Are You Giving Up Now So You Feel Better Later?

Are you wondering what the title means? Are you asking yourself, “How can I feel better about something that I give up on? Giving up is failing, it is quitting, so how can anyone feel better about doing that?”

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

Well, giving up could be okay to do if we were talking about a sport or a very challenging class at school. In my case, I often think of giving up golf, but then I get a par and think, “That wasn’t so hard…I bet I can do that more often.”  Foolish me.

But no, I am not talking about something as menial as a sport or a class, I am talking about life. And this is not about giving up on life, itself- we are not discussing suicide; this is about giving up on relationships in your life.

How many people do you know who are afraid to get close to someone because they have lost loved ones and feel that if they don’t get really close to someone, then when that person dies they won’t feel such a tremendous loss? They rationalize their fear of loss, which turns into a fear of intimacy by telling themselves that this way they won’t have to suffer as they did before when their parent or sibling, friend, or pet died.

They give up intimacy now so that they won’t have to feel bad later.

What they are really doing is ignoring the fact that they are going to feel bad, anyway. They think giving up on closeness now will make them feel better later. But they are wrong, and when they realize that because they stayed emotionally distant then, they don’t have the kind of beautiful memories they could have now, they feel even worse. And to throw salt on their wounds, they can never recover that lost opportunity.

The same thing happens when we don’t want to work on our relationship with God. We take God for granted. We go to services, we do what we think is okay, based on what our religious leaders tell us, and we send cards to friends and family for the holidays. But we never really try to get to know God on an intimate, personal level, which can only be done through reading the Bible. And when we don’t get close to God, we lose out on that wonderful, peaceful feeling he gives us through his Spirit. And we also lose out on the blessings he has for us, which we can only receive through following his instructions. Not what a Rabbi or Priest or Minister says, but what God says, and you know what God wants only when you have an intimate relationship with him.

So many of us think we have the time to get to things later but the truth is we never know when we will be facing God. And just like losing the chance to be close to people now who we are afraid of losing later, we lose all the blessings that God has for us right now when we put off strengthening our relationship with him.

I used to sell Revocable Living Trusts as part of someone’s estate plan, and when people told me that they liked the idea and would call me when they needed to set up their estate, I would reply with this:

“That’s smart. Why spend money for the Trust until you have to. It takes us about 6 weeks to get the Trust set up for you, so (taking out my calendar) let me know when you are going to die and I will set an appointment for us 6 weeks before then.”

That was a very powerful closing line, and I am sure you can see why.

If you have lost loved ones and decided that you will never get that close to anyone again so you will never have to feel that much pain, again, please reconsider. Especially when it comes to God, who (unfortunately) too many people blame for the pain they feel when they lose a loved one. Death is part of life, and we all have to deal with it. What matters is not what we lose when someone dies, but the quality of the time we had with them while they were still here.

You will always have to suffer the loss of a loved one, but what is worse than having someone taken from you is when you reject them while they are still here.

Thank you for being here; please subscribe and share these messages with others to help this ministry grow. I don’t ask for money and I will never tell people what they have to do or think, I only want to make sure that whatever decision they make about their relationship with God is based on what he says and not what some religion tells them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!



What is the greatest fear of all? It’s not really death, or pain, or suffering. The greatest fear of all is the fear of loss.

Everything someone is afraid of comes down to the loss of something: loss of life, loss of financial security, loss of friendship, loss of companionship, loss of job, loss, loss, loss. When I was in sales, I learned you don’t close the deal because someone wants what you offer as much as because they don’t want to lose the opportunity to get it at a good price, or to get it before it’s not available. Building urgency to buy is what we call it, but what it comes down to is fear of loss, the fear of losing the “deal.”

Being afraid isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing- fear of pain is what makes us cautious and helps to avoid hurting ourselves. Fear of financial loss is what directs our decisions in investing to use discretion. Fear of death is what keeps us from doing those stupid things you see on TV and YouTube.

And fear of the Lord is what makes us courageous enough to overcome the human, fleshly fears that plague us. Fear of the Lord is trusting in God, it is honoring Him by obeying His word, it is the confidence that we receive knowing that He is always faithful to those who are faithful to Him, and that, unlike human promises, God’s promises are so trustworthy and dependable that what He says He will do is already historic fact.

