Their Religious Leader May Think of Them?

From a biblical viewpoint, “fear of the Lord” doesn’t mean that we are afraid of him, rather that we worship him. But when we do that, are we doing it because we want to, or because we are afraid of what someone else may think if we don’t?

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Have you ever seen those old movies, where the priest challenges someone to come to church that Sunday, or they will read their name in the Mass? It always seems cute and somewhat comical, but it isn’t cute, or comical- it is wrong!

I am Jewish and I believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised to send. Because I am still living a Jewish lifestyle and worshipping as a Jewish man, many Christians have accused me of being “under the Law” (and these people have absolutely NO idea of what they are saying) and, as such, not really saved.

On the other side, Jews I know tell me that because I “Believe in Jesus” (another term thrown around too loosely, with most people having no idea what it means) I must be a Christian and am not a Jew anymore.

It is always both amazing, and sad, to see how much ignorance there is in the world, especially among people who profess to worship God and know their Bible.

God knows the heart, and even though I have recently been told that this is just an excuse for people to do as they want to (which has an element of truth to it), God does know who we are praying to, and whether or not we really repent when we ask forgiveness.

The question you must ask yourself is when you do as you think you should, with regard to worship and how you treat others, are you doing it to please God, or to please your Rabbi, Priest, Minister, or whatever? This is not an answer you should just throw out there- you really need to think about it.

There are forms of worship, such a whole week without leavened products (my wife, Donna, often has to remind me not to eat something that I, simply by habit, will start to put into my mouth) that I find difficult to do, and I will confess that sometimes I do something just because I know I should. And that isn’t a good reason for doing anything because it is like legalism- doing something just to do it, going through the motions. God has been clear to us, through the prophets, that a sacrifice means nothing to him if done just to do it, without a sincere and broken heart.

Oops- there’s that “knowing the heart” thing, again.

So, the next time you go to services, or fast, or pray, or celebrate a Holy Day (meaning God ordained, found in Lev. 23), or a holiday (meaning a man-made celebration), please consider WHY you are doing it, and if it isn’t fully because you want to please God, but rather because you are afraid of what someone might think, then I would say don’t do it- something done as a lie is worse than something not done, honestly.

And if you find yourself not doing things you used to do to be “religious”, then rethink your relationship with God because if you do not observe God’s commandments, which are found ONLY in the Torah (remember- those are the things Yeshua did and taught others to do), then your heart and mind are not in the right place.

It would be a good idea to square those things away as soon as possible because the way the world is going, well… it doesn’t look like there is going to be such a long wait for that Day of Judgement.

Thank you, again, for being here: that’s it for this week so L’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!

Will God Use Men to Cause the Apocalypse?

Throughout the Bible we see how God uses people to perform his punishments on the sinful. Since God is unchanging, doesn’t it seem reasonable to consider that his methods would also be unchanging?

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God definitely did some supernatural things to Egypt to teach the Pharaoh that God is THE God, but he also used Moses to organize and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the desert.

God used the prophets to bring the people back into proper worship and righteous living, although most of the time that didn’t work. One exception could be in 1 Kings 18, when fire fell from heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel in Shomron. That got people’s attention, but it didn’t last for long.

God used the Philistines, the Amorites, and other semitic kingdoms to punish the Israelites when they turned from God and sinned, and he used judges to encourage and lead the people to rebel against these kingdoms when they repented.

God used King Sennacherib of Assyria to punish the Northern Kingdom of Israel for all its sins.

God used Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to punish the kingdom of Judah for all its sins.

So, considering that God has used his creation to enforce his will and punish those others of his creation, when the End Days come, why not use mankind to punish mankind?

The Book of Revelation is rife with metaphor, and I know many people will believe that what we read in there is to be taken literally, but I don’t believe that. I truly believe that the destruction mentioned will be what happens- during a nuclear war, couldn’t we expect that 1/3 of the earth would be burnt, 1/3 of all living in the rivers and streams dying, the sun turning black (from the millions of tons of earth being thrown into the sky) and the stars falling from the sky (radioactive fallout)?

I wrote a poem when I was in high school and (fortunately for you I don’t remember it well enough to recite it now) the point of it was that God makes the world turn every day, he destroyed it once and promised not to do that again, but God still makes the world turn every day, and now he will let man destroy it in his own way.

Of course, there is nothing stopping God from having all those angels pour out his fury on the world in a majestic and supernatural way, as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah. And I may be way off thinking the End Days (in Hebrew, we call that the Acharit haYamim) won’t be supernaturally performed in order to demonstrate, undeniably, that there is a God and that this is all His doing. Really, that would be something to make people stand up and take notice.

