Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

WORSHIP during the Feast

WORSHIP during the Feast of Booths

Many of you who come to this site also keep the Feast of Booths (or Feast of Tabernacles), or Sukkot.  If you’re like many, you’ve traveled to a distant place after packing your bags and Bible. And you’ve also done some research into what is available to do and see while you’re there.  Of course you’re going to go to church services, but no doubt you’re looking forward also to the meals and outings and the things to do. 

You’ve probably also already planned some outings, socials, family get-togethers – on top of the group activities being planned.

That’s all fine and good. I just send this as a reminder. While we’re at Sukkot /Feast of Booths – remember WHY we’re there. There’s one place you don’t want to miss: the Holy of Holies of Heavenly Jerusalem. First and foremost, we are there to worship the King. That’s the prophesied reason the nations will send their people to Jerusalem after the King Yeshua sets up his reign:  to come and worship Him.

Zechariah 14:16

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

            The theme of worshiping is repeated in verse 17.

Also in John 12:20, it mentions those who had come to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast. That was also true of the Ethiopian eunuch – he had come to worship.

I know from my own decades of experiences at the Feast: it can get hectic. So hectic, you’re scrambling for time to pray and study. That’s the point of this blog. Don’t be up so late each night that you can’t get up early enough to have intense and fervent personal prayer.  Some people make the Feast a time to party so hard they don’t get enough sleep, or they’re sleepy during services or prone to get sick. Remember why you’re there. Don’t rely just on the group worship. Make time for your own personal devoted worship, prayer and Bible study. Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes at the start of the day. Make time for it. 

We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), Abba won’t be content to just have us wish we had made time for him. Make time. Put him first. Love him with all your heart, mind and soul. And worship the King – and His Son Yeshua – while at the Feast. Visit that exciting place:  the heavenly throne room. Talk to that exciting Being – the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Abba our daddy.  Spend time with Yeshua, our Beloved King. 

One tip that will help you do this:  If you have children, offer ahead of time to take another family’s kids one day and they take yours on another different day. Use that day without your children after services – somewhere near the middle of the feast – to be able to do more intensive prayer and study, or even catch up on a nap for that matter, so you can enjoy the remaining days even more so. 

Whenever we did this, and we did do it a lot, it was one of those “best ideas” ever.  But that should be arranged early so everyone’s in the loop and knows what’s going on. I’m talking about one afternoon out of the 8 days! But it makes a world of difference.

Have a wonderful Sukkot/Feast of Booths everyone. And put first things first: personally worship the King, every single day and the other things you do will be put in their proper context.  And yes, go have fun and enjoy and celebrate everything the Feast pictures for us.

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Who worked on Atonement

Who worked HARD on the Day of Atonement?

Why? What does it mean?

Yah’s rule for the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur (actually Yom Kippurim in the scriptures) – was that there be no work at all. Nobody was to do any work on this day.  This day was for the purification and atonement of the nation.  Passover in the spring was more a personal expiation and cleansing, but Atonement in the FALL was more for the entire nation.  I discuss the ramifications of this in the sermon about this Day of Atonement. 

 

You can read Leviticus 23:27-32.  In those few verses, God repetitively says not to work and it comes across like this: “There is to be NO work on this day! NO work! You get it? NO work. Anyone who works is in deep trouble! It’s a total of total rest, a sabbath of sabbaths (Shabbat shabbaton). Don’t work!” 

Leviticus 23:26-32

 

And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to YHVH. And YOU shall do NO work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement FOR you before YHVH your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does ANY work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. YOU shall do NO manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."

 

However, ONE person DID do a lot of work. In fact a lot of attention was placed on this one hard working individual. Do you remember the story? And did you get the central point of that story?

 

Click on “continue reading” to the right to learn the identity of the one who worked hard on this day and who and what it all pictured. And WHY are we told not to do any work –but to rest-- on THIS day? It’s very important to grasp this very deep meaning.  You may be in for a revelation.

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The Joy of Yom Kippurim/the day of Coverings (Atonement)

Many in Judaism are feeling some apprehension about this day of Atonement.  It is called a “Shabbat shabbaton” – a Sabbath of Sabbaths.  The ultimate sabbath.  And it’s a most serious day, so they wonder: will they be in God’s Book of Life or not? 

Those of us who know Yeshua (Jesus) as the Lamb of God, and have accepted His blood over us to cleanse us from all sin, have indeed been reconciled with YHWH.  We can have the confidence our names ARE in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Look at the notes in the most recent Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement sermon for more proof and details on this.

We do not have to fear condemnation, for we have passed from death into life in him. Let Him continue the process and to completely change us “until Christ is formed in you”.  Our faith and confidence is in Him. We believe in the righteousness that is by faith.

This is a wonderful day that pictures the time when the whole world will be reconciled with the one true living God. He will start with Judah and the modern descendants of ancient Israel coming back to the Land together – as “one stick”.  Then the surrounding nations, one by one, until every nation on earth knows YHWH.  They will come to know King Yeshua, the King of Kings. 

Those of us who have already accepted Yeshua have already been sealed and have our names in His Book of Life. Hallelujah.  The spring holydays depict how God is working with a select few right now and bringing them first to reconciliation. What an honor.  Let’s cherish that high calling.

The Fall Holydays picture how King Yeshua will bring the whole world into the Kingdom Way of life. It will be their choice. He won’t have to force them.  Sure, there will be blessings and cursings, but the decision to surrender, repent and obey Him will be theirs. You and I will be there helping teach the Way. The best way to teach something is to live it. That’s the hard part – but that’s what makes it, and you and I, real. 

The day of Atonement is a time to focus on Yeshua and what He has done for us and will do for the nations when he returns. It’s not a time to focus on traditions, or even on sin – except to focus on how He has opened a way to cover all our sins for all time. Once and for all. 

In this we can have great joy. Amen and amen.

Have a wonderful Feast of Booths and 8th day.  I’ll have more live, fresh messages after the feast, though I will be sending some blogs to the website from time to time. 

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Day of Atonement – “Yom Kippur”– the day of Coverings.

Be watching for a new sermon on the powerful meaning of this most solemn and sacred of the holydays.  It’s a day of fasting and seeking after God as we “afflict our souls”.

For those of you keeping the rabbinic postponement calendar, this day is Oct 4, 2014.  For those who do not observe the moved dates, we will be keeping it on Monday Oct 6, from Sunday evening at sundown to Monday evening at sundown.  Whichever day you feel led to keep, it is a day of solemn rest, no work, and no food or drink for 24 hours.Details in the sermon.

