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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.

BUT I CAN’T FORGIVE ‘THAT’

(Host’s note:  This beautifully worded blog is from a new contributor and writer to Light on the Rock blogs.  We welcome this daughter of God, who will go by “Newfie”. I hope you get as much inspiration out of it as I did. – Philip Shields)

“There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.” Greek historian, Polybius (205 BC-118 BC)

Passover is almost upon us and when I saw this quote today it grabbed my instant attention.  How true!  Conscience can be a formidable thing when repenting and walking on a rocky road toward perfection.  ALL of us sin and have sinned and come short of God’s glory—eternal life. Romans 3:23 I think most of us know that even if we didn’t grow up Christian.

And the fact that we have a conscience shows, by itself, that God still considers us His “good” creation (Genesis 1:31) and has not hidden Himself from us (Yes He does separate Himself from sin but that is another topic) or taken all that is good from us..  (“If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me” (Deuteronomy 4:29/ Jeremiah 29:13)

“But my sin was SO HORRIBLE!  I JUST CAN’T FORGIVE MYSELF EVER!”  we might say.  “I am sitting in jail right this moment and will be here for the rest of my life!  How am I supposed to forgive myself for that?!”

Well, here is where the Power that you don’t automatically have by yourself comes in.  You have repented (promised the Eternal that you will not repeat that horrible action or those horrible thoughts), have turned from your previous way of life and recognized that your sins are UGLY in His sight. (Isaiah 64:6) but He still loves each of us enough that He gave up His one and only Son to die and pay for that ugliness. (John 3:16) With repentance He then promises to clean us.  (I John 1:9/ Psalms 51:2/ and my favorite, Psalms 51:10)


THEN He welcomes us into His House.  Psalms 23:6 says goodness and mercy will follow us and we will dwell in God’s house forever.  I will say “forever” means “forever’ so the time period would have to include now.  He welcomes us before His presence!

This would be hard to do if we were not also forgiving ourselves because His house is a house of rest.  (Hebrews 4::1-9) Although these verses contain many meanings with one of the main ones being a permanent fulfillment of ‘rest’ (eliminating all anxiety and self-incrimination while being filled with the fruits of the Spirit) they also refer to a rest that we can have in this life!

Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and don’t keep judging herself.  He said he was certainly not going to judge her because her accusers were gone.  For her accusers to be gone, she could not accuse herself.  He instructed: “... go and sin no more”.  (John 8:11—read the whole story in this chapter).

My request for all of us is to take God up on is promises.  One day at a time ask Him to remove our bad thoughts. (Matthew 6:11)   They are certainly Satan inspired. (Matthew 6:13) And to go forward through Passover with humility and great thankfulness for being cleaned up and forgiven by our Savior.

So go with solemn joy to Passover with a joyful, forgiven and clean heart – and take of his bread of his life, and drink of his cup.  All of this is possible because of what HE has done for you and me. We praise you, our Father.  We praise you, our Savior. 

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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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Halloween. Believers won’t participate!

This blog is on a perennial topic of the worst time of the year, as far as I’m concerned.  I’ve just given several sermons about Satan and demons and how we will demolish them in Christ.  Halloween is all about the dark forces of evil - and a time when witches and Satanists the world over have a hey-day.  Children of God:  do NOT participate in it. Do NOT let your children participate. You the adult parents or guardians will be the ones held responsible. 

You can do your own quick search on this site. Just go to the Search bar on the top right, click on it, and then when the larger search bar comes up, write “Halloween”. I have several blogs or even parts of sermons on this.

Or you can Google “Halloween’s origins” and see for yourself how this time has nothing to do with God or godliness. Halloween is not good. It’s not of God. Certainly anything to do with witchcraft, symbols of black and dark evil (bats, black cats, witches, sorcerers, demons, demonic symbolisms, murder, bloodshed, axes in people’s heads, etc. etc.) are outright condemned by God Almighty.  