Revelation tells us that despite all these horrors, people will still curse God’s name and fail to repent, which also makes me think that God will use people. Why? Because it is all about faith: if every one of these terrific destructive forces can be explained, then only the faithful will realize it is God doing it. Those without faith will fail to repent and continue to reject God’s existence and influence, which is tantamount to cursing his name.

God is very binomial: either you is or you ain’t, and if you do not accept God’s way of living, then you reject him, which is pretty much the same as cursing him.

I suppose we will have to wait until the Day of Judgement to see if it is God doing things supernaturally, or using people to do his handiwork. I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am more than happy for this question to remain unanswered during my lifetime.

That’s it for today, so thank you, again, for being here, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Not Everything in the Bible is to be Taken Literally

One of the most important things to know when interpreting the Bible is the rule of Circles of Context. One should never take a single verse or passage out of the book, and make an argument or interpretation based solely on those few words.

Incorporated into that rule is the idea that some things stated are literal, and others are not, but without looking at a verse within the context of the entire statement or section, you really can’t be sure which way to go.

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For instance, when we read about Ezra reading the Torah to everyone in Israel, we know really, that not every, single person in Israel was there in Jerusalem. Clearly, this was a statement to be taken metaphorically.

On the other hand, when we read about how God parted the Red Sea, that is something we know to be literally true.

There are dozens of examples in the Bible where we read words that indicate much more than they really are meant to, and we need to use discernment and always contextual confirmation that what we think is to be taken literally, really should be.

Way too often I read what people say and think, “They can’t really mean that, can they?” because they are quoting from the Bible, but taking things totally out of context, or twisting the meanings to fit their desired interpretation.

There are two rules we must always follow when reading from the Bible: Circles of Context and Hermeneutics.

Circles of Context, as I explained, means looking at a verse or passage within the context of the paragraph, within the context of the letter, and consider who was writing this, and to whom.

Hermeneutics is, simply stated, making sure that whatever we read in one part of the Bible is in accordance with what we read in another part of the Bible. For example, if we read that Moses left Egypt because his murder was known, but someone interprets something elsewhere in the Bible to indicate Moses left for a different reason, we would have to reconsider both statements because they conflict. Only one can be true, which is why it is so important to know the Bible, inside and out, so that when you read something that conflicts with what you know to be true, you will be forced to investigate and determine, for yourself, which is correct.

So, the main lesson today, which I haven’t even stated yet, is to know the Bible! Don’t just read it but study it, so that you can be prepared to verify what is truth and what is misinterpretation when you talk with people.

Let me leave you with this great example of why we need to know the Bible: in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 4 starts with HaSatan tempting Yeshua, and for each biblical reference Satan uses to fool Yeshua into doing as he says, Yeshua knows how to refute Satan by reciting from the Torah to show Satan’s misuse of the passages.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!

Do You Accept God for Who He is?

I know this sounds a little off; I mean, of course I accept God for who he is. What else can I do? He is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and the Almighty. Who else would I think he is?

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God tells us who he is throughout the Bible, specifically in the Tanakh (the “Jewish Bible”). In the New Covenant writings, we do not hear a lot of who God is, but mostly of who Yeshua is, and in many Christian religions (and, believe me, there are enough of them!) they consider Yeshua, the Messiah, and God, the Father, to be one and the same entity.

But we ain’t goin’ there, Homies!

The reasoning behind why I am asking if you accept God for who he is comes from the many times I have been exposed to people who tell me what God wants, and why he wants that, but their belief is so far from what God says in the Bible that I have to wonder if we are talking about the same God.

I have heard people tell me that God is a compassionate, forgiving, and loving father, all of which is true, but they say that just before they tell me he will forgive their sins, without any mention of repentance or confession. They believe that just because God loves them as they are, and they believe in Yeshua (whatever that is supposed to mean) that they will be forgiven of any sins they commit. They do not understand, or more likely, refuse to accept, that even though God loves them, he is also holy and keeps his word, so if you sin, continue to sin, do not confess or repent of your sins, his love will not save you from damnation.

I believe the proof of God’s love is found in one place more than any other- that is in the book of the prophet Ezekiel, specifically Ezekiel 18:23, where God says:

Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?

God is saying that not only is he willing to forgive the sinner, but he greatly desires to forgive us!