If you tell people you are Born Again but still allow fear to control your life, stop being afraid, already!

Cowardice is something to be ashamed of; fear is natural, and courage is the ability to overcome fear. We are all afraid of something, of losing something, and that is not the problem: that is being human. What we need to do is overcome that fear by trusting in God.

If you are afraid of dying, remember what Shaul (Paul) said in Philippians 1:21:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

He knew that death only meant coming into the Kingdom and attaining eternal joy and peace. Heck- he was more willing to die than to live.

By listening to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) we can show bravery and confidence, not so much in ourselves as our confidence in God. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are told:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

That “sound mind” is what reminds us to listen to the spirit of victory we have . We can feel confident, also, in what we are guaranteed in 1 John 5:4:

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Therefore, if you are ruled by your fears, your faith is weak and you do not honor God, or demonstrate the power and the strength God gives us. Shaul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

The bible is rife with expressions of bravery in the face of our human fears, and it all depends on our faith in God.

If you are afraid of what people will think of you (fear of loss of stature) then think about what God will think of you if you do things that are meant to please people and not to please Him. Now that is something to be afraid of! To upset and dishonor the Holy One of Israel; to dishonor the name of God by telling everyone you are Born Again, then showing them the fear and cowardice that they, the unsaved and faithless, have. To allow those who reject God to say, “What difference does it make if I believe or not- you’re no different than I am! I don’t see anything special in you.”

God is special; God is wonderful; God is great, powerful and those who have God in them are able to overcome the world. That which is in me is greater than that which is in the world (look that one up on your own) and when we demonstrate that to the world through our faithful courage and perseverance, we glorify God, Messiah Yeshua and His kingdom.

So, nu? Are you glorifying God or disgracing His name? Yeshua said when we see Him we see the Father- that is because He said what the Father told Him to say, He did what the Father wanted Him to do, and He did it fearlessly. Everything Yeshua did glorified His Father in heaven.

We can’t be the same way Yeshua was, but we can certainly be more like Him than like ourselves. And that is the testimony we show to the world about God.

God told Joshua to be brave and be bold because God was with him- that’s good advice for all of us.


My Worst Nightmare Come True

To the person who said always follow your dreams, I say,”Bah!! Humbug!!”

I have had a beard, and a nice one, too, for about 18 years. My wife likes it, I like it, and I have been complimented on it.

Occasionally I have this nightmare where I am really tired, and getting ready for work, and instead of shaving around the beard I accidentally shave a portion of it off.

Well, you can see where this is going, I am happy, at least, to say it wasn’t a careless mistake. I bought a new beard trimmer and was testing the plastic heads that allow you to trim to a specific length, and the one that I wanted to use slipped off the shaver head just as I was working my way up the left side of my moustache. So, ZIP!! Half the moustache is gone. I tried to shorten everything else to make up for it, but when I really did not want to face the truth, I took the coward’s way out…I asked Donna if it looked okay.

After I picked her up off the floor (not from fainting but from hysterical laughter) she confirmed what I knew all along, ever since the shaver head fell off.

Like the lead song from that 1960’s movie: Bye, Bye Beardie!

So, nu?  What’s this got to do with God, or Messianic Judaism, or anything, for that matter?  Good question.

My beard was a part of me, and it was something I had cared for and never expected to lose. But in a moment it was gone. Worse than that, in a moment it suffered a devastating accident, and I had to take action on  my own to complete the partial loss.

It’s like when a loved one is suffering, or brain-dead and we have to be the ones to pull the plug. Yes, yes…I know….a beard is not a loved one, but the lesson is the same. We never know when something will happen to change what we expected to remain the same.

In the B’rit Chadasha (Good News) Yeshua is talking with a man who says he is going to build a barn, store his grain, yadda-yadda-yadda. He was telling Yeshua all the plans he had made before trusting totally, and Yeshua called the man a fool, because he was making all these plans for his life, but his life was going to be called that very night. The lesson was that the man was too busy being involved in worldly things to recognize the need to first and foremost be right with God.

We don’t know when we will have an accident. That’s why they call it an “accident”: if you plan for it, it is an event. We don’t know why or when or what will happen, day by day, minute by minute. That’s why we have to be prepared for the unprepared. The way to do that is to be right with God, and trust God to take care of whatever comes your way.