It’s vital that you just don’t go 24 hours without food and drink. It’s vital that you use that day to spend extra time on your knees. 

I’ve always likened Yom Kippur as the time the world begins to “get it”, to wake up, to repent, to come back to their Maker – after King Yeshua has returned in majesty and power with his saints, angels and his Bride. The Bride of Christ has already received her covering and forgiveness and oneness with our Maker at Passover. The anger against our sin was covered by the blood back then – in a very personal way. 

But now the world will see what it’s like when Satan is bound (Revelation 20:1-3) and his evil and negative broadcasts cease. And God will show his very merciful side to a world that is going to learn that sin causes God’s wrath. And that God’s wrath needs to be satisfied – as that is his perfect justice.  But then the world will be taught what we have learned, that all the wrath against my sin and yours, was satisfied in the sacrifice of Yeshua, who died for ME (as Paul says in Galatians 2:20).  Yeshua (Jesus) took upon himself ALL the anger, the wrath and the punishment for my sin.  When I accepted him as my Savior, my sins were placed on him, God’s wrath was placed on him, and he “became sin” for me (2 Cor. 5:20-21).  HE (Yeshua) who knew no sin became sin that we – who knew no righteousness – could receive and be the righteousness of God himself, in HIM.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin [Yeshua] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

There are so many of you who have a hard time accepting this!  Yeshua (Jesus) became sin for us so that WE might become the very righteousness of GOD – in HIM. We’re going to teach this to the world. It won’t be all that long now, probably less than 2 decades away. But whenever it is, whether in 5-10 years, or 15-20 years, or whenever God wants it to be, let’s be faithful in accepting His grace and the meaning of this Day of Coverings. 

Yeshua, or Jesus Christ, accomplished this covering for us through great pain and suffering on his part – for us. Because of the atoning sacrifice and covering of the blood of Yeshua, the wrath against sin was satisfied and we have been brought close to our Abba and into the very family of God Most High as beloved children.

This Day of Atonement is all about knowing we sinned, so we repent, turn around, and accept Yeshua as our Lord and Master. We ask him to be our covering. I’ve often called him our “covering”.  This is one of the main ways how: his blood covers and – more than that – takes away our sins. 

So we fast, to mourn the sins we have all brought on this world and against God. We fast to mourn and remember what Satan has wrought on all of us when we, through Adam and Eve, chose to follow him instead of our Creator. But this is primarily something the world will be doing. WE will be the Bride of Christ, teaching and leading the world to their Master and Savior, and sharing our experiences in coming to know Messiah. 

Be watching for the Atonement sermon. It’s actually a Yom Kippurim – a day of coverings, plural.  Learn all about it.  It’s a grand day. I’ll also get into the truth of the Bible vs. the Jewish traditions about Days of Awe and all that. There are also sermons from previous years you can find. Just type in the search bar at the upper left – Atonement – or even Yom Kippur – and search out those timeless messages.

King and Master Yeshua, we exalt and honor you on this day as our Covering. We seek you and express our love and obedience to you and your Way. Come, Master.  Come. This dying world needs you to come be the ruler of this world and put Satan away!  Come, Master. 

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Ebola Lessons

URGENT Bible Lessons from the EBOLA scare

Many of you reading this are on the way to group meetings for the Feast of Booths, or Sukkot in Hebrew.  There has been the recent news about Ebola coming to the USA through a man who reportedly did not fill out his departure papers truthfully. He did not admit to having been with a person with Ebola or Ebola symptoms prior. And now lots of folks in Dallas, TX are being monitored.  And since then, an NBC newsman has contracted Ebola and is on his way back to the USA.  And our president is thinking of sending thousands of our troops to those stricken areas to help out – and then our troops will be brought back into the USA.    

For the life of me, I think for the WORLD’S health sake, the western African countries who sadly are facing this horrible crisis would be wise to self-quarantine: to keep their people from traveling until the Ebola is brought under control. Our own US jets should not be going there. How do you sanitize a jet, the cargo hold?  How many are potentially being put at risk? Not just the passengers, but the baggage handlers at both ends, airport staff at both ends, and on and on. In this day and age, we have made it easier for viruses to hop across entire oceans in hours. So quarantine those 3 countries from international air travel.

Here’s why I say that:  Though we know someone without symptoms is not contagious, we know someone already exposed may not actually show symptoms for 2-21 days – and then they ARE contagious.  So someone could leave Liberia, let’s say – feeling fine but having been exposed – and not having any symptoms. But then when he arrives in Europe or the USA or wherever he’s going, within a few days he does display symptoms, is now contagious with a horrible disease, and he/she has just brought this incurable disease to another part of the world.

We also know that the questions asked, before allowing people to board an airplane from those areas, is all based on the “honor system”.  If someone lies, thinking if they tell the truth they’ll not be allowed to leave the country, then the whole system falls apart. People lie. Why should the whole health of the world be dependent on 100% of respondents being 100% truthful?  And again, even if they are being truthful, they could be a carrier and not know it – until a week or two later. 

We know the Bible tells us in the last days there will be plagues and death by illness that will make the Bubonic Plague seem like a rehearsal. Terrorists will volunteer themselves as epidemic carriers. You watch.  If they’re not afraid to blow themselves up, why would they hesitate to use themselves to spread disease?  So we might as well realize it’s going to happen more and more and God’s children need to be prepared.  But also never forget this: you ARE a child of Almighty God. He certainly is prepared to protect his children. Having said that, and more on that later, there are practical steps each of us should be taking as the foretold epidemics begin to hit closer and closer to home.

Click on “Continue reading” to the right to learn some practical steps from the Bible to help handle the Ebola scare or any other coming epidemics.  Learn, what in the end, will be our strongest safeguard? 

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Why Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) is called a “memorial”

This divine appointment day (festival) is interesting in many fronts.  Most have forgotten the Biblical name of Yom Teruah – Day of Shouts and blasts – and have replaced it with the non-Biblical name Rosh Hashanah.  ON this website, we still use the Bible name for this day – Yom Teruah, the Day of Blasts. 

Here are a few things that make this day so unique:

--- It’s the only festival that starts on the new moon. That’s why I want to be sure I’m keeping it starting on the day of the first visible new moon and not on a day moved by rabbis who did not acknowledge the Messiah with their 4 Rules of Postponement.  Remember that a “new moon” in Bible days was readily acknowledged in much of their written histories as being the time when the moon once more was giving visible light after 1-3 days of darkness.  