But wait a minute! That doesn’t say it all, because before this he says something that sounds very different, and that is Ezekiel 18: 20-24 where he first tells us:

“The person who sins is the one that will die — a son is not to bear his father’s guilt with him, nor is the father to bear his son’s guilt with him; but the righteousness of the righteous will be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked will be his own. However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die. None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live. On the other hand, when the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness by acting in accordance with all the disgusting practices that the wicked person does, will he live? None of the righteous deeds he has done will be remembered; for the trespasses and sins he has committed, he will die.

So, here is God telling us who he is: he wants to forgive his children, whom he loves, but he is also God and will punish the sinner, meaning those who sin without confessing and repenting of their sin.

There are other ways people, even those who profess to worship God, do not accept who he is by rejecting his Holy Days, making excuses for rejecting his laws of kashrut (Kosher), and still expecting that he wil be OK with all that because his son told us we could.

How can anyone think that the son of God, the one he sent, would teach to reject what his father said to do?

Maybe because some believe Yeshua to be God, they make the excuse that he changed his mind after he was resurrected, by himself, even though he was dead, which God can’t be, which …. HUH? The more I follow that line of thinking, the less sense it makes.

That’s another one we ain’t touching today with a 10-foot pole!

There are other examples of how people pigeon-hole or compartmentalize God by convincing themselves that what they really want to do is OK with God. That is why, as I started this message, I asked if YOU really accept God for who he is?

If you are still not sure what I mean, then ask God, yourself, to show you who he is. Read the Torah- I think when you have a good understanding of what God wants us to do, then you will see that he is telling us who he is- he Lord, a holy and perfect spiritual entity who is also very emotional, loving his creation totally but because he is holy, he wants us to be holy, as well, because if we aren’t we cannot ever commune with him. He is in a sort of Catch-22 that he, himself, created when he gave us Free Will, which is a two-sided sword: free will allows us to choose to be righteous so we can live forever in God’s presence, and it also allows us to reject God and condemn ourselves to eternal damnation. And no matter which we choose, God has to stand aside and allow us to do what we will because he is holy and 1000% trustworthy, which means he will forgive us as he said he will- when we do what we have to do receive that forgiveness.

And for the same reason he will forgive us, he will punish us when we do not do as he said we should.

That seems to me to be the one thing most people do not accept about God.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Purim Message: We Are All Like Esther

There are two very important messages in the Megillah of Esther; one has to do with the fact that even if Esther didn’t ask the king for protection, it would come from some other source (this implies God’s protection, but did you know that this is the only book in the entire Bible where there is no mention of God, at all?), and the second was that Esther was where she was for such a time as this.

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Now, I am not implying that we are all beautiful, or raised by our uncle, or Jewish. Although Esther was all of those things, the most important thing that she was, if we go by Mordecai’s statement, was to be where she was, when she was.

I believe that we are all here for a reason, and that God has some plan for each of us; Shaul (Paul) taught this lesson, in a way, when he wrote to the Roman believers (Romans 9:19) and explained that God, like a potter, can make some vessels for holy use and others for common use.

In either case, isn’t it true that God is using us for some purpose he has in mind?

I am sure God’s purpose for me is to run this ministry. All the things that have happened to me, or haven’t happened to me, all the good and (certainly) all of the bad, have led me down a path that has placed me where I am now. Not so much where I am living, or in this marriage (for which I thank God every day), but where I am, spiritually.

So, nu? Have you thought about what is God’s purpose for you? It is very likely that you haven’t come to it yet, or that you are doing it, right now! I also believe that when wonderful people die too young, it is because they have done what God put them here to do, and so he is taking them to their reward.

You know, now that I think about it, that is a scary thought- what if I have done all God wanted me to do? Does that mean I am going to die soon? Hmmm… maybe another message for another time?

In any event, if you aren’t sure what God wants you to do, what purpose he has for creating you, don’t lose any sleep over it, even if you are an old person, like me. Remember that God didn’t use Moses until he was 80 years old.

My recommendation, with which I will end today’s message, is that if you aren’t sure why God put you here, then do as God has said he wants us all to do, which he spelled out in the Torah. I say this because I truly and faithfully believe that when you live your life to please God by doing as he has said to do, then his purpose for your life will become clear to you.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot, an early Shabbat Shalom, and Hag Sameach (happy holiday because Purim starts right after Shabbat)!

Don’t Cheapen the Power of the Name of Yeshua

What could I possibly do that would, in any way, ever lessen the importance of, or cheapen, the powerful name of the Messiah, Yeshua?
Maybe that happens when we use it so often and so automatically that it carries no weight, anymore?

