לְכוּ לָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ וְהַכְרִיזוּ אֶת בְּשׂוֹרָתִי בְּכָל הַבְּרִיאָה

Visit the new “Torah of Messiah” YouTube site!

This is an educational site where we will teach the depth and richness of ALL the Hebrew scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, from the perspective of Messiah Yeshua’s teachings on the Torah, and His principles.

“I give you good doctrine, do not forsake My Torah.”

We are still working out the technology.  But this video introduces the channel, and gives a very birds-eye view of what we will be doing over the coming months, even years….

If you are familiar with our teaching methods already, please, like, comment, and share!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7qF1Ti4CQq7fObMMDAUZPQ

I Declare!

So, I have been ‘declaring’ the good news of Messiah for forty-three years now.  I can honestly say that I cannot count how many Messiah has revealed Himself to through my efforts.  Please understand, I boast in Messiah Yeshua, who uses me in spite of myself.  I did ‘sleep’ a bit, as I have put it, during my high school and early adult life, until I was at sea on a submarine, cut off from the world, and cut off by a girl friend, and also cut off by my nearest friend at that moment, who thought his wife and I were developing intimate feelings for one another, though each of us viewed the other as a sibling. Because she mentioned me in their ‘family grams’, radioed messages from home to the submarine, he resented me.  He took his vengeance a few months later, shortly after we returned to port. [I wrote a related episode you can read here: He did it for good! ]  But, before that episode, he ‘tested’ us to see if we would cheat.  It almost seems that when we did not, he got more angry.  But, I digress.

Yokhanan HaYakhid, Yeshua’s ‘best friend,’ one might say ‘bosom buddy’, has always been my ‘favorite’ Shali’akh [apostle].  While I came back to obedience through the writing of the Shali’akh Matti, by reading Yeshua’s first ‘drash’ in his account [Matti 5-7], Yokhanan’s account of Yeshua’s life appealed to me more, which I read a mere few days after Matti’s account ‘turned me around.’ As I said, I was at sea on a submarine.  The girl I had been dating, for whom I’d just bought a necklace, had stood me up for the date where I was going to present her that gift, just before I went to sea.  Shortly after going to sea, my friend began to shun me.  Deeper into that patrol, I was not hearing from my family, not receiving any of my ‘family grams’.  This was the longest patrol of my career, and I did not like the Navy anyway.  I did NOT mind being on the submarine; I quite liked it.  But, the morale on our boat was very low, as we had a tyrant for a captain.  But, I was always ‘blessed’, and seemed to be supernaturally protected from his tyranny.  But, nonetheless, I was distraught and dissatisfied with my life.  My grandmother, who I later learned was Jewish, had given me a bible when I was fourteen years old.  I had taken it with me on each of my three patrols on the boat.  But I had not once, to my recollection, picked it up and read it, until that night.  I have the journals from my patrols, and the ‘tone’ of my writing shifted drastically from before my encounter with Yeshua and directly thereafter.  Before that night, I had written, “I still cannot reason why more of us are not conscious of the need of being good to one another.  Being good to one another is being good for one another [yes, I did italicize in cursive].  I am certain we would all be healthier and happier. This [inability of man to be kind to his neighbor] is no cause to hide from society, but it is perfect cause for being cautious in our association with others; after all, the lamb has yet to lie with the lion.”  Little did I realize that the lion I need to lie with was about to visit me!  And that I would then ‘see’ His deep affection for His friends in Yokhanan 13, at the Pesakh Seder that was His last meal.  And in the reading of that, I learned what a true friend is, and realized I had one on the boat, and it was not the ‘buddy’ who had silenced our friendship over suspicions, suspicions I now realize were birthed of the adversary.  That friend was a young man from Massachusetts.  I had written of him after the ‘turn of events’ with Messiah: “Dennis and I are starting to get along quite well.  He is trusting me with personal experiences from his past which are normally not discussed, and I the same with him.  I really admire this young man.  He has the mettle to adhere to the moral discipline that his parents wished him to practice.  He never says anything that is unkind, even to people that are not deserving of such treatment.  He is confident in himself, but not to the point that he is haughty.  His only problem is that the guys in his division are envious of his intelligence, so they treat him like Cinderella.  [very direct comments and names of his persecutors are left out] I am rueful of his situation; it is extremely unjust.”  As I write, I fondly remember my last visit with Dennis in Mass just last September, and our latest conversation just weeks ago. It has been a thirty-three year friendship, and Abba has seen fit to cause two of my jobs to send me to his state many times over the years so that we could visit.  I was contemplating friendship in my journal at that point, because of the shutdown from the other friend.  And then, while mourning that and the girlfriend, and the lack of communication [I love to communicate] from home, I picked up that bible.  I said a prayer I will never forget.  “Father; I want to know what Yeshua [I still called him by His English name then] would say to me if he were standing here.”  My eyes were closed, but I ‘saw’ Yeshua standing next to the top bunk in which I lay, in bunk room five on the U.S.S. Ohio.  I opened my Bible and my eyes, and I turned somehow to Matti chapter five and read what most call the ‘beatitudes’, and the following two chapters.  I ‘saw’ for the first time, having heard those scriptures all my life, that Yeshua was not describing different groups of people, but ONE person: a true believer.  I realized that the qualities He attributed to the “Happy” man were not in me, and this was why I was not happy.  I vowed that night to pursue those qualities.

