The Rose in the Manure

There is so much going on in the world today that stinks.

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There is a contagious disease that has been hyped into a world-wide panic by the media.

There is a political polarization within the United States that has been exacerbated by the media and one of the political parties to the extent that this country is as divided as it was during the mid-1800s when the argument about slavery tore us apart.

There is continual racial animosity that has (again) been so exacerbated by the media that it has caused nation-wide rioting, looting, and deaths.

Antisemitism is on the rise (again) and we have three Congresswomen who no one can understand how they got elected: two hate America and democracy and the third has demonstrated such a fierce lack of understanding about the economy, government or history that she has become an embarrassment to her own party.

And our economy is in the toilet as a result of the over-reaction to the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Folks, if ever this country was in the middle of a pile of you-know-what, it certainly is now!

Yet, in the midst of all this tsouris, we see there are still people coming together in peaceful protest; we see people freely giving food and other supplies to those who are economically in trouble; we see churches and synagogues that have been told by the government to close their doors using the Internet to stay in touch with their congregations and to continue to spread God’s message.

In the midst of the manure in which this country is immersed, there is a rose growing. Because of what it is surrounded by, we can’t smell it right now, but we know that it smells nice and we can trust that as soon as the manure dries up and dissipates, we will be able to smell that sweet scent of the rose.

Often our lives seem to be completely out of control, and we are suffering from troubles that overwhelm our senses. It becomes hard to maintain faith and remember that God is still in charge, and sometimes we even wonder if God is punishing us. We can become unsure of ourselves and doubt that things will ever get better.

But, somehow, they always do get better, and that is because God IS in charge, and even if he is punishing you, he will also help you to get back on your feet so long as you maintain your faith and believe that he is doing all this for your good.

In this life, there are animals that defecate on the roses, but that doesn’t stop the rose. No, in fact, when a rose is defecated on, it uses that manure to grow. It ignores the stink and finds the nutrients that will make it even stronger so that when the manure is gone, the rose will continue even more beautiful and aromatic than before.

That is what we must do, now and anytime our lives are drowning in drek. The gold won’t be purified until it goes through the fire, and when God allows the fire to consume us, it is up to us to accept the heat, remember that it won’t last too long, and patiently continue to faithfully trust in God to make it all right at the end. And, when we come through it, we will be stronger and able to handle even more stress than before.

Now here is the part no one wants to hear: after you go through the fire, there will be a next one and that one will be even hotter!

But don’t let that cause you worry or concern because you have history to look back on and to give you confidence.  Hey! You have been through this before; it was hotter last time than the time before that and you are even better now, so the hotter the fire, the better you will be.

So c’mon, world: bring it on!! I’m ready to take whatever the world throws at me; I know I can get through it because greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). 

Let me finish today with this: I hate watching commercials that insult my intelligence; it drives me crazy to see people driving alone in their cars with the windows closed and wearing a face mask; I am really upset that so many small businesses are closing and people suffering because of the media hype over a disease that kills less than 2% of the total population; and it kills me, especially as a former active duty Marine, to watch this country being torn apart at the seams because our leaders are so obsessed with destroying each other that they are taking the country down with them.

And on top of all this, there is brutality in the streets with people looting, rioting, and killing others all in the name of fair treatment. What a lie!!

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I am that I can’t do anything about it.

So, nu? What are we to do?

We should wait patiently on the Lord and maintain our faithful trust that he will see us through this, or (if you ask me, better still) he will continue to allow it as part of the final days when the world will be judged and the Messiah will return to bring lasting peace.

That’s how I deal with all this tsouris in the world: I wait on the Lord and look for the rose in the middle of all this manure, knowing that soon I will be able to enjoy its wonderful scent again.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages to help this ministry grow, and don’t forget to check out my website and my books.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Salvation Without Substance

I have joined (and left) a couple of Face Book discussion groups over the past month or two. The groups are titled as Messianic: either Messianic Jews and Christians, or Messianic Christians and Jews, or some combination, thereof. I joined them mainly because I want to get my name out there, get people interested in this website, this ministry and (most important of all) get the word of God out there to people who have only heard the word of religious leaders (which, if you haven’t guessed by now, I believe is sometimes the word of God and mostly the traditions of their particular religion.)

I believe from reading the multitude of postings that these people, except for a few nutcases who infiltrate the group, are “saved” in that they have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and are becoming more Torah observant.

My problem with much of what I read is that there is constant talk about salvation, but without any real substance. Posting after posting of biblical quotes, dressed in pretty pictures and bold fonts, but without anything else. There is always something to learn and see in the bible, God always shows us each new meanings and increases our depth of understanding as we continue to delve into His word, but to just repeat what everyone else already has read, without explanation as to the message God has given regarding that scripture, or to just post pretty, rose-colored statements over, and over, and over again, is not really helping anyone.