--- It’s the holyday with no reason given for its observance.  We’re just told to keep it, to rest, and to make it a day (Yom) of blasts/noise, blowing (Teruah).   We’re plainly told the reasons for keeping Passover, Days of unleavened Bread, Shavuot – Pentecost, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths for example – but nothing is said to explain the purpose of this festival. Mankind has come up with many conjectures and explanations, but I’m just saying, the Bible doesn’t anywhere say, “This is why I want you to keep Yom Teruah”.  We’re simply told to observe it with a holy meeting, keep it like a Sabbath rest and don’t work on it, and make it a memorial of blowing.  (Leviticus 23:23-25)

Leviticus 23:23-25

Then YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 24 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest,a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH.'"

--- It’s also said to be a day of “a memorial of teruah (blasts)” – usually translated as “a memorial of blowing of trumpets”.  Keep in mind the word “trumpets” is nowhere in the original Hebrew about this day. We know 2 silver trumpets were blown on all the holydays but on this day they also blew the shofar, the ram’s horn, over and over. Today the Jews blow their shofar 100 times on this one day. 

But why is it called a memorial of blasts?  The scriptures don’t tell us.  The Hebrew work is Strong’s # 2146 – zikkaronor zichron– meaning memorial, remembrance, record, or reminder.  It was used to help people remember past significant events or to bring certain things to mind. Joshua’s stone monuments (Josh 4:7) were a zikkaron. Written records were a zikkaron (Ex 17:14; Esther 6:1).  Really it pointed to events that were pivotal points in God’s working with man.

Here are some points to consider.

(Click on “continue reading” to read the rest of the blog).

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Are we READY for the King’s return?

The last trumpet blast shall sound, the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible spirit, and holy angels will be swooping down to collect the Bride of Christ, to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:30-31).  Many of us believe we are then whisked to God’s heaven where we marry Christ and THEN return triumphantly with our Maker – most likely on the Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah –in a future year that is rapidly approaching.

Are you ready to return with the Messiah ben David, the son of David but also the Son of God, to land on the Mount of Olives? Will you and I be there?  You will, if your name is entered into the Book of Life

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

If you answered “absolutely, yes, no question I’m ready for the King” – I’d ask you to be certain and look again. I say this because the condition of those waiting for the bridegroom, whose coming is delayed according to Christ’s own parable in Matthew 25:5, is alarming. All ten virgins slept. Even the wise ones. NONE of the ten were awake and ready. None. Let that sink in.

Yeshua also openly wonders out loud if He’ll find faith on the earth when he returns (Luke 18:8). Prophecies say in the end time “love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).  Not a pretty state of the world – or the church. Look at Revelation 2-3 about the 7 churches. The Laodicean brethren are lukewarm and self-satisfied with their state. The Sardis believers are almost dead. Even Philadelphia has little strength. The churches before those are in various stages of allowing sin into their midst, except for Smyrna. You get the picture. The end time description of God’s people is nothing to write home about. That’s you. That’s me.

So I say “no”. I’m not ready, and I don’t see many who truly are.  They’re more committed to updating Facebook, or their prophetic timelines and charts, perhaps, than they are in growing closer to their Savior and Abba, their heavenly Daddy.

And yet, though our Master says he will return at a time “you think not” (Matthew 24:44), he also tells us through Paul that His coming should NOT come as a surprise to those who walk in the light (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).  So it appears that unless we are very close to Him, many will be caught off guard and unprepared.

The point of this blog is to remind us of what Yeshua our King said: “BE ready” (Matthew 24:44).  We all can trend to think in terms of “I’ve got time to GET ready…later”, but that could be a disastrous way to think.

We’re now in the 7th month of the Hebrew Calendar. We are now coming before our Master on 4 holydays in rapid succession.  Be sure to hear this year’s and last year’s messages on the meaning of Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets.  There’s overlap in both sermons, but also different focus in each one as well as we keep His holydays.

And yes, here we refer to them as “HOLY days”, divine appointments, not “holidays”. Now more than ever is the time to be waking up; to be trimming off the dead wicks from our lights and lamps so our lights shine brightly.  It’s time to be putting on the wedding garments granted to us. We need to be covering ourselves with our Master.

Yeshua (Jesus) is our Covering. HE is our husband. HE is our Master. HE is our King. He is our Savior.  HE is LORD of LORDS, King of Kings, for all praise and honor and glory forever and ever, Amen!  HE is what this day is all about to the glory of our Almighty God in the Highest, our dear Abba, and Father of the House of God. 

Click to the right “Continue Reading” to read the conclusion of “Are you READY?”  We’ll define what “being ready” means.

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Science in the Bible

 Many people think the Bible was just written by men thousands of years ago. But it may surprise you how amazingly scientific the Scriptures are.  Of course, the Creator inspired its writing.  In fact, we’re told that every wordin the original copies at least – was “God-breathed” (that’s what the Greek means) -- 2 Timothy 3:16.   In so many cases our Father’s Word reveals knowledge that wouldn’t be understood by everyday mankind until thousands of years after the Bible was written.  

Certainly the “signature of God” is written all around us in His creation.  He is the ultimate Scientist, the unequaledArtist. The more you look at what God has touched, the more reverent you will be of His great power.  I believe it takes far more faith to believe in godless evolution than to believe in our awesome Creator, the Great Designer and Architect of everything that is out there. Whether you thrill over the pictures coming back from the Hubble telescope or peer into the world seen only with powerful microscopes, God’s hand is everywhere. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the many examples of Science in the Bible. 

The ancients – especially those of other religions – believed the earth was supported on the back of a turtle, or on the back of Atlas of Greek mythology or other such nonsense.  But God’s Word teaches nothing of the kind. 

Job 26:7-8

“He stretches out the north over empty space;

He hangs the earth on nothing.

He binds up the water in His thick clouds,

Yet the clouds are not broken under it.”

For thousands of years before scientists discovered it, Scripture told us the earth hangs on nothing.  

Scientists have known for decades, since Edwin Hubble discovered this information in 1929, that the universe is continuing to expand. But most astronomers assumed the universewas surely expanding ever more slowly over time. But in 1998, with the Hubble telescope and its discoveries, we learned the universe is actually expanding ever faster!  But what force is pulling it outward?  There was no explanation.  Finally scientists decided to name it “Dark Energy”. They can’t see it, but they can see its effects!  More is still unknown about Dark Energy than what we know.

In fact, the vast majority of the universe is made up of Dark Energy and Dark Matter – neither of which we can see! You can Google it and learn about it.  The evidence is clearly there that most of what is in the universe is not visible. And we know that something is holding the vast universe together, though we can’t see it either.  Our great Creator inspired Paul to say this very thing 2,000 years ago:
 

Hebrews 11:3

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” 

We also know that “something” is holding the universe together. Scientists can’t quite explain exactly what that “something” is, however, for it is also invisible. 

