Topical Fruits

Oh, there are so many topics that I have covered up to this point. Some in conjunction with others, some standing alone. Most of the topics I’ve covered have been recorded to help keep me understanding the big picture of what our daily walk with Adonai above should be like, in accordance to His Word, the set-apart (Holy) Scriptures. As I have been progressively learning and growing in my faith-walk, I have picked up, and put down, many teachings and theologies from famous, and not so famous, pastors, preachers, teachers, and theologians. Over the many recent months, I have shed off many doctrines and creeds that I once accepted at face value, and have instead come to embrace the simple and pure truths of Scripture in their original context and meanings. Essentially, trying to not follow the crowds who had long ago embraced man’s ways and doctrines…the very ones that Yeshua, Himself, had rebuked! (Mark 7:6-8 And He (Yeshua) answering, said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you hypocrites, as it has been written, ‘This people respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men. Forsaking the command of Elohim, you hold fast the traditions of men.”

Yeshua Jesus also had words for the many who doubted or didn’t accept the clear truths they had heard and seen from Him themselves. In Matthew 11, Yeshua laments the state of many people and cities that both He, and John, had preached the good news to, and who had refused to turn away from their self-driven, wayward lives. He spoke the truth, and yet they rejected His Words because what He said didn’t fit into their perception of how Messiah should be. They wanted an immediate warrior to destroy the enemies of Israel, but instead they saw Yeshua as nothing more than a weak lamb. They wanted a King above all kings, and yet they saw Him a simple meek servant. Those who Messiah condemned lost out because they thought they knew better, that they were more learned. In reality, they were trapped within their own ideologies and doctrines because they clung tightly to the teachings of men instead of the Words of God. Likewise, we’ve been programmed to accept the teachings of the Christian churches as correct because…well, that’s just the way it always has been! But, what if you are following teachings that, say, took a wrong turn long ago? Well, then you could end up very lost…and nowhere near your initial goals to follow Adonai above. There will always be a learning curve when you first begin any journey, but if the instructions we start out with are flawed or difficult to understand, we could end up going the wrong direction without even knowing it. Many roadmaps (theologies) that have been presented to westernized society over the centuries had actually come from preconceived ideologies and thoughts of men who had specific agendas and biases. So, while the path I began on long ago might appear to be somewhat more of aimless wanderings (from a birds-eye view), there has always been one fixed constant that kept me moving (somewhat) in the right direction; the desire to know Adonai Elohim, the God of the Bible.

I have tried to keep the core of most of my writings and podcasts encompassed and adherent to the Scriptures alone, since they are the very source for all studying and reading the Words of Elohim, given to us through His Ruach (Spirit), conveyed through the voices and hands of men who were divinely appointed to be His messengers to the world! The Bible is the very source for all our lives, interpreted by the Holy Spirit to our heart and soul and mind. We are instructed to read and meditate on the Words of God daily (Jos 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.”). These Words are the light we need to navigate through the complexities and difficulties that we will have in this life (Ps 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”). They are also the Words given as instruction (Torah) on how to worship and praise Abba Father above! They teach us how we are to live daily in an acceptable and set-apart manner before, not only Yahweh, but also the peoples of this world (Rom 12:1 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship.”) There is nothing outside of the Scriptures that should have more sway and affect on a believer of the God of Israel. 

There are a vast array of organizations (churches and ministries) that claim to be representatives of Yeshua Jesus who teach their followers a variety of ways to worship the God of the Bible and have a living relationship with His Son. But, are they all correct? Do they all adhere to the commands of Elohim? Do they truly point people to God through Yeshua Jesus? Well, you have read and heard many of my rants where I have come across harsh concerning the many men and religious groups who, over the centuries, have usurped and even thwarted the Bible as being the only complete source for knowing and serving Hashem (the Name above all names). I have gone on tirades against the many who have purposefully diminished the Words of God as absolute truth. I have wrestled with the countless doctrines and creeds of men that have attempted to put YHWH in a box and define Him specifically in one fashion or another. Most modern westernized churches, through the various bias translations of Scripture, have tried to redefine the complete source of our salvation. Essentially, they have created for themselves a new religion based on skewed ideologies and doctrines of men. As we are to emulate Yeshua Messiah, we need to follow Him completely; to follow His teachings, which expounded on His Scriptures, the Tanakh, (or what is referred to as the Old Testament.) What many seem to miss is that we are to interpret the New Testament writings through the lens of the Old Testament, instead of trying to interpret the Old Testament through the lens of the new writings; as most of Christendom has been doing for centuries. I say all this not to be contentious or think that I am right and that so many are wrong, but to simply point out these very things to show that the road most of us have travelled along up to this point has had its origins based on defective maps created by men. Essentially, people created a reinterpretation of the original map for us to follow based on their personal bias and agendas, instead of staying with the original map planned out by God Himself. But, thanks be to God that there are many U-turns and redirects that will blessedly show up; but only when we take time to actually look at His original map! 

There is a reason that history is so important to study. It has been said that if we don’t learn from history, then we are doomed to repeat it. We can clearly see that this is true just by taking time to actually research church history; how we got from ‘there’ to ‘here’. It is one thing to study the Words contained within the covers of the Holy Bible, it is another to understand the original context of what is being said by who and why. Asking the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of the text, in relationship to all other context, puts a very unique and very different perspective compared to what we’ve been led and taught to believe. (Most of which has been based on the teachings of post-apostolic early church forefathers). I have spoken about the historical “changes” implemented by a certain 4th century pagan Roman emperor and the later church “leaders” before, so I won’t go into too much detail, other than to say that deep alterations to the first century follower’s practices and adherences were extremely dramatic, and those changes literally created a “new religion” by the end 325AD. So, please, do your own research to see!

We gentiles are a people much like the Israelites in the Tanakh who were continually driven to do their own thing, despite what Elohim’s Word instructed us to do. In essence, humanity has mastered the skill of creating our own ways to worship by redefining who God is, by reinterpreting the texts to fit our ideologies, by giving fancy names and doctrines to our various groups, and by cancelling out the teachings of Scripture that don’t fit our personal views…all so we can sound prominent, righteous, and stoic because of our interpretations of His Word. We love to elevate teachers and leaders onto pedestals who will promote our created traditions. And we know best how to market our religion through music and books and media so as to draw in the masses with the latest ways of how they should all think and feel towards our Elohim. I guess I can be so bold as to say that the current stream of “christianity” that much of the world sees today is really nothing more than a professional program…filled with idolatry, materialism, and even apostasy, sprinkled with some happy love verses out of context, that is far removed from the original commands of how we are to truly worship and follow our Elohim. 

Much of this has stemmed from man injecting subtle hints and personal bias into the translations of the Bible. This, we know for fact, has happened and yet the people just ignored and accepted it. These misinterpretations have greatly affected how we read and understand His Word. Let’s look at one (minor?) fairly obvious alteration to the New Testament; the book of James. The title should actually be Jacob, or the Jewish name Ya’aqob! (The original Greek name “Iakōbos” means Jacob) So…what was the point of changing the author’s name into a drastically different name? I mean, there are other “Jacobs” in the Bible, so why rename this particular guy? The current accepted name “James” first appeared in the 14th century when John Wycliffe translated the Latin name Iacomus as James in the first English translation of the Bible. All the future translations just stuck with the incorrect name! This great error was reinforced after King James sponsored an “new” English translation, which was originally called the Authorized Version in 1611 (and didn’t actually get called the King James Bible until 1797). Again…why? Why the alterations to the original texts? I’ll tell you one reason: they wanted to do away with the Jewishness of the Bible! There was enough hatred toward Israel by the English that making Scriptures read and sound more “westernized” would draw in more believers. (Also meaning more revenue for the church coffers!) This history is fully documented…they never tried to “hide” this fact.