And what do we find on TV now for weeks before Halloween? Non-stop horror films, scary films, bloodshed, demonism and everything UNGODLY is mostly what’s on.

Halloween is not among God’s holy days, of course. It can’t be pleasing to God. It can’t be pleasing to God’s children. It’s a night of darkness mostly. Maybe this blog is too late for some of you, but I hope you will not participate next year and onwards, after that. 

Does Halloween lead your children to delight in God and to praise and serve Him? Of course not. Does Halloween lead you and your children to love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and being and to love one another as your own self?   Of course not. Then why on earth would you participate in it? Don’t. Please don’t.

Here are some quick scriptures to get you grounded again if you were going to participate. Click on “continue reading” to see some scriptures on this.

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LIVING IN “BIBLE days”

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have lived in Bible days? Have you ever thought that? 

** To be in the Valley of Elah and watch David confront the giant Goliath?

** To be there when Yeshua walked the earth; to be part of his audience during his sermons and teachings?

** Or to hear the preaching of Jonah or Isaiah or Peter and Paul?

** To have watched Elijah and his simple prayer of faith and call down fire from heaven?

** How awesome it would have been to watch the Red Sea part in two and walk across.

** Or to have been in the Ark that Noah built.

Or better yet, how wonderful it would have been to have seen and conversed with the risen Christ and to have been among the 500 or so who watched him rise back up to heaven?

Of course I doubt we would have liked to have been among the early believers who were stoned, thrown to the lions or burned at the stake by the thousands for their professed belief in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

But still, “If only I could have lived in Bible days” we muse.

I’ve got news for you. When it is all said and done, all those people will be saying all that about you and me! All who came before us will be thinking WE are the ones who got the best of “Bible times”.

We ARE living in the very days that the prophets prophesied about! We are watching the collapse of governments as they cave to the ungodly demands of the ungodly. We will watch the formation of the Beast power and the anti-Christ great False prophet that probably is alive and active even now. Let me rephrase: we ARE already watching the formation of all the building blocks necessary to have the worldwide Beast power appear before us. Perhaps some of us just need to open our eyes to this.

Click on “Continue reading” to get more of this perspective.

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When did you last feed Yeshua?

In the parable of the sheep and goats, you know the passage (Matthew 24:31-46), Yeshua tells the sheep – his people – that he was rewarding them because they saw him – Yeshua – hungry and they fed him; thirsty and gave him drink; a stranger and took him in.  “I was naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in PRISON and you came to me” (verses 33-36). 

Tell me, when did you last feed Yeshua? When did you last invite Christ himself in or spend time with him in prison? In fact, have you ever been to a prison, ever, to speak to the souls inside?

So Matthew 25 is a nice story, but are we doing any of it? Can you and I actually point to a time and place and people who needed clothes and shoes and we clothed them, or people in prison and we visited? Or strangers who needed a place to stay and we brought them in? Have you ever given a thirsty believer an actual clean cup of water? Have you ever knelt beside someone (other than immediate family) who was sick and prayed for him or her for as long as it took?

When we love and take care of the body of Christ – the believers especially – our Savior considers it being done to him. In the same way, if we disregard or attack his Body of believers, that too, he takes personally. Remember to Saul (Paul) he said, “Why are you persecuting ME”.

God reminds us through James what a cop-out it is to just say, “Be warm, be filled, my thoughts and prayers are with you” when we hear of people needing real tangible help – but besides claiming to think about them, we do nothing tangible?  That’s a cop-out and NOT what we’re being called to be a part of!

We all, including me, we all speak of love and faith, but are our deeds proving our faith and obedience?

James 2:14-17 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Click on “continue reading” to discover ways and ideas on how you can start to fulfill these words of Yeshua and James, his brother.

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“LUCIFER” was not Satan’s real name!