3“Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is Malkhut HaShamayim.  4Happy are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  6Happy are those who hunger and thirst for tzedaka, for they shall be well satisfied.  7Happy are the merciful, for to them shall be mercy.  8Happy are those who are pure in their hearts, for they shall see Elohim.  9Happy are those who make shalom, for they shall be called sons of Elohim.  10Happy are those who are persecuted for the sake of tzedaka, for theirs is Malkhut HaShamayim.”   11“Happy are you, when they reproach you and persecute you, and speak against you every kind of bad word, falsely, for my sake, 12then, be glad and rejoice, for your reward is increased in heaven; for in this very manner they persecuted the Nevi’im who were before you.”

I was a bit of a money-grubber, even writing in my journal my financial goals; I did not ‘mourn’ for the right reasons [over unrighteousness, though I had rejoiced in Dennis’ righteousness], I was certainly not meek, I had not hungered or thirsted for righteousness [looking back, I was ‘starved’ for it, but did not realize it]; I was not merciful, having just sucker-punched a guy for a very minor infraction against me; I was not pure in heart, nor one who made shalom, nor was I ever, during my navy tenure up to that point, persecuted for Messiah’s sake [not until shortly after that night!].  In short, I realized my confession of Yeshua was not producing any fruit whatsoever.

This was nearly 33 years ago.  Shortly after reading that passage, five of my sailor friends trapped me in that same bunk room and asked, “What gives? What happened to you? Why are you all of a sudden so happy, so kind?”  One of them was a cook, whose girl I had stolen from him a year before.  One was a sonar tech, a professed atheist, whom I actually liked.  Another was a missile tech, a bit of a comedian.  Memory fails as to who the other two were, and I did not write about them.  But, my point is that a mere few days after Yeshua showed me the ‘goal’ of my life [Rom 10:4, Phil 3:14], the very PURPOSE for my life [which I had questioned in my journal], I was ‘declaring’ the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, the Son of God, and His free gift of salvation by trust in that event that is a most foundational, historical FACT.

I brought up Yokhanan earlier, because after these events, which were so ‘monumental’ in my life [I still remember most of the details, without having to resort to my journal], I was indeed ‘tested’, ‘proven’ by Messiah as to whether my ’emunah’, my ‘trusting, absolute, firm faith’] was real, whether the soil of my heart was good soil [the parable which I discussed with the atheist friend, whose name was “Chris”; isn’t that rich, an atheist named after “Messiah” 😉 ].  That first test was the meat of the story linked earlier. Those times of testing STILL come!  Most recently, I have been hearing complete misrepresentations of me, by people who are supposed to be righteous.  I did not willingly leave, but was forced out.  We did not one time ever ‘take’ from our former ministry.  I begged for a meeting, and did not refuse to go to one.  I never once even hinted at threatening a woman and a child in email, a child for whom I only cared and prayed and blessed and doted over since shortly after her birth.  Yet several ‘elders’ are spreading that doozie. And worse.  But, every time a trial comes, I am COMPELLED from within to SHOUT the “B’sorah”, the GOOD NEWS of Messiah Yeshua, to anyone who would but ‘hear’.  To rescue anyone who belongs to the adversary and sin, and bring them into the Shalom of Messiah Yeshua.

That is our purpose.  Those of us who trust in the blood that Yeshua shed on the tree, to SAVE us from OUR sins, are to DECLARE that GIFT to those whom Abba brings into our lives; that is our purpose in this life.  Like Yokhanan HaMatbil, we are in a wilderness of bad doctrine, of deceit, of fake people, “P’rushim” [dividers who follow religious pride and not Messiah], and we are to SHOUT out the truth of The Lamb, “HaSeh”, to all, regardless if they respond or not.

This morning, before setting out to write this, I read Tehillah 68.

12Adonai gives the word; those who declare the good news are a great army.

And a few verses later, which is interpreted by Sha’ul to be about Yeshua:

19You have ascended on high, You have recaptured the captives; You have taken gifts to mankind. And even among the rebellious, Yah, Elohim, is to dwell.  20Blessed is Adonai, day by day He bears our burden, even the Elohim who is our Salvation. Selah. ….. 36Awesome is Elohim out of your Mikdashim [sanctuaries]; the Elohim of Yisra’el, He gives strength and power unto the people; blessed is Elohim.

I hope someone is inspired to DECLARE GOOD NEWS!  Too many these days are distracted by Torah, and not practicing the ‘spirit’ of the Torah, which is the declaration of SALVATION in Yeshua!  When Yisra’el came up out of Yam Suf, Moshe sang,

2Yah is my strength and my song, and He is become my Yeshua[h]; this is my Elohim, and I will glorify Him; my father’s Elohim, and I will exalt Him. 3 יהוה  is a man of war,  יהוה  is His Name. 4Paroh’s chariots and his army has He cast into the sea, and his chosen captains are sunk in Yam Suf.