If you are right with God, and you know someone who isn’t (they shouldn’t be hard to find) please tell them about my beard. Tell them how the world is an unknown, and that we can never get back what has been lost. We can only go forward, and sometimes we need to be able to let go of the little bit that is left so we can move on.

There is nothing of this world that is more important than preparing for the second life. The whole purpose of being alive is to take the opportunity to prepare for death. If we plan to wait only a minute longer, we may not have even a second to do that. We need to make sure we are not afraid to tell someone who is not a Believer, or a Believer who is not doing right, that they have no time to wait.

I believe we are living in prophetic times. I see the world coming against Israel, the growth of unrest, wars, bad weather, and an evil that is growing very quickly from the Middle East. We, those who believe in God, that Yeshua is the Messiah, and have been saved must try to get the word out. I often take “chances”, dropping little hints here and there in conversation at work or when I volunteer at the Brevard Zoo, or just in general conversation to see if I get a reaction. I will talk about a story in a book relating to the conversation and tell one of the parables, or a story from the Torah or one of the writings, to exemplify the point I am making. If I get a positive response, I may ask further, “Oh, you know that one. Do you read the Bible?” and that can lead me into a discussion, if the other person is willing.

It’s always by baby-steps so I don’t do wrong. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) tells us there is a time for everything, so if it seems the other person is willing to listen, talk; if they are shying away, leave them be. You can’t shove God down someone’s throat. But you can give them a small taste, and since God’s word never returns void, you don’t know what  good you might have just done by sowing seeds.

We need to sow the seeds, no matter what kind of soil, and let God do the rest.

I’m not sure if I will keep the baby-face look or not. I figure since it’s done, I might as well stay clean-shaven for a while and see what the general reaction is. You know Donna didn’t waste a second before posting my shaven face on Facebook, and we got a dozen OMG!’s before 5 minutes passed (don’t these people have a life?) Maybe I should leave the beard off- being Messianic doesn’t mean I have to look Orthodox, right? Besides that, Donna has a real good belly-laugh every time I try to kiss her now. Until she gets used to it, it’s worth being this way just to make her happy.

Maybe you won’t have to suffer the loss of your beard, but we all will suffer the loss of our loved ones, and our loved ones will suffer the loss of us. Prepare for them- have your will or trust in order, get a Living Will so they don’t have to make that decision for you when you can’t make it for yourself, and tell people to be prepared for death.

The most important way to be prepared for death (as far as I am concerned) is to reserve my place in the resurrection. I have done that by accepting the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised throughout the Tanakh, and I have accepted the gift of Grace through Yeshua. I have made fellowship with God through the fellowship sacrifice Yeshua made when He gave up His human life so I could have my spiritual life. My human life is how I prepare for my eternal life, and I am set. I have a reserved space, a guaranteed ticket, and all I have to do is make sure I do my part while I am waiting to be called.

The Torah says never come before the Lord empty handed. When I am called before Him, I want to have baskets and baskets full of fruit, the first fruit of my life’s work to bring the Good News to people. I am no missionary, and I am not the type to minister to people. I don’t have that strong a love. I am a good teacher- that is my gift from God, and I will try to use that to bring His word to the world.

I also need to live the word and not just speak the word. That’s hard to do, and I stink at it. But I am getting better.

That’s what living the life of a Believer means to me: not being a different me, just being a better me. And not being who I was, a sinner who rationalizes his sins, but being who I am, a sinner who regrets his sins. This is the path we walk, the way we need to be, and the most difficult thing in the world to do: live in the world but refuse to be a part of the world. I am a foreigner, a sojourner in the world, but unlike those that sojourned with the children of Israel and were expected to live as they did, I am not accepting the world’s ways. I want to live as God says I should live.

What about you? Are you ready to lose people important to you? Are you ready to lose things that you love? Are you ready to lose your very life? If not, get with the program, people! Get real- you will lose everything when the Tribulation starts! If you aren’t ‘raptured’ out you will be in the middle of it (and I have to add I don’t think anyone can say, for certain, who will or won’t be enraptured, or even if or when it will happen.) We must steel ourselves for the battle, get familiar with our armor (read Ephesians) and prepare our emotions and our very souls for loss and sadness. The Ruach will get us through it, if we learn to look to it and draw on it’s strength. It is, after all, the Comforter.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord by preparing yourself.

