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Our focus has always been on the Rock (who is Christ) and on the Light of the world (who is Christ), and on our heavenly Abba, our Father.  So this site is not about us but the website software requires some kind of bio. We felt led in 2004 to share Bible studies with others and to help people whom God was calling to come to their Messiah, and this website was born.

Philip was ordained in 1976 and has served sabbath-keeping congregations in Canada and the USA. He runs his own long-term care insurance agency along with his wife, Carole. Philip and Carole met in 1971 and have been happily married since 1975.  God has blessed them with three children and a total of SEVEN grandchildren:  5 in FL and 2 in WA. 

Philip lives now in Leesburg, FL so they can be closer to their four grandsons and 1 granddaughter and his second daughter and her husband.  Philip and his website also support a group of 28 orphan children in Kenya.

Praying “…on earth AS IT IS in heaven.” God’s will be done – this way!

Surely, we’d all agree God’s will is always done in heaven. There’s no resistance to him, no disobedience and no disregard for what the Almighty wants. It simply happens.

So it’s no wonder that Yeshua teaches us, when we pray, after we acknowledge the Almighty as our Father in heaven, to say:

Your will be done, on earth just as it is in heaven.”

Have you pondered that last phrase – “on earth as it is in heaven”. God’s son teaches us that God wants to hear from us, and to hear that we hope his will is as perfectly done here on earth as it is in heaven. The strong implication is that God’s will on earth is NOT always done, and certainly not like it is in heaven, unless God intervenes, and unless we ask for it. Otherwise why do we need to pray for it? And what does all that mean in practical terms?

For example, in the USA election this year, some of God’s children didn’t vote because they’re told by their pastors that it’s like voting against God’s will. They assume that God only puts people into office (Romans 13:1-2) who are always exactly the ones he wants. If only that could always absolutely be the case! In terms of the election, if that were always the case, why bother praying at all then for the election? Of course we could have been praying “may your will be done as to the US President will be; your will be done – not our will, but yours be done, here as it is in heaven.”

Why do I say it that way?

Because people who believe we have nothing to do in terms of politics don’t quote the other scriptures that clearly show God often gives mankind what we WANT – even when it’s not good for us. Even when it’s against God’s own will! Keep reading! You read that right!

An example of this is when the nation of Israel got tired of having judges and wanted a king like the nations around them. God let them have that king- - King Saul – but made it very clear through Samuel in 1 Samuel 8 (please read it) that he was disappointed. God said, “They have rejected ME, that I should rule over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). But then God goes on to tell Samuel to warn the nation of what a king will do, and that God will let them have THEIR will be done. God let them have a king.

And in Hosea 8:4a he says this: “THEY set up kings, but not by me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.”

I have another blog where I show God’s will is NOT always done here on earth. Surprised? For example, Christ said HIS will was to protect Jerusalem like a mother hen does her chicks, “but YOU were not willing” (Matthew 23:37-38). Guess what? God let them have their will, instead of his – and they were not protected when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Another time we read that God’s will for the Pharisees was that they be baptized by John the Baptizer. Luke 7:30—“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

Wow! They rejected God’s will for them, and God allowed it.

So imagine that, we can reject God’s will – and God gives in to what we want so many times – to our own hurt, to teach us lessons – and to allow for free moral agency and free choice.

This is exactly WHY we have to pray “Thy will be done” and then make super clear and bold what we mean by adding “Your will be done here on earth, just like your will is done all the time in heaven.”

Another variation of this is found in Mark 6:1-6 where Yeshua himself COULD NOT do mighty works in Nazareth, except for a few, because of their unbelief. They weren’t willing to believe their own home-town boy could heal anyone, so their lack of faith prevented God’s will from being done. And they could say, “See, I told you so. He can’t heal.” What a shame.

So the point of this write-up is that God DOESN’T always do what HE really wants to do, as I’ve shown. Surprised? Well that’s WHY we have to pray “YOUR WILL BE DONE” – because his will ISN’T always done. How else could we also have free choice, free moral agency? Do you see?

But then we are to positively and bravely add, “Do it down here on earth the way you do it in heaven; your will be perfectly done” – and then we add the specific circumstances we mean by that.

So in heaven, is anyone sick? Is anyone in pain? Is anyone dirt poor and hungry in heaven? Is anyone killing anyone or robbing from anyone in heaven? Is anyone suffering? NO, 100% no.

So when I pray “as it is in heaven” – I apply that to prayers for healing and prayers for blessings. I ask God to take care of people we care for here on earth the way you’d take care of them up there in heaven – healed, blessed, pain-free, etc. I add, “If you feel these people need to learn lessons from the fear, pain, agony, disease, etc. they have, then your will be done, but Father – please – be merciful and help them learn those lessons quickly and then heal and bless.”

But I think more often than we want to admit, we don’t have the faith to declare healing, to declare blessing, so we say ‘your will be done” – as our cop-out (if we’re not careful) to avoid the brave, positive statements and definitive declarations of faith to cast out the illness, to command sickness to leave this body in Jesus’ name, or to command the hurricane in Yeshua’s name to immediately move away from the populated areas. Reminder: they don’t have hurricanes and tornadoes in heaven! “As it is in heaven”.

Oh believe me, I have to struggle with this too from time to time. But I hope this article helps you be bolder in your prayers. Some people didn’t ask for enough, remember, and God chastised them for that. Read the story about Joash striking the ground just 3 times and what happened (2 Kings 13:14-20). Please read it.

Let’s become bolder in our prayers and in our faith and declare we want God’s will to be done down here – just like it is up there in heaven.    

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NO MIDDLE GROUND

Are you a person who seeks God’s will and God’s mind 100% in everything you do?  Or do you find yourself sometimes looking for a middle ground that allows you to feel you’re a zealous child of God – while not being so hard and fast on what God says he wants from us? I admit – as a human – I can find myself slipping into that if I’m not alert.

I’m referring to situations that clearly involve sin or righteousness.

In today’s blog I’m NOT referring to situations that do not involve righteousness or sin. We all have to at times be willing to compromise and make accommodations so everyone can be best served. That’s wonderful, that’s good, where sin is not involved.

But where God’s word is clear about right and wrong, do we find ourselves even in those cases still trying to find middle ground, to compromise, to not “rock the boat” – and end up giving in to at least a little bit of sin? The Bible is clear about the sanctity of life from conception through life, marriage between a man and a woman, respect for law and order. The 10 Commandments are clear: we are to honor the true God, keep the 7th day sabbath, honor our parents, never lie, cheat, or steal or kill – and more, for example. The Bible is clear about same-sex unions. About which days are sacred.

So today we’re talking about how we must avoid compromising God’s word and principles just for the sake of “getting along” or finding middle ground that ends up compromising God’s word and what we do.

When we seek middle ground, in the end – who do we end up serving? Do we end up serving Holy God in heaven – or his/our Adversary, Satan? So where do God’s people – those led by his spirit (Romans 8:14) often try to find middle ground?

Well, for example, Halloween is coming up. Please check out my sermon I’ve recently posted (Oct 2020) titled “Should Christians participate in Halloween?” I believe I show conclusively in that teaching that God’s children who are led by God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14) will not – in any way – participate in Halloween. Not even a little bit!

Too many Christians have settled on a “middle ground” where they feel they can participate – just a little bit – in Halloween and still be pleasing to God.

When it comes to God and his Way, he likes us to be definite. Consider how God warned Laodicea to be either “hot or cold” – but not be the middle ground between hot or cold, which is lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-16). Yeshua said that their middle ground of lukewarmness made him want to vomit! Finding middle ground on God’s word is about our apathy, our Laodiceanism.

God wants ALL our heart, soul, and mind, not just 80% of it. If we’re giving in to sin on some issues can we still say we love God with our whole heart? And again, I’m not talking about everyday compromises in areas NOT involving sin where we have to make compromises to accommodate our spouse’s needs, or to make everything work smoother.

To know when we can and when we can’t compromise at all, means we have to intimately know God’s word, so we recognize times when we must hold firm versus times that are inconsequential.

After I recorded my Halloween sermon, I found other ministers teaching that there IS a middle ground with Halloween involvement. Seeing that actually was the inspiration for this blog. I call it compromise. But again, that kind of middle ground makes our Savior want to vomit. We might not think participating a little in Halloween or other pagan holidays is all that bad, but we end up participating in celebrating what is dark, evil, and Satanic!

Let’s listen to our Master Yeshua on this concept:

Luke 16:10, 13 -- “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

This blog is asking us: WHERE do we find ourselves compromising and not being totally faithful to God? I preach to myself too.

Click on “continue reading” to finish this blog. You’re halfway through.

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Will you just go hungry on Atonement?

For most of you reading this, Sept 28 – 2nd day of the week – will be the Day of Atonement.  And one of the things we all do – is fast. Or go without food and water. Will our day of Atonement just be a super-hungry day – or will the fasting serve its intended purpose? 

I suggest again that we all re-read Isaiah 58 on this day. Read it in various translations. This chapter explains what should be happening when we fast: we are fasting for various reasons. What follows is how the Complete Jewish Bible translates the passage. Please read it thoughtfully and even prayerfully.

It seems God wants our fasting to result in some drastic changes in our lives. He wants us to use the day to seek him and ask him to show us where we must grow and change – and then do it. He wants us to be people “standing in the breach” – actually doing things to affect change in our communities. My wife and I are pondering our own best actions going forward to have more of a life-changing impact in people’s lives as Isaiah 58:6-7 show us.

Then in verse 8 and beyond, we read God’s response when he sees our fasting actually resulting in changes in our lives and in the lives of those around us. He promises healing and blessing! He promises more “answered prayer” and what a delight that would be! Verses 9-11 – God says things will start to go much better for us. But he wants us to quit slandering each other; to start actively helping people – and going beyond just stating a promise to keep them “in our thoughts and prayers”. God wants action! God wants us doing, working, being involved in the lives of others who need us.

Let’s read it. Much of it will be God’s own words to his people, to us!

Isaiah 58:2-12

“Oh yes, they seek me day after day and [claim to] delight in knowing my ways. As if they were an upright nation that had not abandoned the rulings of their God, they ask me for just rulings and [claim] to take pleasure in closeness to God, 3 [asking,] ‘Why should we fast, if you don’t see? Why mortify ourselves, if you don’t notice?’

“Here is my answer: when you fast, you go about doing whatever you like, while keeping your laborers hard at work. 4 Your fasts lead to quarreling and fighting, to lashing out with violent blows. On a day like today, fasting like yours will not make your voice heard on high.

5 “Is this the sort of fast I want, a day when a person mortifies himself? Is the object to hang your head like a reed and spread sackcloth and ashes under yourself? Is this what you call a fast, a day that pleases Adonai?

6 “Here is the sort of fast I want — releasing those unjustly bound, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting the oppressed go free, breaking every yoke, 7 sharing your food with the hungry, taking the homeless poor into your house, clothing the naked when you see them, fulfilling your duty to your kinsmen!”

8 Then your light will burst forth like the morning, your new skin will quickly grow over your wound; your righteousness will precede you, and Adonai’s glory will follow you.

9 Then you will call, and Adonai will answer; you will cry, and he will say, “Here I am.” If you will remove the yoke from among you, stop false accusation and slander, 10 generously offer food to the hungry and meet the needs of the person in trouble; then your light will rise in the darkness, and your gloom become like noon.

