The Acid Test Question

I am going to “cheat” a little this morning and insert an excerpt from my book, “Back to Basics: God’s Word vs. Religion.”  If you like this short sample, please don’t hesitate to use the links on the Home page and get the whole book. It’s an easy read, and (so far) I have gotten positive feedback. That means both people liked it.  🙂

 

One of the basic beliefs I hope that we all share is the hope of salvation, i.e., resurrection from the dead and eternity with God. This is essential to the acid test question of what to believe and how to act that I will be presenting throughout this book. That acid test question is this, “How does this affect my salvation?”

That’s it. That’s all that we really need to ask ourselves, isn’t it? If something we are told to believe or something we are told to do (or not to do) doesn’t make sense, we should check it out in the Bible and then ask God to help us decide how this thing affects our salvation.

   For instance, let’s take numerology. Personally, I think there are some valuable associations we can make. Such as 3 is representative of the Godhead, 4 is the Godhead and man, 7 is the number of completion, 40 is important, too, although I am not sure why, but it seems to be a regularly appearing number. 40 days for the flood, 40 days for Yeshua in the desert, 40 days spying out the Land, 40 years wandering in the desert (this one we do know because God told Moses the generation that refused to enter Canaan would spend one year wandering for every day they had spies in the Land).

   Anything much past a simple association concerns me because we start to look for things that may not be there. You know, they say, “Figures don’t lie but liars figure” and when I apply this to the many different numerological associations I have heard people make I come back to the acid test question, “How does this affect my salvation?” Will I be saved by knowing that a certain word adds up to the number 8, which is associated with a new beginning? Is knowing some deep, hidden meaning of a sentence that has been manipulated to show a number, that has an association to another sentence, that results in another number, that someone thinks means something, going to get me into heaven? I don’t think so, do you?

   As I will say over and over throughout this book, we need to see what God says. We always need to go right to the User Manual. With regards to Numerology, the Manual (Bible) tells us over and over that Salvation comes through faith, not through accountancy. So the answer is that number crunching the Bible may have some usefulness with better understanding some things, and may even be interesting, but it is not going to save us. It fails the acid test and we can move on to more eternal things.

 

I once was told that you can’t make an argument from nothing. This was when I was being instructed how to properly interpret the Torah, which also is an important lesson when formulating a Drash, or sermon. How many times have people told you about hidden meanings they see in the Bible? Or maybe how, as I state above, certain words have a numerical value (in Hebrew the letters also represent numbers) that has the same numerical value as another word which is a bad thing?

I was taught there are three levels of interpretation: the P’shat, or plain written word: what you see is what it means. The Drash, or underlying meaning: read between the lines. And the Sud, or a deeper, almost mystical meaning that only the Spirit can reveal: what you been smokin’, man? These three levels of interpretation are how we should look at the Word. My admonition about being careful is because if it isn’t there, it isn’t there. Too often people try to find meaning that they want to be there, and there is so much meaningful stuff in the Manual that we can pull a line here, and a line there, and make almost anything we want to seem true appear justified.

That’s why we need to use the Acid Test question over and over- is this really important to my salvation? Is it important to realize that when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah to kill him, Isaac was probably in his thirties? If Isaac was a pre-teen, as many suppose, does that make what happened different? If the numerical value of the Tetragrammaton ends up being equal to something, will that allow me entry into God’s presence?

No. What does matter is that Abraham was faithful, and that faithfulness was credited to him as righteousness. Now that’s important! That will pass the Acid Test question because we need to understand and accept that by faith we are saved.

Keep listening, because there is nothing wrong with listening- that’s how we learn. But do so with more than your ears- use your brain, be skeptical, verify for yourself what you are told and let the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) guide you. And above all, don’t forget to give anything you hear the Acid Test.

 

Where Does Our Hope Come From?

I just read this morning that Robin Williams, that comic genius, is dead. A possible suicide.

How can someone who was so intelligent, so funny, so able and gifted by God to make people laugh have been so depressed to take his own life?  It’s almost as if he gave so much enjoyment and fun to others he had none left for himself. It is so sad.

