Different Religion: Same Mistakes

I have always been so disappointed when I think about all the different Judeo-Christian religious doctrines.

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

Don’t we have only one God, one God who is the same today, as he was yesterday, and will never change throughout eternity?

Didn’t this one God give us just one set of rules and send only one Messiah?

You say “Yes”? Then why are there scores of different religions, each one professing to worship this one unchanging God, but they all have different ways to do that, with different rites, ceremonies, holidays, and traditions?

I am Jewish, born and raised, and what is even cooler is that I recently found out that I have the genetic marker of the Levite! But I was raised Reform, and when I was a child I recall some Orthodox Jew calling me a “Goy.”

The Hebrew word “Goyim” means “nations”, as in everyone else except the Jewish people, and the term “Goy” has come to be a derogatory expletive within Judaism for any Gentile.

And when I was a child, my Catholic friends, well…they accused me of killing God.

Judaism isn’t really, in my opinion, a religion as much as it is a lifestyle. God gave us, through Moses, instructions on how to worship him and how to treat each other, and God also gave us a mandate, which is to be a nation of priests to the world (Genesis 19:6), which means that we are to teach everyone else how to live in accordance with God’s instructions. And despite having these instructions written down, we failed to comply with them, over and over.

Let’s review just some of the mistakes that we Jews made since receiving the Torah:

  • We created an idol (the Golden Calf);
  • We failed to obey the Sabbath rule regarding resting of the land (which is why we had to spend 70 years in Babylon);
  • We rejected God’s authority through his prophets and demanded a king;
  • Our rabbis have added many difficult traditions to the relatively simple rules God gave us in the Torah by creating Halacha (the Walk) in the Talmud; and
  • We have rejected Yeshua as the Messiah (this was a BIG mistake!)

These are just a few of the main ones. So, if you were creating your own religion from Judaism (since that was the original and only religion that worshiped Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), wouldn’t you avoid all those mistakes, mistakes which the Tanakh had identified and which you could see, over the centuries before Messiah came, resulted in disaster and destruction for the Jews?

Don’t you think that someone creating their own religion would do everything they could not to make those same boo-boos?

Apparently not.

Let’s look at Christianity (this includes all forms of it):

  • They created an idol: just walk into any church and see a graven image on a cross, or statues of saints all over that people bow and pray to;
  • They created holidays that God never gave us, which by itself may not be so bad, but they totally ignore the ones God commanded us to observe;
  • They not only changed the day we observe the Sabbath, but they totally changed the rules about how to observe it;
  • They reject most of God’s instructions which he gave in the Torah;
  • They created their own king and call him the Pope; and
  • They rebranded the Messiah as an ex-Jew who negated his father’s laws and created his own religion, in which he is God!

WOW! I mean, really? Just make up whatever rules you want to, ignore the ones you don’t like, and keep only what you don’t mind doing. Label some commandments ceremonial and therefore, unimportant, even though God told us to do them! Wouldn’t that imply it is important to him?

And, in my opinion, what is worse of all is that traditional Christianity ignores most of what truly came directly from God (the Torah and the books of the Prophets) and teaches almost exclusively a misinterpretation of the letters from a man who wasn’t receiving what he wrote from God, but was micro-managing congregations of Gentiles learning to be Jewish.

That’s right- I am talking about the Epistles of Paul. Everything he wrote was to congregations of Gentiles that he formed, who were learning how to live a “Jewish” lifestyle instead of the pagan lifestyle they had lived, previously. What he wrote was not a direct commandment from God, like what Moses and the prophets received, but letters to micro-manage the internal, interpersonal problems that his congregations were facing.

Paul never taught to ignore the Torah: he was teaching how to obey it, but little-by-little, line-by-line, precept-by-precept.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, you can find it in Isaiah 28:10 when he was chiding the Israelites about how they were ignoring and disobeying God and how they had to learn like children.

As we can now see, the Christian religions, as well as within the different sects of Judaism (we’re still making mistakes!), have all made their own sets of rules, ceremonies, rites, and holidays that are different from what God commanded us to do. So, nu? What do we do now?

The obvious answer is to get back on the program. But that will never happen, I am sorry to say, simply because we have been doing this for so long that the people are comfortable with what they have learned and refuse to change. Humans, in general, hate change; if you don’t believe that, at your workplace try to institute a different procedure- any procedure- and see how willing people are to do it.

No, these tares have already been growing with the wheat for so long that there’s nothing left to do now but wait for the harvest (Matthew 13).

The good news is that until the harvest comes, those tares have a chance to become wheat!

This is what I believe (in a nutshell): the Torah is still valid, Yeshua is the Messiah God promised and through our repentance and by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice, we can be forgiven of our sins.

I am not preaching performance-based salvation (you might know it as “legalism”) but faith-based salvation, remembering that in James 2:14 we are told faith without works (meaning obedience to the Torah) is dead. No one can be sinless, but we all can sin less by not trusting only in our religious leaders but verifying what they tell us by reading the Bible and asking the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us in our understanding of what God wants from us.

