Who Do We Believe?

I don’t know who to believe anymore.

There are now just as many experts saying “Do this” as there are experts saying “Doing that is useless.”

I’m not talking today just about wearing masks or using some medicine, but who do we believe about anything?

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

And, of course, this being a ministry, it’s time to segue into the next topic, which is if we can’t believe experts in medicine, how can we believe “experts” regarding God, the Messiah, and what’s in the Bible?

I believe (pardon the expression) the best answer I can give you is to start off not believing anyone…believe me when I say that.  By starting off with not believing anything you hear from anyone, at least you know that you won’t be fooled from the git-go.

But you can’t go through life never believing anything, so the next step is, after listening to what you have been told, ask the one telling you where they got their information from, and then go to that source and verify the information for yourself. If they say it is in the Bible, ask for the book, chapter, and verse. If they say they heard it, ask where they heard it. If they say they read it, ask where they read it.

And if they can’t answer any of these questions, then don’t accept what they say as truth until you can find the reference or source to ensure that what you are being told is correct.

It is hard enough to discern when someone is purposefully lying to you, but the hardest lie of all to recognize is the one which comes from someone who thinks they are telling you the truth.

That’s why no one uses lie detectors anymore; it’s because the lie detector doesn’t really identify a lie, it identifies when someone knows they are lying. So, if someone believes “Finders Keepers, Loser’s Weepers” is a truth, then in their mind, if they find your wallet which you left on your desk, and they take it, to them it is not stealing. Later, when asked if they stole your wallet during a lie detector test, they would say they didn’t, and it would register as the truth.

How many traditional Christian and Jewish teachings have we heard that are untrue? Jews teach that Yeshua is not the Messiah and Christians teach that Yeshua did away with the Torah.  Both are untrue but have been taught as truth for millennia, and because these lies come from people who believe them, we believe them, too. We are being lied to by people who are credentialed, knowledgeable, generally trustworthy, and honest.  We believe them because they believe themselves; there’s another term for this type of event, and it is “the blind leading the blind.”

So, nu? Who do we believe?

We believe no one; at least, not right away. We listen, we observe, and then we verify. And if you can’t verify it, then you consider how truthful it might be based on what you already know. And if none of that works, then, well…go with your gut feeling. That’s right, I said go with your gut feeling. Remember that even Mr. Spock told Captain Kirk there are times when logic won’t help.

I believe we are all created in God’s image, and despite the fact that I am not positive what that means (although I did post a message about this recently- you can find it clicking on this link…LINK), I think there is some inherent, instinctive sense of God in everyone, which we call our “gut” feeling.

It always comes down to this: we have to choose what we will believe in. We learn from reading and listening to others, and those who have experience, credentials, and knowledge are worth listening to. We should give more credence to experienced and knowledgeable people, and remember that emotional appeal is a dangerous thing because our emotions are hard to control and often go against our better judgment.  We should trust, to some extent, our instincts, but temper them with knowledge and maturity.

Here is the scary thing: no matter why you believe something, you are going to be held accountable for that belief and how you live in accordance with that belief. What that means, in simple language, is that you can’t blame anyone else for how you live your life.

Let’s finish up by again asking “How do we know what or who to believe?” The answer is to believe whatever you choose to believe.  You can base that choice on any number of things, but the bottom line is that you must choose and you will be the only one held accountable for making that choice.

So, choose carefully, choose wisely, and do not be lazy about this choice because you will have to live with it; not just for the rest of your life, but throughout eternity.

Thank you for being here; please share these messages with others and don’t forget to subscribe to both my website and my YouTube channel.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

What Does “Believe in Jesus” Really mean?

No video today, but please click on the SUBSCRIBE button in the right-hand margin to receive notification when I post again.

As a Jewish man who accepts Yeshua (Jesus) as my Messiah, I have been told by nearly every other Jewish person I know who doesn’t accept him that if I “believe in Jesus” I am no longer Jewish because believing in Jesus is only for Christians.

Yet, I doubt they even know what “believe in Jesus” means. For that matter, I’m not sure if I know what it means!

Does it mean acceptance that he is the Messiah? Many would say yes, but then what about the Muslims? They believe in Jesus, in that he existed, but he is a Prophet to them and nothing more. This is also the view of many Jewish people.

Does it mean I am a Christian? Many would say yes, but then again, what about all the demons in hell? They absolutely believe in Jesus and more than that- they have seen him, in person! But they’re not what anyone would call “Christian.”

Does it mean that I acknowledge only that he existed as a historical figure? Yes, for many people, including many Jews (especially those that are theologically educated.)

So where does this leave us?  Pretty much the same place we started- it can mean many things, with the only constant being that Jesus existed…and there are many who will refute that.