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We were told that when we pray, if we pray in Yeshua’s name, then our prayers will be answered (John 14:13). But what happens if we constantly, blindly, and routinely say “In the name of Yeshua” over and over again, after every single thing we pray for? Doesn’t that become more rote than heartfelt?

Do you pray in his name all the time, for whatever reason, for whatever you want, whether or not it even is something you need? I have heard people give thanks to God and then do so in the name of the Messiah: what’s with that? If we are giving thanks to God, we are not asking for anything, right? So why use the power and majesty of Yeshua’s name just to say “Thanks”?

The name of the Messiah is powerful, but it’s not the word we use (Yeshua or Jesus) that has power: it is the renown and reputation of the one who that word identifies!

I try to be very careful, or I should say respectful, when asking in Yeshua’s name. There are many times I ask God for simple things, such as s good night’s sleep, or good weather because I have plans for outside activities, or other, miniscule and unimportant things. When I do that, I usually do not ask in Yeshua’s name because (and this is just how I feel) I don’t want to misuse the power of that name for “silly” things. If it rains when I wanted to go for a bike ride, well, then, I ride my bike on another day. God’s will is more important than my puny desire for nice weather, and if it rains then someone, somewhere, probably needed it more than I needed to have sore muscles the next day.

What I am saying is that the name of the Messiah carries power, and power should be respected and used sparingly. We have enough examples in the Bible to teach us that when we worship without the proper attitude God will not accept it; I believe that using the name of the Messiah in prayer all the time, routinely, mindlessly, and unfaithfully will have no meaning to God.

In fact, I think to use Yeshua’s name when asking for everything and anything is insulting to the awesomeness of his name.

Should we ask for all things all the time using a name that has such power and majesty, or do we use that name sparingly, carefully, and respectfully, only when asking for what we truly need for ourselves or someone else?

What do you think?

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem?

No One Can Be 100% Torah Observant

I have stated this a number of times, and sometimes I get someone who disagrees, stating that there were people in the Bible who are said to be blameless and righteous.
And they’re right, but does that mean they were also 100% Torah observant?

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So, we know Enoch walked with God, and that he was the only person, other than Elijah, who didn’t die. Clearly, he was pretty blameless, but- there was no Torah at that time.

Job is also said to be blameless, but -again!- there was no Torah at that time.

The Torah created sin by defining what it is (that’s what Shaul told the Roman Believers in his letter to them), and sin is anything that is against the Torah, so the question is: Is blameless the same as sinless?

What about King David? The Torah certainly was around then, and God said that David was a man after his own heart. David, himself, says that he is blameless a couple of times in some of his psalms, and yet he also said that he was born in sin from his mother’s womb (Psalm 51).

Noah was said to be blameless, but, oh, yeah, there’s that catch about there being no Torah at that time.

Wait a minute! The New Covenant, which came well after the Torah, said that Zechariah and Elizabeth (the parents of Yochanon, the Immerser) were blameless, but if Zach was so perfect, then why didn’t he believe the angel? That cost him the ability to speak for some 9 months.

Shaul says he was the greatest sinner of all (1 Timothy), and in Ecclesiastes 7:20 we are told that there is no one without sin; and what about Romans 3:23 (Shaul, again), Jeremiah 2:35, and Proverbs 20:9? They all indicate, clearly, that no one is without sin, so that means that no one is 100% Torah observant.

So, nu? If sin is against the Torah, and no one is without sin, then how can anyone be blameless after God gave the Torah to us?

The answer is… they can’t be. I know that the Gospel of Luke says Johnny’s Mom and Dad were blameless, but was he talking literally or figuratively?

Let’s confuse this even more: everyone can be blameless.

It is during that moment just after they ask God for forgiveness of sin, by means of the sacrifice Yeshua made on their part. Once God forgives you, you are, at that instant, blameless and 100% Torah observant.

At least, you are until you get in the car, start to drive home and find yourself cursing at the idiot in front of you who can’t make a left turn unless there isn’t a car visible for miles.

Look, no one can be 100% Torah observant, 100% of the time, and if you aren’t Torah observant 100% of the time, then you aren’t Torah observant.