As more older and complete copies of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts have been discovered, they (the translators) will compare them with current transcripts and might adjust the text accordingly. But in most cases, the discoveries do not change verbiage enough to affect or alter the theology or history. Yet, that didn’t stop many of the translators over the centuries to take liberties when translating into modern languages (and is also dependent on if they were using a previous translations like the latin vulgate, or if they were translating from the original languages). Some groups or individuals, when translating into English (and various other languages), may also have had a particular worldview, and the Bible’s writings might conflict with that view, so small adjustments to the text would be made to alter the original meaning. Sadly, this is often the case with many of the loosely paraphrased editions of Scripture…meaning that they will rewrite some verses enough to lead the reader to interpret the text a particular way. We can easily see that simply by comparing many the “versions” of Scripture all at once. Thankfully, there is software now days available that has the technology to look at a variety of Bible translations all at once so as to compare them with each other. And, honestly, I highly suggest that ALL of your studies be done in this fashion! Clinging to one translation alone, (either because that is what you were raised on or perhaps you believe it is that only “authorized” text (though, I’m not sure who authorized it, since only Adonai Elohim can do that)) is akin to putting your entire understanding of God into the hands of one opinion. Some people might find that a particular translation is too complicated to read, so they’ll find a simpler version, which can often result in a twisted misunderstanding of the original context and really miss out on what Elohim intended for us to know. 

The same approach to the study of Scripture (looking at a variety of translations) can also apply to which pastors, preachers, and teachers you are in lockstep with. Placing all your hopes and learning on one person or ministry is dangerous, and will often lead to the idol worship of man (not to mention also having a very narrow, or even possibly false, teaching that is not Biblical and will lead you down the wrong paths.) Knowing the complete truth of Scripture will lead us, by the Ruach HaKodesh, to the truth of Messiah Yeshua…which is our only salvation! Yet we can see most problems arise when we have too many worldviews being injected into the Words of God just to fit personal narratives. We are to listen only to the Words of Elohim, not the world. Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” But many in the “church” today are driven to be conformed to the ways of this world, to fit in, to be like those around them. They think that if they act like the world around them, accept the world’s way of thinking, water-down the Holy Words of God for the people, that they will be accepted and then can enjoy the fruits of both worlds. They take their “maps” that are altered just to get others onboard. Before you know it, the original map from Yahweh doesn’t look at all like the one people today are using to direct their lives. People want to have their own selected leaders over them, ones who pander or cater to their wants and desires, not the strictness they perceive that comes from Elohim above. 

In 1 Samuel chapter 8, the people were growing restless with Yahweh, and since their leader, Samuel, was getting old and his two kids were not quite up to the task of carrying their father’s torch (since they also didn’t walk properly in the Way), the people themselves had their own agenda and plan, much like most do today. Starting in verse 4 it reads: Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Behold, you have grown old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us—like all the nations.” (In other words, they wanted to be like those other people all around them, the very ones whom God said “do not be like them!”) But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai. Then Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds that they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you also.” Adonai follows with a warning of what will happen if the people get what they want…in this case; a king…and He also knows that they will whine about that later as well! It’s important to remember that what we think we want or need will not be in our best interest! When we try to put our definition of wants and needs above God’s definition of what we need…we will often be filled with regret when He gives us over to the desires of our hearts! (Romans 1:24).

We are not robots; brainless programs that follow blindly to the commands given us. Our Elohim wants us to be free to worship Him in spirit and truth, from our hearts, and to wholly desire to know and love Him! Yet, He knows us (Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”), wants what is best for us (Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”), and gives us the instructions we need to bring us through this journey (Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Torah (instructions) of Adonai. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies and seek Him with all their heart.) His Word is the light we need in this dark world. His Word is the map that brings us into fellowship with Him. The Creator of the universe came down to us when we were lost and gave us the Way…through Messiah Yeshua! His Words are for all who seek to stand before Him in glory and live eternally in the Light of salvation! We are to follow Him through Yeshua, not follow man. We are to study His Torah and follow His Torah, and know His Torah (instructions). Yeshua followed the Torah and instructed us in John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” And what is His commandments? The entire Torah. The law was not nailed to the cross. The punishment for breaking the law was! 

Let us walk in the footsteps of our Rabbi and our Messiah/Savior Yeshua…to use His map, not the ones created by man, but His alone for our whole journey with Him to eternity. 


Instructions To Live By

…that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yeshua Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10

Oh, just how much the name of Yeshua/Jesus drives people crazy! And, unless his name is being used in a blaspheme way, people don’t want to hear it! If you spew an expletive out using the name of Jesus Christ, it is perfectly fine and accepted. Yet, if you speak the name of Yeshua Jesus to someone by explaining who he is as the Messiah and what he taught, you will be met with eye-rolling, head-turning, hand-to-the-face opposition! But, just what can be said (specially in the last several years) about all the public displays of demonic symbology and evil characterizations? If someone dances as a devil and parades demonic characters for either movies or videos in the entertainment industry, that is just having some fun and it is ok’d by the masses. Even derogatory connotations about God, Jesus, and the Scriptures have become a frivolous matter within gatherings and media circles to the level that people just brush it off as insignificant. “It’s just harmless fun,” they say, “it’s not hurting anyone!” Or they exclaim that those opposed to such antics are being “too religious” or “legalistic.” And yet, are we who believe just being too zealous being offended by all this? Are we even offended at all?

Quite honestly, our western civilization, (including the current “church”), has gone beyond the point of committing spiritual suicide, and is very much easing itself comfortably into complete apostasy. It is obvious to see that the people who are promoting these crass and evil depictions as nothing but mere “harmless” fun, are, in fact, also without an ounce of guilt over the aftermath. They simply pass on the responsibility of restricting or limiting the visuals to the parents and adults. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it! But we also know for a fact that most parents and adults don’t restrict or limit what is being watched or listened to by children. After all, harmless fun, like celebrating halloween or enjoying scary movies, has been around for countless decades, and by now “most” folks should be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, right? Well, if we were to truly take the blinders off and looked around at our society’s current state, it would be quite clear that this complacency and acceptance of evil has had a much deeper negative impact on the morality of people throughout the last few generations…so much more that what people might realize! 

Most of the immoral attitudes and events that are happening in western society today would absolutely shock and disturb people from even less than a century ago. If you were to go back even further in time, you would find that most people stood firm as staunch opponents to the very demonic displays we are currently accepting today. To see how far our moral compass has gone astray, and, just how much our hearts have deteriorated and hardened, one only has to understand the apologue describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if you put a frog suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out. But, if the frog is put in tepid water and the water is then slowly brought to a boil, the frog will not perceive the danger and it will be cooked to death. Graphic, I understand, but quite necessary to understand why we, as a society, have strayed so far from where the God of the Bible wants us to be. We have over time, like the frog, gradually accepted the small increases in immorality by decreasing ourselves from following the very Words that God has given to us for our instruction (Torah) to live by: the Holy Bible.

First of all, I know that not every human who has ever walked this planet has believed in, or followed, Yahweh Adonai…the God of the Bible. Nor do I think that everyone will ever fully accept and follow Yahweh. Though we all are descendants from Noah and his family after the flood, since they were the only humans to survive, not all have walked the same path in life. Most strayed from Elohim’s instructions to follow after their own heart, their own desires, and their own ideologies. So there are many that do not, nor will ever be, God-fearing men and women. But, to the many who do claim themselves to be “followers” of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob within the pages of Scriptures, it is clear that most still do their “own thing” in life. Sure, they may claim themselves to be Christian or Jewish or believers in God and the Bible, but do they truly follow completely as God has instructed? In my previous podcast and writing, I walked through the definition and concept of being a disciple…a follower of Yeshua Jesus and a faithful adherent to Yahweh God of the Bible and His Torah. But as I opened in this writing, there seems to be an even more rampant acceptance of many pagan and evil cultural holidays, feasts, and activities…even within the very walls of most “churches” today!

