Blogs

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

Handling 2016’s Passover calendar issues

“What should I do?  Which expert should I follow?”  I’m hearing this question a lot lately, especially THIS year. 

You may or may not have heard of the huge recent decision by many who do not follow the rabbinic calendar to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavens (or Unleavened Bread) a whole month earlyTherefore, this year, many are planning to keep Passover day on March 24, and most of those will keep the bread/wine Passover service the evening of March 23.  And the first holyday of Unleavened Bread for these folks will be Friday, March 25.  Those on the rabbinic calendar will be keeping those days near the end of April on the appointed days.

This year, this discussion about keeping it a month earlier than the rest has nothing to do with the Equinox.  So don’t jump to that conclusion. It’s a different issue this year.

You know perhaps already about the debate that has raged for decades between the rabbinic orthodox Jewish calendar that most Jews follow, and most Church of God groups follow – and the one that goes by visual sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem.  Usually the latter group ends up keeping the holydays one or two days later than the first group.  But this year, there’s a whole MONTH difference between some of these groups.

What happened? Why the change?  In this blog I hope to simplify what’s happening and what your role is and how to help you feel about your decision

It boils down to this.  The first month was originally called the month of Abib (or Aviv) by God himself.  Nisan was the new Babylonian name they accepted years later.  If you check the context and find that Yahweh is the one speaking, you’ll see that HE himself calls it “the month of Abib”  (on your own time read Exodus 23:14-15;  Ex. 34:17-18;  Deut 16:1 –and notice if you go back, that it is Yahweh who is speaking). 

 When they Jews came back from Babylon, they had renamed some of the months by the pagan Babylonian names including the first month – to Nisan. And there’s the great new name Tammuz (ever hear of that name?), and so on.  But it was originally called Abib in the Bible.  

Abib refers to a stage in the first grains to be harvested – the lowly barley.  The first of the firstfruits of barley pictured the Messiah who would be raised (waved) to heaven to be “accepted in our behalf” (just as Christ did for us), as Leviticus 23:9-11.  Then the real barley harvest could begin.

Those who are keeping the Passover a month early will also be remembering Wavesheaf day on March 27, which coincidentally is also Easter Sunday, for whatever that is worth.  The fact that the first month is called Abib points to that stage of barley harvest when the barley is green but at a certain stage of being able to be harvested, dried and then eventually milled into very fine flour. I’m keeping the discussion basic.  There are many websites that go into far more depth. 

MY point is to figure out what to do about it and how to deal with one another because of all these differences of viewpoint.

Now – why are some keeping the Passover in March instead of April?  Click on “Continue reading” to get the overview and what you need to do about it. 

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“Do this in remembrance of ME”

Luke 22:19

  

Passover will be here soon.  In my last blog I wrote about “What are you focusing on as we come to Passover and the self-examination prior to it.” I hope you’ve read that.  Today let’s kick it up a notch. I consider this blog one of the most important ones I’ve written.

I want to bring to the forefront a concept that seems to be lost on some.  It seems at Passover – uh, among those who keep it – that there’s a strong focus and recounting on how it pictured Israel coming out of Egypt. I’ve done that too and will continue to with some changes that make all the difference!   And indeed in the book of Exodus Israel is commanded to review what happened in Egypt at each year’s Passover season.

But where is our FOCUS in 2016?  Where should it be today?  On Egypt, the death of the firstborn, and coming out of Egypt?  Or is there more, much more now that we have that they didn’t have back then?  You won't hear this message in many circles today – sadly.

Let’s remember that all of what happened in the book of Exodus pointed to Someone and something!  The Passover Lamb pictured Someone.  The blood of the Passover lamb pictured Someone’s blood.  So did the death of the firstborn. The lintel and doorpost of the Israelite homes also depicted something.  And so did the Exodus and crossing the Red Sea.

We’re in the New Covenant now.  When we conduct a Passover nowadays, should the thrust of our conversation and the bulk of the time we spend in our sermons and our sermonettes all be on the Old Testament story of coming out of Egypt – or is there something and Someone far grander now?  Where should our TIME and our mental focus be spent today? 

Here’s what I’m getting at…. Please click on “Continue reading” to get the whole story of where our thrust should be today and to be sure your focus is right.

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Where’s your focus pre-Passover?

Passover will be here before we know it. Prior to Passover, we are told in 2 Cor. 13:5 to examine ourselves, to see whether we are in the faith.  This verse and teaching has led to much depression, frankly – as so many look inwardly at themselves, and then see all kinds of no-growth, or sin that still exists in their lives and then they feel so unworthy of taking the Passover.  And we know what it says in 1 Corinthians 11 – that we must beware lest we take the Passover unworthily or in an unworthy manner. 

So I have a question for us all this season, this year:  as you examine yourself, where do you focus? On yourself, or elsewhere? Is the examination intended to depress – or refocus our attention and focus?  So let’s read the context and the verse after 2 Cor. 13:5 and I think we’ll feel and see a different energy from this passage. I pray many of you will find encouragement and inspiration from this blog to see a positive outcome of growth and fruit at the end of all this.

But first, let me remind you that 1 Corinthians 11:27 – that says we must take the Passover in a worthy manner – also says this in the next verse:

1 Corinthians 11:27-28

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, AND SO LET HIM EAT of the bread and DRINK of the cup.”  

The thrust is – TAKE the Passover. But examine yourself first.  But as you examine yourself, you’re looking to Christ and realize HE is your salvation.  You don’t examine yourself and then decide NOT to take the Passover. That’s NOT the thrust of scripture. But of course neither are we to come to Passover all nonchalant and without a lot of forethought. 

He goes on to say in verses 29-32 that even if we are judged by the Lord, it’s for our good, it’s for chastening, “that we may not be condemned with the world.”  You see the point of all this?  It’s to get us to wake up but also to understand GOD has made a commitment to us to see us through to the end. He who began a good work in you will FINISH that work –Philippians 1:6.  No one will be lost from the Master’s hand.  Remember Christ is called the “Finisher” of our faith, not just the author or beginner of it (Hebrews 12:2). 

So what’s the key to having the right mindset for Passover?  ON what are you focusing?  Where is your focus?  Click on “Continue reading” to see the key. 

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Does Yeshua, who is God, also HAVE a God?

This blog may surprise, maybe even dismay, some of you. For others, you’ve known this for years. But it’s a topic I’ve never heard preached in church services or on TV or on the radio. Maybe I’ve just missed them all. It’s this title – that though Yeshua (Jesus) is the Son of God, and therefore is God – scripture clearly also tells us that Yeshua HAS a God, like you and I have a God.

Have you thought of that a lot before? Nowhere in scripture are we told that the One we call “God the Father”, or “God Most High” – has a God. He is God. He is IT. Yeshua called his Father (and our Father) – “The only true God” (John 17:2-3), whatever you want to make of that. Maybe we’ll cover that another time.

But having said that, John 1:1-3 and many other verses clearly tell us that in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God -- and was God. The Word became flesh (John 1:14). So we know the “Word” refers to Jesus Christ, or Yeshua (his Hebrew name). Yeshua, the King of Kings is also referred to as the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. As GOD in the flesh, He allowed people like the healed blind man of John 9 to worship him. Angels, shepherds and magi all worshiped him also, even as a baby or small child.

John 1:1-4

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.
John 1:14

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

OK, are you with me so far? Yeshua (Jesus) is, was and always will be – God, as His father is God. In fact he sometimes said he and his father are one.

Nowhere are we told that God the Father – or God Most High – has a God. HE is it! There is no other. In praying to His heavenly Father, here’s something Yeshua said at Passover:

John 17:3

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”.