Your Savior—Yes, Yeshua (Jesus) -- is the one who holds the creation together. Isn’t He powerful and amazing? Praise you, Yeshua! 

Colossians 1:17

“He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.”  (Holman version)

CJB says “He existed before all things, and HE holds everything together. 

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the right to read the other inspiring science of the Bible. And remember this is just a tiny portion of what is available. 

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“When you Enter”(Ki Tavo) and becoming His special treasure

In this week’s readings in synagogues and even among many Hebraic roots groups, many will be reading Deuteronomy 26:1- through 29:9; and also Isaiah 60:1-22.  Those who believe in Yeshua will also be reading Luke 23:26-56.

I thought this weeks’ reading was particularly interesting.  This week’s reading is called “Ki Tavo” – the Hebrew for “When you enter” from Deut. 26:1. The Israelites must have been ready to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of testing and trials in the rough wilderness, even though their Creator was with them in the shadowing cloud and warm fire by night.  It was tough.  This week’s reading focuses on what is our JOY and expectation – that WE TOO are about to cross over, to enter into the Promises. I hope this blog will inspire you rekindle the hope of when WE enter into all his promises fully.

Aren’t you ready?  Haven’t you had enough of this world’s ways, the brutality, the terrorism of Al-Qaeda and ISIL and all the aches and pains of this life?  I am. Aren’t you ready for the reign of Yeshua (Jesus) the King over all the earth, instead of the politics, lies and corruption of our elected or self-appointed leaders around the world?  I am. 

Last week’s reading gave the many instructions about how we are to treat the poor, elderly and needy who come into our lives.  This week is about looking ahead to what is about to happen and being prepared in our lives and hearts for this crossing over into the kingdom of God on earth. I’m not saying that’s about to happen tomorrow or in the next few years even, but it’s certainly getting closer and I am praying “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Right now, there’s a lot happening on earth that is not the will of God, for this is Satan’s world—for a short time longer.  But the time is coming soon when the 7th trumpet will sound and loud voices in heaven will proclaim at that time that “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and HE shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). I can’t wait!!  Hallelujah!  As we prepare for the holydays in the Fall we will be rehearsing all of this, so be watching for blogs and sermons on all of this coming up. 

This week’s Torah portion “Ki Tavo” – “when you Enter”  -- reminds me of the fact that very name “Hebrew” comes from the Hebrew word “Ivri” – which comes from the root I-V-R in Hebrew which means “to cross over”. Abraham had to come to a new land and cross over the Jordan River (the Yarden, in Hebrew). The Israelites, in taking the new land, had to CROSS OVER the Yarden River (Jordan River) – Joshua 3:15-17. John, the Voice in the Wilderness immersed people in this same RIVER – THE CROSSING OVER river, if you will (Mark 1:4-5). Think about the significance of that: he baptized in the river that means “the Crossing Over”.

I’ll have an entire blog on this sometime soon. But for now, we are all spiritual Hebrews, spiritual Israel, if we have accepted Yeshua as our King and Savior.  We are all crossing over and have crossed over from this world’s ways into THE Way of our King.  We have crossed over from death into life. It’s about the theme of this reading: “When you enter”, Ki Tavo – and all it means.

When we cross over to the NEW and living Way, there has to be an inward change. This 6th month of Elul is the time of deep repentance, seeking after our God with fasting and prayer and a renewed commitment to really let Him change us, from the inside out. Thus we are circumcised in our hearts.  Conversion is an “inside job”, if you will.

When we accept Yeshua, our Abba in heaven applies and pays the ultimate price for you to become His special treasure. Yes, YOU. If you’re like me, we can often feel like we are a total failure spiritually as there are so many areas of our lives where we still need to change and overcome. So many areas where we still fall short of the mark. But in spite of all that, you have been bought with a price, and you are no longer your own.  The price paid for you:  the life of the Word of God, who was God, and was with God, and became flesh (John 1:1-3, 14), so he could pay your penalty for you and live again for you!  Though you fail, he does not. More on that later.

When you pay a lot for something that becomes a treasured possession to you.  You will guard it, keep it, protect it, and cherish it. The one true God paid the highest price for YOU. God in heaven sees YOU as his cherished possession, who has crossed over (IVR – Ivri – Hebrew) from this world to His Way.  That’s all in the reading for this sabbath. In our crossing over, we have proclaimed our commitment to live HIS way, follow His teachings, laws and commandments (Deut 26:15-17).

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” – to the right to learn more about our spiritual crossing over and living with the confidence and hope of being His special treasure. 

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6th Month

The deep meaning of the Hebrew 6th month of Elul that we’re in right now.

 

We are currently well into the month of Elul, the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar.  Why do I bring this up?

Most of you who read our blogs and hear our sermons realize we also practice what Yeshua (Jesus) and Paul and the early believers practiced:  they kept God’s 7th day Sabbath and God’s holydays. So even in the New Testament we read of the Passover (Pesach), of Pentecost (Shavuot) – the birthday of the new covenant ekklesia and we know that the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) will be kept during Christ’s millennial reign (Zechariah 14:16-19). 

The 7th month of the Hebrew month is called Tishri. It often begins around our mid-late September (which has whispers of “7th” in its very name).  The Hebrew 7th month is the month when the final 4 Biblical holydays or festivals are all kept in rapid succession.  It’s a time of union and worship to our great God and Savior.

Traditionally, the month before all that -- the 6th Hebrew month Elul -- is a time of deep repentance and for preparing ourselves for these coming holy days. If you wish to read WHY it is the time of repentance and turning, BE SURE to hear my short sermon on this very topic given in August 2013Just type “ELUL” into the search bar and the audio sermon and notes will pop up for you.  Or control-click on this link:

http://www.lightontherock.org/index.php/component/preachit/message/elul-vital-lessons-before-the-fall-holydays?Itemid=

It would be a great topic to review this sabbath or next, and be sure you’re ready for the Fall holydays and for all they represent. Learn what happened in the past that made this 6th month period of time so important for seeking fervently after God.  Learn of its connection to preparing for the “Day of the Lord”. Learn about Haggai 1, written during the 6th month. Hear the connection between this month we’re in now with the temple past and future; with Moses’ 2nd trip up Mt Sinai and what happened when he came down the 2nd time—at around the time of the 6th month.  And there’s much more!