Even with all the understanding and knowledge of what the Bible says and instructs to those who would claim themselves to be believers of God, we can sadly see that those instructions (Torah) are not only being minimized in their veracity, but even ignored or dismissed all together as not necessary anymore. Modern “churches” have not only watered down the authority of the complete Scriptures, but have gone so far as cut major portions out as unimportant or archaic or insignificant since we, as a society, have deemed ourselves “evolved” and that those Biblical rules are no longer applicable for the people of today to follow. A vast majority of folks, including attendees of the various churches, have come to the conclusion that they know what is best for themselves. After all, the times and culture from Biblical days have changed drastically and therefore do not address the current issues we face today. It doesn’t take a highly educated person to grasp that lifestyles and laws from the ancient middle east don’t quite fit neatly into the lifestyles and laws that we have now in our westernized 21st century!

But…did God’s laws (or Torah) change? Because that would mean that God changed. Does God change? Well, the Bible is quite clear that God “is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” so that would be conflicting. I had found a great explanation regarding the laws of the Old Testament and whether or not they remain applicable today. If a police officer showed you grace by not writing you a ticket for speeding, does that mean that the traffic laws are now abolished? Are you now free to speed? No! How ridiculous! The officer’s grace should bring you to willingly obey the traffic laws! His leniency was not a termination of the traffic laws, but rather a mercy to encourage and guide you to obedience. Can you guess what this analogy parallels? If you said Yeshua Jesus and His pleas for us to keep the Torah, or the Commandments of God, then you win! So, then, why does the churches today forgo accepting and teaching the Torah? Because they’ve deemed them archaic and state that Yeshua Jesus did away with them. Again…giving grace didn’t make the laws change or go away. Yeshua said He came to fulfill the laws (show us how to keep them properly as intended by Yahweh God). Matthew 5:17-19 says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them (meaning to do them). For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” And Matthew 19:17 says “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” You see, Yeshua was talking about the Torah, the Old Testament laws, because that was the only Bible they read and followed!

So, since there is such a perceived drastic difference from the world of Jesus’ day to our world today, the modern denominations have taken it upon themselves to adjust and reform the Bible to fit their ideologies and teachings so as to guide the people they serve. Since cultural norms have shifted and have become more accepting and tolerant of people that choose not to follow the commands of God, the implication is that it really doesn’t matter what the Bible may say about certain lifestyle choices. If you “feel” that a certain way of life is good for you, but the Bible conflicts with it, “don’t worry,” they say, “because God loves everyone unconditionally, so it’s ok to be who God made you to be,” after all! They push a narrative that God accepts everyone, no matter what a person may say or do (or so says the pulpits of most churches today.) But, is that really what God says? If anyone actually took time away from the schools, away from the influencers, away from the pulpit-masters, away from the commentaries, away from the opinions, away from their upbringing, and away from the creeds and confessions, to actually read for themselves the very Words within the pages of Scripture, I truly believe that there would be an uprising against the very walls of modern church entities. Because what is being sold as “church” today is in complete contrast to what the Holy Bible of God’s Words say. 

Jesus didn’t come to change the rules. He didn’t come to negate the Laws. He didn’t come to start a new religion. He didn’t come to make new rules for living. Everything that Yeshua said and did was to show us all, the Jewish and Gentile believers, how to conform and live the Torah. All his teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount, expounded on the Torah laws, yet was dismissive to the distorted man-made laws that the religious leaders of the day had blended with the Torah. This blending of “new” was much like man did at First Council of Nicaea around 325AD. Yet, people forget that all of the Apostles and disciples of Yeshua still attended the synagogue on the Sabbath (the 7th day, Saturday). They still adhered to all of the feasts and food laws. They taught all of the new converts to emulate and follow Yeshua Jesus, who followed the Torah laws. This was all the norm even after Yeshua rose to heaven. Well, until man injected his own ideology into the process and decided to make adjustments and modifications to the commands of God. Do you see how the heat was slowly increased to the water? The first century followers, Jews and Gentiles, walked according to the Jewish Messiah who followed the Jewish laws (Torah) to worship and follow God’s decrees and laws given to Moses at Sinai. Nothing changed. Until around the 4th century when man decided to add his views and ideologies. And this very slow boil has been increasing ever since! 

But, I have harped enough on that. It’s quite simple…it really is! Adonai Elohim is a God of all or nothing. I covered this in my last podcast and writing. All I can stress at this point is that we are commanded to “come out from among them”. This might seem drastic. This might seem fanatical. This may be deemed quite extreme to many around, but I can assure you that if you truly want to be considered a true follower of Yeshua Jesus, you need to seriously consider what He taught. And to understand what He taught, you need to see where He got his source material from…the Torah! Now before you go screaming “culture” and the like, yes, there are certainly laws that are not applicable to all people or that are deemed “done away with.” Foremost is that we do not have the Temple to sacrifice and worship at anymore. The sacrificial process was a command of God that was completed because of Yeshua’s great sacrifice for us. No, we probably don’t exchange donkeys and camels for a wife these days either (though in some cultures…!) Some laws are applicable now days to the heart, such as circumcision or sacrifice. But if you look online at the approximate 613 laws from the Torah, you will find that most are certainly still applicable and can easily be followed, even in today’s cultural times! And having a proper and strict reverence to following the decrees of God would certainly alter the progression of our immoral culture!

We are a society that is sliding fast into the abyss. Hell is real folks! And, yet, people have accepted the boiling water so much that they don’t want to get out anymore. Many now embrace the immorality and impending doom because they are blinded by the delusion of “peace, safety, comfort, love, protection” that they think this world offers. You cannot call Jesus your Lord and Savior and still run your own life your way! Messiah said “Follow Me”. He didn’t say that He would tag along in your world on your journey. But He did say that you were to tag along with Him solely on His journey! On my last writing and podcast I opened with this line: “If we invite someone in, they are in our world. If someone invites us in, we are in their world.” We don’t invite Jesus into our world, because our world is of this world and He told us explicitly that “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Paul (Saul) wrote that we are “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) We are “not to love the world, or the things of this world.” (1John 2:15-17) 

Yeshua Jesus said of His followers in John 17:14-19 “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, so that they too may be sanctified by the truth.” Yes, we are here in this world for a time and season, but we are not to be like this world…in any way! God’s Word is the complete Torah. Not just select verses or fitting ideologies. We are to be disciples, followers of Yeshua, who followed the complete Word of God. If your life isn’t reflecting that, then it’s time to reevaluate. If your “church” is not reflecting that, then it’s time to find one that does. No place of worship and teaching is perfect, but we certainly do not want to allow or accept too many compromises to go unchallenged or corrected, because in time, the water gets to a boiling point where death is imminent. And that death has eternal consequences!



If we invite someone in, they are in our world. If someone invites us in, we are in their world. 

Quite a hodgepodge of events lately. There have been a number of life changes in recent months for me, including employment uncertainties, losing a loved one, and having a huge rework of my belief system. All this, and more, has been enough to really challenge me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Usually when major events happen to us, it can cause us to stop and reflect, re-evaluate, and adjust or change our direction in life accordingly. Every human being that has ever walked on this planet has been subjected to some type of dramatic, life-altering, event. No one is immune. In some cases the situation might be sad and painful. In some, it might be a joyous and celebrated moment. But in almost all cases, these things can often change the course of our lives forever. I believe this has happened to me.

When we look at the whole of Scripture, we see story after story of events and situations that have also drastically changed a Biblical character’s life. Like dams that are placed in the paths of rivers to alter the course of its direction, so, too, do these events alter the forward direction people may have been going. We can easily see how Abram was doing his thing in life until God spoke to him and told him to uproot everything and everyone he knows and go to a new place. We see Moses living life with his in-laws for 40 years, comfortable in his routines, until God spoke to him and changed the course of his life forever. We see the entire nation of Israel, living in the only world they knew, Egypt, suddenly being led out of that land in a direction and destination they knew nothing about. Essentially, all these people had their everyday lives turned upside down by God’s calling. 