God has wonderful blessings for us, but we won’t get them by making up our own rules, so STOP making the same mistakes we have all, always made and get with the program GOD laid out for you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Sometimes you just wanna get away from it all

I was asked, and accepted, to be a member of the Board of Directors at the church where I worship. It’s a Christian church but they are a Hebraic roots movement, which is sort of the same as a Messianic Synagogue, except where Messianic Jews accept Yeshua as Messiah and remain Jewish, Hebraic Roots Movement is where Christians want to know more about their Jewish roots and they honor Torah, but are not “converting” to Judaism. I guess they’re two sides of the same coin.

In any event, I was asked to work on getting the website for the church upgraded, updated and , well…up. I did some research, we had a reference from someone in the Congregation who had personal experience and knew the person and after meeting with him I recommended we go with him. There are three others on the Board, two of which said they were fine with what I suggested and the amount, and the third said to not pay it all up front, which we decided was a good idea. I emailed the site host and made our offer, which he accepted and said he would send us an invoice and get started.

That’s when one of the members started to waver, asked questions about other costs, said he never agreed to an amount (that was never suggested), etc. Then he started to ask why we can’t use a free site, or a cheaper site. The last straw, for me, was when he said if we all don’t agree then we have to meet and hold a formal vote. I was told, before I joined, that we did not have to be unanimous, and the issue about having to have a meeting and a formal vote when one disagrees was never even suggested.

Well, I was fuming. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like indecision. All I saw was cold feet, even though every point he made was valid and useful. The problem I had was that he didn’t make these until we started to move. Where was he, I was thinking, over the past two weeks of emails I had been sending? Why is he making all this fuss now, when everyone else (yes, all 3 of us) had decided to go ahead.

I don’t like that. The events and how they happened, as well as the emails (the last one I sent was so hot it had to be typed with an asbestos keyboard) finally resulted with our Pastor telling us to cool it, get back to being godly in our dealings and no more emails or texts. We need to be face-to-face now. And he was, of course, absolutely correct.

So, what was my tirade about? It’s wasn’t really about the person who was blocking movement (I don’t mean that to be a derogatory statement) and it wasn’t really about having to ask the vendor to hold up starting for a little bit. It wasn’t really about anyone being a bad guy; in fact, if there is a “bad guy” to this story, it’s me.

The level of my anger was not justified. I wasn’t angry because of his suggestions, which were fine, or because of his timing, which was very bad, but I was angry because of my own pride. I felt betrayed, misled and embarrassed: here I had been asked to get this done, something they had been wanting to do for a while, and after being tasked with this, putting in time to research, meet with the vendor, and email everyone with the results, I got approval from two and the third did not say “wait on this” , but the moment I said “Go!” I was grabbed by the nape of my neck and told, “STOP!!”

I believe that the way our third member handled this was wrong- but that is no excuse for me getting so angry as to even threaten to quit (I hadn’t even been to two meetings yet.) That sort of ultimatum (usually) is the result of pridefulness, which (I have said over and over) is the mother of all sins. My pride is what caused us to be shut down, email-wise, and my pride probably made what was just bad timing, and a minor delay, into a major event. I am sure that after we can review all the information I have since sent out, comparing cheap hosted sites against professionally constructed and hosted sites (which I, in my pridefulness, already knew about), we will continue to go forward with the vendor most of us agreed would be OK.

And I expect that, because we are (well, at least they are) godly men, we will get past this with nothing more than a sense of how we can better handle disagreements in the future.

In the meantime, I have to preach this Friday night at Shabbat services and I am preaching about loving each other as God loves us- pretty much what I wrote about for this past Monday’s posting. That was before I blew my top. Now I feel really bad about myself, I feel undeserving of going before a congregation, and I feel ashamed.

So, what should I do? I’ll tell what I should do- I should get over it and get moving, again. I fell down, so what? I am getting up again, I am going forward, I still feel that I wasn’t wrong in what I said but that I was wrong in how I said it (the story of my life!) I know it’s going to be OK,  but I won’t feel better until I apologize face-to-face, shake his hand and hug him, and hear that he has forgiven me.

In the meantime, I am not going to beat myself up. I made a mistake, that’s what we do, we humans. We make mistakes. And I know that he will forgive me because he is a man of God, a man who is spiritually mature, and a man I can trust. I am glad I know him.

I hope he can feel that way about me one day.

Pride is a horrible thing, and being a horrible thing, it makes us do horrible things.  I am prideful, and I am working on it, with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

The most important lesson here is not so much to watch what we say (which we should) , or think before speaking (then shut up, anyway), but to know that we will fall, we will fail, and we will do it more than once. And after all that we must keep going and striving to improve. The Enemy wants me to feel bad, he wants me to call the Pastor and tell him I am not worthy to preach to anyone, and he wants me to quit being on the Board.

Sorry, Satan- I’m not falling for that. I will fall, but not for your line of fertilizer, Buddy-boy! I will keep at it; I will continue to preach because God has given me that gift (which has been confirmed to me by many) and I will stay on this Board because if they asked me to be on it, I should trust their judgment. They are more spiritually mature than I am. They can teach and develop me, and I can also help and enhance this Board because I am working on being better and God is behind me.

We all fall, we all do stupid things, and we all hurt someone or get hurt by someone. So what. Really- so what! I still have God, I still have Messiah, and I still have breath to praise Him and strength to keep trying to be better, for Him.

You never really fail at anything until you stop trying.