Paroh’s army is out for death.  The great army that declares good news is out to give LIFE!  ETERNAL life!  Yeshua’s very name means ‘SALVATION’.  He SAVES us from our sins!  The Torah is indeed the ‘target’ for our lives, His perfection, but it is NOT gained by OUR POWER, but HIS.  And if it is bereft of the DECLARATION OF HIS SALVATION, then it is just noise.  Jews keep His Torah, and in many ways they do a better job than Messianic people.  But they have MISSED THE MARK!  And so do many who ‘think’ they follow Torah. They have stopped ‘declaring’ SALVATION.  All they talk about is the works of the Torah, and not the GIFT.  And therefore they do not declare Yeshua.  So few actually receive SALVATION by that, and many actually become twice a son of Gehinom by their teaching.  They do NOT understand the compassion of Elohim, and His ABUNDANT patience with us.  So they ‘bite and devour one another.’

If I have seen anything afresh these days, it is the SALVATION of  יהוה … That His compassion is bigger than people’s condemnation, judgment, betrayal, and lies.  That one of the greatest proofs of “Emunah” is the WILLINGNESS to declare SALVATION to a dark world, in spite of our suffering in the doing of it. And to come along side brothers to HELP them in their weakness and trials, and not to kick them, talk about them, judge them, and abuse them.  I take my own advice from thirty three years ago, or as one friend puts it, ‘eat my own dogfood’: “This [inability of man to be kind to his neighbor] is no cause to hide from society, but it is perfect cause for being cautious in our association with others; after all, the lamb has yet to lie with the lion.”

Our little congregation’s message this week was very, very powerful and practicable, and is already changing lives.  I hope that this missive on the heels of that will help someone come out of their shell and be VALIANT in the declaration of Yeshua, the Son of G-d. That is indeed the very thrust of my life and motivation.  And I give ALL PRAISE to Him for what great things He has done.  And look forward with HOPE for the things HE IS STILL DOING, because of absolute trust in the blood of  His Son, and in His resurrection from the dead.

גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוה אִתִּי; וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו

Dang, I just LOVE how  יהוה  is ‘all up in my business’…

גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוה אִתִּי; וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו

“O magnify יהוה with me, and let us exalt His Name together!”

This morning, after prayers, I read Tehillah 34, and He ‘spoke’ to me very comfortingly, and personally.  That is hard to describe to someone who has not experienced it.

Then, I got a message from a friend who is geographically distant, but getting ‘close’.

He and I have been ‘working together’ in prayer over some very critical issues.  He messaged me this morning I think, saying he had good news over the issues.   So we talked early this afternoon so he could tell me the good news. We had prayed on Mo morning, and I had messaged him with the confidence that Yeshua had heard, and will move.  Indeed He has!!!!  There would have been EVERY reason to doubt, based on past ‘signs’, and my buddy confesses he had a smidge of doubt.  But GREAT things happened instead.

When he finished telling me the details, the verse in the title, 34:4, immediately went through my head.  And then I realized it was also in a Miqedem tune, “Ta’amu”; and then, as I started to ‘share’ this here, I realized it was the Tehillah I read this morning, and re-read again on my first break after I got to work.

Then, I started working on my little song from Tehillah 146, and BAM!  It’s a GREAT melody by which to MAGNIFY HIM!

And, as I was contemplating all of this, I realized how ‘sharp’ my mind seems, and how aware of just how ‘close’ to me Yeshua really is, in spite of people.

Now I’m going to listen to Ta’amu!  I wish EVERYONE could really TASTE and ‘see’ that יהוה is GOOD!

 

 

Now Islay Me Down To Sleep

Last night, I had some of the best Islay Scotch I’ve ever had, with a friend who is a true friend.  Thanks for the Scotch!

But, seriously, no.  This is a story about a young man, barely away from home, who was thrust into circumstances that could have overwhelmed him, or even undone him.  But Messiah Yeshua decided to take ‘all things’ and use them for the good, because this young man was indeed ‘called,’ for the purposes of Elohim.  Unbeknownst to him.

He had just given his life over to Messiah, the Son of God, a few months before these events.

He was sitting with a group of military personnel one day.  A lieutenant was grilling a “seaman deuce”, who could not figure out why he was so distraught.  Our young man, whom we will call Yosef, was senior to the seaman deuce, as a “second class petty officer,” but far junior to the lieutenant who was the leader of this group of sailors.  The petty officer, Yosef, asked the lieutenant, very respectfully, “May I ask him [the seaman deuce] a question?”  “I guess so,” she said, obvioulsy reluctantly, “since this is a group.”  He ignored the lieutenant’s chagrin, and simply looked at the boy, younger than himself, and asked his first question. But, to be fair, we have to ‘see’ what was in Yosef’s mind that prompted the question.  While the lieutenant was grilling the boy, which is truly what he was, Yosef ‘saw’ in his mind that blond-headed boy, and about nine other younger, blond-headed boys and girls, frolicking in a huge yard which was in front of a white farm house, in the midst of fields of wheat, a barn off to the right, a tractor, and an old pickup truck in the dirt driveway. Mom and Dad were on the porch resting. Yosef ‘felt’ a sense of happiness and peace in that place he saw in his mind, and the Presence of Messiah; all the while the lieutenant is grilling the boy, who, in Yosef’s mind, was at that place with what looked like his family.  Having gotten permission, he asked the boy, “Are you from the midwest?” He looked Yosef dead in the eyes, obviously distressed, and said, “Yes.”  And the next question, “Do you come from a very large family?”  A bit surprized, he answered, “Yes.”  The next question, “Is it a Christian family?”  A tear came to his eye, “Yes….”  The room of about twenty sailors was perfectly silent, but Yosef was oblivious to the presence of everyone else, only seeing this young, sad boy.  His last communication was a statement, and not a question, “You want to go home, don’t you….”   And the boy started balling, shedding tears in front of twenty or so men.  The room was aghast, because those twenty men knew that Yosef had only been part of the group for a day, and did not even know the boy’s name, much less anything about him or his family.  The lieutentant got up and left the room, angry.