When we get to the New Testament, we can easily see a dozen men (the Apostles) who were busy tending to everyday life in their professions. Peter, Andrew, James, John…all fishermen by trade…called suddenly away from all they knew to follow a man they had never met before. Think of Matthew the tax collector. He was busy at work one day sitting in his office (booth), taking care of Roman taxes, when a strange man walked by and said “Follow Me”. His life has now taken a sudden turn and will be transformed forever. In all cases, whether it be my personal changes or the alterations in the lives of the Biblical men and women, the cause of these changes had their roots in Adonai Elohim, the LORD God above. Whether through events around us or within us, Abba Father’s Spirit is the mighty effect to change our course in life…whether we want it or not!

All things, good or bad, happen for a reason and a season, according to the will of the Father. It says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” But what about those who don’t love God, or even believe in Him? Are they doomed to suffer only bad things? Obviously, the answer is no. God can, and does, use all things to draw people to Himself. Someone may wake up and realize that their physical blessings are from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and then subsequently turn their lives over to Yeshua Messiah. Some might go through a tragedy that forces them to see the God of the Bible face to face and come to realize that they need to turn their lives over to Jesus. Or someone might have a superficial understanding or knowledge of Yahweh God, but have never truly surrendered their lives completely until some major change in their life becomes the catalyst for them to commit their lives to God and change their course forever. 

Even if you are already a believer, there are many moments that can affect the direction we may have already been walking by faith. Take, for example, Saul of Tarsus. He was a Godly and devout man of Yahweh, dedicated to living the Judaic faith to the fullest. He properly observed the Torah (the Old Testament instructions on how to live) and was very learned in the Scriptures. Yet, despite his zeal for his religion, God’s plans can affect changes in a moment when least expected! Elohim wanted Saul to see the truth that Yeshua Jesus was in fact the awaited Messiah of Israel and the Gentile nations! Saul (also known as Paul in Greek/Roman circles) wasn’t expecting to “convert” and accept Jesus as Lord, but as mentioned before, God can, and does, alter lives! 

The most important thing that many of us need to recognize and realize is that when these life changes occur, we should hold fast and embrace them. It can be very easy to dismiss a dramatic moment by thinking that we are just having an emotional response, or that we just had a confusing moment of weakness, or that it is better to stick with what we know and not venture to far away from our comfort zone. But we can clearly see in the pages of Scripture that God’s life-altering events are meant to take us away from our happy place, to send us down roads we may have never walked before, and, most of all, to go all in! God’s calling is almost always very radical and requires us to “take a leap of faith” into the unknown! Something that I have always struggled with. 

I’ve come to understand that this God of the Bible wants nothing less than an all-or-nothing commitment. If you think about the 10 Commandments, most will agree that they are to be adhered to in our daily lives. Love God, love our neighbors, don’t kill, don’t covet, don’t lie, and go to church on the Sabbath. Simple. But most who claim themselves followers, or Christians, or religious, actually live their day-to-day lives keeping only some of the Commandments of God. And, yet, nowhere in the Bible does God give us permission to live life by only observing 7 out of 10 of the laws, or even 9 out of 10. Adonai was quite clear that we are to conduct our lives following all of the Commandments and laws! There has never been a gray area or exclusions under certain circumstances! Nowhere, not even in the New Testament, does God change His rules for life! And sadly, for many of us, guilty as charged!

So, this brings me to how so many people struggle with being a disciple of Yeshua Jesus, myself included. We seem to be ok complying with the soft, gentle, easily accepted rules of life, but cannot seem to go all in and give up our past ways to completely devote ourselves to follow the Messiah every day, in every way! The true radical transformation we are Biblically called too often times gets slowed or halted because we are either afraid to give up what we know (our comfort zones), are afraid of what others might think of us (our pride and ego), or we have settled for the watered-down church life that only focuses on happy-love-joy things that require no sacrifices or repentance of sin in our lives (being complacent and selective). 

The disciples in the Bible gave up everything they knew to follow what the Spirit of Yahweh opened their eyes to…Yeshua Jesus as Messiah. Thousands upon thousands turned over the entirety of their lives to the radical change of being a follower of the Way. They faced the ridicule, scorn, contempt, loss, and rejection by family and friends. They completely turned away from anything and everything that God had instructed as bad or wrong. They walked down the new roads, knowing that they would be letting go of their pasts and embracing the gracious gift of God through Messiah Jesus of eternal life in glory. The knew from the start that this path was an all-or-nothing decision. Hebrews chapter 11 displays some of the examples of true faith, of those who gave up all they knew for all that God was giving them. Verses 1-2 says “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. This is why the ancients were commended.” 

Not just the believers within the pages of the New Testament, but all the countless disciples (followers of Yeshua) showed their true faith by walking in the path that was offered them through the Messiah. Essentially, a disciple is one who emulates his/her master in every way. They walk, talk, and live their lives as close as possible to the one whom they are committed to follow. As more and more disciples were brought in to the fold, they were pointed to Jesus as the one and only way of how they were to live. Yeshua Jesus was the perfect example of Yahweh God: “So Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does. The Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does. And to your amazement, He will show Him even greater works than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes.” (John 5:19-21). As Jesus emulates the Father, so, too, we are called to emulate Jesus!

So, here we are. Perhaps we are walking in our faith weak, complacent, watered-down, selective, and hot/cold daily. Are we true disciples or are we on again/off again Christians who change our spots depending on the environment we are in? Do we live our lives in such a fashion that the unbelieving pagans don’t see us as any different from themselves? Do we puff up our religious displays on the Sabbath, yet live the other days as everyone else? Are we hesitant to speak out for Yeshua Jesus when others blaspheme His name because we fear the retribution or ridicule? I, for one, am guilty as charged in so many circumstances. Not just for being wishy-washy day to day around others, but also for being selective on what is and what isn’t important to follow within the pages of Scripture. You see, so many dismiss the Old Testament because Jesus came. But the problem with that is most are missing the part that Yeshua and all His disciples didn’t have a nice, neat New Testament to use. Their Bible to follow and study was the Tanakh…the Old Testament. They followed the laws, studied the Patriarchs, and memorized the Words. If we are truly followers, we would be doing the same!

Read Hebrews chapter 11. No, actually, study it. Meditate on it. See what true faith is supposed to look like in light of the dramatic changes in one’s life. Changes that affected so many to give up all things, including self, to follow the God of the Bible, now through His Son Yeshua Messiah, Jesus Christ. They gave up everything to be true disciples. Have we? They repented (turned away) of their old ways to live lives according to God’s ways. Have we? What have we given up…if anything? We should not have any excuses if we truly want to be His disciples. Yeshua Jesus tells us that He does NOT accept a lukewarm faith. In Revelation 3:15-16 He says “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth!” So, where do you stand now and where do you want to be standing at the coming Judgment Day before the Messiah Himself?


A Name By Any Other Name

Hello. My name is Richard. That is the name given to me by my parents upon my birth. Though formally Richard, I can go by some of the abbreviated versions such as Rich, Richie, Rick, and so on. If someone calls out “Richard” or “Rich” in a room, I look. That is my name. If someone calls out Derek or Susan or Fred or Veronica or any other name, I will not respond…because my name is Richard. Why is that important? Well, names are our personal identifier. It is the given intimate name we were first presented to the world as, and it is the personal and intimate name that we subsequently present ourselves to others as we navigate this wide world. You have your personal, intimate, identifying name that you use to introduce yourself to others. Your family, friends, coworkers, and the like address you by that name and it is even utilized as a legal identifier by governments as well. So, essentially, the name you and I have is important! 