Generally, the phrase “believe in Jesus” is understood to not just mean that he existed, but that the person who “believes” has converted to Christianity. This is not true, though, because of the other ways we can believe in Jesus. I believe in Jesus: I believe he is the Messiah God promised to send and yet I have not converted to anything and I vehemently deny being a Christian- I am a Jew. In fact, I am more “Jewish” now than when I was before, living as a non-practicing Reform Jew. Yet, whenever I meet another Jewish person who is not “Messianic”, they call me a Christian. And they aren’t nice about it.

It is because of this misunderstanding of the phrase that I do not use it. I will say I accept Jesus (I always say Yeshua, but to keep it constant in this posting I will use the name “Jesus”) as my Messiah, the one God promised in the Tanakh to send to the Jewish people.

Going forward, I recommend that we stop saying we “believe in Jesus” simply because it sends the wrong message, especially to Jews. We should say instead that we accept Jesus as the Messiah God promised to send. And, if you are talking to a Jewish person, NEVER use the name “Jesus” but instead use “Yeshua”. And also make sure you say “Yeshua, the Messiah God promised to the Jewish people”- the only way you can make any progress with a Jewish person when talking about Jesus is to make sure you maintain the “Jewishness” of Yeshua the Messiah.

I believe that when we begin to concentrate more on who we are talking to instead of just repeating what we have always been taught to say, as Shaul (Paul) did in all his letters to the Messianic congregations he began, then we can begin to break down the wall of preconceived ideas that have formed over centuries as a result of misunderstanding, prejudice, and fear.

We need to address the Good News to people in a way they will be open to hearing it. We should rethink what Shaul meant in Romans 1:16 when he said the Gospel is to the Jew first, then the Gentile: maybe what he really meant wasn’t so much a chronological order of presentation, but that if the Gospel being spread isn’t acceptable to a Jew, it isn’t any good for a Gentile, either.

Remember this the next time God presents to you an opportunity to spread the Good News.



Is there a Salvation gene?

If you are asking yourself, “What the heck is a ‘salvation gene?'”, I have to admit that I wonder about that, myself. And I’m the one who came up with the idea!

The other day I was thinking (yes, it hurts when I do that) about what it means to be made in God’s likeness, and how everyone has a soul. As I thought more on the matter, I wondered if the soul isn’t the only thing we get from God when He forms us in the womb: maybe being made in His image, whatever that entails, includes recognition, at the genetic level, of God. A gene that is a “salvation gene”- one designed to give us a subconscious, deep-in-the-bones knowledge of God’s existence: knowing God exists because it is something that we have built in to our physical make-up.

I thought of this when I was considering why so many people just hate to hear about God’s word. Especially those people who do not believe in God, or who constantly make up their own rules and “understanding” of God’s word (so that it fits into their lifestyle.) I wondered why they are so unwilling to even discuss it; after all, they are willing to argue, ad-infinitum, about politics, sports figures, or almost anything else, but talk about God?- the moment you start they raise shields faster than Captain Kirk seeing a Romulan war bird de-cloak in front of him!

Why? If they don’t believe in God, why be so adamant about not talking about Him? If they think that they are properly following God’s commands (mainly because they have been taught that), why be so afraid to hear a different viewpoint? The answer came to me that maybe, just maybe, it’s because we all have a little bit of God’s Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) in us from birth, even from the moment of conception! When we received a soul, we received also (in God’s image) an innate understanding and recognition of God’s presence in the universe, and what He wants from us.

I once read about what geneticists call a “Hidden Gene”- a gene that might have been active at one time, maybe elongating life, that a mutation reduced to being physically present but no longer functioning. It sits dormant and inert, waiting for a matching gene to find it or some mutative event to allow it to do what it is designed to do.

That is what I am calling the salvation gene. It is there, in our very DNA, recognizing God’s existence and making us know of Him, but it is not fully active. When we accept God’s Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), and He delivers the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to us, that is the match, so to speak, for this gene to re-enable it. Our very DNA is changed so that the spiritual becomes more important to us than the worldly. We get more pleasure from doing what is right in God’s eyes, and we “mutate” into a better person, slowly, but surely.

Just as God told us He would do, it literally writes His Torah on our hearts.

Doesn’t that make sense? Doesn’t that explain why everyone has some sense of God, even if he or she is absolutely confident, sometimes zealous, that God doesn’t exist? It would explain why people who do not have the Holy Spirit hate to talk about God. They know, deep in their DNA, in their very essence, that God does exist and that they are in rebellion and fighting a lost battle- not a losing battle, not a battle that they have any chance of winning, but a lost battle where their loss is devastating.  I believe that everyone knows when you fight against God, you have no chance of winning. Consequently, they don’t want to hear about their sinfulness and how they are killing themselves; they don’t want to hear about a better way because they know, intrinsically, that it means they have to give up their sin; they don’t want to discuss anything that is different than what they are used to, or what they have convinced themselves is all they need to do, because it means they have to leave their comfort zone.