That afternoon, the group decided to go have some liesure time playing a game of baseball.  The blond boy caught up to Yosef and said, “As soon as you started speaking to me, I knew you knew what I felt.  I miss my family so much. How did you know?”  Yosef said, “I ‘saw’ you and about nine other kids playing in this big yard…” and he described the rest that he’d seen in his mind.  Two of the other sailors were walking with them to the ball field.  The boy said, “I know I should be living a Christian life; but I haven’t been.”   One of the other sailors, a bit older, said, “Me too!  I think that’s why I haven’t been happy.  I haven’t been living for Jesus.”  The blond boy interjected excitedly, “I feel so much weight lifted off of me now.”  Yosef declared happily, “Praise God!  Hallelu Yah!”  And they played ball that afternoon.   That evening, the other sailor who had said, “I haven’t been living for Jesus” visited Yosef in his quarters… “Can we talk?”  “Sure,” Yosef said happily.  They sat down in front of each other.  He looked at Yosef and said, “I’m not even certain that I’m actually saved.  When you looked at him [blond boy] and said, “You’re from a Christian family, aren’t you?”, my heart hurt.  How did you know?”  Yosef said, “I don’t know.  I just saw it, and felt it.”  “How do you know you’re saved, Yosef?”  “Because I trust that the blood of Jesus was shed for ME, for MY sin.  I know that I am a sinner.  I know that I will perish eternally if I persist in sin.  But I also know that He is the Son of God the Creator, and that He came to this earth to die in our place, to take our sins into His flesh, so that we would not be punished for our sins.”  He looked Yosef in the eyes and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever truly asked God to forgive ME, of MY sins.  Will you help me?”  Yosef took this older man’s hand in a double-handshake fashion, and began to pray with him.  He simply asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins, and to show Himself to him, that He had taken his sins into His flesh, and to let him ‘know’ that he was forgiven, and to give him His Spirit, to help him to live a life worthy of that calling.  The older gentleman wept with joy.

The next day, the group was sitting around during a break, and the song “Don’t Worry,  Be Happy” came on the radio, and Yosef began singing it at the top of his lungs.  The whole group finally came round and began to sing it all together.  The lieutenant walked in, and turned around and stomped off.  A few minutes later, Yosef was headed to the ‘head’, and heard the lieutenant tell the Captain, “I don’t like it one bit!  This ‘Christian “B%%^&%^t” is a lie, and a smokescreen!”  Yosef almost stuck around to hear the rest of the conversation, but was compelled not to.

That night, another of the twenty came to Yosef.  He asked him, “Do you think Satan is real?”  “Absolutely,” Yosef said.  “The reason I ask is because my girlfriend often went missing late at night.  One night, I decided to follow her, and I found her and some other girls out in the woods, they had a fire going, and they were dancing around it, outside a circle and, what do you call it, the five pointed star?”  “A pentagram.”  “Yeah, the pentagram and circle were around the fire, and they were dancing around it and chanting something.  It freaked me out.”  “It should,” said Yosef.  “So you think Satan is real?”  “More real than you and me,” he said.  “You don’t know if you might have shaken hands with the devil!”  “Holy %&^*!  It feels like you just sent a knife up my #%$!”  [remember, these are sailors]  “I’m just telling you, Satan is alive and well, and he responds to worship.”  And then Yosef began to describe the fall of Satan, and his role in trying to destroy man.  “Dude, how do you protect yourself from that stuff?”  And Yosef told him about a dream he’d just had, right after he started living for Yeshua again while at sea.  In the dream, Yosef had ‘assembled’ with some ‘false believers’, but left the building because of his unease; they chased him down, and offered him a cup to drink.  “It’s blood” they said.  Knowing the prohibition against drinking blood, he said, “I won’t drink it.”  So one of the cult took the cup and began drinking.  “It’s wickedness!” Yosef yelled.  And the car behind them blew up, waking Yosef from the dream.   He then explained that he had actually gone to a church and left because the spirit in the place was one of judgment, and not of Messiah’s compassion.  They talked for hours, and Yosef shared the fullness of the gospel with him.