SO God the Father does not have any God. HE IS God.

But did you know Jesus has a God?

Click on “Continue reading” to see the clear verses that show Yeshua HAS a God!

Yeshua certainly acknowledges God the Father as HIS GOD, while He was a man of flesh here on the earth:

Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

But what about after his resurrection? Would He still refer to God the Father as His God?

John 20:17

Jesus said to her (Mary Magdalene), "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

You see the doctrine that God the Father and Yeshua are co-equal parts of the godhead, is not borne out in scripture. Yeshua always taught that his Father was greater than he. (Clearly stated in John 14:28.)   He always referred to himself as the One whom the Father had sent, and he made it clear in numerous passages that the one being sent is not as great as the one sending!

So though Father and Son somehow make up ONE GOD, the Father is the greater of the two. Scripture says YHVH is ONE (Deut 6:4) – and the Hebrew word for “one” is “echad”. But that same word is used of Adam and Eve, or man/wife – who also become echad, one flesh, in their union (Genesis 2:24). So in the same way, God the Father and God the Son (Yeshua) can also be echad – one – ONE God. Let me know if you’d like me to expound on that later. Let’s stick to Yeshua having a God for now.

See John 10:28-29 – “Father is greater than all; My Father and I are one.”

Are you ready for more scriptures showing Yeshua has a God?

Ephesians 1:3

“Blessed be the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…”

Ephesians 1:17

“….that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…”

Revelation 3:12 (Jesus speaking):

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”

Paul quotes Psalm 45 in Hebrews 1:8 to refer to Yeshua:

Psalms 45:6-7

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; (referring to Christ!)

A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You

With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

Interesting, isn’t it?

Are you ready for a few more? Some of you will probably wonder how you could have just read over these verses before without soaking in the richness of what’s included here: that Yeshua HAS a God. He’s not just God – but he HAS a God.

Romans 15:6

“…that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 1:3

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”

2 Corinthians 11:31

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.”

We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – and I hope this blog has helped add another layer to the richness of knowing more and more about Yeshua, our Messiah, His majesty the Son of God.

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Do it now – while you can

How suddenly our lives can be turned upside down.  We’re aware of the big stuff:  A fatal car accident. A heart attack out of nowhere.  A stroke.  Even suicide.  Our own lives were smashed hard this week with news of a death of a beloved young man in the expanded family.  Someone I knew  - but didn’t really know well, but his untimely death has left me feeling very numb.

Sometimes our lives can be turned around for good – or for disaster – sometimes simply because you, or someone, does something, or says something.  Our words and actions can heal or destroy. I’ve certainly done my share of both. No doubt we all have.

Think of the loved ones you have in your family.  Then broaden it out to your friends and neighbors.  Is there anything  you can say or do to each one that just might turn their day around?  We all know how words can make or break a day—or even a life.

The other day I took the time to tell one of the back-office ladies at our firm how much we all appreciated her behind-the-scenes work. My note was detailed.  She immediately emailed me back stating how touching that was.  My little off-the-cuff note made her day.  It brightened her week.  She had no idea so many of us felt that way, as I had stated.  That note, which took me probably three minutes to write, could have changed her life.

On the other hand, with my lips and tongue I have also wounded fragile hearts at times in my life. I don’t want to do that anymore.  “Let your words be seasoned with grace”, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write.

How many suicides might be averted if someone, anyone, would have taken the time to call and say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you and…” – take it from there.  When you’re down and depressed, to have a loving and friendly unexpected call from someone could save your life. “Wow, someone actually cares.  Someone actually thought of me”.

I really feel too many of us are getting away from the knack of just being there, being a friend. The hand on the shoulder when times are rough. Just listening – face to face.  And telling someone how nice they are, or how something they did or said has changed lives. It’s especially wonderful when we can trace the nice things someone has said or done to their relationship with Christ.

Click on “Continue reading” to learn about a little note I’m so glad I wrote to my dad.

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Are you “a member of your church” or…?

Are you instead “in Christ”?
 

When you talk with people, sooner or later they might mention the church they belong to. And others describe certain ones as being “a church member” or a “parishioner”.  So people say “I’m a church member of …” or “I’m an Anglican” or “I’m a Catholic” and “I belong to the (denomination) church”.   Some denominations even give you membership cards – and in one case I know, you even have to display that membership card to get into the building where they worship.  Of course you have to be a member of that denomination or you’re not getting in.  I find that appalling.

I gave a recent sermon about being a new creation in Christ, based on 2 Cor. 5:17

What’s the problem with saying you’re a “church member”? Are some groups focusing too much on church membership in their fellowship, their group, their church? 

Click on “Continue reading” to see a better and more Biblical way.

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Finding the topics you need on this site

I suspect many who visit this site have no idea of how many sermons and blogs we have available on this site. Be watching for much, much more new material and updated material we’ll be launching in the next 2-3 months especially. Passover is coming up and so use the helpful materials we do have. Certainly a lot is happening out there and we need to address some prophecy topics also.

Question: would any of you wish to volunteer to help me with research, scriptures, ideas, formulating topics? I could use the help. If you’re willing, I’d give you a topic I’m starting and just ask if you could piece together some thoughts of your own (hopefully led by God’s Spirit) that we could use in a full-fledged blog or sermon. Perhaps we’ll use portions of what you send in. Or – maybe not. I reserve the right as editor to edit, accept or reject submitted work – or use it later. Don’t be offended if I don’t publish yours right away – if ever. You know what? Most of what I myself write, for my own website, gets rejected or postponed. By me!   Seriously.

And I MUST mention how much we appreciate our webmaster and designer Scott Doucet and his wife, who have poured hundreds of hours into this website. Couldn’t do it without them!

But anyway, there’s a lot of material on here. You could be missing the topics and sermons you would love to hear but just didn’t know we had them on this site! Three MAIN ways to search for topics:

  • Use the “search by year” feature you’ll find on the home page in that gray bar that says “Filter media by”.   Go to the year option and just go back to 2004, 2005 and so on -- and read the titles of the sermons way back there. Pick one you wish to hear or read, and bingo – you’re there. Some of my favorite sermons were some of the first ones. Spiritual material is timeless. There’s no “use by” date on them, or shelf-life date! By searching by year, you will see topics you may not have even thought of looking into in the first place.
  • On the Home page, click on “Messages and Transcript Series”, click on one of general topics listed there and a whole host of sermons under that topic will flip down for your enjoyment and edification.   We do need to update this with sermons from last summer onwards, but there’s still a lot there.
  • Use the SEARCH bar

We have blogs on hundreds of topics, so just scroll through the blogs for a few minutes to digest some of the issues we have tackled.

Do you have topics you’d like us to cover? Let me know. I won’t bug you if you write, email or call me. Neither will I ask you for any money. (On the other hand, I sure have appreciated the handful of people who from time to time have donated to help us stay online and to help support 25 orphans and their adoptive pastor-father and adoptive mom in Kenya. I do share financial needs with those 4-5 special souls.)

So don’t be afraid to email or write me or call me with topics you’d like to see us address. Besides that, I’m human too, and appreciate hearing from those of you who occasionally share an encouraging word. I know people from over 50 countries come on this website each month, and we have thousands of “unique persons” who come, and many thousands and thousands of hits each month. We’re tiny – just really a 2 person work (Scott and myself) but we also know we’re impacting some lives here and there. Thank you for coming here and I’m glad we’ve been of some help to some of you. I’d love to hear from some of you around the world. So often when I’ve been tempted to quit working this website, I get an email from someone I’ve never heard of somewhere in the world –and they encourage me to keep going. Maybe its God’s way of telling me that most people will never say a word, but the work we’re doing is doing some good to a soul here and there.

