Half Full or Half Empty?

Are you familiar with that psychology question to test whether someone is an Optimist or a Pessimist? You know, it’s the one where you tell someone a glass has water at the halfway mark and would they say it is half empty or half full?

When I am asked that question, my answer is: “It depends on what you are doing with the glass.”

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You see, if I am filling the glass in order to drink the water, then I haven’t completed what I started to do so, by design, the glass is half full. If, on the other hand, the glass had been full and I was drinking it all up, I haven’t finished drinking it all so the glass is half empty.

My answer isn’t based on the temporary condition of the glass but on the intention of what the glass should become. If I am filling it, my intention for the glass is to be filled, and if drinking it, the glass is to become empty.

This same outlook holds true for our spiritual nature.

Instead of water in a glass, if we are talking about me and God’s spirit, I intend to become more filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Consequently, in order to be more filled with the Spirit, I must be emptied, that is, emptied of my worldly desires so that there is room for the Spirit. The more of myself I empty, the more of God’s spirit I can be filled with.

However, for those who are not intending to be filled with the spirit, they are being filled with themselves and the things of this world, and what they are being emptied of is hope, trust, and being able to look forward to an eternity of joy.

As Believers who trust in God to keep his promises, we must always be in the process of becoming filled, meaning holier, and looking forward to the future. I don’t think someone who is pessimistic is truly faithful. If I am faithful can I be cynical? Yes. Can I be realistic? Hopefully. Can I be pessimistic?  NEVER!

We have the Almighty God, the creator of the universe to watch over us, and we have his son, the Messiah, to intercede for us, and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. How can anyone not be secure about their future, no matter what is happening, with all that help?

Faith creates optimism: you can’t be faithful and not look forward to the future. For those who believe they are faithful but still view things pessimistically, this may be a hard word for you, and if it is then I say, GOOD! C’mon! Get with the program, trust in God and stop trusting in anything or anyone else.

When you trust in yourself or other humans you can’t be anything but pessimistic because humans are sinful and selfish. In my experience, people who do not believe in God are almost exclusively pessimists. And no wonder; if there is no supernatural entity that loves you, cares for you and is planning only the best for you, how can you be hopeful?

Despite my cynical nature, I am in fact an optimist. It’s in my genes: my blood type is B-Positive.

Seriously, I am optimistic because I trust in God and therefore can look forward to the future, even the bad things I am sure will have to happen. After all, we may not be spiritually part of the world, but we are physically in it, and there is no way you can walk through a cow field and not end up stepping in something, no matter how careful you are.

I am a glass that is always in the process of being filled and I am working hard to become fuller every day.

What condition is your glass in?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this message with others to help this teaching ministry grow. I always welcome your comments, and until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Apathy or Patience?

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In many of my messages I mention that I do not read the newspapers or listen to the news on TV. Nor do I pay much attention to who is in Washington or what they are doing.

Consequently, I have sometimes been accused of being apathetic. Frankly, if someone thinks I don’t care…they are right: I don’t care what they think.

I do care about what is happening in the world, and there are times I could just SCREAM!! at the many people who follow the crowd running from one extreme to another, like a pendulum that is swinging from one apogee to another.

And when I see this happening, as with the recent gun control issues and the constant badgering of the Presidents (both present and past), I think of the many verses in the bible that tell us how we must wait on the Lord. You may ask, “Wait for what?” and my answer would be….justice. I don’t believe we will receive an answer to the problems we face, but eventually, in God’s good time, there will be justice served on the ones who are the cause of the problems.

When David’s own son rebelled against him, David accepted the situation and waiting for God to make the decision about what would happen. Let’s look at some of the things David said during this terrible time in his life:

2 Samuel 15:25, when they were taking the Ark with the king as he fled Yerushalayim:  “Then the king said to Tzadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.  But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”

2 Samuel 16:11-12, when David was being cursed at by a member of Shaul’s family: “Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.  It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”


I could list many, many examples here of the bible telling us to wait upon the Lord, which is the same as saying have hope that God will make everything right (in the end.) So I ask you: am I really apathetic because I do not care that much who is in charge or what the maddened crowds are screaming about, or am I patiently waiting for God to act as he sees fit?