The Hebrews call it a time of “Teshuvah” – or repentance.  In Hebrew, teshuvah has the meaning of turning; both turning from sin but also turning TO our Master. It’s a time to forgive others. Now is the time more than ever to confess our sins to our Maker and ask forgiveness and power to overcome, even as we accept the sacrifice of our Master who took all our sins on himself. 

Don’t MISS this meaningful 6th month – the month of Elul in the Hebrew calendar. 

Then in a few short weeks, we’ll be into the 7th month – starting with the new moon (no moon visible in Biblical definitions of “new moon”).  And before you know it, we’re keeping the Day of Atonement and then the Feast of Tabernacles and then the 8th Day feast. 

This website has many sermons about the Fall holydays. On the Home page – see “Messages and Transcripts SERIES”, then click on “Annual Holydays and Feasts of YHVH”.  I hope you’ll avail yourself of the many sermons we have archived in here ready for you to feed on and enjoy. 

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Does Scripture require women to wear a VEIL or other head covering? 1 Cor. 11:2-16

In many Christian and Hebraic Roots and Messianic groups, women worship in church services with their heads veiled or covered. Certainly we know Islamic women veil themselves, and in some cases all you can see are the eyes of the woman. What does scripture say about women wearing a veil for spiritual times? The Bible does discuss having a “covering”, but is a veil, hat, or some other form of man-made covering required?  And if so, for what purpose? If not, then why is a covering mentioned?

Always first pray for understanding and light whenever you look to God’s Word for guidance.  Guidance should always be from God’s word - not just someone’s opinion.

Here’s the main text used by both sides to shore up their teaching.  Key: the context of the early verses of 1 Cor. 11 is about submission to God and to one another. The head covering, whatever that is, is to show you are obediently under submission to God and to those He has placed over us. We are ALL under God and we are all to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).Wives are told in Eph 5:22-24 to submit to their own husband as to Christ.Husbands are to give of themselves and love their wife as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25-28).  As you’ll see, this matter of submission has everything to do with a woman’s head covering.

The head of the wife/woman is the man/husband (v.3). The Greek word translated “woman” and “man” here are the same Greek words translated elsewhere as “wife” and “husband”. 

Let’s look at the text of scripture and we’ll comment a bit on it later.

1 Corinthians 11:2-12

“Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

Let me talk about submission for a minute, then back to the point of head covering.  Even in marriage, two separate individuals are to become one – to work as a perfect team, as partners.  Paul makes very clear in verses 11-12 that men need women and vice versa. We’re not independent of each other.  Pastors are not to lord it over the flock but serve as overseers (1 Peter 5:2-4).  The younger are to submit to the older (1 Peter 5:5), and Peter goes on to say, “in fact, all of you be submissive to one another, in all humility”. So anything I say after this must be with the understanding that we are all to be humble to each other and submit to one another.

So the man isnot to “lord it over” his wife, though in times past I used to. My wife is part of me and I am part of her. I listen to her and many times I change the direction I was going in because of her wise counsel.  I’d be stupid not to, when a wiser view at times is shown.  She likewise submits to my lead many times in a week. Two minds are better than one.  If I never listened to my wife, why would she be needed? Only a stupid man would insist his wife say nothing and always just “submit”. But having said that, scripture is also clear that the husband is the head of the home, under Christ, who is under God the Father (verse 3). And of course Christ is really the head of all of us – men or women. And all of us also bow the knee to God the Father as Supreme Head of all.  It’s just that women also have their husband as another head besides Christ.

More on this in a minute. It will come to bear on this topic.

Click Continue Reading to the right here – to finish this blog and to learn what is clearly stated is the head covering for women. Also whether men should wear a prayer shawl or head covering.

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True Worship

Worship God.  But do you and I really “worship”? 

 

There are a lot of concepts about what “worship” is. Check out the newest sermon on “Worship” to see what the actual Hebrew and Greek words usually translated as “worship” in our English Bibles actually mean!  You’re in for a surprise.  In that sermon I also discuss what Yeshua said, that God seeks worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in truth.

But to go along with that sermon, here are some important additional points I wanted to say but ran out of time.  I hope you’ll read this and then hear the full sermon. 

 

--- Billions of people “worship”, but probably in vainThat’s not me saying that. Yeshua (Jesus) said that (Matthew 15:7-9).  If any worships on “auto-pilot”, on rote saying of words and prayers, and bowing when they are supposed to, and singing when told to – but their hearts aren’t in it, then it’s all in vain. Our heavenly Father, the Supreme Being of the universe, wants our hearts more than anything as we worship before Him. He wants us very cognizant, aware, of whom it is we come before.

--- Some of the best worshipers of YHVH, the Living God, were formerly men and women of disrepute.  The Almighty has to whittle us down to size before He can use us. John the Baptizer said “He must increase; I must decrease”.  He got it! We can’t and won’t see our lowliness until we experience and “see” Yah’s majesty and greatness.  Sometimes it takes someone to know how much he/she’s been forgiven before they “see God” and His Way clearly. If you know you’re a chief sinner, there’s probably more hope for you than 99 others who feel they need no forgiveness or repentance.  (See Luke 15:7).

Moses was a felon on the run when after his meeting with Yah in the burning bush, became one of the spiritual giants of history.  The great apostle Paul was a persecutor of Christians. He did all the rituals of worship perfectly, but until he had his one-on-one with Yeshua on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he was worshiping in vain. Job clearly said that he knew about the Living God, but now that I see you – “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). After that, God healed him and blessed him tremendously.  Peter, the great apostle, had been with Yeshua for a while but only when he grasped that Yeshua was someone beyond just a normal, regular human, did he deeply repent and realize in whose presence he was. Read the account in  

 ---Having a true one-on-one encounter with Yeshua (Jesus), WILL lead us to genuinely change and become a new person, a “new creation”, by God’s Holy Spirit and by Yeshua’s righteousness in us. Worship without genuine change, without obedience to our Maker, is also worship that is in vain.

Read Isaiah chapter 1 where Yah makes that so clear. He doesn’t want us coming to worship Him while we continue a life of unrighteousness.  Yes, this applies to us all, including me. Neither does He want us thinking that “going to church” once a week “to worship” makes what we do the other 6 days a week alright. 

Matthew 7:21-23 –it’s not enough to cry out “Lord, Lord” and not be doing His will or obeying Him. He’ll say, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

Click on “Continue reading” to the right to finish this blog and learn more about true worship.

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“They’re just like their dad.”

