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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.

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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Understand “the gates of hell won’t prevail” - Matthew 16:18

One of the frequently quoted phrases about the resilience and toughness of God’s church – or even earthly church organizations – is that even if Satan’s forces attack them, “the gates of hell won’t prevail against the church.”  We’ll survive and weather Satan’s attacks – is the way it is often explained. It’s often put in the context of coming under Satan’s assaults against God’s ekklesia, the church.

That explanation comes from Matthew 16:18. Let’s read it. The word “hell” in our English KJV Bibles is from the Greek word “hades”, meaning the grave, death.

Matthew 16:18

“And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros, meaning ‘stone’), and on this Rock (Petra = large Rock or Cliff) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

But that is often misunderstood. Let’s review it. The English word for “hell” is translated from 3 Greek words: 

--- Gehenna – hell fire that burns up unrepentant wicked people until they are ashes (as in Malachi 4:3) under the soles of the righteous. See also Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:27; 23:15; James 3:6

--- Tartaro – in a netherworld “dungeon” reserved for fallen angels. Used only in 2 Peter 2:4.

--- Hades (or sheol in Hebrew) – meaning death and the grave (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Cor. 15:55; Revelation 20:13-14). 

Just about all of the verses that are translated “hell” in the Old Testament all come from the one Hebrew word “sheol” – the grave – the Hebrew equivalent of “hades” in the Greek.

So the Greek word in Matthew 16:18 is “hades’ – death, the grave.

Now here’s Yeshua’s (Jesus’) statement again:

Matthew 16:18

“And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros, meaning ‘stone’), and on this Rock (Petra = large Rock or Cliff) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

So there would be a “church” – or assembly, a group of people meeting – and the gates of the grave won’t prevail against it. Keep in mind that a true “church” in the Biblical sense is not the building, but the people. It’s the assembly, the congregation of those called out for a special purpose. In Greek it is “ekklesia”. The ekklesia (or church) is the group of congregants.

You see, we don’t “GO to church” because that means you’re focusing on the building. No, we ARE the church. And Yeshua says where 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, He’ll be there (Matthew 18:20). I guess we could say, “I’m going to fellowship services, or worship services” – but we don’t go to “church”.

So a lot of times I use the Greek term “Ekklesia”. Some don’t even like the English word “church” because of its pagan roots to “circ” or “kirk” – referring to a circle, pointing to ancient pagan sun worship. Even today, in England and even in America, you can find churches or church buildings called Kirk, especially among Presbyterian groups.

“Kirk” is an old northern English or Scottish word for church. Do you see the tie to ‘circ” or circle? In Leeds, Yorkshire England, for example, there is “Kirkstall Abbey”. Anyway, so that’s why I prefer to use terms like “assembly” or “congregation” or the Greek word “ekklesia” instead of saying “church” all the time.

But what does it mean that “the gates of hell – the grave—won’t prevail against the ekklesia”?

Click on “Continue reading” for the remainder of this intriguing blog.

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“Yehovah Tsidkenu”-- “YHVH Our Righteousness”

One of my favorite titles for our Savior and for our God is “Yehovah (or YHVH if you prefer), OUR righteousness.”  In Hebrew it is “YHVH Tsidkenu”.  

Jeremiah 23:5-6
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord,
"That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (YHVH Tsidkenu)

Many read right over this title. Or so many don’t believe it. God – OUR righteousness? But it’s so full of meaning. I’ve spoken and written several times on this important topic: that in the end, it won’t be your goodness or measure of how well YOU did through your life, as it is God seeing you covered with the robes of God’s own righteousness.

Isaiah 61:10 says, “For HE has clothed me with the garments of salvation, HE has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

Now combine that with the title in Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16 – “YHVH (the LORD) OUR Righteousness” and we begin to see what the robe of righteousness and garments of salvation is all about!

Do you remember the story of the wedding feast in Matthew 22? A king (God the Father) put on a wedding for his Son (Yeshua/Jesus). In those days, wealthy hosts wanted their guests to be properly dressed for the occasion – no ripped jeans in these weddings – so they provided the robes and garments. Everyone felt honored to wear the latest high couture. But one man slipped in thinking he felt more comfortable in his own faded blue jeans and T-shirt and must have rejected the garments provided for the occasion.

The king came in, saw him improperly dressed, and threw him out (Matthew 22:11-12). The man’s own garments were as filthy rags by comparison.

But did you get the point? The King – picturing God the Father – provided the robes, their covering. No one had to buy these garments or work for them. But someone trying to come in his own clothes, his own goodness, was rejected.

Neither you nor I will be at THE Wedding Supper of the Lamb of God and His Bride –IF we’re dressed in anything but the righteousness of God. We need HIS garments of salvation, his robes of righteousness, as Isaiah puts it.

When the prodigal son returned home repentantly, the Father says in Luke 15:22 – “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the BEST robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.” Again, it was provided for him upon his repentance. Please click on “continue reading” to finish the rest of this thought-provoking blog.

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Pope calls for one world government

You will find this link below to be an interesting read, which was sent to me by a fellow minister and friend in Washington state. 

https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/item/32245-pope-francis-calls-for-end-of-sovereignty-and-establishment-of-global-government?vsmaid=4572&vcid=13158

In here, we find Pope Francis calling for an END to national sovereignty and establishing a global government instead. He says one world governing power is necessary to properly tackle global problems like climate change and the mass migration of entire ethnic groups (like the border crisis the USA is facing right now on the southern border).