I’m going through a 3-part sermon about shutting the door to Satan and his demons. Within this series, to which I hope you will listen, you will learn a lot about the origin of the bad angels called demons, and their leader The Adversary (that’s what “Satan” means). You’ll learn of our power over them granted to us by Yeshua who totally defeated Satan. You’ll learn HOW we overpower and defeat them. 

Jews call their evil leader “HaSatan”. “Ha” in Hebrew simply means “the”. So they call him what he is – The Adversary, the Enemy.

One of the most common errors taught in the name of the Bible is this: “Satan’s original name was ‘Lucifer’.” You’ve heard that before, right?

Well, actually “Lucifer” never ever was Satan’s name before he rebelled. It’s very important you understand this. That name is not in the original Hebrew inspired version of Scripture. Did you realize that?

“But wait”, you say, “doesn’t Isaiah 14:12 call him ‘Lucifer?”

In our English Bibles, yes it does call him either Lucifer or “morning star” – which is what LUCIFER means. I used to be taught it meant “Light Bringer” – but that has more to do with his given Hebrew name. As I’ll show you, being called “Lucifer” is one of the greatest robberies Satan has pulled off: he’s taken a description that belongs to Yeshua, the TRUE Morning Star, and has inspired translators to use the LATIN word Lucifer that means “morning star” (or planet Venus) as his name in Isaiah 14:12.

Follow this carefully now. It’s very important. Names are very crucial to God.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew with a smattering of Aramaic. We call the “Old Testament” -- “the Hebrew Scriptures” as they were written in Hebrew and were originally written for and by the Hebrew people – though it’s clear the Bible really is for all peoples.

In our English Bibles Isaiah 14:12 does say this:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

But the name LUCIFER comes straight as a borrowed word from Jerome’s LATIN Vulgate translation of the Bible. Jerome used the Latin word “Lucifer” instead of the original Hebrew word “Heylel”. And Latin speaking people called the planet we know as “Venus” – LUCIFER. It was their name for the Morning Star.

Here’s how Young’s Literal Translation more correctly puts it as we read about the former arch-angel, a 4-winged covering cherub who sinned:

Isaiah 14:12 –“How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one (Heylel in Hebrew), son of the dawn!”

The name given there in Hebrew is “Heylel” meaning “shining one” or “brightness”. I used to be taught that it meant “Light Bringer” but “Shining one” is more accurate.

Click here on “continue reading” to learn more about this monstrous theft and to find out who was robbed! (It will only be temporary though).

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The SIGN over Yeshua’s cross

WHO exactly was crucified at the stake or cross in Golgotha?  Sure, everyone knows it was Jesus (or Yeshua) of Nazareth.  Does the sign placed over his head reveal much more than we realize at first glance?  WHO really was this Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth?

I think you’re about to be amazed at what actually was going on as revealed -- for those with eyes to see – by the sign that was posted over his bleeding head. In this short article you’ll see just how dramatic that sign was; perhaps much more than you’ve realized before. I’ve mentioned this in various sermons over the years, but it’s worth repeating here!

Something about the wording Pilate placed on the sign really upset the chief priests. What was it? Let’s read what we’re told:

John 19:19-22 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:

“JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS”.

Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but that, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'" Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

On the surface, it appears the chief priests were just upset by the notion that Pilate labeled Yeshua as their king. But you’ll see it goes a lot deeper than that. Note that the sign’s words were written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The Hebrew verbiage is most fascinating. John 19:20 says “Hebrew” in the original text, though some “modern” translations say – wrongly – Aramaic. They even footnote that the Greek original says “in Hebrew” but some translations still insist on saying “Aramaic.” Wrong. It was Hebrew.

In Hebrew, the sign would have read, “Yeshua, Ha’Netzeret V’melech HaYehudim.”

So what’s so upsetting with that?

To dig deeper and learn more about this fascinating sign, please be sure to click on “Continue reading”. You won’t be disappointed!

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ENOCH and Elijah – are they in heaven?