With Passover coming up, start looking for sermons given from Feb-March-April in previous years and see what you find. We’ll have some more material coming soon. We’ll also re-do some of the sermons from 2004 to the present from time to time. I’m also going to TRY to shorten the messages to 45-50 minutes going forward. I realize people’s attention span is not so great anymore.

So thank you for visiting us. If you’re praying for me and our website and our work we do -- - thank you so much. Your prayers make a lot of difference.

Please tell your friends about our website if it has blessed you. And pray for Yahweh – our dear Abba Father in heaven and our Savior Yeshua – to inspire us and lead us. We need all the help he can give us! Thank you for your prayers.

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Are you a modern-day Jonah?

Pray for your country to repent.

I’ve written and spoken on this before and it bears repeating: DON’T be a modern day “Jonah”.   I think unwittingly that many of us can – at least at times—be a Jonah out there.

Sometimes we have such a strong sense that God has had it with this present evil world and is SO ready bring to send back our King of Kings—that we can end up being like Jonah. What’s that mean? It means sometimes I see some believers ready to almost wish for God to just blast this planet in his righteous anger and of course wipe out all unbelievers in the process. Have you ever thought like that, honestly? If so, that’s just like Jonah felt towards Nineveh.

Jonah preached a “warning message” to the ancient wicked Assyrian huge city-state of Nineveh, in modern day Iraq. He assured them that their doom and their last days on earth were imminent due to their monstrous sins. But he really didn’t want -- or expect – such sinful people to repent. Neither did he ever suppose they could. God had spoken, and in 40 days he expected to personally witness a divinely originated destruction of the city perhaps similar to what happened to Sodom and the 5 cities of the plain.

Just as Jonah had specific things to say to Nineveh, you and I know there are very dire prophecies for the last days before Christ’s return.

But is it too late for our people, our nation or even other Gentile nations, to repent? If enough righteous people could be found in the land, might we see Yahweh willing to change the course of prophecy? After all, even for Sodom, had there been but 10 righteous people, Yah said he would spare that wicked city full of every vice imaginable, way beyond what we normally think of Sodom. The story is told in Genesis 18. But please also read Ezekiel 16:48-50 for a more complete list of Sodom’s sins. It went way beyond sodomy. It included pride, idleness, not caring for the poor, haughtiness and committing all kinds of abominations. Sounds just like today, right?

But even with just 10 righteous, Sodom would have been spared. Just ten. I think Abraham – who was petitioning God (even if indirectly) for Sodom – thought Lot and his family would easily add up to the ten people he needed (Lot, his wife, 2 unmarried daughters, three other married daughters and their husbands). And we haven’t even started with any of Lot’s servants and shepherds. In other words, just as God wouldn’t require the entire city of Sodom to repent to spare the city, we wouldn’t need the entire nation to become righteous for God to possibly change the course of HIS own prophecies. God will do what God will do. God had spoken about Nineveh and yet—GOD changed his mind!   We know our great God is a merciful Being who does not delight in the death even of the wicked. So don’t assume He can’t change his mind again. God will do what God will do. And he reserves the right to change what He was going to do when people – righteous or wicked – change, as you shall see.

Jonah chapter 4 tells the story of how in Nineveh’s case, apparently the vast majority, maybe everyone, fasted and turned from their evil way to such a degree that God did in fact change His mind.

As far as I can tell, those people didn’t have God’s instruction or teaching, or any of Yah’s scriptures. And apparently Jonah was in no mood to teach or help these same people whose descendants would come years later and brutally carry off the House of Israel into captivity (the Assyrian conquest of 721-718 BC). So how much changing could these people of Nineveh actually do? But apparently they changed enough, and their heart and intent changed enough, that Yahweh did not wipe them out at that time.

SO what did Jonah do – and what did he omit doing – that marked his style? These are written down for OUR admonition. Could you and I be doing “a Jonah” right now, today? Beware how we view the people of this world – if your view makes you a “Jonah”.

Please click on “Continue reading” to be sure you’re not a Jonah. Discover the hallmarks of a modern-day Jonah.

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Don’t miss that wonderful word!

Satan kept it out.

 

There’s one wonderful word about the Son of God – and you, also as a Son or Daughter of God – that Satan would like to purge from your consciousness.  Do you know what that word is?  There are probably lots of words he wants us to never think about, but this one is extra special. 

Don’t you often wonder how our Holy, holy, holy Father can love us after all the times and ways we fall short and outright sin from time to time?  If you’re like me, though I’ve preached often on his grace, mercy and forgiveness and acceptance back upon repentance – it still comes up, doesn’t it, that we simply fall short of his glory. 

When Yeshua (Jesus) was about to start his earthly ministry, he was baptized – immersed -- in the Jordan River by John.  Biblical baptism is by immersion of the whole body – not just having a few droplets of water sprinkled on you.  Anyway, as Yeshua came up out of the water, he heard a voice.  Do you remember what He heard:  “This is my BELOVED son, in whom I am WELL pleased” (Matthew 3:17). 

OK, OK, we can accept Yeshua certainly could be the beloved son because he always perfectly did His Father’s will.  But table that for a second and just remember that was the complete sentence – that he was a beloved son and well pleasing to his heavenly Father.

Right after that he headed to the wilderness to be tested by the Devil (which means “Accuser”).  That’s in Matthew 4. 

After fasting 40 days and nights, Yeshua was famished.  Satan (“Adversary”) comes to him and sneers “IF you are the son of God, command these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:1-3). 

Not only did he try to put doubt into our Master’s mind by starting the question with “if”—but he left something out.  Click on “Continue reading” to discover that missing word and how it relates to you and me and the doubts we sometimes have.

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Would you like to be “SAINT”?

Here’s how!

Steps have been taken in the Roman Catholic Church to make Mother Teresa a saint.  I’m not Catholic, but she IS widely regarded as a wonderful lady who did a lot of good in her work with the poor and orphans.  There are over 10,000 recognized “saints” in the Roman church.  There are patron saints for just about everything – including patron saints for the internet, for travelers, even of patron saint of dysentery.  It almost gets ridiculous.

Now, how would YOU like to be saint?  You might be in for a surprise… so keep reading.  Do you think YOU could ever be a saint?  Don’t laugh. What if I said you already are a saint in God’s eyes?  Really. Maybe your family and friends would never call you “Saint So-and-so”, but maybe you are in God’s eyes. Don’t forget that the Messiah himself said it’s hard even for a true prophet to be honored and respected in his own country and among his or her own family, friends and those who know him or her (Matthew 13:57). 

Let’s start with the traditional way one becomes a recognized saint in the Catholic Church  and then compare that to what Scripture says. You might be amazed. 

In the Roman church, there are protocols and steps required before a man or woman can be recognized as a “saint” – so the idea that an everyday man or woman, maybe that even you or I could be a saint, sounds farfetched to many.  In the Roman church, the process has evolved quite a bit.  In the past, even well-known saint’s lives were sometimes based on legend and folklore.  In 13th century rural France, when St. Guinefort saved his master’s baby from snakebite, he was made a saint.  St Guinefort was a dog.  Well, they’ve stopped venerating dogs and folk heroes now, I think. 

The process of becoming a saint has become a bit easier in the Roman church, so on May 12, 2013 for example, the Catholic Church recognized another 802 saints.  Eight hundred of them were residents of a city in southern Italy who were killed for refusing to convert to Islam when their town was besieged by the Ottoman Turks in 1480. 

The usual process to sainthood involves several steps. This is just a quick overview.