11 Adonai will always guide you; he will satisfy your needs in the desert, he will renew the strength in your limbs; so that you will be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. 12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins, raise foundations from ages past, and be called “Repairer of broken walls, Restorer of streets to live in.”

SO yes – let’s fast. But let’s fast to help us remember how much we rely on God for life. Fast to humble ourselves in his presence and mention to Him how we would love to have more healing in our bodies and relationships. Fast with lots of prayer of gratitude for God’s atoning work in our lives and what he’ll soon do for the whole world. Fast in joyful thanksgiving to the reconciliation He’s he will offer to the world after Christ returns – and you and I can be a part of that!

Fast to ask God to help us become ever more like him moment to moment.

But don’t just go hungry!

So this year, let’s not just go without food and water for one day. Use the day to pray in repentance and ask God to reveal our Laodicean lukewarmness and spiritual inactivity. Commit to this year being a time of real change and overcoming of real sins that have lingered too long in our lives. And yes, I’m preaching at myself too!

Have a WONDERFUL day of fasting, of humbling, of seeking – and of changing.

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But are you coming to know the AUTHOR?

Many of you study the Bible every day.  If we’re not, we should be.  But are you reaching the correct GOAL and OUTCOME for your Bible study? 

The Bereans were commended for studying the scriptures of what we now call the “Old Testament” to see if what they were being told was true.  And back then, it was much harder, with each book requiring a long scroll. They had no concordances, no various translations on their I-pads, no Holy Bible in one book you could carry in one hand.  Most of them couldn’t afford their own scrolls, so they had to go to the synagogues to study.   Their study took some time and work, compared to what we can do today.  But they did it.  See Acts 17:10-11. 

And what was the primary TOPIC of what Paul was discussing with them?  Go back and look at context.  He began in Thessalonica, and then moved to Berea – but the topic was the same:  that Yeshua was the Son of God and Messiah and died and rose again in 3 days (Acts 17:1-3, 7-8).  He was teaching them about Yeshua.

But WHY do we study the Word of God? Many of us frankly enjoy learning more “things” about scripture:  more data, a fascinating Hebrew word picture, the meaning in the original Greek or Hebrew, some historical tie-in to what we’re reading, and so on.  I do too. But here’s where I caution us as well. 

Yeshua warned us that if we just study God’s word to learn how to live – but don’t seek to come to HIM personally – we’re missing the point! See John 5:39-40

WHY did I write this blog? WHY is it important? Because we could be studying for all the wrong reasons and in the end, it could be for naught. 

Many of you love the scripture, as I do, that prompts us to “grow in grace and knowledge…” (2 Peter 3:18). Some use the verse that says, “Study to show yourselves approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15). Actually the word “study” in 2 Tim 2:15 is an old English word meaning “be diligent”. The Greek in 2 Timothy 2:15 actually has nothing to do with actual Bible Study directly.  

Our modern learning system comes from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle - - the Academy, the academic system, where students are expected to just have new information funneled into their brains while one speaks and everyone else listens.  

But the learning system in Yeshua’s day was far different. Disciples didn’t just learn the concepts their rabbi was teaching –oh no – they wanted to also learn more about their teacher. They wanted to be just like him. So the rabbi’s disciples watched their actions and copied their reactions to everyday situations. They learned by doing and watching a life. It wasn’t enough to pore over the scrolls by themselves. Their teachers were like a parent running alongside a young child learning to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. They were in the thick of learning by doing and watching – not just studying documents. The goal was to create a bond between teacher and student. The goal was a deep relationship and coming to KNOW their Teacher

As you read our God’s BOOK – are we coming to know HIM better? Are you coming to his SON, and coming to know that you know him? Paul said that was one of his major goals: “That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of HIS resurrection…” (Philippians 3:9-11). Paul wasn’t interested just in the words of the Bible but wanted those words to help him come to know the AUTHOR of the Book much more.  

Click on “CONTINUE READING” now to finish this thought-provoking blog.

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But are you coming to know the AUTHOR?

Many of you study the Bible every day.  If we’re not, we should be.  But are you reaching the correct GOAL and OUTCOME for your Bible study? 

The Bereans were commended for studying the scriptures of what we now call the “Old Testament” to see if what they were being told was true.  And back then, it was much harder, with each book requiring a long scroll. They had no concordances, no various translations on their I-pads, no Holy Bible in one book you could carry in one hand.  Most of them couldn’t afford their own scrolls, so they had to go to the synagogues to study.   Their study took some time and work, compared to what we can do today.  But they did it.  See Acts 17:10-11. 

And what was the primary TOPIC of what Paul was discussing with them?  Go back and look at context.  He began in Thessalonica, and then moved to Berea – but the topic was the same:  that Yeshua was the Son of God and Messiah, and died and rose again in 3 days (Acts 17:1-3, 7-8).  He was teaching them about Yeshua.

But WHY do we study the Word of God? Many of us frankly enjoy learning more “things” about scripture:  more data, a fascinating Hebrew word picture, the meaning in the original Greek or Hebrew, some historical tie-in to what we’re reading, and so on.  I do too. But here’s where I caution us as well.

WHY did I write this blog?  WHY is it important?  Because we could be studying for all the wrong reasons and in the end it could be for naught.

Many of you love the scripture, as I do, that prompts us to “grow in grace and knowledge…” (2 Peter 3:18).  Some use the verse that says “Study to show yourselves approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15).  Actually the word “study” in 2 Tim 2:15 is an old English word meaning “be diligent”.  The Greek in 2 Timothy 2:   15 actually has nothing to do with actual Bible Study directly. 

Our modern learning system comes from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle - - the Academy, the academic system, where students are expected to just have new information funneled into their brains while one speaks and everyone else listens. 

But the learning system in Yeshua’s day was far different. Disciples didn’t just learn the concepts their rabbi was teaching –oh no – they wanted to also learn more about their teacher. They wanted to be just like him. So the rabbi’s disciples watched their actions and copied their reactions to everyday situations.  They learned by doing and watching a life.  It wasn’t enough to pore over the scrolls by themselves. Their teachers were like a parent running alongside a young child learning to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. They were in the thick of learning by doing and watching – not just studying documents. The goal was to create a bond between teacher and student. The goal was a deep relationship and coming to KNOW their Teacher.

As you read our God’s BOOK – are we coming to know HIM better?  Are you coming to his SON, and coming to know that you know him?  Paul said that was one of his major goals: “That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of HIS resurrection…”  (Philippians 3:9-11).  Paul wasn’t interested just in the words of the Bible, but wanted those words to help him come to know the AUTHOR of the Book much more. 

Click on “CONTINUE READING” now to finish this thought-provoking blog.

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Nebuchadnezzar’s message for President Trump

For several years now – before the Corona virus -- President Trump aggressively sought to turn the USA’s economy around. And it did turn around. Jobs were plentiful at record numbers.  Employers in fact couldn’t find enough workers. That’s how much work there was. Unemployment rate dropped to all-time lows for every category – whites, blacks, Hispanics, women – they all had record low unemployment rates. Companies that had left the USA were coming back home.  The stock market certainly soared. In fact, the economy had never been so good. People’s incomes were going up, up, up. 

President Trump certainly was very pleased with the results of his work and openly said so and took credit for almost all of it.

But all that was before the China Wuhan virus hit the whole world. Then literally overnight, the economies of most of the world and certainly here in the USA – tanked – as nations spiraled down into lockdown, businesses were shut down, travel almost stopped, commerce went into a tailspin. And how the USA suffered started affecting the whole world.

What happened? Why did it happen?

Yes, certainly most would readily say that the Corona Covid19 virus was a chief cause of the worldwide meltdown. Then add to that the worldwide protests in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing and the wanton destruction of property and attacks on the police forces of America that ensued. Anarchy has followed. Police Department budgets were slashed in numerous cities in one of the most stupid acts I’ve ever seen. More economic impact came from that as well. And now we also have to wonder how safe our country will be with hundreds of police officers retiring early, being laid off, quitting, or finding other work. Why put your life on the line for a city whose leaders don’t have your back?

But was it more than that? Certainly personally for President Trump, could it have been more than just being dealt a bad hand of cards and bad luck and killer virus from China?  

Click on “continue reading” right here to read the rest of this thought-provoking blog revealing the message Nebuchadnezzar would have for President Trump.

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“The Return” – JOIN the Day of national turning, Sept 26, 2020, on sabbath (Saturday)

We’ve all surely read 2 Chronicles 7:14 many times over the years that if God’s people – not the people at large – would humble themselves and pray and seek God, and TURN from THEIR evil ways (talking about US, not anyone else), then God would hear our prayers, forgive us OUR sins and heal our land. Verse 15 says he is attentive to prayers made in his temple. Today, the “temple” IS anyone filled with God’s spirit.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If MY people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”.

It's easy for godly people to point judgmentally at the anarchists and ANTIFA and violent protestors – as we clearly see their wickedness. But our Creator God wants each of his children to see his/her OWN wickedness, their own areas that need to be changed, their own sins that need to be repented of and turned from –that’s why he says “If MY people…”

Our country is in a mess spiritually. The solution starts with God’s people seeking the true God as never before and turning back to him. We cannot claim to truly be worshiping our Maker while we continue to allow or even pursue selected areas of sin still in our lives. That’s what I’ve got to stop in my own life and what you’ve got to stop in yours.

So when the Almighty sends the Pestilence, also known as a plague (ever hear of Covid19? See 2 Chronicles 7:13), the remedy is for the Children of the Almighty to turn and seek him as never before and then he’ll heal the land.

Heaven knows our land needs healing. It’s evident we could use God’s blessings and to turn our land back in the direction it needs to be in.

So on September 26, 2020, on the sabbath, there is a planned meeting of people who believe in God who will come together to pray for God’s mercy and God’s forgiveness on ourselves. There will be hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, who will pray from their homes or meet at local church groups. But the main event will be held on the National Mall in Washington DC. This day is also being touted as a day when people all around the WORLD, who believe in the God of the Bible, will be seeking him and asking his forgiveness for OUR own sins. 

Check it out at www.thereturn.org   

Pray that this present Covid19 virus won’t derail this. Pray for protection of the group planning a peaceful, worshipful seeking after God. I sense in my spirit already that Satan is planning to muster his own people to cause trouble. Pray for God to intervene in ways only God can!

Some of you will waiver, thinking you can’t join in with a group of people composed no doubt of some who don’t believe as you do. Maybe they keep Sunday and Christmas. Many will be sabbath keepers, however. In fact this assembly is being called and organized by Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic rabbi/minister who has written many best sellers (******).

But think about Nineveh in the short book of Jonah. You know what happened. I talked about this in my last sermon “Part 2, Understanding the Times, and what we must do”. God was going to annihilate Nineveh for all their sins and wickedness. But when enough of them hearkened to Jonah’s preaching and turned around, fasted, and prayed, and repented, and turned from their violent and evil ways, God relented from his own prophetic words that he was about to destroy them.

To you skeptics who wonder if you should join, consider this: I doubt very much if all those people of Nineveh instantly became sabbath keepers, or destroyed all their idols, or kept Torah all of a sudden. But many of them fasted and prayed in repentance. Enough of them changed enough of their lives, and turned from their violence, that God DID hear. And God cancelled his spoken threat of annihilation for their wickedness. But I truly doubt that overnight everyone in Nineveh became sabbath keepers and perfectly obeyed GOD in all aspects of God’s laws. How would they so quickly even know of all of God’s ways? But – GOD WAS MOVED by their heartfelt responsiveness.

