Enough already!!

I really don’t want this ministry to become a political sounding board, but I am going to make an exception today because of what I see happening.

It doesn’t have to do with any policies or choices that President Trump (yes, he is- deal with it) has recently initiated, or with the controversy (ongoing and most likely, never stopping) associated with the past election, but with the reactions of the people to these events.

I have read about a shooting in a Canadian mosque where the main things written about the shooter is that he is pro-Israel and pro-Trump. Maybe those were his motivations, but I think he was probably anti-Muslim before he decided to be pro-Israel or pro-Trump.

In fact, what I think is this (and please comment below if you agree or disagree, although I will not let this discussion get out of hand): anyone who has a grudge against a people or a religion have it for their own reasons and not because of who is in charge. What they do, though, is use the person in charge as their excuse for taking the actions they would have done, anyway. And the media? They eat it up!

Was it Jodie Foster’s fault that John Hinckley, Jr. tried to assassinate President Reagan? This attack against a mosque has no more merit to it than that excuse did.

When the American diplomat’s in Iran were taken hostage, many Americans attacked and brutally mistreated many Arab people living in America. No one protested that.

During the Second World War, Japanese Americans (who, for the record, were Americans that were of Japanese descent) were herded up and forced into concentration camps (yes, that is what they were) for years until the war was over. It was a despicable event in our history (just one of many), but no one protested or attacked President Roosevelt for doing it, at least not on the same level as what is happening today.

When the world seems to be falling apart (or maybe we should say, tearing itself apart) the best thing to do to seek answers to what we, those who worship God, should do is to look in the Manual and see what God has told us to do:

Proverbs 24:21-22– My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

Hebrews 13:17- Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Titus 3:1- Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

1 Peter 2:17- Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

(OK, let the jokes fly about ‘Trump’ and ‘Emperor’ in the same sentence)

Romans 13:1-7- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.

Some of these may be a little out of context, but what Yeshua (Jesus) tells us, as well as God, is to obey God, and trust in God that the rulers He has appointed over you will also be judged by God. This, of course, is culturally a little different today, since in the biblical days the rulers were not elected. As such, in our day, because we elect the rulers we do have a responsibility to ensure that our rulers are just and true, subjecting themselves to the laws that govern all of us.

As a life-long student of history (my undergraduate degree specialized in early American history), I have to say that more often than not, our rulers have fallen short of that ideal. And when they have, to the extent that it is known, we have taken action: President Johnson (Andrew, not Lyndon) was impeached, President Clinton was impeached, and President Nixon was (essentially) forced to resign. Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of revolution, which today is more peaceably accomplished through demonstrations and protests, as we have seen since the election results of last year.

So, what’s the point? The point is that God is in charge, and if you believe that then you need to show it by accepting and respecting His choices.

We all complain, and we all seem to want someone else to do something about it. So, unless you are willing to do something against the leadership that God has placed above you, just give it a rest! I am fed up with all this hullabaloo about Russians hacking our systems- they’ve been at it for decades; the Chinese hack into our networks to gain political and military secrets and the Russians have their pharmaceutical websites to rip off the world. They have been doing this for years and will continue to do so. The media is making a big deal out of it not because it is a recent development, but to ride the wave of discontentment that had this country nearly split apart, politically.

I believe in our American system of jurisprudence, and I also know from my study of history that we have done more to promote justice, fair treatment and democracy than any other country in the world. We have our problems, and we will always have our problems; you can never please everyone. Now here’s a rose-colored glasses viewpoint, if ever there was one: if everyone was willing to go along with the majority and work together for the common good, we would be as close to an ideal form of government as human beings could ever create.

I am waiting for the only truly perfect government: a pure theocracy with Yeshua sitting on the throne over the earth as King of kings. It is coming, and until then all I can do is respect what rulers we have (if not the person, then the position) and work with them to try to make this country better. And if I disagree with the policies, and think I have a better one, then do something about it within the legal system. When I was in management and someone didn’t like what I was doing I would ask them for a better plan. If they had one, I would be willing to consider it (asking for suggestions doesn’t mean having to take them) and if they only wanted to complain, I didn’t want to hear it.

I am still the same way- either put up or shut up!

God is very much like that, too; He is always willing to listen to prayer; however, if you only complain about something, but won’t walk in faith to make change happen, God will not be going out of His way to support you. Prayer is asking God to make something happen, but we have to work towards it in faithful expectation.