  • Normally one has to wait at least 5 years after the potential saint’s death.  Then that potential saint’s pastor submits a proposal to the bishop.
  • Once the person is accepted by the bishop for consideration, he/she is called “a servant of God”.
  • Then the Vatican has to determine this “Servant of God’ has lived a life of heroic virtue, at which point that person is labeled “Venerable”.  They define “heroic virtue” as someone who makes a continuous effort to be better than they were before;  they are seen as someone growing in holiness.
  • It’s best if at least one miracle can be attributed to the Venerable candidate.  This person’s cause is presented to the Pope who determines if he/she is worthy of being called BLESSED.  This step is also called the Beatification.  We’re almost there….
  • If they can find another miracle, this Blessed person’s case comes once more to the Pope for judgment. If the Pope is convinced the evidence is real – the canonization process is started and – if all goes as hoped for – we have another “saint”. 
  • In the Roman church, someone – a human – has to nominate you.  But no, God the Father himself chooses you to become one of his saints (John 6:44) and among His firstfruits. 

There’s more – that has to do with the body and the blood of the dead candidate for sainthood.  And normally, the person will have had to live a very morally clean and holy life.  I would be surprised if people who had once been “low lifes” and then changed  -- would be venerated or allowed to be official saints.  

But now - - where in the Bible can these steps – and more – be found?  Where in God’s word do we have the “rules” for sainthood that sound like what I’ve just described?  You won’t be able to find anything like this in scripture. 

Are YOU a saint?  Can you become one?  Click on “continue reading” to the right, to see what Scripture has to say about this.

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Are brighter days ahead for believers?

Where is your focus?

There’s a lot to be serious about, even scared about, even terrorized about – in recent news. A lot.  And we know that sometime in the near future we will be in the midst of the “worst time of trouble the world has ever seen”.  So maybe the title of this blog seems silly to some of you.  I hope not.  It could be one of the most important reads you do all year. 

Matthew 24:21-22
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.”

When we look at the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, of modern day ISIS butchery and torture, of the slave camps of Nazi Germany against so many millions of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and so many others… what’s coming ahead is far, far worse. And we’re here in these end times. 

We have terrorism on the rise – all around the world. I receive news updates that describe in horrifying detail what is happening to innocent people.  Children and young girls are being sold into slavery.  Others are buried alive in front of their parents.  Unspeakable horror is going on in so much of the world.  On top of all that, we see immorality, vice, demonism, interest in the occult, violence, falsehood, disrespect, murders and thefts – often all done in the name of what is good.  Evil has been released in a way we’ve never seen before in our lifetime. 

If that’s not enough, we see more and more wars plus rumors of even more wars about to begin.  Our national leaders seem incapable of reversing the careening decline of everything good – and in fact they often seem to be leading the world into ever more debauchery, violence and evil.  Even the weather seems to be upset. Floods over here and drought over there. Hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, droughts and famines, earthquakes of giant proportions – and the list is endless.

So what’s there to feel “bright” about?

Pastors and teachers of the Word – and of prophecy – can cause a result in God’s children that we don’t really want. We should not be leaving ourselves or others with a feeling of doom and gloom as we speak of the years ahead.  If I left it with what I’ve just written, I myself would be guilty of that very thing. But we must not leave it with the doom and gloom whose crescendo is becoming ever louder for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.  We must look beyond the horrors still ahead of us. Yes, there is a brighter tomorrow.

I myself will speak more and more about what is starting to happen and will continue to grow ever worse as prophecies are fulfilled in rapid succession in the next decade or two.  But again, a good teacher also will keep us focused on the end game, on the how the story ends. 

What I find so concerning is that so many of God’s children seem more interested in the latest Star Wars movie, or the latest hit song or new gadget or awesome app for their I-phone than they are in the things of God. I hope you’re not one of those.   It’s like they’re in la-la land, unaware of how the stage is being set for the final scenes in this horror show called “the last days”. 

But in all of the bad news out there, what is it that we must never ever forget?  THAT is what will keep our faith, hope and love alive. It is the key to getting through the tough times coming very, very soon.  And remember, for millions, the “tough times” are already here.  We had relatively few people killed in San Bernardino and the whole nation – rightfully – fell into shock.  More were blown away in Paris, and Beirut and other cities around the world. 

But don’t forget, mass killings and bombings like that happen with shocking regularity in places like Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and so many other countries. “Over there” it’s not uncommon to hear of a marketplace being bombed or attacked and dozens and dozens blown apart.  Those are also real people with real families.  And then it happens again a few days later in the same country, and then again and again and again. 

So “the tough times” are already here for much of the world. We here in America and the western world will see more of these horrific scenes happening in our own neighborhood in the days and years to come. Partly because it’s prophesied to happen – and partly due to our own country’s crazy political decisions and inaction on things that really matter.

WHAT is the key that we must never forget in all of this? What will keep us upbeat and sane and hopeful?  What and where are the “bright days ahead” that I speak of?

            Click on “Continue reading” to get the answer.

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Can we really put Christ back into Christmas?

Would Christ want that? Would YOU really want that?  

During this time of the year it is not unusual to see Facebook postings urging us all to put Christ back into Christmas, and to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy holidays”. We’re reminded that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. I’m sure you’ve seen those.

I love my Savior. I love the story of his birth that is given in two of the gospel accounts, though two other gospels don’t mention his birth at all. Were you aware of that? But what I don’t like, and will have no part in, is proclaiming our Savior’s birth and Christmas are synonymous. They’re not. Nor is this just a little thing. Either Christ always was in Christmas or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then associating a pagan-originated celebration with our holy Savior – is simply a lie. And remember: Christ said to worship in spirit and TRUTH.

Any of you who have come to our website for any length of time know we have proven that our Savior was born in the autumn, certainly nowhere near December 25. We also know beyond any doubt that Dec 25 was a well-established day of celebrating the returning sun after the winter solstice. In fact many religions celebrated it also as the day of birth of their own pagan god – but not the son of God. That’s for sure. Just do your own searches. Start with a Google search of “Pagan origins of Christmas” and see what you find.

I’ve discussed these things in previous sermons. Just write “Christmas” into the search bar of this site and my teachings and blogs will pop up.

The truth is, Yeshua’s (Jesus’) actual birth had nothing to do with Saturnalia or Christmas celebrations. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly when it is, though we know it was in the Fall. Some identify it with the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles – both falling in our Sept-October. I have a sermon about the true story of the Messiah’s birth. And a blog about the likely SPOT where he was born. The links to those are listed at the end of this blog.

Our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, or you probably call him by his Greek name Jesus Christ, was never in the pagan winter Saturnalia celebrations. And of course he wouldn’t be. Of course he would hate associating his name with that. Our God condemns pagan holidays and commands his children to have nothing to do with them. It is not OK to paste God’s name on to those pagan-rooted celebrations. In fact, as we’ll see, Yah can get angry at that.

So how does God see it?

Deuteronomy 12:1-4

"These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which YHVH God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”

Deuteronomy 12:29-32

"When YHVH your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

Deuteronomy 18:9

“When you come into the land which YHVH your Elohim (God) is giving you, you shall NOT learn to follow the abominations of those nations.

Here, Yahweh describes an idol, but it can also sure sound like a Christmas tree.

Jeremiah 10:2-4

Thus says YHVH:

"Do NOT learn the way of the Gentiles;

Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,

For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the peoples are futile;

For one cuts a tree from the forest,

The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.

They decorate it with silver and gold;

They fasten it with nails and hammers

So that it will not topple.