They are being led by blind leaders who are walking not into a hole, but directly to the edge of a high cliff over a deep ravine!

So, what do we do? Those of us who have the completed gene, we are the ones God wants to save these people. But, we can’t do it by directly telling them how much trouble they are getting themselves into because that won’t work. When I was in sales I learned that people believe no more than half of what you will say, but they believe everything they say: the trick is to get them to say what you want them to say so they will believe it. You can’t do that by telling them what they know is wrong, you do it by asking them questions that will make them doubt their own position.

In other words, ask them the questions they should be asking you, and gently and calmly point out to them that their answers make no sense. Before they will start to hear the truth of what you say, you need to get them to doubt what they are saying.

Maybe this entire lesson is baseless- maybe there isn’t any such thing as a “salvation gene”; maybe what I am thinking is wrong or just fantasy. Then again, maybe it isn’t. Does it really matter?

If you know people who have rejected God and/or Yeshua, whether Jewish or Gentile, or (even worse) people who have been raised as Christians and think they are saved (but have never really accepted Jesus on their own), then it is up to you to try to get them to realize that what they think is the truth is not the truth. You have to try because we who have heard God’s true word are obligated to spread that word. God constantly told the Prophets that if they did not spread His word to the people then the blood of the sinners would be on the Prophet’s head; but, after preaching His message, if the sinner still rejected it then their blood would be on their own head, and the Prophet would be held blameless for their death.

I don’t want to have anyone’s blood on my hands when I meet the Lord- do you?

Don’t Crow: Show

Yeshua said this about the Pharisees in Matthew 6:16:

 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

How this bible quote fits into the rather terse topic is simple: it all comes down to what we do and not what we say. I’ve learned (you’ve heard me say this plenty of times, already) that people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do. And when you add to that old adage the worn-out cliche about not just talking the talk but walking the walk, the lesson about living our lives as we are told to do becomes so repetitive that we just don’t pay attention anymore.

It’s like when you get a small paper cut. It really huts when you get it, but then your brain adjusts to the neural stimuli and becomes ennured to the pain. Then, after a while, you do something like hit the exact spot where the cut is, or maybe get lemon juice in it, or after shave, and WOWSAH!! You remember you have a paper cut, in a big way.

We need to keep pouring lemon juice on where the holes would be if we had been the ones nailed to the tree. We need to constantly remind ourselves, but in different ways so we don’t become callous, that we need to live out our everyday existence in a way that glorifies God, that lets people see His spirit-led change of attitude, and His grace, His love and His compassionate forgiveness.

In Judaism we say that when we look at the Torah we should see a reflection of ourself. So, nu? What do you see when you look at the Torah (Bible)?  Do you see a bunch of fancy words that sound nice or do you see yourself?

What the statement Yeshua said (above) means is that we should not try to win the favor and respect of other people by making a show of our “holiness”, because even if we win their respect and favor, that is all we will get. The purpose of fasting is to get closer to God, to motivate Him to answer our prayers by demonstrating our desire for His help through self-sacrifice. If we really want people to see us and think of how “holy” we are, God will let us have that reward. And what He could have given us will be lost to us; God will step aside and let us have the reward we sought, which is not the reward we could have gotten from Him if we had really been looking to Him for acceptance.

No matter what you give up when you fast, the point is that it is to be between you and God- as Yeshua said (just before this verse) in Matthew 6:3, when giving to the poor (let’s expand that to doing any form of Tzedakah, or charity) that it should be done in secret, so that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. This is the same as when we fast: both charity and fasting should be done in secret.

It all boils down to live you life, every day, getting closer to God, and do it in such a way that you will not need to profess your beliefs because  your actions will demonstrate your beliefs.

The greatest compliment I ever received is when I have had someone say me, ” You’re born again, aren’t you?”  I am embarrassed to confess it has been so long since this happened I can’t remember the last time it did.

If you have to tell someone you are a Believer, you need to work at it harder.


Building a Belief System

It sounds so “professional”, doesn’t it? “Building a belief system”- like you are creating some commercial organization, or something.

Despite the stoically cold and unemotional sound of it, it is what we all do during our lives. Whether we are believing in our parent’s trustworthiness (which usually comes as a given), what we are told, what we learn, in Santa Claus, or even whether God exists or not, we depend on our beliefs to help guide us through life.

Hopefully we believe that ethical and moral behaviour, as defined by our society, is the way in which we should act towards others. Isn’t there an old adage that goes something like, “Honesty is what you do when you know no one will ever find out.”? We who have a belief system based on honesty and respect for others (and their property) believe in this.