This blog is really an addendum to a recent sermon in July 2019 I gave on the spirit in man, which is from God and goes back to God upon our death (Ecclesiastes 12:7).  I recommend you hear/read those 2 recent sermons.    

So many believe Enoch and Elijah were taken by God to heaven. Can that be true?

Yeshua (Jesus) said “NO ONE has ascended to heaven except the Son of Man from heaven” (himself ) – John 3:13. But many believe that active conscious beings are up there, and certainly Enoch and Elijah should be there, many say. But is that true.

If Elijah has ascended to heaven and is in heaven, or if Enoch went to heaven, then are we saying that Yeshua didn’t tell the truth? That can’t be! There must be a better explanation.

Let’s cover Elijah first. And remember again, Yeshua said NO ONE has ascended into heaven – and in context, I believe Yeshua had to be referring to the 3rd heaven where God lives. No man has ascended bodily to Paradise in the 3rd heaven, though we’ll see that Paul says he himself was taken there in a vision so real he could not discern if real or not. You can read his account in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and beyond.

My point is that Paul calls where God is – the “3rd heaven”, where “Paradise” is. Yeshua said NO ONE has gone up bodily here, so Paul’s experience must have been a very realistic vision.

Saying “third heaven” tells us there are 2 other heavens. (I know many believe in 7 heavens, but scripture speaks of three.) The “third heaven” is God’s dwelling place.   Christ is seated at God’s right hand “in the heavens” (Heb 8:1), which is God’s dwelling place (Deut 26:15).

Scripture describes various “heavens”. There is a “heaven” in scriptures where birds fly and where clouds form. That “heaven” is what we call the sky that we can easily see. It’s what is called “inner space” (vs. “outer space”). The birds of heaven fly here (Job 35:11; Jeremiah 16:4). This is the FIRST heaven.

Then there’s a heaven where the moon, sun and stars are. Gen 26:4; Isa 13:10 – outer space. David speaks of “your heavens...” where the moon, and stars are (Psalm 8:3).   This “outer space” heaven is the 2nd heaven. And again the 3rd heaven is where God’s throne is.

So what happened to Elijah? It seems that a lot of people like to say he was taken to God’s 3rd heaven in a fiery chariot. I just Googled Elijah and chariot – and so much of the artwork is of Elijah being taken up in a chariot of fire! Children’s Bible stories often show him in a chariot of fire. Is that what scripture says though?

He was talking with Elisha, his successor in ministry, and suddenly a “chariot of fire” came at them, separating them, and then Elijah was picked up in a tornado or whirlwind “into heaven”. It was NOT a fiery chariot that took him up. The chariot was a sudden and scary way to separate the two so Elijah could be isolated and Elijah could be picked up by the tornado. We have many accounts over the years of people being picked up by tornadoes and dropped somewhere else, by the way. Yes, some live to tell the story. So let’s see what scripture actually says.

2 Kings 2:11   “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

He was NOT caught up by a chariot of fire driven by angels. It says a whirlwind caught him up. Which of the 3 heavens do whirlwinds operate in? The First heaven – where clouds are, where birds fly. 

Click on “Continue reading” to finish the account of Elijah and then Enoch, and whether they are in heaven or not.

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TATTOOS – Should God’s children go have tattoos?

I was at a Barnes & Noble bookstore recently and was surprised how many magazines are devoted to “body art” – or tattoos specifically.  I paged through a few of the magazines and some of the models were covered from the top of their heads to their feet with tattoos.

And when you go to the beach or a beachside resort, what do we see? Men, women and even teens with tattoos. You’ve probably seen some people tattooed from head to toe!

What does YHVH say about tattoos?  What does God’s holy word say about it?  Would Yeshua ever have had a tattoo?  Or does having a tattoo break God’s law?    