So what do our “Christian” nations do? We label the days of the week and the months of the year and the names of the planets after pagan gods and goddesses! And then we copied their pagan celebrations, put God’s name on them and pronounced them Christian!

Folks, Yah really does despise having HIS holy name be attached to the Saturnalia, cloaked now in “Christian” garb. It makes it WORSE to put his holy name on to pagan celebrations and revelries he tells us to have nothing to do with – regardless of how beautiful the songs are (and they do have lovely melodies), no matter how colorful and beautiful the Christmas trees are, regardless if we’re singing songs to HIM – in a pagan-based celebrations – it all just becomes more repulsive to our King. I assure you of that. God says he hates it.

Do you remember the story of the gold calf in the Wilderness (see Exodus 32)? Aaron, brother of Moses and High Priest of Israel, made that awful sinful conclusion of thinking if he could just put God’s name on to a pagan worship celebration, maybe doing so would make it alright. It doesn’t. It didn’t. Aaron almost lost his life over it and in fact 3,000 people did die due to the gold calf sin.

Click on “Continue reading” to read what it says in Exodus 32 and why we CANNOT put Christ “back” into Christmas.

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When GOD is mocked…. Look out!

In the aftermath of the San Bernardino Islamic terrorist attack, some called for prayers for those families who had suffered a death or a wounded family member. I hope you yourself spent some time praying for their healing/ comfort and ability to move on.   My wife and I lost an infant son 33 years ago this month, and I can only imagine how painful it must be to lose an adult young son or daughter – or husband or wife. It would have to be worse than what we went through, which was incredibly painful also.

But no sooner had Republicans like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, tweeted out their prayers were with the victims and families when a liberal NY newspaper – the Daily News -- headlined: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”.

It’s a sad, sad day when people who call on God are mocked by the press and the liberal left. This country was indeed founded on the Bible. Our dollar bill has stamped on it “In God we trust.”   References to God and his word abound all over our public buildings, and one by one, groups who hate God or anything to do with God are doing all in their power to make this country an ever more godless nation. At the forefront of this effort are the liberal media and groups like “Freedom from Religion Foundation.”

Wake up, America. Don’t sit back idly by. Resist those who wish to make you part of a godless nation. I know, I know – prophecy says the whole world is headed downhill fast in the final years before Christ’s return. But I still think God would be pleased to see that some of us don’t just slide merrily down the godless slope without some resistance.

We certainly have gone downhill rapidly. I feel we become more nationally impotent in direct relation to the degree we boot God out of our classrooms, our public life, our universities, our congress and Supreme Court – and pass laws or legal decisions that go against everything we read in God’s word. For example, we know how evil Roe v Wade has been as violence of the worst kind is perpetrated against millions of innocent, defenseless unborn babies. Maybe you’re feeling it yourself: it’s not even shocking anymore to hear or talk about unborn babies being killed or ripped out of their mother’s womb – by the hundreds of thousands each year in the USA alone!

Prayer has been kicked out of the classroom. Prayer and believing in God is mocked in universities.

But what about it? To those of you who come to this site, nothing beats communing with a very real Creator. And DO pray for the victims and their families. I believe Yah is moved when he sees his children moved by the violence and terrorism around us. That’s the whole lesson of Ezekiel 9. Yahweh actually orders a mark of protection put on those who “sigh and cry for the abominations in the land.” We MUST feel the hurt others are going through and lift them up in prayer to God.

Prayer in fact leads us to our biggest source of protection, comfort, peace… and yes, it works. Never doubt it. The days are coming when we could witness thousands falling on one side but we are spared – because there is a living God. See Psalm 91 to understand what I’m talking about. On the other hand, if God decides to let us die or suffer, we true believers will do so without slipping in our faith in Him.

As for the editors and writers of Daily News? God is not mocked. Though he is very merciful, there are instances in the scriptures where God intervened mightily against those mocking him. One example was when Assyrian King Sennacherib proclaimed, as he was attacking Judah, how he had destroyed all the nations who stood up to him and that their gods were useless -- and Israel’s God would also be useless. But then --WHAM! God struck him in a huge way. You can read the story in 2 Kings 18 and 19. Note especially 2 Kings 18:28-35 and note the words of the Assyrian spokesman Rabshakeh. Verses 34 -35—“Where are the gods of” – this and that place, and he mocks Hezekiah and the Jews relying on Yahweh.

Well, Hezekiah prays – yes, prays – and receives a response through Isaiah the prophet – but not before he got another threatening letter from the Assyrians.

Click on “Continue reading” to the right to see what Judah’s king does, and what God does in response.

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Persecution.

Are you ready for soon-coming real persecution? 

 

The righteous will suffer persecution. That was prophesied over and over.  Though we have a great Father, He does not spare all of us having to go through very rough times.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 promises that those who live godly IN Christ WILL suffer persecution – and it’s going to get worse and worse.  Christ said to rejoice when we’re persecuted for righteousness’ sake, placing us among those who were persecuted and martyred before us.  Paul said he went through much persecution – but in the end “the Lord delivered me”.  But even Paul ended up being beheaded.

A great start for a blog, eh?  Well, take heart.  This life is not what it’s all about.   Paul knew that.  He looked to the prize of the high calling he was offered.  And please remind ME of all of that when I am the one being persecuted.  But in the end, we win when our Leader Jesus Christ – Yeshua the Messiah – returns to take over control of the world. 

With recent events or terrorism in Paris, I thought this was appropriate to talk about. First let’s discuss it generally:  those who are not Muslim are going to be attacked over and over again – and those Muslims will in turn reap revenge strikes from the Western “Christian” world. So you and I are in the bigger target zone simply because we are not Muslim. God can deliver you from those attacks if you stay close to Him.  

But are you ready for more specific persecution that is already happening in Syria and Iraq and many other countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, parts of Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa?

Here’s what I mean, but even here, it’s still aimed at the broader group of believers:

** We’re seeing our own countries setting up laws that require true believers in God’s word to do things against their beliefs – or suffer severe penalties including jail time.  Here are but a few of many examples:

--- Catholic groups are being forced to offer contraceptives against their beliefs

---College students are insisting on speech that only fits into the far left liberal framework.  Someone who speaks up FOR Israel is called anti-Palestinian and a bigot.  Jews and Christians are being spit on and mocked, or given bad grades by liberal professors.

---Already, the Bible is not allowed to be seen or shown in several college campuses.  Thanks to the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  This is also happening more and more in the various branches of our military.

---Bakers are being forced to bake cakes with wording on the frosting that goes against their beliefs.  If you speak your beliefs about one man/one woman marriage, you are accused of “hate speech” against the ever more vocal gay community.

Ironically, the far left can say and do what they please against conservative Christians – and get away with it. Somehow hateful speech against those who believe in the Bible is not “hate speech” -- but just saying you are for traditional marriage does get you labeled and marked as a hateful person!  Go figure!

At some point, every nation’s government will come under the coming world-ruling “Beast” system, spoken of by the books of Revelation and Daniel in particular.  The Bill of Rights of the United States’ constitution will be a thing of the past under the Beast system.  You will not be able to express your true beliefs without being severely persecuted, jailed, beheaded or killed.  That’s the word of scripture as I’ll quote shortly.  Everyone will be required to worship, to work, to speak in accordance to the wishes of the Beast system – or pay a severe penalty including death. That is coming.  The foundation of that system was laid down long ago and we’re seeing the “superstructure” of this system now rising. 

There’s a lot of discussion as to what the “Beast” is, what the “Mark of the Best” is, or what the number 666 means.  Whatever it is, someday it will be clear.  Some want to dogmatically preach their beliefs on these things – and that’s up to them.  We’ll have to see what it pans out to be.