So how do you build a belief system? You start with something that you believe in. DUH!!

If you believe in God, you have a really good start, but if it is that God doesn’t exist, or that He exists in some way other than what others believe, it is still something. No one can not believe in something, because even total apathy is something you believe in.

The question I was discussing with friends the other night is how do you know what to believe? We hear so many different things from so many different religions (and non-religions which are treated as a religion) that it is really hard to know who is right about what, and that was the question posed to me: “How do I know who to believe?”

My answer was, “You don’t, and that stinks” (I think the actual descriptive adjective I used at that time was somewhat more graphic.) But that is how it is. No one can be absolutely certain what to think or who to believe, at least not when first starting. So what do we do?

We take a leap of faith. We believe in that which seems right to us. I pray that God will be influencing each person’s heart when making that initial choice, but the choices we make are influenced by other things, too. Such as, what we learned from our parents (whether as a positive or a negative experience), what we learned from our friends, our teachers, our religious leaders, and (unfortunately) from TV. I have to include TV (and maybe nowadays I should include YouTube and the Internet) because it is such a major part of our lives now.

So we start with believing what is comfortable for us, and we move on from there. As we discuss our beliefs with others we hear their beliefs, and we compare and we re-evaluate, so on we go through life, constantly learning and adjusting our beliefs.

At some point, though, we have to take a stand. Sooner or later we will conclude that what we believe in is not open to change. I feel that way about my belief in God and Yeshua as my (actually, everyone’s) Messiah. I have always felt a calling to know God better, and I went through many years of not believing in Him at all; I cursed Him and His name often as a child, and I felt torn and confused, I believed we were all our own Messiah and that salvation was an individual thing, that there was no death only reincarnation, that there was no reincarnation, that …well, let’s just say I went through a lot of beliefs. After going through them all, I finally settled on what I truly believe in, what I have had proven (to me) to be the correct belief because of actual, real events in my life, and what I can say is more than a faith-based belief because for me it is a fact, a reality, an unchanging and unchangeable truth upon which I can now feel totally certain.

And here’s the hard part, the part that still stinks…I had to come to this absolute and unmovable position initially by a leap of faith.

In the long run, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, you need to make a leap of faith and choose to believe in something. What you are told, what you learn, what others tell you is true is all part of the process, but ultimately you must choose for yourself what you will believe. And it gets worse- you have to be willing to stand up to others when you choose that belief. You can’t go through life changing your moral and religious beliefs. I am sure there are people that do, and I can only feel pity for them. Without a belief system, you are building a house on sand instead of rock, and you will always be shifting  your moral and ethical position. You will be a leaf blown about in the wind instead of a strong tree upon which others can depend for support. And you will never feel secure in anything.

I believe that God exists, as He is described in the Bible, and that He sent Yeshua to be the Messiah He promised and told us about throughout the Tanakh (The Old Covenant.) I believe that the New Covenant is the continuation of the Old one, not a separate book about a new religion. I believe Yeshua (Jesus) taught the Torah, and the Torah is what He stood for and believed in. He never taught that we should act any way but the way we are told to act in the Torah. And all the other writings in the New Covenant support that.

I also believe that Yeshua died and was resurrected, and that His death allows me to be saved from my own sinfulness, which is a real part of my innate nature. I also believe that I can be a sinful sinner but still be a good person; at least, “good” as society defines “good.”  Which, I also believe, from God’s perspective isn’t good enough. That’s why we all need the Messiah.

I came to this belief system after more than 40 years of searching for it, and now I am totally comfortable with it. As I say above, I am convinced that it is correct because of the events in my life since I chose to accept this belief system for myself, and I am unmovable in it.

If you say I may be wrong, you have the right to believe that- I was where you are. The character Morpheus from “The Matrix” movie at one point had someone say to him that others didn’t believe as he did, and Morpheus answered that what he believes doesn’t require others to believe the same.

I believe, and I would hope that you believe as I believe, but you don’t have to. I respect your right to believe what you do, and am willing to discuss what I believe, but am not willing to allow you or anyone else to tell me what I believe is wrong. Maybe wrong for you, but no one can say it is wrong. Even if I vehemently disagree with what you believe in, I can’t say you are wrong, only that what you believe in is wrong for me.

God gave us all free will, and I respect God’s opinion and His choices. Even if you say there is no God and never was, my answer will be that your belief that God doesn’t exist is because He allows you to make up your own mind.

That’s what this is all about: initially, every belief is a leap of faith, no matter what you believe. Yeshua said we are all a slave to something, and I think we should be a slave to our beliefs; otherwise, what good are they? Let me say this: whatever you believe, make sure it is your choice to believe it. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should believe, especially about God.

You need to be certain that what you believe is your choice because God will hold each and every one of us accountable for what we believe.

Believe me when I tell you that.