If you introduce yourself to me and give me your name, that is what I will call you. If I call you by any other name, you would either correct me or ignore me all together. Understandably! Even for people that have long left the living, we don’t call them some other name. For instance, if I was talking about George Washington, but kept calling him Keith, you would not know who I was referring to. A similar situation would be if I was having a conversation about the German reformation leader and yet kept calling his name as Emilia. You would not know that I was talking about Martin Luther. Again, the correct name given is important!

I bring all this up because there is a long-standing situation that most folks, and specially theology scholars, know about and yet continue in error simply because it is “what everyone has been doing for centuries, so why change it”. They justify it by saying that “it really doesn’t matter what you call Him, because He knows who you are talking about”. What I am talking about is the correct Hebrew name of the Biblical messiah, known in the western world as Jesus. You see, He was born in a little town we call Bethlehem (Beit Lechem) and, per the angelic messenger’s instructions, was named Yeshua (Y’hoshua) which means “The Lord’s Salvation”. So why do we continue to call him by another name? Is His name, and many other names for that matter, so important that we need to upset the whole of established Christianity? Does this mean that there was an egregious error made during translation into the English language and it means that those who read the westernized Scriptures are not saved and are going to hell? Of course not!

Most folks will argue that these changes are just part of the translation process. You see, we don’t all speak the same language (thanks tower of Babel!), and many of us do not have the skill-set to speak additional languages other than our own. (Though I’ll argue that there are some who struggle with their own native language…but that’s another topic)! Yet it is important that in order to communicate with other people groups, we need to translate (or transliterate) what they are communicating into an understandable adaption to our own language. Another aspect is that other nations may use different symbology for their letters than, say, English. So that creates another dimension to bringing the words from one culture to another. Take for example the English word “cheese”. In Spanish they say “queso”. Since essentially the same alphabet is used, it is just a simple matter of learning the word in English and Spanish. But what about the languages that have very different lettering? This complicates the translation somewhat because there is an added step called “transliteration” that is used.

The dictionary defines transliteration as to “write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or script”. Thus, translating from Hebrew (or Aramaic, which is the language that Jesus and all the Jews spoke in the New Testament times) means that the vocalizing of the words need to be transliterated to the closest English lettering. In original Hebrew, His name is יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (which is actually read from right to left) and is transliterated into English as “Yeshua”. Many of the New Testament texts were either written or translated into Greek, so Yeshua had to be Hellenized and transliterated into Greek as ησοῦς which was transliterated into English as “Iesous” or further into Jesous, and then further still into Jesus. So, you see that the spoken transliterations morphed the names from the original languages into various pronunciations. To really bake your noodles…the transliterated name of Yeshua is actually written as Joshua in the Old Testament. Yes! The same Hebrew name is transliterated into the English as Joshua in Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament! Boom!

This is not a unique practice in the world of translations. Bear in mind that each translator will bring the original into the destined language based on what they feel is the closest and best fit to yield the word understandable. There is some “artistic interpretation” that is utilized that will affect what is deemed a good translation. But clearly the entire process is certainly no easy task, and there is always a critic, or three, that will disagree. Plus, something important to point out is that in the history of the Jewish people, they were under various controlling governments for most of their history. From Babylonian and Assyrian to Greek and Roman, Israel was assimilated into these foreign cultures and had to struggle to maintain their ethnic life and language. So it was no wonder that many in Yeshua’s day spoke Hebrew/Aramaic, as well as Greek and Latin. These language and culture influences can show up within the writings of the Scriptures. 

But, how important is this information? Again, I will never say that people who refer to Yeshua as Jesus, as it is written in so many English Bibles, will be cast into the lake of fire. But for the many who claim the desire to go deeper into the Word, to know the Messiah more intimately, and to be a closer to the original languages as possible (i.e.: word-for-word translations versus paraphrased) without learning Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, it is still important to understand the basics of the native languages (word studies) and the culture from which the writers were living in and being influenced from. I have said it many times that you cannot fully or succinctly have a proper perspective of reading the Scriptures without reading them in their proper context! 

History lesson: keep in mind that most of today’s westernized Christian churches are direct descendants of the decrees and declarations that were put into place by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. A quick study into that event shows, without any bias or denials, that a primary goal was to integrate Roman culture with the growing New Testament church and to segregate out the teachings and practices of Judaism from the emerging Christianity all together. The council was clear that followers of “Jesus” were not allowed to continue on with Synagogue practices or observing the Jewish holidays and feasts, and were to “convert” fully to the new standards and methods established by this new “church”. Because of this, most of today’s theologies stem from the new direction that believers were supposed to adhere to, and any deviation from that, such as returning to the practices of the first church, which included Judaic observances, were, and still are, often met with harassment and claims of heresy. 

We can all agree that debates within any aspect of theology is a constant. No doubt that a multitude of factions exists under the umbrella of Christianity. Just look at the countless denominations and sub-denominations that exist just in the Protestant world alone! Even historically, the earlier Catholic Church had a great divide stemming from the disagreements during the Council of Nicaea, and that friction continued on for centuries. Going back even further, we can see that even in Judaism there were many differing practices. Yeshua Jesus confronted the religious leaders of the day, Pharisees, the Sadducees, and even the scribes, on many occasions because they all had deviated from the commands of God as written in the Torah, the laws in the first 5 books of the Bible. In other words, man has always, and still continues, to inject his ideas, thoughts, and desires into the Words of God and create for himself what he thinks is best!

So, is “just a name” that important? Personally, I have to say yes. For the simple reason that when you deviate from something that might be perceived as a minor matter, it does, in fact, create a large slippery slope. First you make some tiny alterations to appease the masses and make it function better and “easier to digest”. Next you modify a little here here and a little there there to help integrate better the ancient things, so as to be more understandable and relevant to today’s cultural thinking. Onward, certain modernistic ideologies are sprinkled into the textual translations to help with understanding the more “complex writings” that don’t fit nicely into our way of thinking these days. Essentially you end up with a completely new religion that contains just a smattering of the original for posterity’s sake. This has been shown clearly and historically to happen and, in time, people have taken the very truths from Elohim (God) and reformed them into an inaccurate and humanized meaning. Essentially, we have been molding the God of the universe to fit our narratives and our ways…instead of His creation conforming and adhering to His decrees and His ways. 

In Exodus 3:13-15 we learn Hashem (meaning “the Name”). “Moses said to Elohim, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” Elohim said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Elohim also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘YHWH, the Elohim of your fathers—the Elohim of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation”. In many Hebrew Scriptures, Elohim is what westernized Bibles have written as “God”. Adonai is used for “Lord”. El Shaddai means “God Almighty”. But YHWH (יהוה) is His formal name. Though in many circles it is not pronounced out of reverence, still many will attempt to pronounce it by saying the transliteration of “Yahweh”. But, one thing is clear…that the Creator of the Universe is not just God or Lord or LORD per our English translations. The names are important because they reveal to us His attributes and bring us a better, more intimate, understanding of who He is to us. Names in Hebrew have deep meanings and I highly recommend you do your own name study within Scriptures to get a better perspective of why we all should be using the proper names!

Folks, before you shake your head and finger at me, let me say that this isn’t legalism. This isn’t reverting to irrelevant antiquity. This isn’t some religious jargon to sound fancy. This is committing ourselves back to a reverential awe and respect to our Creator, as He presented Himself to the world through His Word! If we think ourselves so arrogant that we can rename Yahweh Elohim to better fit our languages, views and ideas, then we tread dangerously on this walk through life. I wouldn’t call my boss at work by any other name other than his or her very own. Nor would I call a parent or spouse or friend by something other than their proper name as well. Yet, we think it ok to rename Him who spoke the universe into existence, who created humanity by His breath, and who sustains all things by His hand. Our faith can often show its true growth and strength by the depth of our understanding and our willingness to continue the walk being as faithful and obedient to Him as humanly possible! Yeshua said in John 14:14-15 “If you ask Me for anything in My Name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” 

James 4:8 (Which, by the way, his name was actually Ya’akov or transliterated as Jacob!) says “Draw near to Elohim, and He will draw near to you.” Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu) 29:13 says “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” When we study “to show ourselves approved”, we want to know from where our salvation comes from. We study to know our Father in Heaven. We study to become intimate with Him so that we can then obey Him completely. The old saying “to know Him is to love Him” definitely applies here! And it’s important to know why He is referenced by so many special Hebraic titles, along with His name YHWH, or Yahweh. I’ve touched on a few of them here, but I also want to encourage you to see the Elohim of the Bible in the truest, purest, and proper form and context…as was originally presented to humanity when the Words were written! If He revealed Himself to us through His Word, shouldn’t we know those words…intimately? After all, as it says in Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore Elohim raised Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name above every name; that at the name of Yeshua, every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai, to the glory of Elohim the Father.” It’s clear from the Father above that names are important!