Jonah 3:10 – “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it”.

Our country is at a major turning point if God doesn’t get it back on track. I see this Sept 26 meeting as a lovely thing that should please God. Personally, I’m pleased to see this. Please don’t mock it. Will you join me and join in and help spread the word? Find out all about it at www.thereturn.org  

At least pray for them and everyone doing it even from their homes, as I’m sure the Adversary will get his own children out as well to disrupt and harm people there as best he can. May the Living God watch over all. If the national meeting in DC is cancelled for Covid or any other reason, let’s the REST OF US continue to pray and even fast from our own homes. They can’t stop that. And pray they can’t and won’t stop the national meeting. But do pray for their safety.

This “Return” on Sept 26, 2020 is part of a 10-day searching for God’s forgiveness and benediction that starts with the Feast of Trumpets Sept 19, 2020 and ends on the Day of Atonement on Monday Sept 28, 2020. Imagine that.

God tells us in Malachi 3:7 after warning us that we as a nation have turned from God’s laws and ordinances and not kept them…he then says this – “Return to me and I will return to you.”  

Sept 26 is also 40 days – the number of trial and testing – before the national elections on November 3rd, 2020. It’s also the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact, when the early settlers pledged to build a community that was patterned after the Biblical standard and were blessed by YHVH.

Let’s do it. Please comment that you will be part of this. Or you can also email me directly at this email address:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

SPREAD THE WORD – PLEASE. Tell your friends, family, and church brethren about this. Tell your pastor. Tell everyone who loves God and reads the Bible about this.

Philip Shields

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Do we really want a “Cashless society”?

Ostensibly because “cash is dirty” and in the Wuhan plague from China (Covid19), it’s supposedly much safer to never have to handle cash – there’s a push lately to go for the cashless society.  And more and more stores are demanding credit card use only – no cash, for ostensibly the same reasons.  

On the surface this might seem like a good idea to many of you. Or maybe you haven’t even heard of it. Either way, this blog today is worth your reading of it to help you see the bigger picture of where this could be headed if fully adopted and applied.

We know a time is coming under the future “Beast” power of Revelation, when nobody will be able to buy or sell unless they conform to the government’s requirements – including the mysterious 666 number on their hand or forehead somehow (Revelation 13:17-18). But here in America, we certainly don’t want to promote that! A cashless society, in my mind at least, is a big step towards setting up the coming worldwide “beast power.”  

Before continuing on about the cashless society that surely is coming, and that’s not a good thing, let me recommend this: read “1984” by George Orwell some time in the coming days and weeks. I am re-reading it too. You can also listen to it audibly if you sign up with Audible.com. I first read “1984” in 1972. It’s so uncanny how he seems to be describing much of the world today, and even in the USA, UK, Canada, and Europe. Certainly, what he says we see happening already in Russia, China, and many dictatorial states.

Now back to Cashless Society: Dave Ramsey is a financial commentator on radio who has helped a lot of people get out of debt and get their financial lives in order. I have a couple of his books and listen to him when I can. Here’s what he has to say about the Cashless Society concept (this is on various Facebook posts too, I’m sure):

In the words of Dave Ramsey...

HERES WHAT NO CASH ACTUALLY MEANS: Remember that CHINA is a No cash society.

A cashless society means no cash. Zero. It doesn’t mean mostly cashless and you can still use a ‘bit of cash here and there’. Cashless means fully digital, fully traceable, fully controlled. I think those who support a cashless society aren’t fully aware of what they are asking for.

A cashless society means:

* If you are struggling with your mortgage on a particular month, you can’t do an odd job to get you through.

* Your child can’t go and help the local farmer to earn a bit of summer cash.

* No more cash slipped into the hands of a child or from their grandparent when going on holidays.

* No more money in birthday cards.

* No more piggy banks for your child to collect pocket money and to learn about the value of earning.

* No more cash for a rainy-day fund or for that something special you have been putting $20 a week away for.

* No more charity collections.

* No more selling bits and pieces from your home that you no longer want/need for a bit of cash in return. No more garage sales as we know it.

* No more cash gifts from relatives or loved ones.
 

What a cashless society does guarantee:

* Banks have full control of every single penny you own.

* Every transaction you make is recorded.

* All your movements and actions are traceable.

* Access to your money can be blocked at the click of a button when/if banks need ‘clarification’ from you which will take about 2 weeks, a thousand questions answered and many passwords.

* You will have no choice but to declare and be taxed on every dollar in your possession.

* If your transactions are deemed in any way questionable, by those who create the questions, your money will be frozen, ‘for your own good’.

Forget about cash being dirty. Stop being so easily misled. Cash has been around for a very, very long time and it gives you control over how you trade in the world. It gives you independence.

I heard a story where a man supposedly contracted Covid19 because of a $20 bill he had handled. But there is the same chance of Covid19 being on a credit card as being on cash. If you cannot see how utterly ridiculous this assumption is, then there is little hope.

If you are a customer, pay with cash. If you are a shop owner, remove those ridiculous signs that ask people to pay by card. Cash is a legal tender, and it is our right to pay with cash. Banks are making it increasingly difficult to lodge cash and that has nothing to do with a virus, nor has this ‘dirty money’ trend.

Please open your eyes. Please stop believing everything you are being told. Almost every single topic in today’s world is tainted with corruption and hidden agendas. Please stop telling me and others like me that we are what’s wrong with the world when you hail the most corrupt members of society as your heroes.

Politics and greed are what is wrong with the world; not those who are trying to alert you to the reality in which you are blindly floating along whilst being immobilized by irrational fear. Fear created to keep you doing and believing in exactly what you are complacently doing.

Pay with cash. Please say no to a cashless society while you still have the choice.

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What does the Bible say about RACE?

There’s a lot being said about racism and race right now. Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about race? Who is listed in the Bible as the first black man or woman?  I hope to have a full sermon on “Race” before too long, but this blog is a good starting point.

The surprising answer actually is that Scripture says amazingly little about our skin color. God is not so fascinated with the color of your skin as much as he is concerned that you and I repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ (or as I say, Yeshua) as our Savior and Redeemer. 

There are some possible indications of race in the Bible – but it’s simply not the Bible’s focus. Actually one of the best things Martin Luther King once said was that we should not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the condition of our heart, our CHARACTER. He was so right about that. That seems to be the focus of the Bible as well.

In any case, all the races came from God, through Adam and Eve, and so for them to produce white, brown, and black descendants, they were most likely a tanned or brown couple themselves. Ok white folks, does that surprise you?

I find it interesting that in his spirit form, the one we know as the Son of God is described as being in the color of “bronze” or “brass” as when refined in a furnace. That’s not white. That’s not black. Bronze is more of a brownish hue/a golden hue. “Brass” on the other hand, can range in color from almost a reddish color to yellowish golden color and everything in between, depending on how much zinc was added to the metal. But “brass” is generally usually thought of as a brownish or even golden color.

Here's the scripture describing Yeshua in his current spirit form (ask yourself if this is the way YOU picture Jesus. It doesn’t seem to describe the popular paintings of “Jesus”):

Revelation 1:12-15

“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.”  

            NIV says “his feet were like bronze …”

            CJB “like burnished brass refined in a furnace…”

Now back to the human race. It’s been said many times before, we are all of one race – the human race. And Paul says we all have the same blood; we all bleed red. Notice where Paul focuses: not on race but on us finding God.

Acts 17:26-28 NKJV

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

Some translations don’t say “from one blood” but “from one man”, but I do like my NKJV and KJV on this.

The first black person directly alluded to was probably Cush, the grandson of Noah. Cush was the son of Ham. The “Hamitic” people are generally seen as the black race – and includes the areas of Sudan and south, and what is called “Ethiopia” in the Bible. Sons of Ham included Cush, Canaan, Put and Mitzraim (Egypt). The ancient Egyptians were more black than modern Egyptians, whose blood lines have been mixed quite heavily with Muslim race from Ishmael and others.

There are notable righteous and notable evil men and women of all races in the Bible. The Bible mentions their name but does not make a big deal of their race. One of the notable evil black men was Nimrod, a descendant of Cush, who led the world into apostasy and mystery religion.

Some notable righteous black people in the Bible include the Ethiopian eunuch who was baptized by Philip in Acts 8. This eunuch was a very high official in his courts. The Bible does not say he was “black” – but was Ethiopian, so very likely was of the black race. The Bible does not make a big deal of one’s color.

Another great example for us was Rahab, the woman of faith from Jericho who converted to the God of Israel and was spared (the story is in Joshua 2 and chapter 6). Being a Canaanite, she could have also been of the black race. What was notable: her powerful faith and how she turned to one true God. She is also included in the lineage of the Messiah Yeshua (Matthew 1:5)! So how’s that for showing God is not racist?

In several places in the Bible where we read “Ethiopia” – it really is “Cush”, the name of their forefather, and refers to Nubians, north Sudan, and the black race. So “Ethiopian” is usually actually “Cushite”. In Jeremiah 13:23 we’re asked, “Can the Ethiopian (Cushite) change his skin?”. To me that tells me the reference is to black skin.

Moses had also married a Cushite wife (Numbers 12:1 NIV), and so one of Moses’ wives was a black woman. Some believe she was a black princess, whom Moses married when he was a great general for Egypt in his younger years.

Numbers 12:1-2

“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian (Cushite) woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.”

When this became an issue for Miriam especially, who is listed first here, God made clear to her that He had chosen Moses as his prophet and Miriam was struck with leprosy. Moses’ black-skinned wife was not an issue apparently with YHVH. This matter never came up again.

Today we know Ethiopians and other black runners are fast runners and win many Olympics, whether in sprints or long distance. Read Isaiah 18:1-2 where they are called “swift messengers” even back then.

It’s also possible that one of the early leaders of the church in Antioch could have been a black man – Simon (or Simeon), surnamed Niger. Acts 13:1-3. Many believe his surname was an indication of his skin color – but again, it’s not so clearly stated. Some think this may have been the same man called Simon of Cyrene who was ordered to carry Yeshua’s cross (Luke 23:26); but there’s no strong evidence for that. But it is interesting as you carefully read Acts 13:1-3 to see such a diverse group of leaders from all over the known world working together as they allowed themselves to be led by God’s spirit.

Having said all this, we should not be quick to accuse someone of being racist for calling out some inequities by some groups. For example, because I’m white, I’m being called – by some movements – a “racist” for simply being white. That accusation itself becomes a racist statement.

We should all be careful to avoid making monolithic judgments about groups of people or races where we funnel all people of a particular group or race into one bucket. I think many are doing that very thing as we make broad brush statements about parts of the country, or races, or national groups – whether Japanese, Chinese, Africans, or “whites” or whatever.

My brothers and sisters, let’s all repent of any racism we do discover in our lives. I’m doing my own introspection. Will you join me?

Bottom line: What does God’s word say about race? Actually very little. It’s not a big deal with God. God created us all. God created the races. God loves us all. God’s son died for us all. To God, ALL human life is valuable, and race and skin color just doesn’t come up as an issue for God.