My answer to you is that I am trusting in God to make things right in the end. I don’t care that much for the news, which is always sad, designed to evoke emotions of fright and concern, and is untrustworthy. I don’t care who the President is, why or how he or she got there, and what they want to do. The United States government is not a race horse, and the worst thing that any President has done is to leave behind the programs he wanted to get done for the next President to sort out.

No…I am not apathetic, I am faithful. Faithfully waiting on the Lord to make things right; faithfully hoping in God that I will be rescued from the tsouris we are all experiencing in the world, and faithfully looking forward to the day when I will be in his presence.

I respect those who are advocates and trying to make a change for the better, and do not deny their tremendous value in our society.

I just ain’t one of ’em.

Bad news is the news

Doctor to Patient: “I’ve got some bad news, and I’ve got some even worse news.”

Patient: “OK- so, what’s the bad news?”

Doctor: “Your test results are back and you have only 48 hours to live.”

Patient: “Yikes! If that’s the bad news, what could possibly be worse?”

Doctor: “I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.”

If you read the newspapers (and if you read this blog, you know that I don’t) it is pretty much all bad news. Death, crime, destruction (both natural and man-made), corruption. All bad news.

Why? The answer is simple: bad news sells. In all fairness, newspapers are not public service announcements, they are a business. And the way a business stays in business is by selling their product in such a way as to make a profit. If bad news sells, then put out bad news.

But why does bad news sell? Ah- as Shakespeare would say (and he did): There’s the rub!

I only wish I knew the answer.

I can guess the answer, and even if I am not correct, 100%, I ‘ll bet I am awfully close…..it’s because people want to feel better about themselves, and they do when they see others in worse condition. We are a competitive species, so we compare ourselves to others in order to see how well we “rate” in the world.

Is my car newer? Is my house bigger? Do I make more money? Am I prettier? Do I turn out more work? Is my grass greener? Is my hair nicer? Are my teeth whiter?

We need to compare ourselves to something, anything, in order to understand ourselves better and to find our place in the world. And here’s the kicker charge, Folks- der ain’t nuttin wrong widdat! It’s who and what we are- if not for a competitive spirit, there would be no progress, no improvement, no growth. It is our need to compare ourselves to others that drives us to improve ourselves and our society.

The question is: to whom should I compare myself?

In my opinion, the problem is that we compare ourselves to the world, to other people, and to what is expected by our society.

You may ask, “Yeah, so? What’s wrong with that?” What’s wrong with that is that people are stupid: self-centered, self-absorbed, hedonistic, and sinful from birth.

The world will do much better when we stop trying to beat out the next guy and just try to be more like the only guy we should emulate: Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus).

When we compare ourselves to other people we are working with a bad role model, so even all the wonderful things that have resulted from this competition- improvements in technology, medical care, science, etc.- are good, but came about in spite of ourselves, not because of what we intended.

Oh, yeah- there are many, many things that have improved our lives that were intended to do so, but overall when you start with hedonistic, self-absorbed beings what you get is a drive to be better than the other person for the sake of being better.  What we need is to stop trying to be better than the other person and concentrate on being a better “me.”

The only role model we should be looking to is Yeshua.

I believe when we compare ourselves to what God wants us to be we will have plenty of room for improvement. Don’t you worry about that! And, when we are driven to create, we will create for the betterment of society. And when we are driven to do something, it will be for someone else’s sake and not for our own fame. And when we give to others, it will be without concern for recompense because we will do it to glorify God, not us.

Then, maybe in this idealistic dream of mine, the newspapers will tell of the kitten that was saved, the way people worked together to prevent a tragedy; instead of focusing their report on the death and destruction from an earthquake, they will report that there was an earthquake and this is how people helped each other….

We all need role models, especially the children, because once you get to about 7 or 8 years old, most of what and who you are going to be is already formed. With good role models in our life we can become better people and be role models for others. Eventually the “chametz” (yeast, biblically representing sin) will be removed from the dough instead of the other way around. Shaul (Paul) said only a little chametz can leaven the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9) and the dough of this world is pretty well leavened, wouldn’t you say? But for purity, that which we present to the Lord, there must be no chametz in the bread:

Lev. 2:11– Every grain offering you bring to the LORD must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the LORD.

What we present to God, which should be our everyday thoughts, actions and words, should be matzo- unleavened bread worthy of presentation to God.