The next day, the senior member of the group came to Yosef.  On the day Yosef reported to the group, he confronted Yosef, because he thought he did not want to be there.  On this day, he came to apologize.  On the first day, in front of the whole group, he had asked Yosef, “how can you be so happy now, being here against your will?”  Yosef had answered, “I will tell you, but it’s going to open up a can of worms.”  Like baby birds they all chimed together, “You have to tell us, this is group session!”  So Yosef began, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.”  “So, you think you’re Daniel in the Lion’s Den?” he said sarcastically.  “You guys are hardly lions”.  On this night, he apologized to Yosef for trying to humiliate him, and told Yosef, “My dad is a preacher.  I grew up as a believer, but when I got into the Navy I started sinning; drinking, carousing with women, all kinds of stuff I knew I should’nt do.  I’ve been in this group for twelve weeks, and I have not been able to figure out how to get out of here.  Your words made me feel the guilt of my sin, and I got angry.  I took it out on you.  I just wanted to apologize, and tell you that you’ve helped me ‘see’ what I need to do.”  

For the next two days, Yosef spread joy everywhere. And then the Captain gave Yosef new orders to another duty station.  The senior member of the group had tried to hang himself.  The one who dated a satanist had tried to drink and drug himself to death.  The one who asked Yosef for Salvation had tried to cut his wrists.  The blond boy had jumped off the deck of an aircraft carrier.  One of the group not yet mentioned tried to hang himself.  Yosef was there because he was falsely accused of trying to kill himself, even though the Captain knew there was no evidence of it whatsoever, and did not want to ‘admit’ him.  Naval regulation stated that they had to be detained for seven weeks.  The group was supposed to vote each other through the steps of recovery.  On day one, the whole group voted against Yosef progressing, because of his statement, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.”  After only six days, Yosef was temporarily assigned to duty in an office in the same building as the group, a naval hospital.  Four of the five just mentioned passed by Yosef in the break room one day.  The one who asked for Salvation saw him, and they veered from their path and came into the break room. “I’m outta here next week!” he said.  “Me too,” said the pastor’s son!  The blond boy was grinning ear to ear and said, “I’m at step three already.”  The last, the one who’d tried to hang himself, a senior chief, looked at Yosef, to whom he’d never spoken, and with tears said, “I should have voted yes for you.  I wanted to.  I wanted you to know I’m sorry, and I’m so glad we saw you today.  You should never have been in there, you didn’t belong there.”  “Yes I did; for whatever reason, He wanted me there.”  

Yosef was me.  Yosef was supposed to be there for six more weeks, but was realeased in six days.  When I arrived, I was indeed a mite upset.  But, I got down on my knees in my room and prayed these words, “Father; I do not know why I am here.  But, I will stay here for thirty years, if you will allow me to bring one soul to you.”  And I meant it.  And in all of it, Messiah had been ‘very present’ in my time of need.  There was recently an attempt to share only the ‘byline’ of this story, which I had told to a person I thought was a friend, and I told it to them in order to glorify Messiah Yeshua, who had done “great things” for me.  But the byline was that I ‘was admitted to a mental insitution while he was in the Navy,” without the statement as to “why”, because I was falsely accused of trying to kill myself, and certainly without ANY mention whatever of the glorious things Yeshua did while there for a mere six days.  The purpose of sharing only the byline was to twist this story, in order to denegrate me in the eyes of this other friend.  I’m certain this has probably happened more than once.  Why was I falsely accused of attempted suicide?  Because the person I was accused by thought that I was in love with his wife.  That person, a shipmate, was sent right back to sea on another boat by our “XO” [executive officer] in order to punish him for having done this.  Our XO read my diary, by which this shipmate framed me, and said that I wrote better than most of his officers, and suggested I make a living at it.  While on the phone with the XO, a Lieutenant Commander, he told me, “He [the shipmate who ‘turned me in’] should be the one in there, not you.”  A very glorious truth of mine, one of the most powerful weeks of my life, was thus perverted, and used against me to try to paint me as unstable, even though this happened thirty-two years ago, by a person who claims to be a brother in Messiah.  “27And He who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of HaRu’akh, for HaRu’akh prays for the K’doshim according to the will of Elohim.  28And we know that those who love Elohim are helped by Him in everything, for goodness to those who, from the beginning, are destined to be called.” Rom 8:28  It is the job of the serpent, however, to pervert and twist, to take what Elohim does ‘for good‘, and to make it sound evil, to twist it, to pervert it. This is not the only perversion of His goodness by this accuser, either. I will continue telling this story, even though there is always the risk of some evil person taking it and twisting it to his wicked will.  Yeshua saved/rescued five people that week.  I was used in that, whether hasatan will admit it or not.  People who believe the perversions of hasatan are just as guilty as hasatan. 

20But You, O  יהוה , be not far off; O You my strength, hasten to help me. 21Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the power of the dog. 22Save me from the lion’s mouth; yes, from the horns of the wild-oxen do You answer  me. 23I will declare Your Name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise You. 24“You that fear  יהוה , praise Him; all you the seed of Ya’akov, glorify Him; and stand in awe of Him, all you the seed of Yisra’el. 25For He has not despised nor abhorred the lowliness of the poor; neither has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.” 

Guardian of the Galaxy

On what did Yeshua found His congregation?

Immediately the mind goes to His statement to Kefa, “I tell you also that you are a stone, and upon this stone I will build my Congregation; and the gates of She’ol shall not shut in on it.”