But there is very clear warning to us from scripture: 

The whole world will accept that mark of the best and will worship the image of the Beast power of the end time…whatever all that means.  When it becomes clear, you and I cannot, must not, be part of that.  Those in the Creator’s Book of Life include those who will NOT take on the mark or worship the image of the Beast.  If, out of fear, you accept and surrender to the Beast system, you will incur the Creator’s wrath and not be in the book of Life. 

At baptism, you and I professed that we would carry our cross, follow our Savior, and drink of his cup – and whatever He has in store for us.  Some of you are putting too much stock and faith into a “place of safety”. I pray and hope there is such a place where we can be assured of divine protection.  But don’t forget, scripture is CLEAR that many believers are going to be beheaded and die in the coming martyrdom and persecution.  Christ warned not to seek to save our life as our first priority – or we would lose it (“He who seeks to save his life shall lose it…”  -- Luke 17:33)

If the very son of God was allowed such a painful death, if John the Baptist was beheaded, if James was killed with the sword, and Paul was beheaded, and many apostles were crucified or executed – what makes anyone think they won’t have to be tested as well?  I know, I know about the scriptures to the Philadelphians of Revelation 3, and being spared from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world.  What seems clear to me is that those who focus on establishing a strong, obedient and holy relationship with God have the better shot at being spared some or most of the coming trials.  But we must be willing to carry our cross and be crucified with Christ as well – and to be faithful to him to the very end.

NOW is the time to be affirming your faith in the living God. NOW is the time to be making your relationship with your Heavenly Father be ROCK solid. NOW is the time to be spending more time in fasting, prayer, seeking after Him than ever before. HE is not lost, that we must seek him – but WE have gone astray and must return to him and seek him.  Those who seek him diligently shall find him.  He is pleased when we diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6), 

For the promised scriptures about the coming persecution, the Beast system,  the coming martyrdom and what we must do, click on “Continue reading” to the right.

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Watch ye therefore….” but WHAT are we to watch?

Mark 13:35

For many years, many have been taught – as many scriptures were quoted to support this notion – that we are to “watch” so that we’re not caught off guard by the coming of our King.  Our King  and Lord says to watch, as he is coming as a thief in the night – unexpectedly.  So many have assumed this meant we must watch the news by the hour – especially events in the Middle East – and to know what’s going on “out there”, and be up on all the ins and outs of world politics.  Certainly Yeshua (Jesus) himself said “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…” – and other events – that those in Jerusalem will have to flee without hesitation (Luke 21:20-24).  So yes, there is some degree of watching the news that is included in the “watch ye therefore” commands

But is watching the news -- world events -- the main meaning behind the many verses reminding us to “watch”?  Let me ask you this:  even if we spent every waking minute watching the news, do any of us really believe that we’re discovering what’s really happening behind closed doors, or – is the news in fact being manipulated much of the time so we hear what “newsmakers” want us to hear? 

Some of you believe you’re “watching” and staying abreast of world events by watching Fox News, or OneAmerica Network, CNN, or Drudge, or listening to Rush Limbaugh, or Jones or listening to endless radio talk shows.  I contend that is NOT the main intent of the admonition to “watch”. 

I submit to you that many dark and deep discussions are going on that never get reported! So even if you and I were to spend our lives “watching the news”, we will miss the most important and most secretive BIG news going on.  

So what did Yeshua (Jesus) mean when he told us to WATCH? 

There are several Greek words used that are all translated into our one English word “watch”.  For example, sometimes the word refers to one of the four Roman “watches”– or time periods – in the night (Jews had 3 “watches” in a night) – Mark 13:35.  Other times it meant to stay awake. The Greek word agrupneo, according to Vine’s, referred to someone wide awake and focused intently on something – as in Mark 13:33—“take heed, watch (agrupneo) and pray…”  Be focused intently on the imminence of our Lord’s return.  In Ephesians 6:18 the same word is actually translated “stay alert” in some versions.   The KJV says “watching therefore with all perseverance”. 

Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
“With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert (agrupneo) in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

So we’re seeing the focus of that Greek word is telling us not to get distracted – but to keep a focus on active prayer and praying, “stay alert in this with all perseverance…” 

So how are we doing so far?  Surely we can admit we can pray more in a focused way.

There’s so much more about Greek words translated “watch”.  Click on Continue Reading to the right to learn about the MAIN word used and what it teaches us.

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Halloween. Is it OK for believers to participate?

Halloween is normally seen as a harmless night of letting kids of all ages dress up as ghouls, monsters, demons and even as terrorists or victims of chain saw massacres. Of course some children and adults dress up as kings or queens or the key players in “Frozen” – or whatever – but mostly we see the most ungodly and horrendous costumes possible. And in the last two weeks leading up to Halloween, what movies are showing? Only the most gruesome, sadistic, gory, bloody, demonic and hair-raising scary movies ever made.

Should you and I - believers in Yeshua (Jesus) -- watch that kind of ungodly trash? Should you and I participate or get involved with Halloween in any way? I know many of you who come to this site already have nothing to do with Halloween. My blog is aimed at believers who still do dress up for Halloween and think it’s just a load of harmless fun.

Frankly, my most despised evening of the year, every year, is Halloween night. God’s spirit in me can feel the increased activity on this evening of the spirit of this world and of the fallen cherub who leads this age. He is now known as Satan (Adversary).

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them.

I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

17 Therefore, "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.

Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."

18 'I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters’, says the Lord Almighty."

Halloween is Oct 31. Much of the rest of the world may be more familiar with the next day’s events – November 1st --known as All Souls Day or All Saints Day. So the night before “all saints” day -- is All Hallow’s evening – eventually shortened to Halloween. Pope Gregory III made November 1 a day to honor all saints and martyrs. But then why would the Pope incorporate and include so many of the pagan details from the Celtic “Samhain” day?

Instead of condemning and throwing out the pagan celebration, the Roman church adopted much of it. They decided to legitimize it by putting a new label on things – just as they did for Christmas and Easter.

I have a full-length 41 minute sermon on this website from October 15, 2007 – “Halloween and God’s Children” that explains all this in detail. It might be a good review for anyone wanting more. Just find the Search bar feature on the top left side of the home page – type in “Halloween” – and that sermon will pop up.

Either way, it’s not a biblical day to be kept and in fact, our heavenly Father tells us to have nothing to do with the pagan customs of the world around us. Read that for yourself in Deuteronomy 12:29-32. We are to come OUT of this world’s ways (Revelation 18:4) and have nothing to do with celebrations rooted in paganism and demonism.

I just read an article asking if Christians can participate in Halloween. Their answer: “Yes and no.” In other words, the author said, if our children don’t dress up as monsters or demons or the like, and if we just make it a harmless and fun costume party where we hand out candy – what’s wrong with that, he reasons. HE says Christians should have confidence that it is OK if we do a little Halloween without demons and goblins.

Well, Yeshua taught as one having authority. He didn’t give weasel answers. When it comes to Halloween, neither will I mince words about believers getting involved: No! Clearly, no. Don’t participate. Don’t get involved in it. Don’t get near it. Don’t watch the ungodly movies. Don’t buy the monster outfits. Don’t go trick-or-treating.

Can you see Christ watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Can you envision Messiah dressed up with a hatchet through his bleeding skull? Or can you really in your heart “see” him condoning Halloween by dressing more harmlessly while he dishes out treats to the revelers coming to his door? NO WAY! We are to follow HIM and HIS example. He obviously would have nothing to do with Halloween.