In Matthew 21:22 , Yeshua tells us that we can pray for anything, and if we have faith, we will receive it. Yacov tells us (James 2:17) that faith without works is dead, so put these two together and we what we are being told is that when we pray for something, faithfully believing it will happen, we will receive it, and the way we show faithfully believing is to perform works, i.e., do what we prayed to receive as if we already have it.

So, if you want to change the legal system, write a bill and start getting the requisite number of signatures to put it before the Congress. If you want to change a policy, come up with a better policy and begin to get support, legally and respectfully.

In the meantime, respect the authority placed over you by GOD and work with it to make things as good as they can be.

Parashah Chaazinu (Hear), Deuteronomy 32

This chapter of the Torah is known as “The Song of Moses”, which is really the second song of Moses, since he also sang of God’s great triumph after the people crossed the Sea of Suf (Red Sea.)

Moses also gave us Psalm 90.

The Torah is called the Mosaic Law, but it really was given to Moses by God; Moses just wrote it down and taught it to the people. This song, I believe we can safely say, was also given by God to Moses to write down because we read in the previous parashah where God tells Moses to “write ye this song for you, and teach thou it the children of Israel” (Deut. 31:19.) It seems pretty clear that God gave the song to Moses since He said to write this song: if God had wanted Moses to write a song He would have said, ” write a song”, or “make a song” for them to remember, or something to that effect. However, God said to write this song, implying that the song was already known to God and that Moses was to take dictation.

In any event, the song is supposed to be a conviction of the people- they are to remember it so that when they stray from God and He brings upon them the destruction and Tsouris that they have (really) brought upon themselves, this song will be a testimony for God- a reminder that the people were warned years, even centuries before about the cost of rebellion against their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their Rock, their Redeemer, their Salvation. That was the purpose of the song.

How sad that we have forgotten this song, how sad that today we are no different than the people at that time- we do wrong, and we blame everyone else for it. When troubles come upon us we don’t accept the fault but instead find someone else to blame. “Yes, I did wrong but it’s not my fault- it was because (whatever)”; we are all victims, and if we can throw the stench of our own sin on others, it makes them smell as bad as we do, so by comparison we are less guilty. I killed, I committed adultery, I gossiped, BUT they asked me, he made me mad, s/he seduced me. There’s always an excuse.

The difference between people who are godly, trustworthy and respected is that they take accountability for their mistakes. The rest of the world (maybe I should say the majority of the world) is more interested in spreading the blame than accepting it.

This song is to be a conviction against the children of God. Not just the Jewish children, but all His children- the Catholic ones, the Baptist ones, the Buddhist ones, the Islamic ones, ….ALL God’s children, for we are all His children. And like sheep, we have been led astray (by religion) because it is easy to do so. We seek only our own hedonistic desires, and only when we are devoid of help, of hope, of guidance and all the other things we think we can find on our own or from others, only then do we (finally) turn to God.

Or we curse God.

That’s how we roll, as a people- we either turn to God recognizing that our punishment is just and deserved, and ask forgiveness, or we continue, even at the very gates of Sheol, to reject God and His justice and insist that we are innocent.

If you are a God-fearing person, if you readily accept your own sinfulness and have asked God for forgiveness through Messiah Yeshua, and if you demonstrate daily your true T’shuvah, then this song isn’t for you. This song is for the ones who reject God, who ignore or despise His laws, and who say they are OK. This song is for those who think God should do and accept what they want Him to do and accept, that certain sins are not sins (because that’s how they want to live) and that all foods are OK, and it’s not a sin to have sex out of wedlock, and divorce is normal.

Funny- Mosaic law is almost universally ignored, and many Christian religions say Torah was done away with by Yeshua (a total lie!) Yet when it comes to divorce, they ignore Yeshua’s admonition that divorce is hateful to God (Matthew 19 and Mark 10, for example) and eagerly accept the Mosaic law that a man can give his wife a Get (divorce decree) pretty much for no other reason than she displeases him (Deuteronomy 24:1.)  Isn’t that what happens today? The divorce rate is nearly 40% within the first 15 years. God said that they become one flesh, and Yeshua said the only justification for divorce is adultery. Shaul (Paul) said in an unevenly yoked marriage if the unsaved partner wants to divorce, that is an acceptable reason. But other than adultery or unevenly yoked marriage (only where the unsaved wants a divorce), marriage lasts as long as you both are alive. And, for the record, biblically acceptable marriage is for men to women, and women to men.

This song is for those who need it most, and probably will care the least about it.