Years ago I remember someone in our congregation who had a bad club foot and so walked with a particular gait, almost a limp. I was talking to the man about it and he mentioned something interesting. He said one day he noticed his 9-year old boy walking just like him – as if the boy had a club foot as well. So he had to explain to his son that his feet were normal and he didn’t need to favor one foot as he walked. But the son wanted to be like his Dad and just started walking likehis dad without even realizing it.

Are we looking more and more like our spiritual Daddy – our Abba, the Most High God, and walking with Him and walking like Him?

Kids tend to do that. We tend to sound like our mom or dad, walk and stand like our dad, respond and act like our mom or dad. It’s not long after a baby is born that people are saying “she’s got her mama’s eyes” or “he’s got his daddy’s nose.”  As we get older, there are other things that look more and more like mama or daddy. 

But what if we were never around our Dad or got to hear him or see him? I suppose genetics would still influence us in the physical realm to a large degree, but it’s in the day-to-day interactions with our Dad that we absorb his values, his voice, his way and his walk. 

Are you and I becoming more and more like our heavenly Abba?  Yeshua (Jesus) called him “Abba” (Aramaic for “Daddy”).  Scripture is clear that the Son of God was an exact replica (KJV – “express image”) of his heavenly Father (Hebrews 1:3). So much so, in fact, that Yeshua often said that the words he spoke were his father’s words. The things he did were His father’s works. He even said “I can do nothing of myself” – see John 5:19, 30. He even said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:8-11).

How about you and me? Yeshua said without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), and that includes looking more and more like Abba. It takes Yeshua in us to do that.

And all of us who have children will delight – and sometimes cringe – as we see our toddlers and children saying the same things we say, doing the same things we do – and walking more and more like us.

This morning as I awoke, I had this thought in my head: “Abba delights in seeing His children grow to be more like Him”. And how I love my Abba, my God Most High who is also my heavenly Daddy.  He has been so patient with me, in spite of my many failures to always walk his walk. I want to be just like Him. And I want to be just like Yeshua, for that matter. What’s so great about it is that Yeshua has committed to finishing in us the work he started in us (Philippians 1:6). That’s why he’s called “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). And though God Most High is the Supreme being in the universe, he is also our dear Father, Provider and each of us is also His friend. And he delights to see hints of himself developing in us as he looks at us, just like a parent does with their toddler.

How does that happen?

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the bottom right to learn how we look more and more like our Father.

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BE TRANSFORMED. In a moment – or over a lifetime?

The Scriptures tell us we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Romans 12:1-2

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Are we being transformed?  Are you partially transformed or totally new? 

You’ve no doubt heard stories of people who, upon coming to accept Christ as their Savior, were immediately transformed.  The acidic … became a genuinely gentle soul, a gracious speaker – instantly. Yes, I believe that can happen, like instant total healings do happen. You may even actually know people yourself who have experienced this instant transformation. 

Isaiah seems to have been such a person. He says he was a man with a dirty mouth (unclean lips) and yet in his one-on-one meeting with God, an angel touched his lips and he was cleansed (Isaiah 6:1-9). Isaiah ended up writing one of the most beautiful books in the Hebrew scriptures.

Some people, upon receiving the Holy Spirit, change dramatically – almost instantly. Peter, who had denied His Messiah three times just weeks earlier, upon receiving the Holy Spirit, preaches a most inspired testimony to His Messiah in Acts 2. He accepted beatings and threats and came close to being beheaded – but was so at peace that he was actually asleep when the saving angel appeared to deliver him (see Acts 12).

Frankly, many of us when seeing or hearing of these quick transformations – and then looking at ourselves – can get discouraged. We know certain sins, habits and ways we had in the past are now gone – but there’s still a lot left of our old nature we don’t want any longer.  We’ve overcome some things, but not everything - - yet. And when we see the old nature rising up in us, we can get very discouraged indeed. 

Or is that just me?

For most of us, transformation is not something that happens all at once, in an instant.

I have a little partially completed tiny statue on my desk that I look at once in a while. The inscription says, “Please be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet.”  And that’s the point of this blog: Yes, we are being transformed over time – “until Christ is formed” in us (Galatians 4:19). Paul seems to be making it clear that we should expect this transformation of what we are, to take some time, at least for most of us. Maybe it’s a little bit like a caterpillar being transformed, over time, into a butterfly.  It doesn’t happen in an instant.

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the bottom right here to read the rest of the encouragement from scripture that Yeshua takes his job of preparing the Bride very seriously. 

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Do you know “the great I AM”?

A while back I wrote a blog titled “God is not His name”.  God is what He IS, but his name is YHVH, sometimes in the Hebrew Bible shortened to “Yah”.  You say that name every time you say “hallelujah” – as the “j” is pronounced as a “y” in Hebrew.  So it’s “hallelu YAH” – “Praise Yah” is what it means. YHVH is His most personal name. He wants us to know His name.  Those of us who are the children of the Highest have been privileged to call HIM – Abba. Our Dear Father. 

But do you realize that YHVH literally can also be shortened in its definition to “I am”.  So sometimes you hear people reading “the LORD” as “the Eternal”.  God always IS, He is the “I am”.  He is Eternal. But “I am” is actually even stronger than just saying “Eternal”.

You may be familiar with songs, verses and statements that say something when referring to the Eternal One as the one “who was, and is and is to come.”  Did you realize that’s not the way the Bible has it?  Yah’s focus is that He IS right now. 

We don’t refer to the Creator as “the great he was”, or the “the great he will be” – we call him the Great I AM.  This is why the phrase correctly starts with “WHO IS, and was, and is to come.”  Let me say it again:  It starts with “WHO IS, and was, and is to come”.  Abba – and Yeshua too for that matter—want you to realize He is our PRESENT help and Savior; He’s not “a has been”. 

My point is this:  be aware when singing hymns and songs which start with “who WAS” – and then add “and who IS and who is to come” ---that they have the sequence all wrong. That’s not what scripture says. Yeshua STARTS by saying he is the One “who IS, and was and is to come”.

Revelation 1:4

“Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come…”

Revelation 1:8

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "WHO IS and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Revelation 11:17

"We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,

The One WHO IS and who was and who is to come,”

Saying “the One who IS…” is just another way of saying “I AM” – and that carries the authority of eternity with it. 

           

            Be sure to click on “Continue Reading” to the right to read how our English Bibles missed a great point in their translation in some cases.