It has become a worldwide craze. What was once the realm of navy sailors, gangs or certain ethnic groups or tribal custom, is now being practiced by a wide swath of humanity. Now even teens and young adults everywhere seem to have tattoos. Some are of pretty butterflies. Others, from a distance, appear more like a bad bruise on one’s leg or arm! I’ve been in locker rooms where men have tattoos even on very private parts. I hear the same is true for women. And of course once a tattoo is done, it’s very difficult and painful to try to un-tattoo. I’ve heard it can be done, but how painful it must be. tattoo

I’m writing on this not because it’s the most important thing to talk about. It isn’t. But it IS important enough that GOD talks about it. Did you realize that? Anything HE says IS important just so we know His mind on a topic. And I am concerned because I have seen even more and more believers starting to get tattoos. 

What does our Father in heaven say to his children on this topic? 

First of all, we’re told in the beautiful passage in 1 Peter 3:3-4, directed more at wives, but there’s a principle there for us all: that our adorning should NOT be focused on outward adorning but inward. We should not be focused on things the world focuses on to get attention and to look beautiful to humanity such as having impossibly white teeth, or where we bought our dress or suit, or how much we paid for our shoes, or the gold rings we wear.

What is FAR more important to our God is that we have a beautiful HEART and an inward spirit that is gentle and quiet. That’s gorgeous to God. Remember when Samuel was to anoint the next king of Israel, YHVH says – “Samuel, don’t judge by what you see, by one’s outward appearance, or one’s height or physique, but look at the man’s HEART, like I do. That’s what I look for!” (I paraphrased it quite a bit--1 Samuel 16:7). Be sure to heed Christ’s words – “…For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15) 

We are to come out of this Babylon, this world, and represent the values of God instead. Our Creator is not against beauty, or wearing jewelry or having nice clothes, but that should not be our FOCUS. There are lots and lots of examples of the people of God having and wearing jewelry, for example, but God is looking at our hearts. 

But is that your focus? Are you overly concerned about how you look? Where’s God’s focus? And where God Most High has made clear statements, we would be eager to listen to him.  

Is God really concerned about how pretty or striking your tattoo is? Of whether you are a B or a DD cup? Or whether you are 5 ft. tall or 6 ft. tall? Or if you’re “ripped” and your abs show lots of muscle? There is SO much emphasis on outward beauty that people are even becoming suicidal over it sometimes if they feel they don’t measure up. 

Believe it or not, your Maker does say something about tattoos. 

Click on “Continue reading” to the right of this page, to find out what our Abba, our dear heavenly Daddy, who is also Almighty God, has to say to His children. 

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Paul and Philemon – and you and I

In my last blog I wrote about helping a wandering brother or sister back to the bedrock of Truth, who is of course, Yeshua the Son of God.  I hope you will read that one. This one follows up on it in a way. 

When was the last time you read the short letter to Philemon? It’s a masterful and gentle—and yet a very strong teaching from Paul to a church leader named Philemon. Back in Paul’s day, it was not uncommon to have male and female slaves – yes, people you bought and sold and who lived and worked in your house. And yes, even in the household of God this was going on. This letter revolves around a runaway slave of one of the leaders in Colossae – yes, same as the group to whom “Colossians” was written.

Remember that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and many of the Israelites, and no doubt the Israelite and Jewish kings – including David and all the rest – also had slaves. Slavery is not my topic today. My topic is how Paul handled a runaway slave and the slave’s “owner” and how it ties in, in a way, to my last blog about helping someone wandering from the truth – but doing it with grace, gentle firmness and love.

And this book of Philemon was a clear signal to early Christians that we were to start to view one another as all children of God, whether we were slave or free -- and where possible, to start to change the social assumptions that everyone had back then.

Please open up in your own New Testament to the “book” of Philemon – very short – and follow along with me. It’s the letter just before the book of Hebrews.

Paul opens by calling Philemon a “fellow laborer” – a term that often could mean a fellow minister or helper in the work Paul was doing. So we can’t be sure Philemon was an ordained minister, though tradition says he was. No doubt he was a man of some standing in the congregation. Apphia was probably Philemon’s wife.