Individuals do count to God – of whatever race – if we live righteously or in an evil way. That’s what counts – how we live. He wants each of us to come to repentance and receive God’s holy spirit – which He’ll supply to anyone he is calling who responds to his call.

If, when you’re honest with yourself, you find yourself disliking whole races of people or groups of people, then I call on you to repent of that racism and get more in harmony with God’s mind.

Our God simply does not want us making skin color an issue. Let’s get over it, if it is an issue – and move on as one family under God. We are to love and pray for all people – even our enemies, so certainly we can all pray for one another.

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Some favorite Pentecost sermons from this site

I thought it might be useful to many of you to have links posted to Pentecost-type messages.  Sermons that touch on our calling, God’s Holy Spirit, bearing fruit of the Spirit,  the Meaning of Pentecost and so on… so here they are. Just click on the links and they’ll take you right there.

“I GO Prepare a Place for you”

This one shows the sequence of events when Yeshua returns AND how it’s so intricately tied to Pentecost.  Where and when is the Wedding of the Lamb?  How Christ’s return is a 2-stage return.  How heavenly Jerusalem is our City. Enjoy.   Control-click on the link 

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/i-go-prepare-a-place-for-you-john-14-1-3.html?highlight=WyJwcmVwYXJlIiwiYSIsInBsYWNlIiwicHJlcGFyZSBhIiwicHJlcGFyZSBhIHBsYWNlIiwiYSBwbGFjZSJd

Pentecost DRESS REHEARSAL for past and future events

This teaching goes into the counting of the omer to Pentecost and how this and all holydays of God are “dress rehearsals” for major earth-shattering events from the death and resurrection of the Son of God to the new heavens and new earth.  How is Pentecost a dress rehearsal?  Find out!  Control click ….

https://www.lightontherock.org/component/finder/search.html?q=Pentecost+dress+rehearsal&Search=&t%5B%5D=&t%5B%5D=&t%5B%5D=&t%5B%5D=&t%5B%5D=

Pentecost -- Pinnacle of Joy (Jeff Niccum)  notes only

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/2012-06-15-10-12-00.html

Pentecost’s 5 fold meaning

Most associate – correctly—Pentecost with the giving of God’s Spirit in Acts 2.  That’s terrific, and yet is so much more to this holyday.  This sermon talks of at least 5 of the important meanings of this day.

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/pentecost-s-exciting-5-fold-meaning.html?highlight=WyJwZW50ZWNvc3QiLCJwZW50ZWNvc3QncyJd

BEARING FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT Gal. 5:22-23

God loves fruit and he expects his Holy Spirit to be bearing fruit in us. Can you strive to bear the fruit of the spirit – or…? WHO produces the fruit? ARE we bearing fruit or remaining the same? 

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/bearing-the-fruit-of-god-s-holy-spirit.html

6 reasons to Cherish your First fruits calling, pictured by Pentecost.

Do you often think of the high calling you and I have been given? Do we cherish it? Do we cherish our calling to be in the first resurrection?  WHY is it called the “better resurrection” in Heb 11:35?  Why are those who are part of it called “blessed and holy” (Rev. 20:6).  This message gives at least 6 strong reasons why your calling to the first resurrection is a better resurrection. 

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/6-reasons-to-cherish-your-calling-as-firstfruits-pentecost-2019.html?highlight=WyJwZW50ZWNvc3QiLCJwZW50ZWNvc3QncyJd

22 Things Holy Spirit does for us

You will appreciate God and His Spirit in you much more when you study this message.  Imagine – 22 different jobs God’s spirit will do inside you and for you! 

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/22-things-the-holy-spirit-is-doing.html?highlight=WzIyLCJ0aGluZ3MiLCIyMiB0aGluZ3MiXQ== 

Your WILDERNESS Time and it’s connection to Shavuot/Pentecost

We know that God brought Israel out of Egypt at Passover – and 50 days later he gave them his law at Mt Sinai. IN the end, that adult group of Israelites were consigned to wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  Sometimes we feel like we have our own “wilderness times”.  Find out what God is doing with you and for you in those precious times when you feel “out there” – in a wilderness.

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/your-wilderness-time-and-it-s-connection-to-shavuot-or-yahweh-s-pentecost.html?highlight=WyJwZW50ZWNvc3QiLCJwZW50ZWNvc3QncyJd

RUTH, Boaz AND PENTECOST

The book of Ruth is read on Pentecost.  WHY?  What’s the connection?  What does it have to do with you and me?  Learn about the “go-el” – Redeemer, threshing floors, gleanings, etc and their spiritual meaning. Learn the lessons of courage and faith.

https://www.lightontherock.org/message/ruth-boaz-and-pentecost.html?highlight=WyJwZW50ZWNvc3QiLCJwZW50ZWNvc3QncyJd

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“I am a worm”

Psalm 22 is one of the profound Messianic prophecies, fulfilled by Yeshua (Jesus) in so many details, especially while he was being crucified. 

Embedded in this breath-taking psalm is verse 6, which is loaded with truth that most of us read right over. Or we misunderstand its true message.  A dear friend in WA state – Dean – reminded me of this verse and its deeper meaning -- when he remarked on it in a recent email.  What I’m about to write is not unique to me or us, as it has been known for centuries, but I hope it will be so meaningful to you who come to Light on the Rock.  Please pass this blog on to others if you find it rich in meaning.  And be sure to check our other blogs too.

Psalms 22:6-8 – “But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.   All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, "He trusted in YHVH, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"  (NKJV; the KJV is almost identical).   

Compare with Matthew 27:42-43.

The last part of that passage is clearly seen in the gospel accounts, but we don’t have a record of Yeshua saying he was but a worm.  He must have FELT that way and in any case, we are to learn something from that prophetic statement.   But it’s far more than that. This “worm” -- based on the original language – was no ordinary worm. 

The typical word for “worm” in Hebrew was rimmah, meaning a maggot.  But that’s not the worm mentioned here. This worm was tola’at or tola in Hebrew (to-law’, phonetically), Strong’s# 8438.   It was translated 43 times usually as “worm, scarlet, crimson”.  Maybe you’re starting to think and realize this is no ordinary worm.  It was clearly associated with a bright red color.  In fact, the word is often translated simply as scarlet or crimson – yes, the same word that is translated “worm” in other verses.  So be sure to learn why.

You are about to be amazed when the fuller picture of this worm is revealed; the “worm” Yeshua said HE was while being crucified on the tree or stake (1 Peter 2:24; Acts 5:30;  Acts 10:39; 13:29). 

This worm was the Crimson Worm to which Psalm 22:6 refers – common to the area of old Israel.  These worms are about the size of a pea, and looked more like a grub than a worm. They were often mistaken to be a part of the plant or stick to which they were attached.

This worm -- Strong’s word #8438 – was the same one that destroyed stale manna in Exodus 16:20.  It was the same grub that ate the vine or gourd whose shade Jonah was enjoying for his covering shade (Jonah 4:7).  It was known as the crimson grub or worm. Why?

When the female crimson worm was ready to lay its eggs – which she does only once in her lifetime (keep that in mind) – she attaches itself to a tree trunk or large stick or fencepost.  Next, she makes a hard crimson shell over her body and strongly attaches herself to the tree.  This crimson worm – when seen attached on a tree – had thorn-like edges to it.  Think about that too.  You cannot remove this worm or the shell it made without ripping her body apart and killing her.  This crimson worm now lays its eggs under her body, and protects her future offspring by her firmly attached crimson shell.  But that is just half the story. It gets better.

When the larvae hatch, they stay right there – under the mama’s shell for protection and food!  The baby larvae feed on the living body of their mother!  Over the next few days the larvae grow to where they can independently fare for themselves.  The mother crimson worm dies, oozing a bright red or scarlet/crimson dye which permanently stains her baby worms and the tree spot to which it is attached.  The larvae are colored a bright scarlet the rest of their lives.  But – they lived because their “mother” gave her life for them, covering them in her protective shell and letting them feed on her.   

If the mother’s shell is left there, after three days the dead worm’s body loses its red color and now turns into a whitish color that falls to the ground like snow. 

Now we put it all together.  What did Yeshua mean when he said he was but a worm?  Was he just being humble?  Yes, but it was more than that. 

He was what the Crimson Worm pictured, attached firmly to the tree. We see that when Christ was crucified (1 Peter 2:24) on a tree.   How did he look up there?  Bright red –badly bleeding all over from the severe scourging beating he had just endured.  We’re told how he looked in the end of Isaiah 52 and all of Isaiah 53.   And remember, the Romans were not limited to 39 lashes or just to lashing one’s back.  And like the mama crimson worm encasing her eggs, Christ is our protective shell, as it were. HE is our covering righteousness and sustaining life.  HE is in fact, what each of the pieces of the “armor of God’ ultimately picture – protecting and guarding the children of God. 

Blood is a bright red color, or scarlet or crimson.  This particular worm – and its shell – were often scraped off the wood and then crushed into powder to make the bright red dyes for clothing – and for the scarlet materials found in the Tabernacle and its furnishings (see Exodus 25:4; Numbers 4-8).  The word translated “crimson” or sometimes even “scarlet” is often the very same word as the one used for the crimson worm itself.   All of that came from this crimson worm, the specific worm Yeshua said HE was – as he was being crucified, firmly attached, on the tree.  

Crimson or scarlet is seen everywhere God is cleansing. A scarlet string is seen in the ritual required for cleansing a leper (Leviticus 14:4,6), or a house (Leviticus 14:49-52) and also in the laws of the red heifer – whose ashes were used in the purification rituals as well (Numbers 19:6).  It’s the same Hebrew word being translated “scarlet” or “red” – as it is for the worm! 

Just as the crimson worm gives its life for its offspring, Yeshua gave his life for us.  He died, that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9). The larvae all fed on the mother before leaving its protective shell and covering.  We too, at least symbolically, eat of Him and if we don’t, we have no life in us (John 6:53-55).  Remember what Yeshua said at his Passover:  “This is my body, which is given for you…” (Luke 22:19).  “Take, eat; this is my body” (Mark 14:22). 

John 6:48-51—“I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

 The larvae are dyed a bright red the rest of their lives by the protecting scarlet worm soon after they hatch from their eggs.   We too are washed – bathed – covered – in the blood of the Lamb, our Savior – washing away ALL our sins.  And we are most happy to be seen as someone under the blood of Christ! 

“Come now, let us reason together, says YHVH:  though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). 

It’s the same Hebrew word there for crimson, as for the crimson worm.

So our Savior was telling us, as he was firmly attached to the tree at his vicious crucifixion: 

  • “I’m doing this for you – once, for all time, for all people who accept it” (just as the crimson worm did it only once – Hebrews 9:28; 10:10).
  • “I’ve been nailed to a tree – firmly attached – as I’m about to end my life, for you – just as the Crimson worm attached itself to a tree or wood at the end of its life. I have a crown of thorns around my head, just as this Crimson worm has a thorn-like perimeter around its shell.”
  • “I’m your covering and source of life” – just as the Crimson worm gave its life and body to the larvae that it brought into the world.
  • “My red blood is what forgives you, washes away every single sin you’ve ever committed, redeems you and reconciles us in the family of God to the Father – just as we’re reminded of that color when any sacrificial animal’s blood was spilled, or when you saw so much RED in the tabernacle, where God and mankind were reconciled.”