Only those with no hope could ever think of ending the life they have. It’s often referred to as the cowards way; to take your life instead of standing up to the challenges of it, to travel the ultimate escape route.

I have thought of suicide. As a teenager and again during the last couple of years of my first marriage (my second is the last and the best that could be.) Those times were before I knew the Lord, before I had hope.

That’s where our hope comes from- the Lord, and (more than that) His promises. We know that this life is cursed, it has been since Adam threw Eve under the bus for the apple thing, and even Shaul (Paul) tells us that the Enemy was thrown from Heaven to the Earth. Not to Sheol (hell), but to the Earth. Hmmm…I guess that means that life on Earth is hell. There are plenty of times it feels like it, doesn’t it?

That’s why it is so important for those who believe in God and His promises, having found the ultimate hope in Yeshua ha Meschiach, to show those who haven’t any hope the hope we have found. This supernatural source of hope is what helps us overcome the world. That which is in us in more powerful that that which is in the world. If only Robin had known this. How many of us know (or know of) people who have committed suicide? How many were close to you?

Here’s the hard question: how many did we know needed God but we didn’t approach them? This isn’t to make anybody feel guilty, it’s for us to think about. Most likely it wouldn’t have made a difference. After all, Yeshua didn’t say it’s the path most taken, and throughout the Tanach God tells us there will be a remnant, not a majority, that accept and will be saved. We can’t expect that we will save everyone, and we shouldn’t even think we can. We can only plant the seed because God is the gardener. He is the one who will make it happen. But even if we only plant a seed, we need to be working in the fields.

Remember the story of Johnny Appleseed? He was a missionary, of a sort. He planted seeds and moved on, and that is what we must do.

We who have hope must give it to those who do not. The best way, I think, is by example. It’s easy to talk about how much hope we have in God, but to live it, to walk the walk, is hard. And yet, it’s the only way to make people believe you. I have said, and always will say, that which I learned as a salesman: people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do. We need to “do” hope in our lives. We need to demonstrate to others that there is hope, and we need to fearlessly tell them where our hope comes from.

Maybe, just maybe, we can plant a seed that will save someone from hopelessness.

Does God Laugh?

What do you think?

This isn’t really a midrash, maybe more of a discussion. I read an article this morning about a comedy show that portrays Jesus as a black man that smokes weed, hangs with gangsters, curses, etc. Pretty much representative of the general disrespect that TV has for God and anything religious. I stopped watching History channel shows about the Bible years ago because they only want to prove that God doesn’t exist. Have you noticed how they have half a dozen experts that show how everything from God can be explained (which today means it isn’t God) and then maybe one poor schmo who believes in God, and he or she is made to look like an innocently mindless person. The one voice in the desert calling out is always going to be seen as not-fitting-in.

So what happens in the heavens when God sees this junk. Does He shrug it off? Does he laugh about it? Or does He get angry?

We know He has emotions; after all, He is a jealous God. He is a loving God, He is compassionate, slow to anger and quick to forgive. These are all very strong emotions. How can He not have a sense of humor?

I read once where it said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” That’s funny.

So, nu? Does God laugh? Personally, I think He does. I also think He sees us as we see our children when they do something foolish. We have to shrug it off and say to ourselves, “Well, they’ll have to deal with that one day.”

Why do we do that? Maybe because we can’t do anything else. God gave us free will, with which we can love and obey Him, or reject Him. And once we reject Him, then the gloves are off and we can satirize Him, insult Him, and generally make anyone who is a Believer look like a fool.

How can a true worshipper of God allow this? I think we have no choice. God gave them the right to choose, so who are we to tell them what or what not to do? Proverbs tells us that we are not to return evil for evil, but wait upon the Lord.  The Bible also tells us not to judge others, because God will judge. I am not saying we shouldn’t speak up against this blasphemy, but we shouldn’t do anything more than demonstrate God’s compassion and understanding.  After all, think of what it will be like for them when they come before Him and realize, all too late, how wrong they were. And when we are before Him, believe me, it will be too late. No ,”Gee, you are real. Well, then, I take it all back.” Uh-uh. Not buying it. Off to the hot tub for you.