One of my favorite (and most often repeated) prayers to God is from two of David’s psalms:

Psalm 51:10– Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 19:14– May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

These prayers ask God to make me into what I really want to be: matzo presented to Him without chametz.

Forget reading the newspapers- they are full of dreck. Read the Bible, instead. A little Bible every day will work it’s way through you, and make you a better person. Compare yourself to God, to Yeshua, to what they want you to be and forget what the world has to offer you. It is fleeting, it is temporary, it is superficial.

The world is never going to have anything more than a finite effect on you and you on it, but what you do for God is eternal. And what God offers you is eternal, as well.

We all have the God-given right to make our own decisions, and that includes picking the role model we want to emulate. And don’t ever forget- we will all have to answer for who we chose to be like when we come before the Lord.

I suggest you chose well.

If you don’t believe , why get so mad?

Have you had the same experience I have had when talking to people about God who say they don’t believe in Him? I have found that they first get very edgy, and most of the time they will tell me they don’t want to talk about God, and sometimes they even get downright rude about it and verbally attack me as weak and foolish because I do believe.

Isn’t it strange? If you don’t believe in God, why be so defensive because I do? Why get stressed out and angry that someone else does believe? If I said my favorite baseball team was better than yours, you would argue for hours with all the stats and achievements of your team and it’s stars. You would argue all about how well the team works, it’s accomplishments, and maybe you would attack some of the people on my team, but mostly it’s all about why you love your team.

Yet when I tell you I believe in God, you attack me, you attack God, the bible, et.al..  But do you tell me why you don’t believe? Not a chance. The best I get is, “I just don’t believe, that’s all.”

So, again I ask, if you don’t believe, why get so hot about it?

The answer is simple and the non-believer (alleged, that is) will never admit why: it’s because, deep-down, they do believe. They are scared that God does exist, that what He says is true, that they are sinners, that what they have been told about God being the final judge and about Sheol (hell) is all true. They don’t want to go to hell, and they don’t want to change how they live, so they just stick their head in the sand and say it doesn’t exist.

Then, like someone putting ice down their back, we come along telling them about how God has shown Himself to be real and to exist through the many ways He has acted in our lives, and giving not just our testimony but the testimony of many others we have heard and seen. The truth about God is an attack against their fantasy, their protective wall that blocks out the truth of their sinfulness, lack of control, and the hopelessness of the fact that they are headed for destruction.

When you think about it, no wonder they attack us: professing our belief in God, or any reference to God that so much as implies He might exist, is a direct attack against their protective wall of lies, so it is only natural they would defend themselves by attacking us back.

These are the people living in the dark to whom we are supposed to be a light. The problem is when we start to show that light it hurts their eyes and makes them see, as the little child called out from the crowd, “But the Emperor has no clothes on!”

And they know they are the Emperor.

When we strip bare their lies and ignorance, what can they do other than attack us? In truth, we are attacking them and their beliefs  by professing our love and commitment to God.  Not that we do it on purpose, but from their point of view that’s exactly what we are doing. And so many Believers who try to minister to people don’t have the slightest idea of how to make an argument or sell anything, and they make it even harder for spiritually mature ministers to talk to these people. And yes, we are selling God. We are trying to get the world to invest in it’s own salvation when it rejects the idea that there is any need for salvation.

People only believe half of what you say, but they believe everything that they say. If you want to be a light to those in the darkness, you will never succeed by telling them how dark they are. You need to get them to tell you how dark they are. You need to get them to realize their system of beliefs, which is (basically) not to believe, is not justified. They won’t believe what you tell them so you need to get them to say it, themselves.

“How the heck can I do that?”, you may ask (I just did!): you do it by asking questions. Don’t tell them why you believe in God, ask them why they don’t. And when you get the answers, which are always (trust me, they always are) weak and unsupported by much more than “just because “,  you keep asking why. For instance:

“I know why I believe in God, would you tell me why you don’t?”

“I just don’t.”

“Then if I understand you correctly, you are saying  you don’t believe in God because you don’t want to?”

“Yes. I have the right to my opinion, don’t I?”

“Absolutely, everyone does. So, then, you don’t believe pretty much because you choose not to, right?”