When you read Psalm 22:6 – “I am a worm”  -- The Word was pointing us to the scarlet worm, to the crucifixion, to the power of his crimson or scarlet blood.  God’s word never ceases to amaze.  And praise you Yeshua, our Redeemer.  

WORM

You might benefit from the full sermons

“When I see the Blood” -- Parts 1-2, April 2014   (enter “see the blood” in the search bar)

If you have found this helpful and instructive, please forward on to others and the website – www.LightontheRock.org  

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Very interesting! I love that we can see spiritual things in God's creation! Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world ... Read More
Saturday, 11 June 2016 23:20
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“Well Done, Our King and Savior, well done!”

We finished Passover -- washed each other’s feet, broke and ate the bread of Christ – and we drank of the Master’s cup of the new covenant. Now what? We know the day is coming when Jesus will say to faithful servants, “Well done…” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

 Have you ever wished YOU could say to the King – “Well done, Lord – well done, King!  Well done”? It struck me, as I read the chapters of John 13-17 at the end of the service, what an incredible “command performance” we see from our Master and Savior on that Passover at HIS last Passover day on earth—painful and horrifying as it was.  And now dear Lord, you have been raised from the dead, clothed in majesty and wrapped in light on the right hand of our heavenly Father and King of the Universe. We can’t wait for you to return, to be sent back, to fix the mess this planet is in, this planet you created by your words of your mouth.

As he listened with annoyance to his disciples’ bickering over who among them was the greatest, he rose even as he recalled he had come from GOD and was going back to God. He rose and took a towel and a basin and taught us a big lesson. He began to do a slave or servant’s task – kneeling before each of his students, one by one washing between their toes and cleaning their feet that had become dusty along the way. Here was the night when GOD (John 1:1-3) as a flesh and blood young man wasn’t above doing menial work and kneeling before each of his flabbergasted students. He taught us that when it comes to helping and serving, little or nothing should be beneath our willingness jump right in and serve humbly. The night God washed feet. 

But what’s so amazing is that he took the footwashing to the next level. It wasn’t just about being humble or having the attitude of a servant – which it surely showed as well. No, when he came to Peter and Peter balked, Yeshua told us the MEAT of what the footwashing was really all about: “Peter, if I don’t wash you, you have NO PART with me!” (John 13:8). 

He made the point that HE washed all of them, even Judas was still there. If you had been there, your feet would have felt the caring and manly hands of the carpenter from Nazareth. He wants us to see each other as washed by him, no matter what it is we think we know about a particular brother or sister in the ekklesia. We’ve been washed by Christ himself. He wants us to wash one another too, to verify with each other that we’re not holding on to any dirt about them. No, the Master has washed them, and so we do too. 

So before we can partake of his bread – picturing his body, his life, his presence in us – we must first come under his washing year by year as we stumble along the way and pick up dirt when we really wanted to stay clean… or else we have no part in him. 

By that last supper with his disciples, as He broke bread and blessed it, surely it meant a lot more to Him to realize that was depicting His very own body. He was thanking God for his broken body that he was about to share. I find that amazing. No doubt he had seen dozens of crucifixions. He understood his body would look like beaten hamburger by the time the Romans were done with him. But by his stripes we are healed, so we remain grateful. The bread pictures his life coming into us, giving us life. 

When you lift up the sheet of matzah, you’ll see baking stripes and holes in the flat bread. He was pierced for our transgressions. By his stripes we are healed. Then he asked me to eat of him and let him come into me as my new life. Hallelujah. 

Then we read how his cup of red wine is the new covenant in his blood. Jews drank of cups of wine in honor of the promises God made Israel in Egypt in Exodus 6. The one we read about was probably the 3rd cup of Redemption. Anyway, he invited us to drink from his cup too. Imagine that! I just drank of my Master’s cup, verifying I’m all in for him and whatever he has in store for me in this life – the good and the “bad” or difficult times.  

Then they left and walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. Along the way he spoke of growth, fruit and vineyards, and how important it is to obey him and our Father. He spoke of going to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house, and how he would come to get us and show us what he’s prepared for those who love him. He spoke of rough times ahead but that we were to have peace, for he had overcome the world and would strengthen us. He mentioned the Adversary, the ruler of this world coming – “But he has nothing in me” (John 14:30). 

Look at what Master did. As He prepared for the long ordeal, He took time to comfort His disciples. “Don’t fear, don’t worry. Ask anything in my name and I will do it”. Over and over, all during supper, He comforted, encouraged, reassured – and loved those disciples. He told each of them – and you and me – to love one another in the same way he loves us. He discussed the promised Helper, Comforter – the Holy Spirit. He spoke of the Father and Himself coming to live in them. Wow. Incredible. What a flawless example. “Because I live, you will live”. “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Abide in me and you will bear much fruit.” Even though he predicted they would all leave him initially, he would continue to love them.

Our master prayed to the Holy Father (John 17) and prayed that all his followers could be as one, as Yeshua and his Father are as one. I remember reading John 17:23 where our King states that his Father loves us as much as he loves Yeshua. 

Then they reached the Garden of the Olive Press (Gethsemane). When Judas appeared with a troop of armed temple guards to betray him, Yeshua’s first word to his betrayer was amazing, “Friend”. But he went on to die for all of us, even while we were yet sinners. On the cross or tree – his pained voice pleaded “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Flawless.

No other religion (to my knowledge) has their God coming to live among humanity as a human and then sacrificing Himself for his creation. But Yeshua did just that! Wow! What an awesome living God we have; what an impeccable son of God we have!! Hallelujah!! 

It’s never our place to “grade” our Savior, and that’s not my intent here at all. But I think we’re long overdue for telling our Beloved King what we think of Him and His Passover. 

Yeshua’s Father – who is now also our Father – was spectacular too on that Passover day almost 2000 years ago. He had 2 choices when it came to sin:

   1 – Make us all pay our own death penalty for our sins and spare his perfect sinless son he loved so much

   2 – Put all our sins and penalties on to his flawless son, making him be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), and make his Son pay the penalty and be whipped and crucified while we are forgiven the death penalty. 

God the Father chose Option #2. This is how Yeshua could say in John 17 that our Father loves US as much as his own son Yeshua. He loved everyone in the world so much that he made the way of escape from eternal death possible by sending his only Son to live and die for us (John 3:16). His death reconciled us to Father, turned away his wrath due to our sins, and redeemed us from Satan. He paid the ultimate price for you and me and every human being who will accept him. 

How on earth, or in heaven, God the Father restrained himself from just wiping out all life on this planet as we humans did awful things to his son, is beyond me. He personifies love and mercy. 

So on Passover we focus on Jesus, on Yeshua – and rightly so, but it’s also a day that shows the indescribable love and patience of God the Father, God most High. Well done, Father, well done to you too, absolutely. 

And now Yeshua, please allow us to appreciatively tell you after Passover, even as our eyes well up with tears of gratitude: “Well done, our King. Well done. You totally vanquished Satan’s hold on us, you smashed his head at the Place of the Skull. You saved our lives. Yes, you saved our lives. You bring us hope and an indescribable future. You’ve given us eternal life. You’re simply amazing! You’re our Lion as well as our Lamb. We can’t wait to meet you face to face to tell you personally how pleased and grateful – and yes, even proud of you – we are! We’re delighted to be on your team, to drink of your cup and eat of your bread of life. Praise YHVH! We love you. Thank you for your Passover, King Yeshua. You were perfect. You’re simply amazing. Thank you, Master. Well done, our King, well done indeed.” 

After our Passover service, Carole and I played a dozen or more hymns that magnify God and Yeshua as I quietly lifted my hands in praise. Songs like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, All Hail King Jesus, Crown him with many Crowns, Blessed Assurance, It is well with my soul, As the Deer, I love to Tell the Story and many more.

Then I stepped outside, looked up to the heavens and the bright full moon and once more thought, “The heavens declare the glory of God”. Next, I sat on God’s green grass in my back yard and meditated quietly about our awesome Savior. It was quiet, but my heart overflowed with love for what my Yeshua had just done. By his grace and his work I was able to come boldly before him and say, “thank you”.

Well done, Master, well done.

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Would you wash Judas’ feet?

In our fellowship group, we wash feet at Passover, as Yeshua washed his disciples’ feet. He said basically, “You’ve seen me, your lord and master wash your feet. Now you remember that – and be sure you are willing to wash each other’s feet too.”

So you arrive at your fellowship on Passover and are ready to wash feet (assuming you can even leave your house this year without being arrested). It’s a strange year, isn’t it? Anyway, you arrive there and find someone there before the meeting begins whom you don’t recognize. You sit next to him and introduce yourself. Now bear with me here:  he says he’s Judas Iscariot. 

OK, I know that can’t happen in 2020, but let’s just assume it could, and now the real Judas Iscariot has come to your fellowship and is ready for services to begin. You’ve been paired up with much-despised Judas, the one who sold our Lord for 30 pieces of silver and betrayed him. 

Will you humbly and even joyfully and willingly – wash his feet? Or would you refuse to do so? 

Let’s get this straight. I’ve heard some ministers say Judas had left but that’s not true. We read of the foot washing service in John 13:1-10.

John 13:2-4 “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself” 

It’s only after the foot washing is over that we read that Satan enters Judas again (first time was in Luke 22:3) and Yeshua tells him to leave and get his business done (John 13:27). But that was after the foot washing, so that means Yeshua washed Judas’ feet. 

The name “Judas” is actually a Hellenized (Greek form) name of the Hebrew same name “Yehudah”, which in English we translate as Judah

This is interesting. Yeshua came to his own – the Jews, -- but they did not receive him (John 1:11). They really couldn’t have because they did not recognize who he really was. So what I’m getting at, this disciple “Judas” or “Judah” – actually perfectly represented his tribe at that time who rejected the Messiah. But the good news is that we’re seeing more and more Jews have their eyes opened and who are seeing and accepting their Savior now. 

Right after the foot washing, Yeshua immediately speaks of his betrayer. He certainly knew whom that would be! See John 13:18-19, 21-22. Yeshua quotes from Psalm 41:9 “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me.” This was a direct prophecy among many that pointed to Yeshua as the promised Messiah.

Peter had asked John to ask the Anointed Yeshua who the betrayer would be. Yeshua’s answer was John 13:26-30 --“Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."  28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.”

A couple things worth noting here. Note something else too:  the other disciples used the term “Lord” when asking Yeshua if they were going to be the betrayer (Matthew 26:22).  “Lord, is it I?”  But when Judas asked, he went with the lesser term “rabbi” (Teacher)—verse 25: “Then Judas, who was betraying him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”  He said to him, “You have said it.”  

But here’s my point: Judas is definitely present during all this time:  before and during the foot washing, and only after identifying who the betrayer would be, did he finally leave. 

Let’s pick up the story:

John 13:26-30 Yeshua was aware that Judas’ heart was already turned by Satan himself.  Satan was not going to let any other demon have this high-stakes job. If he could make Yeshua sin, what a coup that would have been. So Judas is being egged on – even eventually possessed (v. 27) – by none other than the Prince of Darkness, the god of this world himself: Satan the Devil, or translated – Adversary the Accuser. 