Oh, yes- there are the customary “Beautiful- thank you” and “Just what I needed to see this morning” replies from people, encouraging more postings. But overall, we need to educate and edify each other, not just rote-repeat bible verses.

For the record, how to pronounce God’s name, the etymology of the word “Jesus” and using Paleo-Hebrew doesn’t edify or help anyone. I believe it only tends to confuse new Believers and is more in line with Gnosticism than with salvation through faith. I also disagree with the argument (I have read) for using Paleo-Hebrew, which is that knowing the “true” name of God and Messiah will prevent the enemy from fooling us into following a false Messiah. That is really hard for me to accept, mainly because if we concentrate on the word of God instead of how to pronounce His name, we would recognize the false (or the true) Messiah, as we can recognize a false or true Believer, by the fruits he bears. And by relying on the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit)  to make sure that we aren’t fooled. Spiritual insight doesn’t come from studying Paleo-Hebrew- it comes from faith, from reading the bible to know what to expect, and from wearing the armor of God (Ephesians.)

I have found people in these groups that do have substance, but they are the remnant, so to speak, within the groups.

Another problem, which has caused me to quit at least one group, is that too often these discussions are very nasty. People have been accusatory, belittling others and highly judgmental- not what you would expect to find from a group of “Born Again” people.

You may be wondering why I stay in these groups- I do it because (and forgive me for sounding egocentric) I believe I can act as a mediator, and also bring substance into these discussions. If I do, I credit God with working through me to do so, because I don’t think, on my own, I could get through to most of these people. It seems (to me) that they wear their salvation like some coat of many colors, reveling in  flowery rhetoric and spitting out bible verses in pretty pictures with artistic backgrounds but accomplishing nothing of value.

DREK!! I say: be happy in your salvation, be joyous in knowing what God has done for you- all that is fine! More than that, if  you are going to be part of a discussion group, then discuss something, for the love of Pete! Stop worrying about useless dribble that doesn’t help save anyone, stop serving up empty calories that taste good but don’t nourish anyone, and put some meat on the table.


OK… sorry…I got a little carried away there. Whew!! Take deep breaths, Steven…deeeeep….breaths…..

I don’t want anyone who is a member of one of these groups and reading this to feel insulted- that is not my purpose. Far be it for me to insult someone while saying how bad it is that people insult others, right? I am trying to ask, in my usual tactless way, for those in discussion groups to discuss things that are relevant to salvation, that help new Believers know what God expects of them (which is found in the Torah) and to help others who have been influenced (what I really mean is brainwashed) by “religion” to get back to the basics, which are the commandments and regulations God gave us in the Torah.

Also, I am not saying we should “Judiaze” the world: maybe we can just suggest that it wouldn’t hurt for people to do what God said He wants us to do. I assume members of these groups to be Jews learning about their Messiah and Gentiles learning about their Jewish roots, and as such, we should concentrate on helping each other do just that. Quoting bible is fine, discussing modern day problems as we associate them to biblical events is fine, and even an occasional discussion about archaeological findings and historical events is OK, so long as we don’t get too zealous about it. I totally disagree with the spelling of the names of Messiah and God that I see in these groups, but I am not going to argue about it. What value will that have? If I am saying it wrong, or if they are, so long as we pray to the one that the name represents we should be OK. I think God and Messiah are big enough to handle a mispronunciation of their name.

If you are in a FB group, or thinking of joining one, please try to have discussions and give messages that have substance, that will edify and help encourage others, and don’t just throw out so much “fluff.” There is plenty of that already in religion.

Art Imitates Life Through Supply and Demand

What can these two things possibly have in common? Our social media, that’s what.

Look at television, Twitter, FaceBook, movies, radio, Youtube, TV sitcoms…art imitates life, and the media is full of sexually sinful activities acceptable as normal (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, even necrophilia if we include dead people in love, as with the vampire movies that are so popular lately), cop shows are all over the TV listings and they show only the worst aspects of civilization, reality TV demonstrating the sickness of society: everything from hoarding to gross obesity to naked strangers in the woods, marriage at first sight (what could be more derogatory to this holy institution that that show?), etc.

The media shoves this drek and schmutz down our throats, stuffs it in our face and feeds it to us on a platter. And then! to add insult to injury, they make us sit through commercials that are little more than an insult to even the least intelligent of humankind. Now, here comes the tie-in to supply and demand: they are able to sell this stuff because the people want it. They can put anything they want in the media but if it doesn’t sell, i.e., if it isn’t popular with the audience, then the advertisers won’t endorse (meaning: pay for it) the show and it will go off the air. So, ergo, the drek we see is because that’s what we want- they supply what we demand.