The harlot teaches that this ‘stone’/’rock’ is Kefa, the man.  Context and plain interpretation teaches us that it is the confession that Yeshua is “the Mashi’akh, Ben Elohim Khayim,” Messiah, the Son of the living G-d, that is the cornerstone of His congregation. 

The congregation of Messiah is founded on the CHARACTER of Messiah.

Yeshua’s first message to a Jewish crowd is recorded in Matti 5-7; this would be considered His ‘foundational’ teaching; this passage was the ‘eye-opener’ for me some 32 years ago.  I had been brought to life in Messiah at 11 years old, had lived it for three years, and then ‘slept’ spiritually for eight years, going off not into egregious sin, but into a habit of not following Messiah daily.  As such, I was having a difficult time in my young years; I had joined the Navy, and was on a Submarine when finally I called on the Creator.  I was in my bunk, mourning the loss of a girlfriend, just a sweetheart, just before we left port, sorrowing also over the lack of communication from my family, and over a close friend going cold and silent on the boat.  I picked up the bible my grandmother gave me when I was 14.  I said a small prayer, asking Abba to show me what Yeshua would say to me if He were standing there.  I ‘saw’ in my mind, whether imagined or not I do not know, Yeshua standing beside my top bunk; I opened that Bible to Matti 5 and began to read.  And the ‘character’ of Yeshua LEAPED off the pages at me.

“poor in spirit”, “mournful”, “meek”, “hungry/thirsty for righteousness”, “merciful”, “pure in heart”, “maker of shalom”, “persecuted”, reproached because of who He is”….And Yeshua goes on and teaches The Torah, expressly saying that He came to ‘confirm’ the Torah, and He does that in the next 2 ½ chapters, elucidating the behaviors of those who build that character in themselves.

I saw all these character traits, and mourned the fact that this was not me.  I set out that day to change that.  I was at sea with 180+ men whose mouths were foul, and the first thing that happened is that mine was cleaned up, immediately, without effort at all on my part.  The salt water turned sweet.  The next thing that happened is that I hungered and thirsted for righteousness, and I devoured the whole NT in those next weeks.  After that, I started reading the OT.  In those days, I felt like He was doing a miracle for me every day: I was first persecuted for my new ‘behavior,’ and that persecution actually got me off the boat two years early, and I was ‘miraculously’ transferred to shore duty 2 years before I was supposed to be eligible, without having to reenlist like my peers who also transferred.  The ‘favors’ that He did for me over the next few years were numerous and obvious.  I wish I could recount them all here.

As I said, however, its been 32 years.  I still see the passages in Matti 5-7 as a description of the CHARACTER of Messiah Yeshua.  To confess Him means to confess that His Character is the goal at which we aim [Rom 10:4, Phil 3:14]. For 32 years I’ve desired to achieve those traits, and I still ‘press on’, in spite of my failures over the years.

He founded His congregation, ONE congregation, on that character.  His Nature: who He is.  And His followers began to exude that character, and to teach HIS way to the Jewish people, and then the nations, also demonstrating His Power.  But, even though Yeshua Himself founded His congregation, others came along and perverted it, despoiled it.  They built on His foundation with ‘wood, hay, and stubble’.  They ‘re-founded’ it on harlotry, lies, deceit, selfish pride, and false accusations against the righteous, judgmental hearts, and murder.

I have seen the pain of Yeshua in regard to the perversion of His congregation.  He showed it to me thirty years ago in a dream, and periodically through those years.  And it is sad that mankind can seem to have such power over His congregation, and yet ‘think’ that they are anointed by Him, and still call themselves by His Name.  At times, His congregation seems to ‘fail’.  But, Yeshua said ‘the gates of She’ol shall NOT shut in on it.’ On what?  On HIS congregation!  The LIVING entity that exudes His character.

His congregation is a LIVING ENTITY, and is NOT confined within the walls of a building or within the paperwork of a manmade institution. His congregation is HIS BODY.  And it does NOT move in harlotry, lies, false accusations, judgmental attitudes, and murder!  It moves in poorness in spirit [detachment from mammon and trust in His provision], mournfulness, meekness/humility, hunger/thirst for tzedaka, mercy, pureness of heart, shalom….when these things are not present, or are overwhelmed by the others, His Body is separated from it, by its very nature.  And for that, His congregation suffers persecutions and reproaches.  By the self-righteous, usually. “ 20For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner ceases, and all they that watch for iniquity are cut off; 21that make a man an offender by words, and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate, and turn aside a tzadik with a thing of nought.”

History tends to repeat itself.  But, Messiah is indeed still preparing for Himself a SPOTLESS Bride.  I have maintained for years now that she is the ‘remnant,’ and is a very, very small number of people.  I only PRAY that I am consecrated as the remnant.  I do NOT assume I am.  And I mourn my failures deeply. But, I also STRIVE to love the brethren, and all people, and not to judge them, and to see if there is any unclean way in me. And continually to confess trust in the blood shed by Messiah, the Son of the Living God, offering that forgiveness to those who offend me, though they do not offer it up in return sometimes.