“Okay, so if you don’t believe because you choose not to, then God very well could exist, but you choose to reject that idea for yourself.”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“So you say God doesn’t exist but only because you don’t want to believe, which means you have no proof  that God doesn’t exist. I have no proof that He does, so  when it comes dowm to it, you say He doesn’t and I say He does, but neither of us can prove our point. Do you agree?”


That puts us on equal footing, and the next step is to ask:

“If we both believe just because we choose to, doesn’t it make more sense to believe in something that is wonderful and has hope for the future than something that has no hope and can lead to nothing but living your whole life just to die?”


That’s scripted, of course, and a real conversation may not take that exact course, but I hope you get the idea. We need to show that their rejection of the existence of God is not based on anything other than opinion, and opinions should be based on facts, yet there aren’t any. Just as we cannot prove, scientifically, that God does exist, they can’t prove He doesn’t. And accepting that there is a chance God does exist puts a little hole in their protective wall.

Once they admit their reason for not believing is based only on their choice not to believe, then you can offer, gently, why you do believe. One or two examples, something that made you absolutely certain God exists.

As for me, I tell how I felt His Ruach (Spirit) literally coming into my body when it happened. I had a totally physical and real-life experience. I have seen answers to prayers that are hard to explain away. I have heard the testimony of many people of miraculous events, healings, release from addictions, all very hard to explain away as just coincidence.

You can’t tell someone what they should believe, but you can tell them why you do. First, though, you have to get them to see their own reasons as weak and unsupported. And that has to be done patiently, gently and compassionately.

In the sales world, we learn that you never sell the quality of the steak: you sell the sizzle! Looking at a steak, reading the nutritional value, getting a good deal- none of that is why people buy a steak. They buy a steak because it tastes great and even more, because it sounds and smells absolutely wonderful when it is cooking. Just picture a steak on the grill, the browning of the fat as it is gently melting, the flames coming up around the edges, the aroma of the steak as it broils….

That’s what sells the steak- not how good it is, but how good it makes you feel.

God is good (all the time) and we love Him for who and what He is as much as what He has done for us. Well, maybe more for what He has done for us. That is why we need to get people who don’t believe to realize that their belief system has done absolutely nothing for them except suck out all the hope they could ever have in their life, and leave no hope for anything better after this life.

That is the selling point, that is what you need to bring them to realize: they choose to have no hope for no reason other than that’s what they choose. We choose to have hope in the resurrection and eternal joy, and if we want to believe that for no other reason that that’s what we choose to believe, then our belief that God exists is just as justified as their belief He doesn’t exist.

So the question is now, “Why would anyone choose to have no hope for anything wonderful in their life?”

If they don’t have a snappy comeback for that one, you are on your way to saving a soul.

The hopeful and the hopeless

I like the comic Pearls. I appreciate the humor, although it is edgy. I must confess, I associate more with Rat than I do with Goat.

The other day there was one where Rat is drinking at their favorite hangout and Goat asks why he drinks so much (Rat likes beer- I can’t stand beer.  I just don’t trust something that looks the same going in as it does coming out) and Rat answers that he isn’t sure about life or God and you never know until it’s too late (or something to that effect- I left the strip at home this week and I am in Tampa at a training class.) When Goat, who is the more logical and elitist of the characters, hears what Rat says, the next panel has Goat also drinking and saying, “We should do this more often.”

It’s funny, but it is also sadly true of so many of us. Not the drinking part so much as the hopelessness that many people feel. Especially those that refuse to accept God’s existence as real, and also for those that refuse to make a decision about God.

When I say they refuse to make a decision, that is exactly what I mean- they hem and haw, think He probably does exist, or (as I heard yesterday) they believe in Him but not in the religious teachings they grew up with so they just make up their own religion. They believe in God and Yeshua as their Messiah, but it stops there. The laws, regulations and way God says they should live are left to be thrown away with the religious teachings. This is sad and I have seen it more than once, haven’t you? People get fed up with the religious traditions and teachings so ignore all the rules and laws God gave us, lumping them all together with “religion” so that they are, in essence, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. {Isn’t that a great, old expression?}

God is the only real hope any of us have, and refusing to accept Him means that you are hopeless. Not so much you, the person, but your existence as a person has no hope. Oh, sure…there is luck, there is chance, and there is (this is really the case) God taking care  of you even when you reject His very existence because He is, well, He is God, and that’s how He rolls. He loves you whether you love Him back or not, and He will take care of you, even if you are a sinner. Remember we are told that Yeshua died for us even though we were sinners. He didn’t wait until we “earned” His sacrifice, He died because we could never earn His sacrifice. I have heard it said that “mainstream” Judaism has explained, as one of the reasons the Messiah hasn’t come, that we are too sinful to be worthy of the Messiah. How could such intelligent and learned people miss by so far the purpose of their own Messiah? Nu- if we were worthy of being brought into the very presence of the Lord, we wouldn’t need a Messiah! DUH!!