Even knowing Judas was being inspired by Satan himself, Yeshua still washed Judas’ feet. Now imagine the scene:  here’s the Son of GOD getting on his knees in front of Judas in order to wash his feet. And that’s exactly what our Savior did! How humble and how humbling is that?!!   Even to someone he KNEW was already being Satan-inspired, our beloved Yeshua, knowing he had come from God and was going back to God, knelt down below Judas and washed his feet anyway. 

Almost hard to believe, isn’t it? And yet that is what John 13 tells us. Already Yeshua is thinking of Psalms 41 where this betrayer is actually a friend in whom you trusted.  And what was the first word Yeshua said to Judas later that dark night when he led a group of armed men to arrest Jesus?  Let’s read it:

Matthew 26:48-50

“Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.

50 But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?"

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.”

To call Judas a “friend” but not mean it – would have been a lie. Yeshua was sinless. He meant it when he said “friend” to him.  Even knowing by this time Judas is actually Satan-possessed, our Savior calls Judas – “Friend”. 

So what does this mean to us today?

** Like Christ, we must be willing to serve even those who betray us, slander us, or falsely accuse us and work, as it were, for Satan himself.  What someone else does shouldn’t make us stop acting like Christ did: serving everyone. Satan is the Enemy, not any human beings ultimately.

That’s what “Satan” means:  Adversary.  And “Devil” means “accuser”.  Satan is the accuser of the brethren.  Even someone this bad received some SERVING done by the 2nd highest Being in the universe: Yeshua the Son of God, second only to God the Father. 

This was the night Jesus washed even Judas’ feet.  And shared a dinner with him and broke bread together.  This was the night when Yeshua called even Judas his “friend”.  Can you see yourself having dinner with someone you even call a “friend” – but who was about to betray you to the most brutal torture and death imaginable at that time?  Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

** Yeshua meant it when he taught us – “Love your enemies. Do GOOD to those who treat you badly. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who are unkind to you.”  (Compare with Matthew 5:43-48).  All this proves who is your father: God Almighty – or the god of this world.  After all, we have the fruit of God’s spirit, including goodness and kindness. 

Our Savior is more than impressive.  As I said in my Passover prayer after blessing the wine – “Well done, Master, well done.”  He is the absolute pinnacle of the way to handle things.  

Can you imagine George Washington washing Benedict Arnold’s feet – and calling him “friend” after what he did?  This is what’s going on here.

Are you still willing to serve those who have conspired against you?  Yeshua did.  If Yeshua is in us by His spirit, He will continue to do through you and me what He has always done:  serve and love people, even those who work against us.  Vengeance is not ours.  Don’t take something like vengeance that God says is HIS prerogative, lest you incur His ire.  It belongs to God. Our role is to let the fruit of the spirit shine through us – including kindness, goodness, longsuffering, and peace, regardless of what the other has done to us or our loved ones. 

Now, who can we call a “friend” – and mean it – to someone who has acted as our worst enemy for so long?  Who can we find ways to serve and humble ourselves in front of – though he/she may be less than spirit-led at this point?  That’s tough, isn’t it? 

The more I learn about Jesus, the more in awe I am of him and the more I want to talk about him.  What a great leader, Servant King, Savior, Big brother, and friend we have in him.

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BE READY for Passover

Are we getting ready for Passover – or will it be upon us before we realize it!?  Every year there are some of God’s children who say, “Wow, is it Passover time already?!” – and they’re caught off guard. They forgot! It’s nowhere on their MARCH calendar but when they look at April – wow, there it is! Yep, Passover is almost here! It seems like yesterday that we were at the Feast of Tabernacles, right? It’s true, the holy day cycle starts again in just a few weeks as I write this. 

DON’T be or remain among those people who haven’t spiritually or mentally prepared for Passover at all yet. You be ready and be sure you do a thorough SELF-examination (read 1 Cor. 11:27-29) as we’re told to do and then after that, take the Passover. You examine yourself; you repent of areas where you could fight sin more, start doing so – and then take the Passover. And sure, be thinking about deleavening your home, but more importantly – deleavening your LIFE. The hidden and secret sins of our lives, as well as the obvious sins, is what the leaven largely points to.

BUT I BELIEVE TOO many of God’s children have made Passover – and the foot washing, bread and wine service – just another ceremony. Passover must NOT become “just another ceremony” – when we meet with others, read some scriptures together, wash one another’s feet and take a piece of matzah and a thimble-full of red wine (or for some of you – juice) – and then we go home. It should mean more and be more than that.

Passover DAY in 2020 is April 8, Wednesday. For many of the Church of God brethren, they’ll be observing the foot washing and the bread and wine ceremony the eve before – evening of April 7, Tuesday evening after sundown. Then for them, the Night to be Much Observed will be the following evening, at the end of Passover day, on April 8 after sundown, starting the first day of Unleavened Bread, a “high day” holy day. Remember God’s days begin and end at sundown.

The days of Unleavened Bread are Thursday April 9 starting the evening before, through Wednesday April 15, ending at sundown.

April 9 – the first day of Unleavened Bread and April 15, the last day of Unleavened Bread, are both holy days of God, and annual sabbaths (Leviticus 23:1-4). much like the weekly sabbath except on the annual holy days, cooking is expressly allowed. On these annual holydays, we do not go to work but worship God together instead (Lev. 23:4-8).

But Jews and those who strictly follow the rabbinic calendar will be keeping the Seder/Passover on evening of April 8, Wednesday evening, 2020. And this will also start the Days of Unleavened Bread, when we all eat Matzah for 7 days. Jews often add an extra day on their holy days to “be sure” they are on the right day. They do not do this on the fasting day of Atonement however.

But either way, Passover season is almost upon us and we need to be prepared spiritually even more so than physically. Are you pondering how profound the Passover is – and how profound is the blood of Yeshua covering and cleansing us? You’ll read more about that today.

Have YOU given much thought to Passover this year? Are we ready to take the bread and the wine in a worthy manner? Have we examined ourselves to find where we are tolerating sin and weaknesses in our lives – and asked our Maker to truly make us a NEW CREATION in Christ?  

Passover and its entire season should be much more than a ceremony. We’re called to be personally involved ahead of time in preparation spiritually for it, even more than physically. And DO realize that the whole Passover and days of Unleavened Bread SEASON was eventually referred to – eventually – as “PASSOVER”. We new covenant believers tend to separate them as Leviticus 23 does, but they eventually were seen as the season of Passover.       

Ezekiel 45:21 calls the “Passover, a feast of seven days”.

Luke 22:1 – “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called ‘Passover’, drew near.”

Now back to preparation. If you’re not on your guard – ESPECIALLY if you’re not – this is the time Satan will do his best and his worst to have you and me commit terrible sins that will so discourage us that we might even conclude we can’t observe the Passover this year, for we conclude we are unworthy of being a part of it. Please read that again. OR, Satan will put so many distractions (Corona virus? Health issues, setbacks) in front of you that you spend little time thinking about God’s love – and once again, we come to Passover ill prepared spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Something “more pressing” grabbed our attention.

And if you’re feeling more spiritual attacks than ever, more temptations than usual, more crises and distractions popping up than normal …. Yep, Satan’s working overtime to get you to feel defeated and just want to give up spiritually! So often that is what happens prior to the spring and fall holydays especially. So read this blog carefully and let’s have the most meaningful Passover we’ve ever had. We children of God are called to be spiritual warriors against Satan and his ways.

Or are you feeling like Passover seems suddenly almost here – and you are unprepared? If that is what’s happened, resolve to make changes so it never happens again. Mark “preparation time” on your calendars a month before next year’s Passover season. It’s our own fault if we’re unprepared. But frankly it’s also a reflection on your ministers if that happened. Pastors should be discussing Passover-related topics for the next few sabbaths (as we are in this blog and upcoming sermons before Passover). Regardless, you decide each year when you mark up your calendars and E-calendars, to note 3 or more weeks before Passover each year, to start thinking heavily about God’s love for me and for you.

So here’s my point: If you’re among those keeping it in April, and you realize it has come up so quickly and you feel caught off guard, this blog is for you!

God’s people must NOT, must NOT, let the pivotal event in all human history since Adam and Eve were created, to “sneak up” on us or catch us off guard.

And men, husbands – LEAD your family in preparation and announce that “Passover is just x-number of days away, and so let’s all be spiritually thinking and preparing for it.” You’re the head of your family under Christ, so lead. Maybe you can ask for volunteers in your family to share something they’ve each studied about aspects of Passover with the whole family. Fathers - lead them. Protect them from being caught off guard.

Click on “Continue reading” for the remainder of this vital topic and what it pictures and how Christ’s blood continually cleanses us, all the time.

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Husband’s role or wife’s role – which is harder?

This article goes with the recent Part 3 sermon on “is God Sexist?” though I focused more on what God tells us the role of husband and wife is – and even more so, what they are supposed to be depicting: the union of Christ and his Bride, the Church. 

First of all, let me state that for 95-99% of us, a good marriage takes a lot of work 24/7, all the time. Maybe even for 100% of us. It takes a lot of self- sacrifice and dedication to bring joy to each other. I also believe there are many marriages in the Body of Christ who are just hanging on but are not enjoying the bliss and joy that a godly marriage should have.

How many really truly great and happily married couples (who are past their honeymoon first 2 years) can you think of? And even of those you think are happily married and truly delight in each other almost all the time – it might surprise you to learn when they’re by themselves, it’s not always so great. I can think of maybe 19-20 couples out of the hundreds or thousands I know whom I’m pretty sure are delightfully happy with and still madly adoring of each other most of the time. Even among those who’ve been married for 40+ years, I think a lot of them, at best – are “companions”, sticking it out, but they could sure be happier. And I wonder how often they express loving adoration for the other and exhibit that love by their kind and loving actions with each other.

Now to my question: Who’s got the harder role or function – the believer wife or the believer husband? Probably most of you would instinctively respond – “the wife, of course!”

Wives are basically told to submit themselves to their own husbands as they would if Christ himself was their husband (“as unto the Lord”) (Eph. 5:22). Verse 23 reminds wives that just as Christ is head of the church, that a husband is the head of his wife. It goes on to say, “Just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in everything” (verse 24).

I don’t believe these verses are being preached much anymore. At least I’m unaware of it. Wives are told to be submissive and to respect their husband. 1 Corinthians 11:3 – where it speaks of woman and man, is translated as “wife” and “husband” in some translations, which to me makes sense: “the head of the wife is her husband”. Titus 2:4-5 adds that a wife is to love her husband and be obedient to him.

That last paragraph is taken as a synopsis of Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-6; Titus 2:4-5 and 1 Cor. 11:3. Yes, this is what God’s word says. It’s all there. It’s super, super tough to want to submit to someone, let alone someone you live with. Super tough.

Let’s also remember that Ephesians 5:21 starts the section by saying we are to submit to one another. So as I pointed out in the sermon, there are plenty of times we husbands should also submit to what our wives suggest and desire – as God himself told Abraham to do what Sarah wanted when it came to Ishmael. So we hope more husbands will remember this point too.

And also remember that our roles are for that spouse to fulfill. Husbands are nowhere told to make their wives submit. Wives are nowhere told to make their husbands more loving. Submitting is what a godly wife chooses to do – and men will at times too. Loving as Christ does is something a godly husband also chooses to do.