Another summation of the character of Yeshua is known by Jews as the “Thirteen Attributes of G-d.”  I have tried to inspire others to be like that.  Some very few have moved more toward His character, and some few have shown me those attributes.  For that, and for those few, I am most grateful.

יהוה, יהוה , El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning…

The word ‘guardian’ has a special character in a Torah scroll, a descended ‘nun’ [noon], in the word ‘notzer’.  This word does mean ‘guardian’ or ‘protector,’ but is also “branch/offshoot’, and is the root word for “Natzri”, or Nazarene.  Yeshua is truly the GUARDIAN of compassion! HE will make CERTAIN that those who love Him WILL receive compassion!

Trump Ishtar!

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Purim is coming up.

Many people who keep Torah do not observe Purim, even though it is in scripture.  One reason for this is that some in our Jewish community can tend to treat it a bit like Halloween.  But that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  That’s like not remembering the promise of Elohim because the LGBT community perverts the rainbow, a beautiful symbol of a promise turned to represent perversion of the design.  Purim is indeed NOT a commanded feast, and we in the Messianic Peshitta fellowship do not treat it as such.  But, it is a worthy celebration of the Salvation of Yisra’el, by whom Yeshua comes to us.  Some think that the book is not inspired writing, and should not be part of the canon of scripture, but I disagree.  For one, there are lessons in the book of Eisteir [Esther] that fit the whole narrative of scripture, and there are allusions to Messiah Yeshua and His ‘Bride’ that are very difficult to dismiss.  There are other reasons to treat it as canon, but that is not my purpose today.

The book linked at the bottom of this post was written for the purpose of studying the book of Eisteir, and also for celebrating it.  It contains some very helpful insights into the text, as well as suggestions for how to remember the events honorably in celebration.  It can be a great time of fun and learning.  The name of Hadasah, ‘myrtle’, was changed to Eisteir, “Ishtar”, much like the Pesakh was changed to the same name, distilled to “Easter” for most.  Yet she ‘unveils’ herself and shows she is Jewish [ just like “easter” is not that, but is Pesakh, and is Jewish and the world doesn’t know it] Was Hadasah not a true Jewess, simply because she bore another name for a season?  She trumps ‘Ishtar” by her faith!  Her faith caused her to reveal her Jewishness!  That’s a moment that everyone who truly follows Messiah will come to!

There are allusions to the Pesakh in the Purim story, and it precedes Pesakh by exactly a month.  It’s almost like a primer to get the thoughts prepared for the Bedikat Khametz of Pesakh.  This year, Purim falls on 03/09, and Pesakh on 04/08 or 09.  Pesakh can be enriched by the study of this great deliverance of Yisra’el!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Messianic-Peshitta-Megilah-Purim/dp/1457568675/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Messianic+Megilah+for+Purim&qid=1579025499&sr=8-1

Eureka Flesh!

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Lately I have seen the worst in people.

In thinking on some things after prayer this morning, I wondered about people’s ‘prayers’, when they ‘say’ they are praying ‘for’ someone.

Based on what I’ve heard and observed, I don’t think very many actually truly pray ‘for’ people when they say, “I’m praying for you.”  That phrase has become almost cliché these days, especially in the age of facebook and email.

I am starting to see that most people actually pray ‘about’ someone, if they ever actually pray.  They pray according to the flesh.  If they pray at all.  I think most people just toss the phrase out there to appear righteous and compassionate in a moment, and then either forget to pray, or they never had the actual intent to do so in the first place.  I’ve asked Abba always to help me remember to pray, if I’ve said I would; usually these days I try to do it right away.  If I don’t manage to do so, I’ve been ‘reminded’, thankfully, by something.  The problem I have, is that if people do actually pray, many times it seems they observe what they perceive to be faults/issues in others, and ask their brand of deity to ‘fix’ that person.   I’ve seen/heard of a lot of that lately.

It’s tricky.  There may be actual observation or perception of ‘issues’ in their brother that they see, and so they think it is their duty to bring that before the Creator.  They think they are doing a thing of mercy, I suppose, by being wise enough to see the sin/error/flaw/issue in someone’s life, and compassionate enough to make the Creator of the Universe aware of it.  Umm.  I think He was already aware of it!  IF indeed the observation of one human being of another human’s heart is correct.  I submit that MOST of the time the observation is incorrect, on some level, and always incomplete of understanding.  It is written that a man himself is the only one who knows his own mind, and that G-d is the only one who knows a man’s heart.  Yet so many jump to conclusions based either on one moment, a series of segmented moments, or on one morsel of gossip they heard, and set out to pray for that brother who is so at fault more than themselves.  This behavior is exactly the opposite of the examples of the Nevi’im, the teachings of all biblical, sacred writ, and especially of the mind of Messiah Yeshua.  NO ONE on this earth is so righteous that they know what another human needs from G-d by way of personality changes!  It may be that Abba is using that person’s ‘issue’ to expose something in the one who is ‘praying for him’.  No one is the master of another’s servant. NO ONE has that kind of insight into another human soul altogether, that they can deign to instruct G-d on how to fix their neighbor.  Especially if they themselves have never asked, counseled, or had a thorough conversation with that person about their perception of his issue.