Paul mentions “and to the assembly (church) in your house” (verse 2). Perhaps this alludes to “a house church” where other believers came to worship and meet in Philemon’s house.

Paul begins by commending Philemon for being such a reliable and dependable leader and fellow-believer in Colossae. He speaks of Philemon’s love and faith in verses 4-7 and calls him a “brother”.

Now the short summarized story for the rest of his letter is this:

** Onesimus, though a slave of Philemon, had run away

** Prior to running away, he may not have been a very good servant or slave

** Runaways were often treated harshly when found

** Somehow and some way after he ran away – by God’s calling no doubt – Onesimus and Paul had met up in Rome.

** God uses Paul to bring Onesimus to conversion and into the body of Christ.

** Paul determines to send Onesimus back to Philemon in Colossae, but writes a letter so that Philemon just might start to view Onesimus in a different light. Philemon means “affectionate”. Onesimus means “profitable” or “useful”. Notice how the theme of being useful and profitable to Paul and one another is woven through this letter. It’s a masterpiece. Onesimus is mentioned in Colossians 4:9 as a “faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.”

Click on “Continue reading” to finish learning about Paul’s masterful use of his authority as an apostle – and yet his desire to help, as a brother. It’s masterful. We have much to learn from this short letter. Yes, me too!

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Turning people back from error (James 5:19-20)

James 5:19-20    “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

KJV says “If any of you ERR from the truth…”   The Greek there for “err” really does strongly imply “wanders” from the truth; a gradual movement away from God’s truth – and from Christ himself, since HE is the truth and the Way.

Do you practice this passage? Do you actively seek to turn people back to the truth when you see them wandering from it? How does one do that? Should you do that? Why should we bother?

A common expression is this:  “This is a free country. We are all entitled to our own opinion.”  And with that, we wander off ourselves, away from someone who is being led into error.  It is, we reason, none of our business.

But when we see someone wandering off the right path – shouldn’t we have more of an “I am my brother’s keeper” mentality?  God says we should.  I’m NOT talking about yanking someone out of their doldrums and loudly proclaiming their sin to them.  I AM talking about caring enough for a brother or sister to bring your loving concern to their attention, gently. 

Peter, Jude and Paul all speak about people straying. Paul says some stray due to overly seeking money (1 Timothy 6:10). Others stray from the faith by giving heed to “new truth” and idle babblings (1 Tim. 6:21).  In Paul’s day, there were brethren causing problems because they taught “the resurrection” is already past (2 Tim. 2:18). Peter warned that any of us could fall from our “own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Peter 3:17). 

How many people could be alive today if more of us acted and gently intervened in the lives of our spiritual family? Or if you had carefully talked with someone who was starting to drink too much?  I’ve talked to younger brothers in the faith about alcohol and other issues, and they listened and changed.

So we don't use a sledgehammer approach but a gentle and careful approach that is preceded by prayer for help and guidance. 

Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.

Click on “Continue reading” here to finish this instructive piece.

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Happy Father’s Day: HONOR your Father and Mother

On June 16, 2019, the USA has a special day to honor Fathers.  Mothers’ Day is in May.  I don’t know if a lot of other countries do Father’s Day, though many do the same date we have for Mother’s Day.  In America, the origin of these days has no connection to ancient pagan days.  Grown children wanted to honor their Father and, earlier, the mothers – and Congress eventually passed those days.

Since the 5th commandment is to honor father and mother, (Exodus 20:12) it is fitting and appropriate to have this special day.  Since God the Father is the ultimate Father, there are several scriptures that compare our honoring a human father with honoring him.  I may do a fresh sermon on that later today. 

My father died in 1984 when I was only 31 yrs old, and my Mom died in 1993 when I was 40.  I wish like anything I could be with them and honor them on these days and I miss them so. So many times, some people don’t realize what a gem they have in their father and mother until … until they are gone. Don’t let that be your regret, if you have a living father and mother.  Be spending time with them now. Honoring them on a certain day each year will mean more if they know you honor them and spend time with them in person or on the phone all throughout the year.  