Where Did We Take A Left Turn?

Thus says Yahweh: “Stand by the ways, and see, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

The Holy Bible of the Judeo/Christian faith has a way of getting right to the heart of a person. It says in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. I can testify that Elohim and His Words have shaken me to the very core of my soul in the last several months. Shaken to the point where everything that I thought I knew wasn’t exactly as I had thought. That the very things that I placed trust and faith into are not the clear and fullest truth. That I’ve been on a path, or road if you will, that is not the same road from where it all started…in the very beginning. Let me explain.

From the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, subsequently translated into Latin, English, and a variety of other languages, the very words of the canonized Bible…what is commonly called the Old and New Testaments…have impacted the vast majority of people around the world for multiple centuries. From those very powerful words, written by approximately 40 authors over the span of about 1500 years, comes the voice of Yahweh God to the people that inhabit this planet. All things came from God through Yeshua/Jesus, (the son of God), according to the very words of the Holy Scriptures. It says in Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In Genesis 1:1, the first of the 66 collected books that make up the Holy Bible, it says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” 

If we look through the timeline of the Bible we learn that God created Adam and Eve, the first people, who fell into sin (a breaking of God’s laws) and lost the paradise God had given them (the Garden of Eden). Subsequently through lineage, Noah came about, but so did rampant sin against God, who then flooded the planet (saving only Noah and his family) to start fresh. Essentially God establishes a group of people through Abram (Abraham) and his offspring to be a holy people (holy means “called out”) and to eventually establish His laws to these people through His prophet Moses, after God lead the Hebrew people (Hebrew meaning to “cross over”) out of bondage (Egypt). He gives them a land (the Promised Land) to live in and to worship Him. Unfortunately the 12 tribes of the now-called Israelites have conflicts with one another and are separated (northern 10 tribes and southern 2 tribes) and go through many rise and fall periods because they kept breaking God’s laws. Even after multitudes of warnings from various prophets of God to repent (meaning to turn away from sin), their sinning continued. This went on for centuries. But God had a plan for not only the Jewish people, but for the rest of the world as well.

The last Old Testament period prophet came proclaiming that the “Promised One”, the Messiah, who would take away the sins of the world would be coming. John the Baptist announced that one was coming to take the punishment for all sins and give all people a way to be restored to God. Thus, Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus Christ, came. Jesus followed and fulfilled all the laws and commandments of God perfectly (something no one can do) and gave us the example to follow. Since the punishment for sin is death, the way prescribed to atone for sin was a blood sacrifice. God gave His Son Yeshua/Jesus as that sacrifice (he took the punishment for all the sins, past, present, and future) and made it that whoever believes in him, follows him, makes him lord of their lives, confesses and repents of sins, will be saved from eternal death (hell/hades). While Yeshua was walking on this planet, he had followers that he taught the ways of God too. They became his disciples, who would subsequently continue on the teachings of Christ, even after Yeshua rose from death into eternal life in heaven. 

All the new believers were called Christians, followers of Yeshua as their Messiah. This Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism and still remained the believer’s basis of their worship and knowledge of God through their understanding of the Tanakh, what we call the Old Testament. The early Church continued the Jewish traditions, as seen in their later writings (the 4 Gospels, epistles, and other texts that subsequently coalesced into what is now called the New Testament). Even non-Jewish people (Gentiles) who believed in YHWH God and saw Jesus as the Messiah were grafted into this worship. (There has always been non-Jewish people who worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the centuries with the Israelites as noted in the Old Testament. Examples would be the word “sojourner” in the Torah and many other references to Gentiles). Thus, the early “church” of believers in Yeshua gathered regularly together to worship Yahweh on the Sabbath and teach about Yeshua and his Way to others. 

For reference, I am not an Messianic Jew, nor do I hold to Hebrew Roots or Torah Observant religious beliefs. I will say though that I believe that the vast majority of modern church denominations and movements have drifted extremely far from the true roots of Christianity’s origins and beliefs. Sadly, in many circles, it has come to the point where they have even gone to the extreme of completely dismissing the Old Testament, or at the very least, have minimized the true intent of God’s plan for all people in how they should live and worship. The God of the Torah didn’t change the rules along the way. Nor did He delete the standing orders of how He is to be worshiped. Yeshua/Jesus never said that the old ways were done away with and we can now worship the creator God in a “new” fashion. So, when did it all get purged and whitewashed and become a homogenized new religion? At what point did the followers of Christ put away the teachings of the Torah and the worship at the synagogues on the Sabbath day (which technically falls on Saturday)? When did all this stop, and better yet, why? There is a lot of history that has been either ignored or erased that shows man has injected his own agendas and ideologies into the Christian religion. Being a follower of Yeshua Hamashiach, (or as it has been Anglicized as Jesus the Messiah), doesn’t change anything from the Old Testament, other than the temple sacrifices have been done away with because of Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice. I say all this based on what I have read within the Scriptures and have studied from history. You can look it up yourselves!

We do know from history that the early church “evolved” to a point where the progressing early leaders wanted to separate themselves from the Jewish religion all-together. When Emperor Constantine was Romanizing the Christian religion, he created a council (Nicaea) in 325 to declare what the Christian religion was to “believe in”. Essentially by the 4th century, Judaism was purged from Christianity and the two were deemed “separate” entities…neither to be practiced together. But prior to this declared split by the self-appointed “leaders”, the believers of Yeshua were practicing the Jewish Torah and customs set out in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible…or “Old Testament”, as we call it in westernized society). It was also during the ecumenical council that they felt the need to separate the Jewish Passover and Easter (the crucifixion of Christ). Easter was severed within the “new” orthodoxy from its calendrical and thematic connections with the Passover. Also changed was the day of worship gatherings. No longer would it be on the Sabbath (Saturday) but instead on Sunday…just to segregate the two! In fact, it was through these “evolutions” that many of today’s westernized holidays related to Christianity were invented. It came to the point where you could not believe in Jesus and go to synagogue on Sabbath per the leaders of the “new” Christian religion. In fact, there was a lot of anti-Jewish (anti-Semetic) discourse and writings/sermons that came out of this time, such as Bishop John Chrysostom’s (c.349-407) sermon titled “Against the Jews”. Essentially, this chasm grew and grew between the Christian faith and the Jewish faith (the very Jewish faith from which it all originated from). With all the new declarations of what Christian orthodoxy should look like, it expanded and essentially became a whole new separate religion. 