And what’s the bottom line? Society is going to Sheol, in a handbasket! We are getting closer and closer to the total degradation of God’s creation. In the garden God put us in charge of the world and the animals, and what have we done to it? I don’t even have to answer that, do I?  God also has given us commandments to follow in order that we become separated from this cursed world, and the vast majority of religions (remember- God doesn’t have any religion, only humans have religion) have taught their followers to ignore these commandments.

The “vast number” I am referring to, just so we understand each other, includes the Oriental religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, also Islam (they do not follow the Torah), and just about every form of Christianity which, for the most part over the past two millennia, has taught that following the Torah is being “under the law” and after Jesus came it is not important and refers now only to the Jews.

God’s laws and His commandments, given to the Jewish people to make available as a lamp unto the world, has been rejected by the world. Basically, God said, “Here ya go- this is the way to live forever” and the world has said, “Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll make up our own rules. The Jews can keep it.”

So, let me get this straight- the Lord God Almighty, King of the Universe and Master of all there is, who created everything and is in total control of everything, who answers to nobody and whom no one can command, says to do something and we say no. And then, we expect to be accepted? Really?


The good news is that the lower we sink, the worse society becomes, the more sinful and disgusting we are, the closer we get to the Acharit HaYamim, the End Days, the Final Judgement, the Lord’s Day!!

BTW…the Lord’s Day is not really the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day for the Lord, meaning a day committed to honoring Him. The “Lord’s Day” is not a descriptive term, it is a possessive term, and throughout the Tanakh it refers to the Day of Judgement.

Therefore, in the midst of the garbage that we have to sift through every day as we read the paper, hear the news on the radio, watch the TV or the surf the Internet, remember that all this is leading to something wonderful. But also remember that we have to get through this without becoming a part of it. You can’t just walk through a cow field without stepping in something now and then, so we need to watch every step we take. We need to pray for discernment, look to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) for strength and guidance (it’s our spiritual GPS) and obey God’s Word- yes, I am talking about the Torah.

When we read about the stone which the builders have rejected we all think of Yeshua (Jesus), right? Well, what did John say Yeshua is? The Word that became flesh, and what is “the Word”? It’s the Torah! That is all there was when Yeshua walked the earth. That is all He taught from, and what the founding fathers of today’s “church” taught and obeyed.

Yeshua was, and is, the Living Torah, He is the rock rejected, so that means the prophecy about the world rejecting Yeshua means that the world will also reject Torah (which it has.) Now, if  you have accepted Yeshua, then, by definition, you have accepted Torah! Therefore, if you say Yeshua is your Messiah, then you must follow the Torah, or you are a liar.

If you believe the Bible, if you have been brought up being told that the Old Covenant is for Jews and the New Covenant is for Christians, if you want to do as Jesus did, then understand this: Jesus said, over and over, that He did as the Father wanted Him to do, and the only instructions the Father gave to us was (and is) the Torah, so Jesus had to be following the Torah. If He didn’t do everything the Torah said to do, then (by definition of sin) He sinned! And if Jesus had sinned, He couldn’t be the sinless lamb of God, could He? And if He wasn’t blameless and without defect when He was crucified, then His sacrifice could not be accepted, and that means we have no hope, no salvation, no chance of ever being with God. And, ultimately, that would mean that God’s plan of salvation will need another Messiah.

Everything that Christianity is based on- Jesus being the Messiah, blameless and perfectly sinless so that His sacrificial death is the path to salvation- is a lie if Jesus isn’t the living Torah.  And if Jesus is the living Torah, and we are to do as he did, then….well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, better stock up on sunscreen and aloe.

The Torah will not save you, mainly because no one can live totally in accordance with it. Forget about the sacrificial laws, just the moral and ceremonial laws and commandments are way beyond what any of us sinful humans can live up to. Yeshua, Jesus- He is our salvation. And that is because He did live the Torah perfectly.

But that is no excuse for ignoring Torah.

Please think about what I am saying. We cannot earn salvation, but we can earn blessings, and we earn blessings by doing as God says. No one can argue with that. That’s all I am saying: to do what God says you should do, you need to know what He says you should do! NOT what some human decreed as necessary.

There is only one place where God tells you what you should do, and it is not in the New Covenant because there is nothing ‘new’ in the New Covenant. You need to read and live according to both the Old and the New Covenants.

It is one book, we have only one God, and there is only one Messiah, Yeshua. .