If you explain things to your children calmly but firmly – and show them Deut 12:29-32 and the other scriptures in this blog and in my Oct 2007 sermon, most children will agree to have nothing to do with it. Explain to them how we want to be pleasing to our Creator and to obey what He says. Explain how we don't dabble - - not even a little bit – into demonism and witchcraft or anything that smacks of those evils.

Don’t be a part of it in any way. We can’t choose a little Halloween – just a little – and think this is pleasing to Yah. It isn’t. Satan’s attitudes and spirit fills the air on this night.

1 Corinthians 10:21

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons.

Many church groups and websites have dedicated much time and research to prove the pagan and dark origins of this Satan-inspired holiday. I suggest you poke around on search engines on the internet and read up on this subject for yourself, as well as checking out my sermon in October 2007.

You can even read up from a secular source – the History Channel -- to learn more about the history of Halloween. Check this out:

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

So what do WE do on Halloween night?

At our home, we either leave home entirely – or most of the time we just stay home, lock the doors, turn out the lights and don’t answer the door. We do not buy any treats and we certainly never give out treats. We do not participate in Halloween’s evil decorations of witches and goblins and everything scary and evil. We do not. Believers in the Messiah should not participate in Halloween. Surely we don’t need a long hour long explanation of the roots and history of this evil day. Surely it’s obvious on its face that this is the very polar opposite to what God would have his children be involved in.

God and his Way are associated with LIGHT. WE are children of light. Christ came as the Light of the world. The first thing we see that Yahweh brought to a dark planet was light. Remember Genesis 1:1-4? How darkness was over the planet – but then God commanded, “Let there be LIGHT” – and there was light. Nobody associates Halloween with light and righteousness.   Do you remember what the first verses in Scripture tell us? “…and God divided the light from the darkness” (verse 4).  

God has always made a separation between light and darkness, between his children and the children of the Adversary. In fact we are called “Children of light”. We are to “COME OUT of her, my people” – Revelation 18:4. That language there is very suggestive of coming out of spiritual adultery with the ways of the world.

We CANNOT serve God and demons. We want to walk in the light of God’s word and follow Yeshua’s (Jesus) perfect example. We will not give any time or glory to the Devil. We will not participate even for just a little bit of Halloween – which is associated with so much darkness and gory death. Let’s conclude with some scriptures about recognizing we are part of the light – not the darkness that so characterizes Halloween.

Matthew 5:14

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

John 1:3-5

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Colossians 1:12-14

“….giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 13:12

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

1 Thessalonians 5:5

“You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”

I hope this year, that you and your family will have nothing to with the darkened celebration of a very dark and evil night – Halloween.

Again, for more details, look up my sermon in October 2007.

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Are you EXPERIENCING God?

Or are those days over?

We read over and over in the Bible – both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament – how men, women and even children experienced God.  By “experiencing God” I mean more than just praying to him or studying his word, though we can certainly experience Yahweh that way too. I mean we have those moments when we stand back and think – “WHAT in the world just happened?”  I’m talking about having visions and dreams, strong urges and thoughts, dramatic miracles and manifestations of the Almighty in various forms and means – to you, and to me.

We read of people even after Christ’s resurrection and ascension – still experiencing angels, directions from the Holy Spirit, having visions, seeing even Christ himself at times.  They could heal, could speak in tongues, raise the dead and have guidance on prophecies. 

I will give a sermon on this topic for this weekend and will give you all the scriptures and information in that sermon.  But I want you to start thinking about it now:  Are those days over?  Do you ever know that you know that you’ve just heard from God himself?  Do you ever get strong thoughts or messages that you know you didn’t originate?  Are you witnessing powerful instant healings from time to time?  Or are those days over? 

I contend those days are not over.  

There ARE people today who have met and talked to angels, sometimes without knowing that “person” was an angel.  There are people who have had visions – but are reluctant to ever say anything because they will be considered a bit odd probably. 

We know a lady who told us years ago that she was home alone with her daughter when a man came into the house, obviously intent on mischief.  I believe she said he had a big knife and ordered her to the bedroom.  Of course she was praying fervently.  Soon after stepping into the bedroom, the man looked above and behind her and started shouting “OK, OK, I’m leaving. Don't hurt me…” – and ran out the door.  The lady looked behind her and saw nothing, saw no one.  I believe the bad man was shown a big brawny strong angel standing behind the lady. 

I’ve had my own experiences.  I’d love to hear yours. 

For more, click on “Continue reading”.

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Is Almighty God our Father and Mother?

A teaching that is rapidly spreading

Have you heard of “mother God”?  

A friend out west wrote me that he had recently attended a meeting where a nationally known speaker was promoting the concept that God is both Father and Mother to all of us.  A simple Google search reveals that many are teaching this and have taught this for quite some time.  Have you heard of this?

There’s a trend to remove any “sexist” references in the Bible. So “Father” becomes “Parent”.  Brother becomes sibling.  “Son” turns into “child”.  Part of this is reflecting the emphasis that really started in this present world  – but on a much larger scale.  We’re seeing schools and even stores removing “sexist” labels like male and female, boy and girl, etc.  We’re being told now there is no such thing as a toy for boys or toys for girls.  Remember God created humankind as male and female and HE said that was very good! 

I didn’t mind when we were compelled to say “Flight attendant” instead of stewardess, because more and more men were doing this job.  And it made sense to say “firefighter” instead of “fireman”, as more and more women were joining the work force in all professions.

But now these same forces have come into the body of Christ and they want to impose their same gender-free language to the Supreme Being – whom we all call our heavenly “Father”. 

These religious feminists and their friends want us to feel free to pray to our “Mother God” or “God the Mother”.  Have you heard about this?  This has been fairly common in the more liberal church groups, but now we’re seeing it preached even in the conservative evangelical groups, sabbath keeping groups and even the Hebrew Roots movement! 

In fact, Yeshua said to never call a human being your spiritual “father” as a title (I mean in the religious sense; not in the family arena).  So why do Catholics call their priests “Father”?  Why is their top leader called Holy Father, a title reserved for Almighty God?  The world calls him “Pope” which simply means “Father”.  It’s clearer in Spanish and Italian, where he’s called “Papa Francisco” (Pope Francis).  Here’s what Yeshua said:

Matthew 23:8-9, quoting Christ:

But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”

So two points:

  • Don’t refer to priests and ministers as “Father”.  In fact, why can’t we just call ministers by their first name, since we’re all family together – brothers and sisters of God’s family, and we’re all children of our Father in heaven.  Peter and Paul and James and John were all simply known by their first names. Are ministers and priests today better than they?  No need to say “Mr.” this or that – just first names.
  • This would have been a golden opportunity for Yeshua to say “Father or Mother” here , but he did not.  The word he used was purely “father”  (it would have been “Abba” in Aramaic, but in Greek it was “Patera”.)  In the New Testament, Yeshua chose to say “Father”, especially in reference to the Almighty, over 400 times!  That same word is used also for Abraham their ancestral father, but mostly it’s used in reference to God. 
  • Does it matter if we start referring to God as our Mother as well? 
  • Is that new teaching true?
  • What does Scripture actually tell us? What did the Son of God teach us about this?
  • We read of “him” – not “her” EVERY time we read about God. God is NOT male, nor female. But El Shaddai – God Almighty – always describes himself in masculine terms, as “Father” or in terms like “him” or “he”.   
  • We NEVER – not once – read of God being described as “Mother” or “her”. God is always in male terms – like king, ruler, Shepherd, Husband.  Though we find him described in non-gender terms like Rock, fortress, shield, Banner, Light, etc. – we never find feminine terms or pronouns to describe God directly.  Sometimes he is “LIKE” this or that, but never directly called anything in feminine terms.
  • NOWHERE does the Holy Word of God call Yahweh our “mother”.  Nowhere. He is – especially in the New Testament – called our “Father” – over and over – Matthew 6:9; 23:9;  Galatians 1:1;  Ephesians 5:20.   There is no precedent in the Bible for calling God “Mother”.  And likewise Jesus is called our Husband – never our Wife.  He is our King, never our Queen. Never. Ever.  And don’t get sucked into that heresy of calling God “Mother God” or something similar.  That is simply going against what Scripture teaches!  I don’t care who is teaching that heresy. If it’s heresy – resist it.  Reject it. 
  • Our King (not Queen) and Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus the Christ – came to reveal Yahweh as his FATHER – and our Father. This was a powerful new teaching. Though there are some Old Testament scriptures that mention God as “Father’, those scriptures were seen more as an analogy, and not as a real fact. Yeshua came telling us to pray to “our Father in heaven…”  (Matthew 6:9)  He told Mary Magdalene at the resurrection to tell the disciples he was going “to my God and your God, to my FATHER and YOUR Father” (John 20:17).    These are the words of Christ, our SAVIOR, directly. 