Exodus 20:12   “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you”.

Let’s notice a couple things:

** It’s the transition command between the commands on how to love God and how to love man.

** God is also our Father.

 ** It does not say, HONOR your parents IF they are worthy of your honor in your opinion.  It doesn’t say that.  It just says to honor them for being your dad and mom. Our God gives no qualifiers.  They qualify for honor simply by being your parents.  I know in most situations, honor has to be earned. But in this case, God gave no qualifying standards.  I realize that some few fathers may even be dangerous to be around, so perhaps you can’t be there with some fathers, but at least from a safe distance still honor the man. He’s your Father! 

Fathers, on the other hand, let’s do our very best to BE worthy of our children’s love and honor.  But “kids” – even if your dad lacks some virtues, our fathers are to be respected and honored. 

There are many scriptures about honoring mom and dad.

** If someone curses, strikes or hits their father or mother, God said that child shall “surely be put to death”.  That’s how seriously God considers such disrespect (Exodus 21:15, 17). Yeshua (Jesus) repeated that in Matthew 15:4-6.

Respect for parents is commanded (Leviticus 19:3), so much so that we are all to rise in the presence of the elderly and old people (Lev. 19:32).  Do we always do that?  That’s part of God’s instructions.  Let’s start doing it.  Solomon did for his mom Bathsheba – 1 Kings 2:19.

Instead of honoring dads, we see more and more commercials, movies and TV shows that mock “the old man” and portray him as stupid, ignorant, know-nothings. Don’t laugh along with such disrespect.  Don’t participate in disrespectful comments and stories about dads. Just don’t. 

** Children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20).   And, at the same time, Fathers are told not to discourage or exasperate their children (Col 3:21). 

So are YOU going to honor your Dad on Father’s Day?  And really – honor him on every day? We believers certainly should.

There are certain minimal things – at least – that all children of any age should do for their father:  Click on “Continue reading” to finish reading the rest of this blog and to see what we can learn from John the Baptist and what God says about fathers. 

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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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Was Peter the ROCK of the Church?

It is often said that Peter was the Rock upon which the church was built, and it comes from Matthew 16:18. Here, Yeshua (Jesus) had just asked the disciples who people were saying he was. They replied in various ways, and then Yeshua asked Peter, the son (bar) of Jonah, and his reply was so inspired.

Let’s read it.

Matthew 16:16-20

Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ (Anointed One, the Messiah), the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

So on the basis of verse 18, many have taught and believed that Peter is the Rock upon which the church of God has been built. But is that so? Last time we looked into the “gates of hades (hell) shall not prevail against it”. Remember that? And how gates don’t attack? This time, let’s look at whether or not Peter was the rock undergirding the church.  

A little background is in order. Peter’s original name was Simon or – in Hebrew – Simeon, son of Jonah”. Yeshua actually renamed him Cephas, an Aramaic name which means “stone”, a pebble, or a small rock is what it refers to. When this was translated to Greek, Cephas becomes the Greek equivalent – “Petros”, where get the anglicized (English) name “Peter”. 

See Strong’s #4074 –for Petros/Peter -- “A piece of a rock, a detached stone or boulder. It always means a stone, never a rock… it is a large stone, a piece or fragment of a rock such as a man might throw” 

Folks, you don’t build a church or a fellowship on a fragment of rock. No, you need a “petra’- a massive rock.  

“Petra” – 4073 – A MASS of rock, a projecting rock, cliff.

Now please keep these distinctions clearly in your mind. 

But again, the name Yeshua actually gave Peter was originally an Aramaic name -- Cephas (stone). So his original name was Simon, changed by Yeshua to Cephas or Petros – so that’s where we get “Simon Peter”. Let’s read it. 

John 1:40-42

“One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). 

Click on “Continue reading” for the rest of this fascinating topic. 

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