Should this show be taken off the air? I would like to see that, but it opens a very dangerous can of worms. Namely, who determines what is acceptable under “free speech”. There are organizations for rating shows, but today even pornography is allowable, so long as you air it on special pay-for-view channels. We can’t stop people from speaking their minds, we just have to learn not to listen and to give a real-life example of what God does for us, how His Ruach (Spirit) allows us to get past these horrible shows and demonstrations of God-hating in the world.

I believe God does laugh. Sometimes because we are just so funny. I laugh at a lot of the things I have done that are just so stupid, I mean, really stupid. Of course, it may take a while after doing them when I am able to laugh, but I do. Mostly. Well, for some things. Kinda.

Where was I? Oh, yeah- so, I believe God laughs. I also believe God cries, especially when He sees His children so lost and without hope that they mock and ridicule Him just to try to get others to like them. To fit into the world. The world is a cursed place, so loving God and acting in ways God wants is not doing what the world does. That’s why Yeshua said we need to be prepared to carry our own execution stake if we want to follow Him.

It ain’t easy being Godly.

Was Yeshua a Man or Was He God?

I think it’s the type of question we call a conundrum.

Taking some ideas from my book (there are links to it on the Homepage) we can explore this question a little.

Yeshua Himself said, after reading from Isaiah 61, that “before Abraham was, I am!” It certainly sounds like He was declaring Himself more than human, and it almost got Him stoned. Yet, for almost every single miracle that was performed by Him, He didn’t take any credit for the power behind the miracle, and gave credit to the person’s faith as the reason they were cured.

He told his Talmudim (students, or Disciples) that when they call Him “Lord” they were right to do so, because He was their Lord. Then later He says that they will do more than He has done, referring to the miracles that were performed.  And they did. In fact, He did not do any miracles that weren’t done before Him, or after Him.

He was born of a virgin, and that certainly wasn’t as a human is born. Yet even though not totally of  human origin, He was fully human. He was subject to human frailty and temptation but He was also so completely filled with the Ruach HaKodesh He was , as no other person ever has or will be, able to overcome His humanity.

In the end, He had to be totally human or he could not have taken on the sin of the world. God cannot be anything but completely and purely sinless, so Yeshua had to be a human to do what He came here to do.  And let’s not forget that Yeshua never once even implied we should worship Him, only His Father in Heaven. The Manual is full of references that God is deserving of worship, but Yeshua was clear that we should not worship Him, so He certainly didn’t think He was God.

Yochanan (John) tells us (in his Gospel) first there was the Word, and the Word became flesh. The Word is not human, but the flesh is human. The prophecy of Isaiah says that the Moshiach (Messiah) will be just a regular guy, who knows what it is like to be sick and will have human frailties; in fact, He won’t be anything to look at or recognize as “special” in His appearance. Just an average Schmo.

I know, I know…this sort of “He was – He wasn’t” back-and-forth can give you a headache! Was He human? Yes. Was He God? Yes. Did He die? Yes. Well, if He was God how could He be human, and if He was God how could He have died, and if He was human how could he be God, and if He was human how could He do those miracles, and if and if…. YIKES!!

That’s why it is so much easier to just take things on faith. However, being faithful doesn’t mean accepting ignorance. We still need to know what the truth is, and the only way is to hear it from His own mouth. The way He allows us to hear Him is through The Bible,  or as I like to call it, The Manual. Reading that, and asking Him to guide our understanding by the Spirit, is the best and most productive way to know His word. And, since the Word became Him, that’s how we get to know Him.

God is above and beyond all human understanding. Can God be human and God at the same time? Who knows? Me? You? Scientists? How can we even think that we can understand what God can or can’t do? He created the physical laws we are just starting to understand, so He must be above those laws, i.e., not subject to them. If we can’t understand the way the laws of physics works, how can we expect to understand how they apply to the One who created them?