Back to the hopeless…all I can feel is sadness and pity on those that reject God, and his laws. His laws are what make life good, they lead us in ways that will bring us closer to God and to each other, and they are so simple and functional. They are, as is God, perfect. If we just hold on to them and follow them we will have a wonderful society, we will care for each other, and every Miss America since the 1950’s will finally get their wish- we will have peace on Earth.

If you know someone who is hopeless (maybe it’s you?) please introduce them to the founder and provider of hope- God. And tell them of the hope we get from Him that came to us in human form, Yeshua the Messiah. Hope is, in and of itself, ethereal and intangible. Yeshua is the hope of the world, and He was very tangible; He was real flesh and blood. He was, and is, a physical representation of the hope we have in God. Accepting Him as your Messiah is receiving hope, which gives you the power to continue in any situation.

Shaul said when he is weak, that is when he is strong because, as Yeshua said, with God all things are possible. That is what hope is- the belief that something is possible. When we have our hope in God, then anything, and everything, is possible. If the only source we have is in chance, or luck, well…in reality, we have no hope. Hope needs something more than randomness to be of any value- it needs to be based in something. A buoy in the water is a marker that identifies where it is safe to go, and it gives the ship’s pilot the hope of  reaching the shore safely. If that buoy isn’t anchored on rock or solidly in the ocean bed, it can’t offer any hope because it is not stable.

God is totally stable- He was, He is, and He always shall be, never changing and eternally powerful and trustworthy. That’s the kind of buoy I want to navigate by. That’s the kind of hope my decision has given me- hope that is always, always, always there for me.

Is that the kind of hope you have? If so, shout out, “Hallelujah!!”  If not, please consider taking stock of your life, making a decision to decide, and join the club.

God has been waiting for you and has a healthy, heaping helping of hope, just for you.

Am I Praying Correctly?

Prayer is the way we communicate with God. He communicates with us differently- through visions, sometimes audibly, sometimes (as I believe I hear Him) it is a small, quiet voice in the back of my head that tells me what to do. I figure it’s God, through the Ruach, because the answer is usually not what I was hoping for but what I realize I need to hear. If it doesn’t make sense, in a worldly way, then it has a good chance of being from God.

But is it? I ask myself this all the time- I am almost jealous of those people who say they heard God talking to them and He told them what to do. I more often than not write it off to people wanting so badly to be able to brag about being godly that I take all these clams with a grain of salt. It’s unfortunate, too, because I really want to believe that God is talking to people. If he is, then maybe one day I will hear Him, myself, in a way that will leave no room for doubt.

It’s because I doubt, because I need to ask as the man did in the Gospels, to have Yeshua give faith to my faithlessness that I think I may not pray correctly. There are examples in the Manual where the Tzaddikim (righteous ones) asked God to help strengthen their resolve.  Even Yeshua asked God to strengthen Him when He prayed at Golgotha. So who am I to think I could hear God any clearer, or that I could have as much faith as these?

That’s why I keep asking myself, and God, too, “Am I praying correctly?”  My answer is, “No; not really.” I believe I should be in a quiet place, alone and undisturbed, and concentrating on my prayers. Instead, I usually start my morning prayer (traditional Jewish prayers are done three times daily: Shaharit , the morning service;  Minchah, the afternoon service; and Maariv, the evening service) in the car as I drive to work. Before we moved to Florida I worked a 90 minute drive away from home, and sometimes the prayers lasted all the way to work. Sometimes I just do a “quickie”. I think the one thing I do correctly is to start by thanking God and end by thanking God. The problem with this, I feel, is that I am in a quiet place but not concentrating solely on God. I can’t close my eyes  while driving (Thou shalt not test the Lord, thy God) and if I get into it and begin to “auto pilot”, that can be dangerous, too.