That’s the sad truth of salvation: it is readily available for anyone who asks for it, and those that need it most are the least likely to want it.

Empowered or Enabled?

Although the definition of these words is very similar, meaning to give someone the ability to do something, the connotation (general usage) is that to empower is to help someone do something beneficial for themselves, and to enable is when we allow someone or support them in doing things harmful to themselves. For instance, we empower people to feel good about their job by paying them a fair wage, and we enable people to hurt themselves when we give money to a homeless person (unfortunately, the money usually goes to drugs or booze- that’s why I don’t give money to beggars but I do offer to buy them food. It takes more of my time to get them something, and it costs more than just giving them change, but it helps them more, and I feel much better. Try it.)

Therefore, if you allow me these usages (’empowering’ is good for you and ‘enabling’ is bad for you), the question today is, “What is your religious leader doing for you spiritually? Are you being empowered to do as the Lord asks, or are you being enabled to do what is easy and comfortable for you by being given ‘excuses’ for ignoring God’s commands?”

Another way to look at this is to start by remembering that God has told us, over and over, how He will bless us when we do as he commands, but when we refuse (i.e., reject Him) we will be cursed and will not receive those blessings (check out the beginning of Vayikra and D’varim, Chapter 28, as well as N’Varim, the writings of the Prophets.) If you are being taught that the Torah is still valid and that Yeshua (Jesus) observed Torah and taught others to do the same, and that Shaul (Paul) did not say ignore Torah but only was talking about how Torah will not be needed AFTER Yeshua returns and is still necessary and should be observed, then you are being empowered to receive all of God’s blessings.

On the other hand, if you are being taught Replacement Theology (the Jews are no longer the Chosen people) and that Yeshua did away with “the Law” so that all you need to do to be saved is ask God for forgiveness and you can pretty much go on living as you have, you are being enabled to sin. And if you lead a sinful life, without any concern for God’s commandments or ordinances, you will not receive His blessings (other than the ones He will probably still give you, now and then, only because He is a loving and compassionate God) and you may find yourself being told by Yeshua that He does not know you.

Don’t forget those parables about the maidens who were left out of the wedding, even though they were invited, because they came up short-handed at the time the groom arrived; and that Yeshua told us there are many who will call Him Lord but at the Judgement He will reject them because they did not follow Him. Check it out in Luke 6 (“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?), and it’s also in Matthew. Didn’t Yeshua say that if we love Him we will do as He commands? And what did he command us to do? To follow Him, and He followed Torah, so we need to follow Torah, too.

Yeshua did as His father told Him to do, which is what God tells us all to do, which is found in the Torah. God has no religion, only Torah. Yeshua is the living Torah, so to ignore the Torah is, literally, to ignore Yeshua. And if you ignore Yeshua you will not be on the path to salvation, you will be traveling the Highway to Hell.

I am not saying you will absolutely go to hell if you don’t completely follow Torah, because just trying to observe Torah will not save you. Faith will save you, but if you CAN follow Torah…if you can live every stroke of the pen in Torah as Yeshua did, then you don’t need Yeshua to be your sin sacrifice. Of course, if any human being could follow Torah exactly and completely, then that person would screw up the curve and Yeshua wouldn’t be needed. That means there would be three people in heaven: God, Yeshua and that one creep who ruined it for the rest of us!

It comes down to this: we are saved by faith. Faithfully believing in the existence of God, faithfully believing that Yeshua is the Messiah who sacrificed His life as a sin sacrifice for all of us, AND faithfully doing T’Shuvah, which is demonstrated and proven by spending the rest of our lives sinning less by obeying God more. That means that following the Torah will not necessarily get you into heaven, and not following it will not necessarily keep you out, but the more you follow it the more blessings you will receive on Earth (as God promises), the more fruit you will produce to bring before the Lord at Judgement Day, and the closer you will be to Yeshua.

If you are being told that you need to obey God, which means all that God says we should do to worship Him as He commands us to do in the Torah and as Yeshua confirms we should do, then your religious leaders are empowering you to receive God’s blessings and helping you to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God.

If you are being told by your religious leaders that the Torah is dead, all you need to do is accept Jesus as your Saviour, ask for forgiveness and (pretty much) that’s all it takes- it is set, it can’t be taken away and your are guaranteed to go to heaven so long as you are a “good” person, then you are being enabled to sin and they are separating you from God, preventing you from receiving all His blessings, and possibly giving you a ticket straight to Sheol.

It’s up to you to decide what you will do, not anyone else, because God will hold you totally accountable for what you do.