Husbands (see Eph. 5:25-30) are basically told to love their wives in the same way as Christ loves the church, giving himself for his wife. We are also to follow his example of presenting his Bride to himself and seeing her as being without spot or wrinkle – without fault in his eyes. Men are told to love their wives as themselves. In other words, we are NOT to nit-pick, we are NOT to constantly find where our wife has fallen short or not measured up. Yes, I’ve done that in the past, but am striving to make that a thing of the past.

Yeshua (Jesus) says those in charge are to serve, never lord it over those being led, nor make a point to prove or exert their authority (Matthew 20:25-28). We don’t see our Yeshua barking orders and demanding submission all the time. We just don’t. In 1 Pet 3:7 husbands are also admonished to learn to understand their wives and to honor them, as co-heirs together of the grace of life.

Husbands are also told to bring happiness to their wives and to be satisfied with their wives and rejoice with them (Proverbs 5:18-19; Deut. 24:5; Ecclesiastes 9:5). I brought all that out early in my recent sermon. (Ephesians 5:25-30; 1 Peter 3:7; Matthew 20:25-28). We are admonished to love our wives the way Christ loves the church! Super tough.

Hmm. How are we doing?

All of the above is covered in more detail in the recent Part 3 Sermon on “Is God sexist” – and how we are to depict the relationship of Christ and his church. I hope you will listen/watch the video.

One important point to make is that there is no caveat or exception given to these commands. They’re more than just suggestions. We’re not told we must do our part – but only if our spouse does his or her part. I don’t see that there.

Wives are NOT told to submit themselves but only if their husbands “earn” or “deserve” their submission. There’s no statement that this applies only to husbands who are gentle, kind, loving, respectful and patient. And many husbands ARE mean and tough.

IN the same way husbands are NOT told they have to love their wives but only if their wife is a submissive and wonderful wife; but no love is needed if their wife is a horrible and unsubmissive wife. It’s not there.

Nope, those caveats are simply not there. Nope, nopity, nope, nope, nope. Not there.

And yet, let’s face it: that’s how many of us live. But whose role is tougher.

Click here to finish reading this important topic.

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When does human life begin? Is Mayor Pete wrong?

Pete Buttigieg, a USA  presidential candidate in 2020, says life begins with one’s first breath to try to justify his stance that a woman can end her baby’s life in her womb all the way up to the point of being born through her birth canal – without it being murder.  Hmm, how convenient for pro-abortionists. By that definition, they’re not really ending or killing a human life if the fetus has not taken its own first breath. We will see God’s word on this. 

Somehow Mayor Pete even says his belief comes from the Bible.  How convenient for his sanctimonious preaching at the rest of us while he discards the many other scriptures he either doesn’t know about – or refuses to admit are there. That’s putting it kindly. 

Now, to be fair to Mayor Pete, the first man came to life when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). But Adam was a fully formed man at this point, and just needed to start breathing. That is not addressing the life in the womb.

And certainly once a person or mammal is breathing, there’s no question there’s a life there. So the Bible does indeed speak of “all who have breath” to poetically refer to all who are alive.  But does all life begin with the first breath?  I’ll show you that’s not the case. In the case of a fetus, it begins much earlier according to God’s own word.

Also keep in mind that just about all the Democrat presidential candidates are pro-abortion, or are pro women’s health care rights or reproductive rights. But when a human baby in development is terminated, where’s the health care or reproduction going on? Whose “health-care right” is being protected?  Certainly not the health care or reproductive right of the fetus!  The very label “reproductive rights” is so misleading. They should relabel it to what they really want to have:  “terminating rights”, the right to end or terminate a small unborn baby’s life. But even then – no human has a terminating right over a viable, living but yet-unborn human fetus.

So does the unborn baby’s mom, or her doctor, have the right to terminate the developing and growing human life inside its mom’s womb?  It’s certainly a lot easier to say “yes” if you believe, like apparently Pete Buttigieg believes, that human “life” does not even begin until the fetus – or child – takes its first breath.

The mother’s womb used to be just about the safest place in the world in which a tiny developing fetus could be! But not anymore. Not for the 61 million developing tiny boys and girls whose lives were sucked out, ripped apart and snuffed out in abortion clinics all over America alone!  That wasn’t a typo.  Sixty-one MILLION.  And our Democrat presidential candidates are OK with that!  In my view, that’s the modern-day human live sacrifices going on to accommodate the wishes of the mom who is not yet ready to be “with child” or to have a child.  So the unborn boy or girl is sacrificed alive to meet the needs of its mom.

I know that can sound harsh, but we need to make plain what is really going on here. 

If you have had an abortion and now know that decision was seriously wrong and have deeply repented of it, our loving God in heaven has forgiven you and you can move on.  You’re no worse than all sinners – all of us – who have had to be forgiven of our own horrible sins.  I’m including myself in that.  But the rest of society has to come to understand the truth about the painful brutality of abortion and need to understand when a human life really begins. 

The NY State Legislature basically codified in their state law that a fetus’ beating heart can now be legally stopped all the way to the birth canal, through the 9th month!  May God have mercy on them and on all of us.  How abominable!  How shameful!  How brutal!  Who’s standing up for that unborn little girl or boy? WHO? Well I am and I hope you’ll join me.

So when it comes to human life, let’s be clear. I could give a hoot what Mr. Buttigieg, you, or I have to say about when human life begins.  GOD – who creates all life – ALONE,  is the one who determines when life begins. I will go only by what he says.  

But as I’ll show you, God says it is murder. We who have received God’s spirit and are his children (Romans 8:14 defines a child of God), must speak up and stand up with our Father and what HE says against the concept that humans can determine when to end a fetus’ life.

So when does human life begin?  If it begins with the first breath, then “they” are saying that during all those nine months in the womb – there is still no human life going on and so there’s no human life being terminated – and in other words, there’s no “murder” being committed with abortions and so they say – that’s OK. 

That’s what their reasoning has to mean!  How convenient for them.  Don’t forget that in the early years of abortions, the pro-abortion gang referred to the developing human fetus as “tissue”.  That helped the mom of that developing baby not feel so guilty.  What they were pulling out of her was just “tissue” they said – not much different than phlegm perhaps.  But don’t kid yourself: when tiny arms and legs are being torn off or cut off, when scissors are being thrust into fetus’ skulls, that abortion being conducted is infanticide of the worst kind. God be merciful.

With the advent of ever clearer ultrasounds and being able to see and hear the beating hearts of these little ones, it has become very clear they are not just blobs of tissue.

And even if we forget for a moment all the ultrasounds, all the beating hearts, all the developing human hands, human feet, baby sex organs being developed, how can anyone say there’s no life yet.  Not human life at least.  But what is it then, which is clearly alive in the mother’s womb if not human life? It’s clearly alive.  Maybe it’s a baby cat, or dog, or armadillo?  When a human conceives, does it conceive anything else BUT a human? 

So when does the Bible say human life begins?  To get the answer from scripture, and to  finish reading this Blog, click on “Continue reading”.

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Appealing “to Caesar”

Have you ever used the rights you have as a US citizen – or citizen of your own country? I am aware that many countries don’t offer as many rights or freedoms as the USA does. But you who live in most of the western countries know you can call your House representative, Senator or your member of Parliament, etc. If there is an issue you’re concerned about.

Have you ever done so?   Why would we believers in our Savior, who look to the city whose builder and maker is God as Abraham did (Hebrews 11:9-10), ever call our elected officials or appeal to the civil liberties and rights we have been given by our earthly country?

Remember Paul says our citizenship is in heaven (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20) from where we eagerly await our Lord and Savior. So why on earth would we use our earthly citizenship?

The reason for it is simple:

*** To whom much is given, much is required. Compared to much of humanity’s history, we have been given more than the vast majority of people have ever experienced down through time.

*** The Apostle Paul did this very thing. Though Paul clearly believed himself to be a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven, he also definitely claimed and used his Roman citizenship.

Paul was born in Tarsus as a Roman citizen of Jewish parents. So he had a Hebrew name (Saul) and a Roman name (Paul). Anyone born in certain designated cities, such as the city of Tarsus, were automatically given Roman citizenship and given Roman rights—as Paul says he was born a Roman (Acts 22:28). As he traveled around in Gentile and Roman areas, it was more beneficial to use his Roman name.

It was illegal for example, to whip or scourge a Roman citizen without him first having gone to court and presented his case in a trial. You can read that whole story in Acts 22:20-29.    The Roman military commander who was about to flog/scourge Paul was scared for a while, hoping Paul wouldn’t sue him. He admitted that he – unlike Paul – had to BUY his Roman citizenship at great cost. So by using and appealing to what was the law of the land at that time, Paul in that instance was able to keep from being flogged mercilessly.

Let’s read it:

Acts 22:23-29  “Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.

25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "IS IT LAWFUL for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?"

26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, "Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman."

27 Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"

He said, "Yes."

28 The commander answered, "With a large sum I obtained this citizenship."

And Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."

29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him”

Another time, when Paul felt he wanted and needed more time and perhaps better justice – or just felt led by God -- he “appealed to Caesar” – and so he was sent to Rome for trial. That was like appealing to the US Supreme Court today.

Acts 25:10-12 So Paul said, "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar."

12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!"

My point is that Paul USED his citizenship rights when he needed to. And he didn’t feel that in any way impeded his status as a “pilgrim” in this world (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11). Some believers have used the “pilgrim” concept to advise against any use of this society at all. I think Paul teaches us otherwise, by his example. 

Others did so as well. A great example is Esther. She was a queen, a wife of the Emperor! But when her people – the Jews – were threatened with genocide by Haman the Agagite – what did she do? She DID seek God first! She and her retinue did pray and fast for 3 days and 3 nights (Esther 4:16). THEN she faced the problem head on, got Haman and the Emperor Ahasuerus (possibly Xerxes) involved – and the rest is history. Haman could have been of Amalekite royal blood, related to Agag who was condemned by God in the days of Saul and Samuel.

For that matter, Ether’s cousin Mordecai, earlier had decided to get involved with what seemed to be a plot to assassinate the emperor (Esther 2:21-23). Some believers might have thought – “Good riddance” and done nothing. But it was Mordecai’s very action, recorded in the annals, that God used to bring Mordecai to mind to the Emperor and it all played a major role in the eventual outcome of the preservation of the Jews.  

God used Esther and Mordecai – even as they got more than a little involved with their rights in that kingdom – to preserve the Jewish people and the line of succession to the eventual birth of the Messiah. I suggest you review the book of Esther.  

So yes, we ARE indeed pilgrims on this earth, just passing through – as we see the Kingdom of Heaven as our real citizenship, but we really have a “dual citizenship” while on this earth. Paul and Esther and Daniel and others show us that we indeed can and should use our earthly citizenship rights as long as they don’t contravene God’s laws. Our first priority is always to God and His kingdom.

So, for example, I just called the US Senate Switchboard for example – 202-224-3121 – same number you can use. I asked for Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida. My one voice by itself isn’t worth much, but added to the many other “one voices” out there could be powerful.

I left my 2 senators a message: “Please stop wasting all your time on a senseless ‘impeachment’ against the president where no crime has been charged and where the Dems did not present a viable case. Get back to work. Get the senate back to work. I want you to vote to acquit the President who is not even being charged with a high crime or misdemeanor – and get on with your work in the senate of approving judges, passing laws that benefit the country – like rebuilding infrastructure, improving our roads-bridges-airports, etc. and finding ways to have a more affordable health care plan for everyone. Now please… get to it.”