Look, just take it as it is: Yeshua is the Messiah. Does it really matter if He was God or not? I don’t think so, because His job wasn’t to be God, it was to be the Messiah. As Messiah, He provided the path to salvation. That’s what He is- the pathfinder, the most important pioneer ever, because He didn’t create a path to the New World or through the North American forests to the West, but through the dark world of sin to the salvation of God.

One final thought: we need to take a lesson from the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) and stop trying to understanding God. Didn’t Yeshua say that we must be like children to enter the Kingdom? Children don’t try to understand, they just do. They trust in what they are told and they do. We need to stop putting labels on Yeshua that He doesn’t need to wear just so we feel more comfortable. There is only one label He should wear, and that is Messiah. After the Acharit HaYamim (End Days), when all is said and done, when we have the new Earth, the New Jerusalem, when the Enemy is eternally subdued and you’re sitting under your pistachio tree enjoying your wine, will it really matter whether Yeshua was human or God?

It won’t to me. I’ll just be happy to be there.

 

 

Forgiveness Stinks

We are supposed to forgive. The old saying, “To err is human; to forgive, Divine” is biblically accurate. In Matthew 6:14 we are told, “For if you forgive others  their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.” 

Strong words. And scary. In the “Lords Prayer”, when we ask to be forgiven as we forgive others, that’s testing ourselves. It means we are asking to reap what we sow- if we are unforgiving, then we should be treated with unforgiveness. We are actually giving God the Okedokee to leave us unforgiven of our sins if we never forgave anyone. 

Forgiveness is hard. It means swallowing our pride (for me, that’s a mouthful), becoming humble, listening to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) instead of the Yetzer Hara (Hebrew for evil inclinations within us), essentially being as God wants us to be. Man-o-Manischewitz, that ain’t easy!

What’s the alternative? Well, the only way to get rid of the hurt is to forgive. Oy!! No, really? I don’t want to, that creep doesn’t deserve it…I’d rather burn in hell than let that nasty so-and-so be forgiven! Guess what? If you don’t forgive, you just may get that wish. 

Remember this: we don’t forgive them so they become right with God, we forgive them so WE become right with God. God demands we forgive. As far as the other person, only God can forgive sins against Himself. We can only forgive them their sins against us. If it makes you feel better, try this thought on for size: we may forgive them, which will be seen as proper in God’s eyes, but if that person doesn’t ask God for forgiveness, and really mean it (you can’t fool God), he or she will be spending Eternity in suffering. Really, when you think about it, no matter how terrible their sin against you, eternal suffering is worse. As a Believer who is forgiven through Messiah, we will have eternal joy.  And I think I can say this with some degree of certainty- when we are past this life and in God’s presence, we will feel more love and compassion for those that are suffering than we can now, in human form. Knowing that we forgave them will not help them, but we will know we did what was right when we had the chance. 

People who are nasty, unforgiving, hateful, prideful, all those natural human traits, well…they are hurting. I have all those traits, and when they manifest themselves it’s always when I feel hurt by others, or by life. When I feel like life has kicked me in the you-know-where, all I want to do is strike back and hurt it, too. That’s our first inclination when people hurt us, and it is never going to change. What will, and must, change is how we act when we are hurt. We need to control our reaction so we have the time to take proper action. That means calling on the Ruach, remembering what God says about forgiveness, and actually thinking about how much that other person must be hurting to be so mean. If we think about their pain, how terrible it must be to make them do something that hurtful and mean, it has to make you feel bad for them. Not that this will happen right away, but if you remember what forgiveness is all about, it will come. And as you practice it, it will come faster and more easily. 

Forgiveness goes against everything human, but we aren’t supposed to let our humanity overcome His Spirit, right? Isn’t that what dying to self means?

Forgiveness stinks to humans, but to those who love God, it is a fragrant aroma.  

 

Is God a Bigot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salvation: Good News, Bad News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huh? What is this guy talking about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Isn’t Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Proof of Existence Not Required

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make a good choice, please.

Dontcha hate Mondays?

It’s Monday. Again.

Sometimes it seems like Monday all week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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