Why did Yeshua say to call no earthly man your spiritual father?  Because it is so important that we understand Yahweh El Shaddai, the Eternal Almighty God, is our FATHER, and not our mother or uncle or aunt or any such thing. That title of “Father” is so vitally important to be kept pure and safe from dilution or change by the change-mongers. 

This Babylonish confusion – IS worming its way into the body of Christ, into the believers’ meeting halls. 

So the questions:

God is neither male nor female.  He is God. But as we shall see, Yahweh is ALWAYS called by masculine names and titles and pronouns (he, him).  Always. 

There are some imagery and “pictures” of God in scripture that show him as a gentle nursing mom, or as concerned for his family as a mother bear is – and so on – but these are exactly that: imagery. Pictures. They’re saying God can be “LIKE” this or that, but NOWHERE is God called our Mother, in scripture. More on this as we go along.

Having said that, I myself have reminded my listeners for several years now that when God created mankind, He created them male and female and both Adam and Eve were created to be like God, to be in His image. I’ve believed for a long time that we understand Elohim’s nature and what He’s like when we understand man and woman. Some of his nature and characteristics he predominantly gave to men and some of his nature he predominantly gave to women.  I’ve believed and taught this for a long time.  See the scripture below. I can go this far with the concept of God’s nature. 

But does that mean we have to believe our God is both our Father and Mother?

Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, "Let Us make man (meaning mankind) in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Click on “Continue reading” to see the rest of this explanation.

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Muslim refugees -- or?

The world has been shown some horrific pictures lately of a three year old child’s body being washed ashore after the child and his mother died, trying to escape the brutal reign of terror of Muslim ISIS terrorists.  There have been many others who have died trying to escape to a better land, a safer place. So now we see hundreds of thousands - - even millions – of mostly Muslim refugees trying to save their lives.  No doubt, many hundreds of thousands of them are genuine asylum seekers.  Please understand – I get that. 

I’m all for helping those who need protection and help from those brutal ISIS folks.  There are countless believers in Christ who are also being burned alive, crucified, tortured, raped and sold into slavery – and many are being beheaded. We need to be doing all we can to help those people.  And I do.

But something is troubling me about so many of the pictures I’m seeing of the majority of asylum seekers:  I see picture after picture of what is mostly young Muslim men! Sure, I see some women and children and old men and old women as well, but there’s an alarming percentage of what look like healthy young men in their prime.

ISIS told us weeks ago that we were about to see a huge wave of Muslim migrants coming into Europe and eventually to America.  Something is suspicious about this.  I can’t help but believe that more than a few of those coming in are trained Muslim jihadists intent on violence. 

And what are we doing?  Western nations are opening the doors wide.  I believe we are feeding, welcoming, and assisting many who will become thorns in our side and who will carry out violent terrorist acts. 

So I hope you will call your elected representatives and senators this coming week and tell them that we MUST have a rigorous “vetting” and pre-screening of anyone we bring into this country. And also tell them we need to bring more of the fleeing Christians from Syria and Iraq – and not just Muslims.  Please also tell them that it’s time that we tell foreigners who wish to come to our land that they must assimilate. They must learn English, live peacefully by our laws, and not demand their Sharia laws in our country!

I saw one report that says some refugees in Europe who were given large bags of food from the Red Cross refused the food and assistance. Why?  Because the food bags had a red cross emblazoned on the bags. This offended the Muslims who want nothing to do with emblems of Christianity. 

Anyway, those poor folks – especially the women and children -- who are coming as true refugees – so be it.  Let’s do it. Let’s help them. But we must be doing this with care, caution and with our eyes wide open.

Otherwise, we might be letting in a lot of young militarily trained men sent by ISIS to embed themselves in the hordes of true refugees -- to pursue Jihad in our lands. 

May Yahweh be merciful to us. 

One other thing: our national leadership and our high courts have been going down a track that goes directly against God’s word on so many issues.  This cannot bode well for our nation. As I write this, the Torah portion readings that happen each week is worth noting.  In the Torah portion this week, what is being read in Jewish synagogues around the world? It’s the part in Deuteronomy 31 and then 32, where Moses stands before Israel and challenges them to choose obedience and to obey God’s law – and to choose life. Then he warns them (and us) that wrong decisions on their part will be the equivalent to choosing death. Read it for yourself. How timely is all that, considering what we’re seeing in our land? 

The recent High Court rulings, the unbelievable Iran agreement to let them have nukes over time, the aggressive LGBT alliances now persecuting those who want to live by God’s word – all combine (and more) to not bode well for this nation.

Combine that with the 2nd year in a row of eerie blood red moons on Yahweh’s high holydays – and we may be in for a tough few years ahead of us. 

What can you do?  Seek a closer walk with our God and Savior as never before.  This is the most important action any of us can take. HE is our Rock, our Hiding Place, our place of safety and our Peace – no matter what we will see happening all around us.  

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PRAY for believers in Christ

Yes, even if they believe differently than you

Just yesterday ISIS put out graphic videos – which I couldn’t watch – of their captives being burned alive. Some are Christians, some just simply don’t believe like the ISIS butchers believe.  This is prophesied to get worse and worse until it can be said that we’re in the worst of times the world has ever seen.  Ever.  We’re not there yet.  But even now, children and young women are being sold into slavery and the sex trade because they aren’t Muslims.  Some are being crucified, tortured brutally, burned alive, beheaded and are having to give up everything they’ve known and owned - because they call on the name of Christ.

Our one true God tells us that He marks and takes note of those who “cry and sigh” for the abominations in the land (Ezekiel 9).  Are you even aware of the extent of the monstrous horrors happening to Christians and minorities in Iraq and Syria – as well as in Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, and other Muslim countries in particular?  Are you bringing these atrocities up to the great Throne of Grace and asking Abba in Heaven to watch over his people, to protect them as much as possible

Some of you won’t pray for those “Christians” because they don’t believe just like you do.  Please don’t react that way.  Christ himself said, “He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30). Another time he rebuked his disciples for rebuking people who were preaching in Christ’s name but who were not among his bona fide disciples.   Yeshua’s response: “He is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9:40).  Oh, that more of us would have our Master’s attitude. 

Instead we seem to want to constantly divide and split up those who follow Yeshua the Messiah – or as most know him - Jesus Christ.
 

Mark 9:38-41

Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us."

But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 

40 For he who is not against us is on our side.  41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Are you ready to listen to our Master and do what He says?  Click on “Continue reading” to the right to find out. 

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