Now you may not agree with what I just said, but that’s not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is – USE the open doors God has given you while you can. “To whom much is given, much will be required.” We’ve been given some liberties so far. The day is coming that our present liberties will be curtailed and removed altogether. Believers will be persecuted terribly, according to prophecy. So use the liberties you still have while you can. Follow Paul’s example.

What are some of the ways – at least in America so far – that we believers can claim the laws of the land – including “appealing to Caesar”, in today’s world, going all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Many of you still work on the Sabbath of God (the 7th day of the week) even though you know you are breaking GOD’S law by doing that. Why? Because you’re afraid you’ll lose your job. Maybe so.   But the law says your company can’t discriminate for religious and other reasons. 

Feel free to call ACLJ – American Center for Law and Justice with Jay Seculow, etc. They have helped others in the past with this issue. Look up www.ACLJ.org for example. Take a few minutes reviewing their site. They plead the causes for religious freedom in particular. They mention the Christian pastor Lawan Andimi who just recently was beheaded in Nigeria, for example by Boko Haram Islamists. We need to be concerned and be praying and getting involved in these things! And ACLJ could probably help YOU. The pastor, by the way, was shown in a video telling us all “Don’t cry. Don’t worry. But thank God for everything.” Wow. That’s a true witness and martyr.

Christians – even children and teenagers -- in much of the world – particularly right now in Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran and even in Hindu India – are being arrested, tortured and killed for being Christians. You can learn more about all this at www.ACLJ.org   And certainly pray for the Christians and Sabbath keepers in Kenya.

So you can “appeal to Caesar” for ---

*** Discrimination against you for keeping the 7th Day Sabbath; unable to work on Sabbath.

*** Ditto for God’s requirement to keep his holy feast days like Feast of Tabernacles

*** You can use any of the anti-discrimination laws when applicable.

*** speak up and PRAY for Christians who are being persecuted and killed around the world.

*** An obvious one to many of you: using your right to vote. Vote for a president who supports Right to Life and is the most anti-abortion president ever. He has his faults, but not voting for him means a greater chance the other side will win with their socialism, pro-abortion, anti-male, anti-white male, anti-Christian, anti- male/female marriage, pro transgender/LGBTQ stances, their open borders, soft on the law and justice, etc. etc. And if you don’t vote, please never complain about the state of the country or what’s going on.

So, though many of you may disagree with me, while I can, I vote for the side that seems closest to the ideals of the Bible. I know God decides ultimately who will govern – but maybe when he sees so many of his children not caring who governs, maybe he gives us the leaders he feels we deserve. And don’t forget, Daniel was a high official in even the pagan governments of Babylon and Persia. So was Mordecai. And so were Esther, and Joseph in Egypt. Nehemiah pleaded his case to Cyrus the emperor. GOD still works his will so often by working through PEOPLE – sometimes even pagan emperors.

Yes, we’re also told we are pilgrims and sojourners in this world. We’re told to come out of Babylon. Those are not contradictions to what I’ve just said. Just use the whole word of God, all the scriptures, and then it will be clear what to do. Daniel, Joseph, Mordecai, Esther and Nehemiah worked in and with pagan governments, but their hearts were not in this present system but in the Kingdom of God. And as I’ve shown, Paul certainly worked the system, while also calling himself a citizen of God’s kingdom. So let’s find that balance.

So – like Paul – while we can, use the civil liberties we can, while we can. Like Paul, use the justice system to your advantage if and when you can. He appealed to Caesar and as a result, even some of Caesar’s HOUSEHOLD were exposed to the truth and became saints –

Philippians 4:22 “All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household”.

Wow, how God used that imprisonment of Paul in Rome is spectacular. Paul said it gave him the opportunity to spread the good news and to bring people to salvation.

Hallelujah.

***

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What fills your mind?

What fills your mind? What do you think about?  What do you hear, see and get involved in?  What do you spend your time on?  And how will that affect you? How will that affect your eternity?  How does that affect your relationship with God? 

I’m hoping this blog will go well with the recent video sermon I gave on not ever becoming desensitized by the world and by evil – or jaded, or as scripture even puts it, “past feeling”.   We see Satan’s world – not God’s world – changing so fast that I fear too many believers just don’t care anymore as much as we should. Please check out that sermon.

Plus, we may have been allowing ourselves to expose our minds and thoughts to movies, thoughts, discussions, arguments, debates and even news that don’t comport to what we’re told to be spending our time on. I’ve too often been guilty of that too, and that is why I did that study. And after a while, we start saying things like “there’s nothing I can do about it”, or “that’s just the way things are” or “we have to get used to these changes. They’re here to stay”. . . . as if we believers don’t have any power, or shouldn’t speak up or do or say anything. So we become desensitized. I hope you’ll watch/hear that sermon.

The end-time church is described as the church where Christ is “at the door, knocking” – trying to get more into our lives. He calls it Laodicean. They were a lukewarm church who thought they weren’t so bad. In fact they say they are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing – physically and spiritually. They definitely were becoming blinded to their true spiritual condition – and at times, that can describe you and me if we don’t keep our guard up.

What DO you put into your mind? Remember the old GIGO that I.T. and computer programmers used to talk about:   “Garbage in, garbage out”. Our minds are designed to absorb and be influenced by everything we allow into it. I am becoming much more discriminatory about what I decide to watch, see or hear – because we are, we become what we think about and what we absorb – probably way, way more than most of us realize.

So the reverse is true also. If we put inspiring, inspirational, clean thoughts, uplifting ideas and encouraging tidbits into our minds, guess what will most likely come out?  

Satan’s world (2 Cor. 4:4) likes to tell us that if you’re really “adult” or “mature” – you will be able to handle the violence and gore, the nudity and lewdness, the profanity and foul vulgarity, the lies, smears, insults and meanness that fills so many of our movies and shows.

Don’t buy into that. Don’t. I’ve been urging some of my relatives – nephews, etc. – to give up the violent video games for example.

It’s long been known that what one imagines in detail is imbedded on the brain as much as if you did that thing you were imagining and picturing in your mind, in detail.

Does that make a lot clearer then why Yeshua says that if we hate someone in our heart, we have just as well murdered that person? Have you ever thought, “I am SO FURIOUS at so-and-so that I could just kill him!”? That’s what Yeshua’s talking about. Matthew 521-26. Please open up your Bible and read it for yourself. He says to reconcile with someone we’re at odds with. He says don’t even finish praying until you’ve taken steps to be reconciled.

Or he also said if we lust after a woman as we mentally undress someone – and beyond – we have in our hearts already committed adultery. Satan’s world’s movies make it so easy to hate someone, kill someone, get in bed sexually with someone first in our hearts – and then the actual acts are much easier once we’ve had a few “mental run-throughs”. See Matthew 5:27-28.

Well, this time let’s read it: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

What are we to do when we see our minds and hearts sinning?

 

We are to take drastic measures. That’s the hard part. Keep reading Matthew 5:29-30. To apply this, that would mean completely changing our habits, the movies and shows we watch and all of that. He clearly states that if we don’t, we could end up in a lot of trouble. He says, “cast into hell”. Yep, that’s what Yeshua himself says. That’s how serious this is.

So guess what Satan does with his world? He makes it real easy to be jaded by evil because we start hearing, seeing, and participating through movies and shows as we let our minds wallow in all this garbage.

Do a quick check of what you like to watch and listen to. Am I talking about you too?

Didn’t Yeshua (Jesus) himself also tell us that out of our MINDS (he said “our hearts”) comes good and bad? So what we put in, does come out.

Mark 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

It’s what comes from within, he says. How do those things get within us? And does his list describe the shows, videos and movies we watch and participate in?

Remember too that Paul tells us God will destroy whoever defiles his temple, which temple we are!   (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). We are to be God’s holy temple, for God and Christ actually reside inside us by their Spirit (John 14:23).

So what does scripture clearly tell us to think about?

Click Here to finish this brief but so vital article.

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Pagan origins of Christmas traditions

Much of the world is in the Christmas season; or “Christ’s mass”. We’re told this season is supposed to be about the birth of baby Jesus, the son of God as a human. But we’re surrounded by Christmas trees, bright lights, holly wreaths, images of a fat Santa Claus flying around with flying reindeer – and yule logs – both the wooden kind and the pastry kind made to look like a tasty log. Santa? Really? “I know when you are sleeping, I know when you’re awake…” – really?

What do all the traditions associated with Christmas have to do with the birth of Christ? And why is society celebrating the birth of God’s son in the season to honor the pagan god Saturn – and the Saturnalia orgies focused on Saturn and around the winter solstice? The solstice was a clear celebration of sun worship. The sun was coming back and days were getting longer. SUN worship: that’s the root of this holiday. How and why are pagan celebrations – re-christened with new so-called “Christian” labels, put alongside the birth of the Messiah?

In my upcoming video I will speak specifically about the TRUE story about the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) – and I ask, was it even anywhere near December 25th?

We’ll examine the way the story is told about 3 kings coming to a manger with the shepherds to worship the newborn king – and how much they’ve mangled the true story.  

But my blog today is about the trappings of Christmas. Does it matter – if we celebrate the true God in the way pagans celebrated their pagan non-existent gods? Is it OK to take something Almighty God says he detests – the worship of pagan gods – and just re-label it all now as dedicated to the true God? Is that OK?

Many who keep Christmas DO know its pagan origins but justify it by saying it’s all about Jesus now. IS that OK? Does that make it OK?

So many people who once believed as I do, that we can’t worship God from a pagan base, now keep Christmas with all the trimmings. They feel all this is harmless. IS it harmless? Is God rejoicing at all this glory going to him and his son?

This is such a serious question, such a serious offense to our God and I’ll show you – by scripture – so click on “continue reading” to see the rest of the story.

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God’s angelic protection for us

One of my favorite memories of my dad goes back to when I was just 5-6 years old. I had heard some fighting on the street in front of our house and someone had been stabbed -- so I lay there in bed, I cried out for my dad – Pastor Shields in the Philippines – and he came and sat with me in my bed. He assured me of his own presence, but also told me that GOD was with us and had protective powerful angels all around our home and in my bedroom too, even if I couldn’t see them. He prayed, we hugged, and I slept like a baby after that. I’m convinced we have our own guardian angel. Certainly scriptures hint of that, saying children have their own angel (Matthew 18:10).

Note: I see this “blog” as a study guide. I won’t write out all the scriptures but will refer to them and hope you will look them up in your own Bible. I think you’ll find yourself encouraged by this little study about angelic protection.

What and who are angels? Before mankind was created, God created angels – millions and millions of them – to serve him (Revelation 5:11). Remember all things, including the angels, were created by God through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9), fulfilling God the Father’s plans. This is also evident in other well-known scriptures like John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-18; Hebrews 1:1-4 and many more. Angels are neither male nor female and do not marry (Luke 20:34-36) but are powerful, intelligent and awesome spirit beings (Hebrews 1:7).

Yes, there definitely, absolutely, is a spirit world made up of very holy spirit beings and very evil demonic spirit beings. The Bible is full of examples of angelic appearances and protection. No doubt MOST of the time we’re not even aware of angelic protection. Other times it is obvious.

Click on “Continue reading” to learn what angels are, are there good and bad angels, what do they look like in their spirit form, who was “the Angel of the LORD”, and do we have our own “guardian angel”?

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