When the Hot Tub Stops Working

We got back from a long weekend in Washington, DC attending an annual holiday party the company I work for throws. It’ s a good company, good people, and they give a good party.

All during a long day of travelling we looked forward to getting home and relaxing in our hot tub. In fact, one of the reasons we bought this house was because there was a hot tub.

So, need I ask you to guess what happened last night? You’ve got it- the water jets didn’t work. I wasn’t even in the tub, and when I pushed the button to turn on the jets, nothing happened. I reset the breakers, and still nothing happened. The water is hot, but that’s it. From relaxing spa to outside bathtub.

We enjoyed the tub just last week, and now it’s broken. More money we didn’t expect to spend, and worse than that, there’s the disappointment and frustration that comes along with it.

There was no warning. No jets haphazardly going on and off, no bad sounds, no nothin’!  It worked one day, then the next day it didn’t.

Isn’t that how life is? Often there are no warnings, no advanced notice. You are doing something you enjoy one day, and then BAM!! It’s gone! The hot tub doesn’t work, the tire is flat, you spouse is dead. All the same, in one respect- you suffer the loss of something you didn’t expect to lose.

Of course, losing a loved one is much worse than having to fix the hot tub, but emotionally it hits the same spot. What we liked, what we were used to having whenever we wanted, what we expected to be able to do…gone in a second. Just like that!

We do have some warning: Yeshua tells us the parable about a man who was so proud of all the things he was going to do and Yeshua called him foolish because his soul was going to be required of him that very night. I like to tell a funny, and yet very true, saying: If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

That’s how life is, whether you are a God-fearing person or not. I think a big difference between those of us who worship the Lord and those who worship the world is that the world can only promise you what you can have when you are alive. God can promise you things that are eternal. Finite vs. infinite.

It’s no wonder that people can get so worked up over missing something worldly if they don’t have an eternal perspective on their life. After all, when all you have is what you have and you lose it, that’s all there is. You had it, now you don’t, and you will probably never have it again. There’s nothing you can do to fix it and there’s nothing else to replace it.

However, if you worship God and accept the grace He offers through Messiah Yeshua, you will spend eternity in total joy and peace. It still stinks that my lousy hot tub isn’t working, but in light of the eternal picture, I can get by.

That’s one of the reasons why I began to search for God when I was in my 40’s and fed up with this life and all the tsouris it brings. I saw people who were Believers and had the same problems I did, some much worse, but they endured with dignity and grace (I am still working to achieve that level. Believe me, I am not even close) and suffered through whatever they were experiencing well. I wanted the inner peace that they had.

I don’t do a good job of handling frustration and disappointment, but I am getting better. The important thing is that I understand the difference between now and forever, and although I appreciate what I have in this world, I do not count on it. Not that I am pessimistic, I am just focused more on things that are eternal and less on those that are physical. The here and now is not something we should ignore, and we should always be thankful for what we have, but the down the road and forever is what God promises us and that is better.

We should be aware of the present, mindful of the past, and focused on the future. It’s OK to make plans; in fact, I believe that a sign of faithfulness is not just to make plans, but to go forward with them even if you aren’t fully assured they will work. That is a real sign of faith, just like Abraham left all he knew to go somewhere he didn’t know, just like Moses followed the cloud, not knowing where it would lead, just like David faced Goliath counting not on his power but on God’s, just like Gideon left behind the vast majority of the men following him to do battle with only a handful, just like Yochanan, Kefa, Shimon, Mattitayu and the other Talmudim (Students, Apostles)  left work and family to follow Yeshua. They knew and enjoyed what they had, but they left it in a heartbeat to have the greater, infinite prize: salvation, and eternity with God.

Being saved doesn’t mean you will have to give up the hot tub’s in your life, but you should be prepared to lose things that are of the world because to be of God is to be outside and separate from the world. The world is today and God is tomorrow. The world is now and God is forever.  The world promises a lifetime in a cursed and difficult place full of loss and sadness and God promises eternity in paradise.

Not a very hard choice when you put them side-by-side, is it?  So deal with the hardships and losses, no matter how significant or insignificant, with your focus not on what was lost but on what is to come. Shaul said that he learned how to be satisfied in any situation; perhaps his secret was that he kept focused on the “yet-to-be” instead of the “not-any-more.”