I have learned never to pray for/over my brother’s ‘sin that easily besets.’  I have learned never to instruct G-d on the issues of human flaws in my brothers.  I do not think or dwell on those issues in my mind anyway, and certainly not in prayer life, as I am too busy trying to get the log out of my own eye.  I strive NOT to talk about their ‘issue’ with others, either.  I’m certain I have failed in that regard, but I’m also certain that when I have, He has corrected me and reminded me of my own nature, and brought forth genuine contrition in me.  Not so of some, who most recently spoke Lashon Harah about me in my own home.  And have done so like a tommy-gun since.  The thing about ‘self-righteous’ people, is that they don’t see when they are being self-righteous, even if it is only for a moment, but especially when it is the pattern of their life.  That is the very nature and definition of self-righteousness!  Just because a person  prays, especially if he says he’s praying “for you”, that does not mean he is righteous.  Yeshua taught on this topic this way:

“And He [Yeshua] spoke this mashal against the men who relied upon themselves, that they were righteous, and despised every other man: “Two men went up to the Heikhal to pray, one a Parush, and the other a tax collector. And the Parush stood by himself, and prayed thus: ‘O Elohim, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, covetous, adulterers, and not like this tax collector. But I fast twice a week, and I give tenth-parts on everything I earn.’ But the tax collector stood afar off, and he would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but smote his breast, saying, ‘O Elohim, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ I say to you that this man went down to his house more righteous than the Parush. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Parush mentioned the sins of others.  The tax collector did not mention anyone’s sin before G-d but his own.  Somehow, G-d has kept me feeling like the tax-collector.  I hope I never become a ‘parush’ [Pharisee].  Incidentally, a ‘parush’ is a divider.

The self-righteous person may not actually say “thank you that I am not like….”, but that is what his heart says, when he sets his soul on another’s sin issue before the Judge.  That is an exaltation of self over his fellow.  Sha’ul writes, “Let each regard his neighbor better than himself,” and “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in HONOR preferring one another.”  And Kefa writes, “Finally, live in harmony, share the suffering of those who suffer, be affectionate one to another, and be kind and gentle; not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”

When we pray ‘for’ our brother by telling G-d of his personality issues and asking Him to help them ‘overcome’ them, all we are doing is focusing on the flesh.  You reek of flesh, too!  You have the EXACT same sin issue, in that your flesh deceives you and betrays you in sinful ways of which you may not even be aware!  Sha’ul, who, late in his life, after he had saved thousands of souls, founded many congregations, performed hundreds, if not thousands of ACTUAL miracles, suffered in his flesh and bone body the stripes of criminals, the stoning of abominations, imprisonment, poisonings, shipwrecks, et cetera, declared, “Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect; but I am striving that I may reach that for which Yeshua HaMashi’akh appointed me. My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.”  Just before this he had said, “I have no tzedaka of my own gained from the Torah, but the tzedaka which comes through HaEmunah of Mashi’akh; that is, the tzedaka which comes from Elohim.”  And we are taught by Yeshua to give that kind of understanding to every brother, that our righteousness is not our own, and that His has been imparted to ALL who trust, even those who are not yet perfect.

People get lost in the search for ‘more righteousness’, especially many of those who think they are Torah keepers.  In one sense, NO ONE IS!  No matter how hard we try, we break it, especially when it comes to the ‘weightier matters of the Torah’.  Yeshua said, “you have overlooked the more important matters of the Torah, such as justice, compassion, and absolute trust. These [tithing from the smallest crops] were necessary for you to have done, without having left the others [justice, compassion, and absolute trust] undone.”  Justice without compassion is self-righteousness.  Those who wear tzitziyot, a tallit, a kippah, and attend or even teach somewhere on Shabbat, who also commit adultery, lie, falsely accuse, and assassinate the character of a brother of Messiah, whether actively or passive-aggressively, have merely put a jewel in the nose of a pig.

So, how do we actually pray ‘for’ someone?  By BLESSING.  Kefa writes it, and it is quoted above.  “…not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”

After having heard all manner of lashon harah about myself from people who profess to follow Yeshua, I plunged myself into the scriptures, asking Abba to forgive me of my sins, and asking Him to speak to me and guide me through the perilous waters of strife.  I posted on another site one of the ‘themes’ that has been speaking to me lately from the chapters I have been imbibing for the past month or so.  I am learning even greater the ‘reality’ of entering into His Sukka by prayer, and being among the ‘throng,’ the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ above, and this is helping me to ‘forget’ what is behind:

“One thing have I asked of יהוה , that will I seek after: that I may dwell in Beit יהוה [His abode above] all the days of my life, to behold the kindness of יהוה , and to visit early in His Heikhal [sanctuary]. For He conceals me in His Sukka in the day of evil; He hides me in the covert of His Ohel [sacred tent, above]; He lifts me up upon a Rock.

You hide them [those who take refuge in יהוה ] in the secret place of Your presence from the plottings of man; You conceal them in a Sukka, from the strife of tongues. I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a numerous people.

If you then are risen with Mashi’akh, seek those things which are above, where Mashi’akh sits on the right hand of Elohim. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim.”

Like Sha’ul, I am ‘forgetting what is behind,” and I am “striving for those things which are before me.”  In spite of people who judge without compassion.