Why am I sharing this Reader’s Digest Condensed version of church history with you? All this to point out something that so many people who proclaim themselves to be believers in Jesus Christ (who may or may not be active participants in the many modern Christian church(s) out there today) seem to be completely unaware that all the current denominations and doctrines and such that are part of the so-called Protestant (and Catholic) churches today were removed from the original church and purpose. Man decided they didn’t like what God had instituted, that it was too archaic. So, thinking that he knows a better way of doing things more than God, he changed what God had decreed. And it’s this kind of thinking that will cause God to give them over to their own passions and demise. Romans 1:21-25 says: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

These verses (and so many other warnings from God to man within the covers of the Holy Bible) are not just about lifestyles and the flesh…but they warn of how man’s self-righteousness and arrogance to depart from how we are to follow and honor and worship God will be man’s complete downfall and dismissal from God! God commands us in Deuteronomy 6:5-6 that “You shall love YHWH God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”  And the part that many have ignored, or dismissed all together, is that God’s commands have not changed from Genesis to Revelation. The only thing that changed in history is what man has decreed for himself. If the Bible is God’s Word and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then why did man deviate from it? If God declares that the grass may wither, the flower eventually fades, but the Word of the Lord will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8), then why have the assemblies and councils of men dismissed (large) portions of Scripture? Psalm 33:11 says that “the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations”. Sounds like there isn’t a new “version” that God would be switching to because He sent Yeshua as a propitiation for our sins against His Holiness and His decrees! In fact, there really isn’t a “new testament” from the “old testament”, but rather a pre-messiah and post-messiah section of the whole of Holy Scripture! We accept the 10 Commandments, why do we dismiss all the rest of His commands?

As I have battled within myself regarding the issues of faltering faith these last several months, I thought that God, perhaps, had given me over because of my weaknesses and confusion. I couldn’t resolve the many red flags that kept cropping up as I tried to rectify and remedy myself to all the theology and doctrines I had studied over the many years. I knew something was wrong, and it didn’t help that the enemy took advantage of that to get me believing that I walked away from God, or that I was never saved, or that I was, per some theological stances, “predestined” to hell. Yet, now I am seeing that perhaps it wasn’t just me that was confused, (though disclaimer: I am still sorting out quite a bit here!) but that the current state of the accepted Christian religions in the world today are actually wrong. That history shows man taking liberties to change God’s decrees and laws and commands just to fit his own ideologies and narratives. Essentially, the vast majority of today’s Christian churches are following deviated orthodoxy that was created by men who were bent on removing the very Jewishness of God’s people and God’s Messiah, who was himself Jewish!  

With that, I am taking new course in life regarding Bible reading and believing. Since these are Jewish Scriptures written by Jewish believers that follow a Jewish worship decreed by YHWH God, the very God who gave us all a Jewish Messiah who had Jewish followers and disciples who all kept the Jewish customs and traditions and worship, and historically had grafted in the Gentiles who wanted to worship and study and believe in this very same YHWH God and follow the Jewish ways,, I plan on re-reading the Bible in its entirety, but without the man-made doctrines or theologies that I had been indoctrinated into believing up till now. I will be reading the Holy Scriptures with a first century Jewish/Gentile perspective as all this was intended from the very beginning. I believe that the Books will be more alive and enlightening to this soul that I could have ever imagined! 


To Be Or Not To Be…

If no beginning, then no end.

One of the worst things that combats our walk with God is the continual questioning and wondering. Though certain ideologies are claimed to be clearly implanted within the words of Scripture, we tend to read past them and doubt our faith and salvation regardless. Our frail nature creates within us a whirlwind of uncertainty that, though answerable from the Book itself, we tend to relish and dwell on failings and shortcomings to the point of souring our very hope of salvation from eternal damnation. From the simplest to the most complex methodologies of the saving process derived from interpretations of the Holy Bible the Christian salvation and subsequent life afterward have often created a downfall to many due to the confusion associated with differing opinions. One has only to read through social media debates on any topic of Christianity to see that the different views can create such a contention between the claimed believers…even to the point of hostility. Unfortunately, many people see this and can often be turned off becoming followers by these contradictions and views. Others have either walked away from the faith all together or have settled into a non-orthodoxy religion that mixes Biblical teachings, accepted social constructs, and humanistic ideologies just to ease the tensions within their own soul. 

I confess myself often a casualty of this war. From my non-religious and generic upbringings to deeply held reformed theological views to questioning the validity of all the claimed orthodoxies from every side, I have run a course of confusion and challenge that has hobbled my beliefs to the point where I’ve thrown my hands up in despair more often than I care to admit. And even though I have presented to you my gleaned understandings of Scriptural studies through various media these last few years, I find that everything is still in question, including my own “salvation”. For some this will come as a shock, yet for others this may be seen only as a season of challenge. And yet within still remains…no faith. 

Before the mob begins lighting their torches and gathering in the square for a public hanging due to heresy or blasphemy, let me speak in my defense. 

It is obvious to see that there are many “versions” of Christianity in the world today and each “version” claims they have the “gospel truth” at its own core. Within the walls of each religion lies their pre-ordained definitions of what is and what isn’t orthodoxy. Some churches have embraced a strict Biblical-only walk of faith and function while others have opened their doors accepting any and all definitions of Christian. Some would look at me as sinner destined to the gates of hell while others would claim my destination as heaven. Of course, the only true basis for what should be the definitive answer of how Christianity should truly be is based solely on the original source book…the Holy Bible. 

But, now we are back to the questions brought on by the many perceived interpretations. You may read a particular set of passages to mean one thing and others may see them through a different lens, and thus, the contentious battles that rage, the casualties that increase, and the vitriolic attacks upon one another. With these matters flaring between groups, it is no wonder that many walk away or struggle with doubts and uncertainties as to what is the “right way” to believe and how they should walk through this life under the religious banner of “Christian”. When people see such infighting within the proclaimed “church”, it creates either a hesitant heart or a coldness that turns them away all together. 

One of the main questions that has foundered my walk has been “am I truly saved”. Some will claim that once you say a prayer accepting Jesus as your savior, you are saved. Some add that baptism must accompany the prayer. Some say that all are saved no matter their lot in life. Then there is the repentance portion of the salvation process. Some will suggest if you repent (turn away) of sin and are baptized, that you will then walk in newness of life and have eternal salvation. Others will counter that repentance is a daily process that must be adhered to and that adding works is “un-Biblical”. Still others hold to “once saved, always saved”, no matter what you do after your admission into salvation. From terms such as “easy believism” to “works salvation” to “Lordship salvation”, the many views all state their case from the Bible and hold to the claims that “our way is right”. But is there only one right way?

Based on whatever style or path of salvation you may interpret as the correct one, there is the facet that some who come to saving grace and repent of their ways will display a “change” or newness of life. Examples would be the addict who finds Jesus and becomes clean from substances, or the violent person who finds compassion and is transformed, or the depraved whose life is converted into one of charity and love. These, and many more, are evidences that this newness of life has taken affect and turned the wayward lost to a new and directed path following Christ’s Biblical example. Yet most will agree, without evidence of change, without a turning away from the “old nature”, there remains the questions as to whether or not the conversion was genuine. Making bold declarations through words are just that…words. 

Many people will make proclamations out of an emotional rush. Often times people can get caught up in the moment of exhilaration from their surroundings that they flow with the masses and align themselves with the crowd. Perhaps an emotional tent-meeting causes an unsaved person to be swept up in the moment and they make declarations of asking Jesus into their life. But then over the course of the next few days, life for them is back to normal. Or, perhaps, in an instance of heartfelt duress one should make promises to God that if He helps them that they will commit their lives. Yet afterward their life goes back to normal. You see, there are numerous situations where verbalizing something doesn’t necessarily cause someone to newness of life and salvation. 

But, this is not to say that those moments can’t have the Biblical “happy ending”. There are many who make that commitment to Christ and walk boldly and succinctly from that moment onward. And though their life is still filled with ups and downs, many are clearly changed into a new creation and they live their lives afterward as a Biblical Christian. Though each life is different, many have a new heart that is desiring to serve the Lord, worship the Creator, and live their lives to the glory of God above through Jesus Christ. They passionately study the Bible and engage in a bible-believing church regularly. They are bold in their walk and don’t hide this new way from those around them. They are truly Christians. In these cases, the change is evident.