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UPDATE: The worldwide assault on Christianity

UPDATE:   The worldwide assault on Christianity

 

On June 2nd, I wrote a blog mentioning Meriam Ibrahim and others who were being persecuted and threatened with for their stand for Christianity and their professed belief in Jesus Christ.  I may not be of their doctrinal beliefs, but the principle is important.  I want to update the news on that in today’s blog – AND give suggestions on things we can do to speak up against the assault on Christians going on today, while we have a voice to be able to do so.  The time is coming we won’t have a voice. America was largely silent in the 1930’s while the Nazis were clearly bent on evil. We did nothing, we said nothing. The rest is history. Can we learn from mistakes?

The assault on Christianity is really starting to take off. People professing belief in Jesus Christ are being raped, kidnapped, beheaded, tortured and executed – while most Western believers are either totally unaware of what’s going on, or remain silent or do nothing.

Tony Perkins, head of Family Research Council, as well as other people and groups like Liberty Counsel, along with the prayers of many thousands around the world, were very influential in securing Meriam’s freedom. She is now out of Sudan with her two children and has the papers to be a true and authentic refugee to the USA.  Most of all, she’s freed thanks to our heavenly Father who hears our prayers. If any of you feel God doesn’t hear people outside your fellowship, think again. Hear my last few sermons and read my recent blogs for proof He does. He loves the people of the world and is longsuffering and merciful. 

And folks, if any of you feel you couldn’t or shouldn’t pray for Meriam of Sudan – or those in similar trials because she’s somehow not a “true” believer in your eyes, please read my previous blog. I would challenge ANY of us to have the courage and faith that woman showed – to refuse to give up her allegiance to Yeshua even if it meant giving birth in a fetid, crowded jail and being told her future was to be mercilessly beaten with 100 lashes, and then hanged until dead.  Her crime: refusing to renounce her faith in Jesus and refusing to become a Muslim, the religion of peace. 

The biggest thing we must confess is that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah, the son of God, and that He died for our sins and we accept Him as our Savior – and refuse to deny him in word or deed. See 1 John 3:21-23.  What was Yeshua’s main command for us, his disciples?

1 John 3:22-23

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Meriam did that in a way that few, if any of us, have so far been asked to do.  I personally respect that about her even though she does not hold to or practice all my beliefs. But there are also thousands more like her. We’re seeing a foretaste of what is coming to a city near you.  I know, you’d much rather pray for someone in your own fellowship.  But sometime read the story in 1 Kings 13 how a prophet of God cursed wicked King Jeroboam and within minutes, this same prophet was praying for Jeroboam’s healing -- and God heard!  And we all know about “come out of her [Babylon], my people…” – but are you as aware that when Judah was sent into captivity into Babylon, they were to pray for Babylon?  Did you know that?  See Jeremiah 29:4-7.

So let’s not get all high and mighty and think we can’t pray for “the unconverted”.  Also, remember mercy will be shown to the merciful. When our turn comes to be on the receiving end of persecution resulting in jail, beatings, beheadings and stonings -- we’ll all want as many prayers we can get, going up for us. And we’ll see how many of us will be as strong and faithful at those times as Meriam was. 

And whether or not she was a true believer?  Well, neither was Naaman of the Bible when he asked for healing.  Neither were the women of Abimelech’s harem when Abraham prayed for them.  Neither were those crucifying and ridiculing our Messiah on the cross – but He prayed for them anyway.  Don’t be better than Yeshua, folks!  Those who “sigh and cry” for the abominations we see are those who will be protected (see Ezekiel 9).  Moses and Aaron interceded even for rebellious Israelites who were about to stone them (Numbers 16:41-50).

And don’t forget – Yeshua was called “a FRIEND of sinners”!  Are we?  We should be! God our Father – Abba – so loved ALL the world that He sent His only begotten son to die for them.  Now that’s true love. He loved us WHILE we were yet sinners. And even those of us who are his children – yes, we still sin and his Son stands as our defense Attorney. 

I’m urging God’s children to speak up.  Remember it was Adam’s silence in the Garden that allowed the serpent to indoctrinate Eve. He should have spoken up; he should have said something forcefully, as he was not deceived.  It was the SILENCE of “good” Germans in the 1930s and 1940’s that allowed the evil Nazis to exterminate and torture millions.  It was the silence of good Russians that allowed the pogroms of even more millions in Russia.  It was the silence of good Chinese that allowed the genocide of even yet more millions in China.  It is the silence, frankly, of millions of peaceful Muslims tolerating the evils of the terrorist extremists by their silence that is giving fuel to the extremists.  And it is OUR silence today – brothers and sisters – that allows scores of kidnapped Nigerian teenage girls to remain out there, even though we apparently know exactly where they are.  

Can you and I afford to remain silent? 

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the right to read some actions we can each take to make our voices be counted!  It’s not enough to just shake our heads and walk on by. 

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Praying for healing for the unconverted

I’ve known of, seen and heard a lot of stories of ministers refusing to pray for someone’s relatives because they were not one of “God’s people” – i.e., the pastor felt they were still living in their sins, or didn’t attend with that pastor’s church, or maybe had quit tithing to the pastors in question. 

I’ve even seen this question posed on chat rooms, Facebook and other media.

I say if someone asks for prayers for anything, we pray. Let God do the judging.  He’s a great judge. He’s very good at it.  We’re not good at reading people’s hearts or minds – so neither can we judge whether they are “worthy” to receive your prayers. I repeat: we’re not.  It’s not our job. It’s his job.

Why would anyone think we can hold off prayers for people who don’t attend with us?  So let me share a few reminders:

--- Yeshua (Jesus) told us we SHOULD pray for those folks.  Remember his admonitions at the end of Matthew 5:44 – to pray for those spitefully use you and persecute you?  They’re hardly “converted” children of God! 

--- EVERY single person Yeshua healed was a person without the spirit of God.  We are to be followers of Yeshua, right?  He didn’t go around asking which synagogue they attended or if they attended regularly or if they were tithing or if … anything.  He sometimes might have asked if they believed… and that was it!

---Elisha was involved in the healing for Naaman the Syrian, an enemy of Israel.  Even after the healing took place, Naaman asked to be excused while he helped his king in the pagan temple!  Are we better than Elisha and his judgments on this?  The story is in 2 Kings 5.

---Paul healed all the sick who came to him from the then-pagan island of Malta. Read the passage for yourself. First they thought he was a god because a poisonous snake had bitten him without repercussions or effects. 

Acts 28:8-9

“And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.”

---JOB’s life was restored beautifully – but only after he prayed for his friends (Job 42:7-10). 