His significant voice is just one more being added to the many others calling for one world government. Though many thought President Trump would be leading us toward that same goal, so far he has not. But the Pope claimed planetary problems are only exacerbated “by an excessive demand for sovereignty on the part of States.”

My comment is this: I’ve been to the Vatican many times. As you get close, the first thing you see is that the entire city-country is surrounded by high and massively thick WALLS! Sure, they have several gates of entry. But even in the USA, we have over 300 legal ports of entry, but no proper southern wall, except for some few miles of low walls or fencing. Anyone on our southern border can just walk across in many, many places. It’s open – even for terrorists, let alone those hoping to just walk into our country without the proper protocols.

So before the Pope starts to preach at other countries, maybe he should look at his own city-state. Maybe start by declaring all Muslims (or anyone who wants to) moving to Europe are free and welcome to come to the Vatican to live and they’ll be amply provided for by the papacy. But I doubt you’ll see that happen.

But even here in the USA, we have the Democrats’ presidential candidates, including Joe Biden now, claiming that all immigrants and residents – documented (legal) or undocumented (illegally here) – should have access to full health care. I myself, as a citizen, went many years when our children were younger, without ANY health insurance because I could not afford it back then while I was self-employed. In the past 4-5 years, even with “Obamacare”, my wife and I paid about $24,000 a year, for several years, for this “coverage” – including the $6000 co-pay each year for any procedures I would have. It’s called “Affordable Care Act”. But $24,000 a year for the two of us was not “affordable”.

But some want to give away “free” health care to those who walk across illegally – while our own citizens struggle with health insurance payments unless their place of employment covers it. This does have much to do with one world government. So already we have the Pope interfering with what’s happening in some countries. He even said recently that “anyone who builds walls”, (then he paused before continuing, for effect)  --“is not a Christian”.

Pope Francis calls for “international organizations” to develop into governing bodies that would override and supplant national governments’ interests with – instead – what the United Nations would deem appropriate.

And of course, remember that most of the expenses of the UN are met and paid for by – once again – the USA. Not to mention the many problems caused by and done under the auspices of the UN!! Certainly the U.N. has not decreased the number of wars or solved anything noteworthy that I can think of. But the Pope wants them to have MORE power, more authority.

Those who wish to listen to this Pope, I hope, will at least listen to his steadfast abhorrence of abortion. But they selectively listen. He certainly is a liberal on most things.

Click on “Continue reading” to see what scripture says about the calls for one-world government.

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Spiritually speaking…

You can tell and learn a lot about people by listening to what they talk about, to what excites them, to what they want to tell everyone.  That tells you what is overflowing inside them, what means a lot to them.  And they – and God – can tell a lot about you and me by what we want to share with others as we talk.

Our Savior Yeshua (Jesus) said this and more:

Matthew 12:33-37 --- "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

One would think that especially after sabbath services, we would all be filled with the message we just heard and can’t help but talk about it while we fill our cup of coffee afterwards. You’d think everyone would be talking about something exciting in the message – or, lacking that, that we would be hearing one another discuss spiritual topics, especially on the sabbath.

But Yeshua didn’t differentiate that we speak more spiritually on one day versus other days. He simply teaches that we talk about what fills our hearts.

So again, what do our words tell God and one another about ourselves?

After services, and when we get together, sure – I get this – we have to ask how we all are, ask about the children or any sick relatives. Sure, we have to talk about many other things as well, but sooner or later does our conversation then devolve to the playoffs, or the latest crazy things the Dems or Republicans are doing, or gossip, or NASCAR, or the latest TV shows or movies, or other topics that reveal what really fills our heart?

This blog is simply a gentle wakeup call. We don’t want to be lukewarm Laodiceans. The Son of the living God says their lack of fire and zeal for the things of our God makes him want to puke. Read it for yourselves in Revelation 3. And again, what we are talking about reveals what fills our hearts and minds.

Peter, who prior to the crucifixion had denied his Savior three times, changed after he met his risen Lord. When threatened with beatings and worse – if they continued preaching and talking about the Christ – what did Peter say? It’s our model, frankly.  

Acts 4:20 –“For we are UNABLE to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

And what was Peter’s sermon about on the Day of Pentecost? Read it in Acts 2. It was all about the risen Christ and what that means to all of us. That’s what filled Peter’s heart. That is what should fill OUR hearts.

Click on “Continue reading” to read encouragement to speak up more – day by day, at church services, at home, or with friends about the things of God.

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DON’T let the Passover sneak up on you!

Short but vital blog today. Passover. It’s already come and gone for many of you who observed it in March, in 2019. Most Jews and sabbath-keeping believers still hold to the traditional rabbinic calendar, and for you – the Passover season starts in a few days. For you, the first day of Unleavened bread will be April 20, 2019, with the Passover bread and wine and foot washing ceremony observed before that date.

Have you given much thought to Passover this year? Are you ready to take the bread and the wine? Or did you find Passover suddenly here – and you were unprepared? If that is what has happened, resolve to make changes so it never happens again. It’s our own fault if that happened. But frankly it’s also a reflection on your ministers if that happened. Pastors should have been discussing Passover-type topics for the past few sabbaths.

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 you, to catch you off guard.

When we get new calendars each year, I make a point to mark up the calendars with the Passover and the holy days of God, as well as our anniversaries or plans we have. Then I do the same in my cell phone calendar and even make a note 2-3 weeks before Passover, to start thinking heavily about God’s love for me and for you.

Click on “Continue reading” for the remainder of this vital topic.

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