I need to really try to sit and pray, alone, before the rush of the day begins. And I need to pray continuously all day, as I feel the need for His Ruach to help me calm myself. Actually, I do that, I mean, pray continuously (didn’t Shaul tell us we should pray that way?) and I try to remember to pray for others.

I am not a good intercessor- I don’t have the compassion or concern for others that an real intercessor has. Now that I think about it, I am really blessed in one way- I am so far from where I should be that I have so much potential. Potential is good, realization of potential is better; so, nu? At least I have potential!

Anyway, back to prayer…it should be honest, heartfelt, and we should approach God with a contrite spirit. David said that a broken spirit and a contrite heart God will not turn away; of course, I am not saying we should only pray when we are down. We should pray constantly  and we should follow the template that Yeshua gave us (see Matthew 6). When His Talmudim asked Yeshua in what manner should they pray, the answer He gave was not just what to pray, but how to pray.

It starts with recognizing God’s greatness and authority, it asks for forgiveness, it reminds us to forgive others, it asks for only what we need (implying our faith in God to provide what we need and when we need it- no need to store up extra) and it ends as it began, acknowledging God as the Almighty.

Maybe that’s all we need to do? Just acknowledge God as our King, and remember to forgive others so when we ask for forgiveness “as we forgive others” we have something to show for it, and to thank God for His gifts and provisioning. Even if we feel that we need more, we should thank God for what we have. Remember the parable about the servants and the talents they were given- even those that have nothing, what they do have will be taken from them. You can always have less, so be thankful for whatever you do have. Even if your life seems to be full of tsouris, you’re alive and being alive means having hope. I feel so bad for those people (when I am feeling compassionate, which does happen now and then) who refuse to accept God’s existence, or my own people who refuse, vehemently, to accept their Messiah Yeshua (which I did for over 40 years, too) because without God and Yeshua, there is no hope.

I know that the Jewish people are fervently praying for Messiah to come. He will return, and for them (I guess) it will be the first coming.  That’s the problem- the first coming has come and gone, and when he returns there won’t be a lot of time to realize they missed the boat. I do pray for my people, not nearly enough, so to you reading this blog I ask that you also pray for Israel and the Jewish people to accept their Messiah. Also for the Gentiles to continue as I see many doing, which is to support Israel and get closer to their Hebraic roots. God has no religion, and we need to come together against the Enemy of God, who will unquestionable have a unified following. If we don’t get our heads together and start to worship God uniformly, without all these traditions and policies and pomp and ceremonies that men created, whitewashing God’s laws and commandments and trying to humanize God with all types of  excuses and reasoning about what he wants and why, we will not stand before the Enemy and his armies.

The Enemy will not allow his followers to be divided, he will not allow them to have free will and he will not allow them to think on their own. He will be ruthless, and if you think Nazi Germany was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  We who believe in God, who have been saved by the sacrificial death of Yeshua, and who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob need to unify- God has no religion! When we get religion out of the way, we will be strong.

God confused mankind at the Tower of Babel and said that He did so because if we were left to our own devices, all speaking the same language and all together as one, we could do anything. I think He confused us because it was too soon for us to be that way. But now, with the End Days approaching quickly, I believe it is time, and God is waiting for us to get together again. We have different languages and cultures, but one Torah, one Messiah and the one God. If we become one under God and Yeshua, we will defeat the Enemy, both corporately and individually.

Prayer is how we strengthen ourselves. Even when done as sloppily and incompetently as I do it, my prayer time strengthens me. It helps me stay in touch with God, and if He chooses to answer me in a still, small voice or slap me upside my head, it is His answer.  Even His silence is an answer, in that His silence will make me pray harder and to seek Him more. I know He’s there,  I know He’s listening. It’s like Hide and Seek- sometimes you just have to seek harder.

I guess, in the end, praying to God, no matter how you do it, is what praying is all about. Maybe there really isn’t a “right” way or a “wrong” way. Maybe just praying is what we should do, and since we are all different, if we pray honestly, earnestly, humbly, and constantly God will honor that.

I think that’s good. Just pray from your heart, and you are praying correctly. What do you think?

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.