That is why God gave us the sacrificial system. And that is why, a few millennia later, he sent Yeshua, the Messiah, to do his thing so that by means of the sacrifice he made (for all of us), we could find forgiveness despite the fact that we could no longer do that in accordance with the Torah after 73 A.D., when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

Let’s end this with one, final, absolutely biblical reference to settle whether someone can be sinless: it’s in 1 John 1:8-10, and it goes like this:

If we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us

So, yes, there were people in the Bible who we are told were blameless or righteous in God’s eyes, but that doesn’t mean they were 100% Torah observant. What the Bible tells us is that no one can be sinless and 100% Torah observant 100% of the time; no one, that is, except Yeshua, and he was the only one we needed to be that way.

You know, now that we do have the Torah, if any one of us could be 100% Torah observant, meaning sinless, meaning blameless, which is also righteous, and be that way all the time (as Yeshua was), then there wouldn’t have been a need for Yeshua because if one human being could do it, then all human beings should be able to do it.

And that would result in there being only three people in heaven: God, Yeshua, and that one idiot who ruined it for the rest of us.

Thank you for being here; that’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and let me wish you an early Shabbat Shalom!

Raise a Child Up …

Proverb 22:6 says this:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The problem I see in the world is that parents don’t want to be parents to their children, they’d rather be friends.

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Today’s parents are so concerned that they will traumatize their child if they should so much as spank them, or even tell them they did something wrong. This is one reason we see so many young people today with a sense of entitlement: whatever they want they think they deserve, and if you so much as say a word they don’t like, they become offended.

When I grew up (yeah, yeah, here it comes- the old “when I was a kid…” line, but it is true) we didn’t have soft rubber matting on the ground under our monkey bars. We didn’t have helmets when riding our bikes, and we played community games like Hide and Seek, Johnny on the Pony, and Red Light: Green Light.

And our parents didn’t hesitate for a moment to discipline us when we did something wrong. There was no consideration for our deep, emotional well-being: their concern was for us to know what was right and what was wrong so that when we grew up, we wouldn’t be in trouble or have difficulty getting along with people. They were more concerned with our future than our feelings, and I believe that was because they loved us enough to want us to be successful in life, even if it meant we may be upset or angry with them.

And they also taught us how to be respectful of others, polite to our elders, and how to cook, clean, do the wash, and generally be independent so that we could be good parents when we have kids of our own.

Not so today: these kinds of parents are few and far between.

So, nu? What does this have to do with God? I’ll tell you what it has to do with God- God wants us to be parents, not friends, and he wants us to teach our children how to be god-fearing and do as God wants because when they get older, they will be the role model that their kids fashion themselves after, whether the kids want to or not.

The greatest response any parent can give to their child when the kid is being rebellious is:

“Like it or not, you will grow up to be me!”

I recently came back from Boston, where Donna and I had a really nice long weekend visit, and in the seat behind us on the plane was a child, maybe 3-4 years old. Now, one of the disadvantages of living close to Orlando is that on every, single plane ride home, the plane is filled with young, overly excited kids chomping at the bit to get to Disney World. This child was no exception, and in truth, she was cute, saying “Minnie! Mickey!” over and over.

So, what’s wrong with that? What was wrong was that she was saying it at the top of her voice, and she never stopped talking that loud for the next 2-1/2 hours!

So where are the parents? Why are they allowing this? And to make it worse, there was a lady (not the mom) sitting next to the kid who actually encouraged it!

Now, you may be thinking that the kid is too young to know better, and you’d be right, but the parents should know better, and even if the kid won’t be able to comprehend the lesson of using her “inside voice”, the lesson will stay in her mind. We may not be able to comprehend why when we are too young to really know right from wrong, but our brains will retain the emotion of knowing Daddy or Mommy didn’t like something. It may be in the subconscious, but it will be there.

And when the kid is old enough to know better, that lesson will be brought from the back of the head to the front of it.

Please don’t get me wrong- I am not saying do not allow children to be children, but I am saying that what you allow, or what you don’t allow, whether or not they are old enough to understand why, they will understand Yes and No.

Raise your children up correctly, no matter what their age- if they can understand the language, they will learn what you tell them. There is no waiting until they are old enough to understand because by the time they reach that age, they have already formed behaviors that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

If you are a God-fearing person and have children, you need to ask yourself if you want them to be saved or damned when they die, because that decision is very much in your control. Why do you think God tells us to raise them up correctly? If you do not teach them what they need to know and how to act by providing a good role model for them, the person they become will be very much your fault.

As I conclude today’s message, I will leave you with this other godly wisdom from the Book of Proverbs:, Proverbs 13:24 and 23:14

 13:24- He who fails to use a stick hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
 23:14If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Thank you for being here; that’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!