---SARAH’S womb was opened by Yah and she was allowed to have a child only after Abraham prayed for Abimelech and his harem and wives whom God had made barren because Abimelech had taken Sarah (after Abraham and Sarah had half-lied about being brother-and-sister). Read the whole account in Genesis 20 and 21.  And notice that Genesis 21 comes after Abraham prayed for all those “unconverted” people in Genesis 20:14-18; Gen 21:1-4.

I could go on and on and on.  But why do we sometimes feel “holier than thou” and refuse to appeal to God for the healing of people who also were made in His image and likeness? 

Pray for one another. Let God do the judging.

Oh yes, I’m aware of Jesus saying in John 17 that “I pray not for the world”.  True, at that moment, his focus was on the disciples. But surely he prayed for the world, did he not, when he said from the crucifixion tree, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. 

And I’m aware of some verses in Jeremiah where God told him not to pray for those people at that time.  I have a sermon on this you may wish to look up.  But remember, Nehemiah prayed for the nation of Judah.  So did Daniel – including a deep prayer of repentance for the nation where he included himself.  See Daniel 9.  Moses certainly prayed for sinful Israel to be pardoned when God was ready to wipe them all out after the gold calf incident. 

So please folks, let’s just pray – and let God decide what to do with your prayer.  There’s so much more that can be said about this. Don’t limit your intercessory prayers for just people who are full of God’s spirit.  And you’ll be blessed as you pray for anyone and everyone.  God bless you.

And if your minister won’t pray for someone in your family or neighborhood – contact me.  I’ll be glad to. Yeshua’s the healer anyway; it’s not us.  Have a great sabbath and weekend.

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Are you a “friend of Sinners”?

That’s a strange question, you might say. But is it?   Why would anyone want to be a friend of sinners, you might ask.  But after all, your Savior said that he himself was called that – “a friend of publicans and sinners.” 

Here are a couple contrasting scriptures.  One says if we are a friend of the world, we are the enemy of God.  The other – spoken by Yeshua (Jesus) himself says HE was called a “friend of sinners”.

James 4:4

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Luke 7:33-34

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'  34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'  

So back to the question: ARE you a friend of sinners?  Was Yeshua really a friend of sinners? It would be easy to give a simple answer and say “we are all sinners, and so of course he is a friend of sinners.  And so am I – because we’re all sinners, aren’t we?” But as you’ll see, the ‘sinners’ that Yeshua was a friend to – were the more notorious sinners. He didn’t seem to mind “hanging out” with people everyone knew were not nice people.

But our loving father has plans for all who will accept Yeshua as THEIR friend - - and SAVIOR and King. He wants us in His family as his very own children.  Yeshua was the way in, the door to the kingdom. He came to save – as that is what his name means – SALVATION – and the ones needing saving are sinners. And yes, we ALL are sinners. But lets’ read Savior’s story, shall we?

One time Yeshua invited himself to dinner at an infamous tax cheat, the little-liked IRS agent of his day – Zacchaeus.  He was pretty excited that this miracle-working holy man knew him by name and wanted to come visit with him.  As he slid down the sycamore tree in haste, he must have been asking himself, “Why me? Why would he even care about me?” 

They had a grand old party going and just when it was getting good, the church-going folks (the Pharisees) wondered out loud….let’s pick up the story in Luke 19:6

Luke 19:6-7

So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He [Yeshua] has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."

My question again:  has this ever been leveled at you?  Have you ever been accused of being a friend of sinners?

Please be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the right -- to get the rest of this thought-provoking question answered.

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The 17th of Tammuz – a day of mourning and hope

Today as I write this – July 15, 2014 – today is the 17th of Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar.  It’s a day of mourning – but also of hope for what’s to come in the near future.

Remember that under King David and later King Solomon, all 12 tribes of Israel were called “Israel”.  But after King Solomon’s death, the kingdom split into two kingdoms, or two houses: the House of Israel (the northern 10 tribes) and the House of Judah (mostly the southern tribe of Judah and Levites).  The country we all know today as “Israel” is in reality just the remnants of the House of Judah primarily. Some individuals of the northern tribes did decide to live in Judah.  Anyway, each House went into captivity for breaking the sabbaths, for idolatry and generally for forsaking the Way of YHVH.  Look at Jeremiah 2:17:

“Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking YHVH your Elohim (God) when He led you in the way?”  (Jeremiah 2:17). 

What I’m about to say has to be more than coincidence. 

Today devout Jews are mourning what happened on this day. On this very day, both in 586 BC and 70 AD, the walls around Jerusalem were breached by invading armies -- the first time by Babylon and the 2nd time by the Romans.  On the very same day!

But the “coincidences” continued. Both the First Temple (the one Solomon built) and the Second temple (the one Yeshua was involved with) were destroyed, burned and razed to the ground on the same Hebrew calendar date  just three weeks later: the 9th of Av. 

This is common knowledge among devout Jews, but there are lessons for us today too.

Be sure to click on “Continue reading” to the right to read the rest of this informative blog, and learn how this relates to us today.

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 Should we PRAY for Israel’s blessings and protection?

Israel is under daily rocket attack aimed at their largest cities as I write this. A full scale war with Hamas in Gaza could be imminent.  If the USA was being attacked by over a hundred rockets from across its borders every day, would we sit idly by? 

Now consider this:  we know that of all the many sons of Abraham, the Eternal God referred to Isaac – the son of promise by faith – as Abraham’s one and only son (Genesis 22:1-2). Ponder that. Who came from Isaac?  It is through the Seed of Abraham--Isaac – Jacob (renamed Israel), that our Messiah came.In Yeshua – of the Seed of Abraham – all the families of the earth can be blessed.  So here’s what YHVH (the personal name of our Eternal God) said to all of us and to Abraham:

Genesis 12:3

“I will bless those who bless you,

And I will curse him who curses you;

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Almighty God repeated this in Genesis 27:29 directly to Jacob (Israel) –

 

Genesis 27:29

“…..Cursed be everyone who curses you,

And blessed be those who bless you!"

Have you recently asked our heavenly Father to bless Israel? 

Isaiah 62:6-7

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;

They shall never hold their peace day or night.

You who make mention of YHVH, do not keep silent,

7 And give Him no rest till He establishes

And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

And how well do we keep this command?

As I write this, Israel is preparing to stop the hundreds of M-302 rockets being fired every single day directly at Israel’s cities!  The only reason we’re not yet reading about hundreds or even thousands of Israeli dead is because of God’s protection and the Iron Dome missile defense.  Basically Israel is shooting down rockets with rockets. But Islamist terrorists don’t care where the missiles land and make no effort to spare civilians. They’re firing into civilians.

Be sure to finish the rest of this blog by clicking on the link to the right “Continue reading”. 

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