So, we can see that each person can have a variety of outcomes and walks. Many people have vast amounts of knowledge about the Bible and theology, yet without a heartfelt change in their day to day life. Many people have a true faith, yet though not desiring to deeply study the Bible, they live life with just their trust in God. Many are overwhelmed by the whole faith movement and shy away. And then there are others who just coldly reject the notion of an invisible supreme being.

There are also the people who have “chased” after God, seeking the salvation experience for themselves, and yet have felt nothing inside, no change. Oftentimes I can identify with them. They may approach the Bible with reverence, awe, and accept the Word as from God, yet might not feel or see any change within their life. Religious groups differ on the impact of the salvation process on a person and will either say that the truest religious experience is one of passion and emotion, or will claim it is only by strict adherence and obedience to the Scriptures that shows the fruit of the claim. No matter the view, approach, or process…we had best be certain that we get it right the first time through this short life of ours because there are no second chances.

One thing certain is that salvation defined should come from what God’s Word actually says. Since the criteria from which all of humanity will be judged is within the pages of Scripture, it would behove any who is pursuing the life-after in eternity to know what the Author of life and the Judge of creation has to say. One aspect it does clearly define comes from the very words of Jesus, Himself, who says “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt 7:21-23) Clearly, there is a definitive pass-fail based on these verses. It is imperative we know the right ways.

You can believe without truly believing. You can trust without truly trusting. And you can claim yourself to be something even though you may not be that something. Many go through the motions, carry on the facade, and display their life to some as they deem convenient. Yet in front of others they may come across as someone else. These “actors”, portrayers of characters, live a variety of lives depending upon who they interact with. This lifestyle is clearly represented by a vast majority of people who might attend church services on the Sabbath, yet live their life outside the church walls as “someone else”. These folks might be the type who claim themselves “holy” or “religious” under particular circumstances and yet not cast a single shadow in the doorway of a church. Essentially, these people are part-time Christians. 

But, based on what is written within the covers of Scripture, living the Christian life part-time (or even 3/4 time) does not meet the high demands of God. We cannot expect to glory in God for eternity when we did not give Him our full attention on earth. Nor can we expect God’s decrees to be “suggestions” that we can pick and choose based on our feelings at the time. I’m not expert in anything, but can say with certainty that no matter what avenue of salvation you see is right, this God of the Bible is an “all-or-nothing” God. You cannot expect to just include God part of the time in your life when it’s convenient to you and also expect His full mercy and grace. Going through the motions or verbalizing yourself a Christian does not cut it based on what the Bible says. Sure, you can twist or re-interpret various verses in an attempt to fit your personal narratives, but in the end who are you fooling? Those around you might fall for it, but I’m sure the God that created all things knows the truth. Are you fooling Him?

Yet based on these things, if we really looked around at all those claiming themselves saved and yet who might be living that part-time life, we could surmise that there are truly a lot less people that have a ticket bound for heaven than would appear on the surface. If part-time or verbal declarations don’t meet the criteria of God, then what does that truly mean for many of us? Well, there are only two paths out of this life; heaven or hell. No middle ground. No participation trophies. No sneaking in by the “skin of our teeth” by last minute saves. Again…this is an all-or-nothing God of the Bible. If most of us were truly honest with ourselves, we would discover that we might not be in that “elected”, destined-for-heaven, group. Instead, what we might find is that we don’t quite measure up or meet the criteria. In fact, we might discover that though “many are called, few are chosen”. And that is not just a generalized verse, but that it is a reality many of us need to think over very hard.

Personal evaluation, and even re-evaluation, is a very important thing that might carry eternal consequences for us. We cannot afford to be so arrogant as to what we “think” our lot will be, or should be, in the future. Many may think themselves bound for heaven and yet after an honest and deep introspection of our life we may discover that salvation truly hasn’t come like we think. Though we are challenged by doubts and questions on a regular basis, these might be the important prompts for us to take a hard look at the real you and compare where you think you stand before God versus where God says you stand. The task can seem very daunting and overwhelming to most, but like anything that is truly important, we cannot afford to waver or even dismiss this matter and just rest on our self-designed laurels. Everyone has a view, an opinion regarding religion, but we cannot afford to just follow blindly. Many are led astray because they did not take the all-important time like the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things were so.” 

The time is short. What I thought was, might not be. What I thought I knew, I really didn’t. I am not alone in this. We cannot have an ending if we didn’t have a beginning. 

Confessions Of A Slacker

There is a formula that many people like to use when conducting themselves in prayer to the God of the universe so as to assist staying mindful of important things to include. The method is by using the acronym A.C.T.S. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In truth, it really does help! Beginning with Adoration, we are reminded to worship, bless, acknowledge and praise Yahweh God as the creator of all things, the One who holds the universe together, and for His immeasurable love that He has for His creation. Next we Confess our shortcomings and violations of His decrees by acknowledging them in repentance and asking His forgiveness. We then give Him Thanksgiving for the wonderful blessings, mercies, and gifts that He bestows on us every day, recognizing where our sustenance is from. And afterward, we add in important requests and items of concern before His throne of grace, asking for His intervention to affect our lives and those around us. 

Many who call themselves Christian have no problems with praising God for His blessings, thanking Him for the things we receive, and in giving Him a spiritual “high-five” acknowledgement for providing an answer to prayer. Essentially the Thanksgiving and Supplication portions of the acronym flow nice and easy for most people who claim belief in God. Where we tend to be a bit short-sighted is in our Adoration and Confession. Adoration is something I have spoken about many times before, how so many are somewhat shallow with holding a deep and reverential awe to the One who breathes everything into existence and sustains all things by His hand. We are, likewise, quite lax in our submission to God’s laws in the manner that He calls for within the Scriptures. The Bible asks “does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samual 15:22) And we also know that to God, “sacrifice and offering You have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” (Psalm 40:6) Essentially saying that what God is looking to receive from us, above and beyond the sacrifices and offerings, is our love, devotion, trust, commitment, and submission to Himself in all things. Like the birds of the air and lilies in the field (Matthew 6:26-30) that trust God for all things, so, too, He will be for us a Father who provides all we need, and thus can have complete faith and devotion to Him.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16). Well, I need prayer! Because my confession to you is my lack of study of the Word of God, the Holy Bible! Now, before I go on, I can say with complete confidence that I have countless excuses as to why I lack daily Bible reading and study, and many of them (I’m sure you would agree with me) are valid and true! And while there is no set schedule written in the Word of God that we are commanded to customarily commit to the study of the Bible daily, there are numerous verses that declare the importance of our duties to study God’s very words. Ezra, as an example, “had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10) Yes, we should want to study the Scriptures, not because of commands, but because of our inward desire to know the Author and perfecter of our faith! And yet, many of us fall short of that very desire. I can also submit that reading memes or social media posts with Scripture verses in them does not constitute a Bible study…contrary to popular belief! Snippets of Scripture are just that…small pieces of the very word of God. You wouldn’t take a couple pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle box and feel satisfied that you have the whole picture, would you? Nor can you look at a handful of sand and truly feel that you have now experienced what it is like to be at a beach. And such is reading the occasional verse or two out of the Bible. That method does not give you complete understanding of God and His amazing love and grace as well. 

The reason that so many people wander life thinking that they know Yahweh God is that they have entrusted their religion to a handful of verses and experiences and then they fill in the many blanks with their own perceptions and ideologies as to what they think the God of the Bible is really like. Essentially, the majority of people have a very small percentage of Biblical knowledge and a large percentage of their own added humanistic conception. This is not only heretical, but dangerous to the soul. Making up what we think God should be like is in essence creating your own spiritual religion based on some core gleanings from what little you may truly know about the Bible’s contents or even what little you may have heard from some church attendance or what others have shared. This is the very reason so many churches have careened off the Bible highway and crashed…because they decided to run with their own understandings and not the Bible’s actual written truths. Proverbs warns of this dangerous practice when it says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Yet, as I mentioned, there are excuses and reasons that cause me to stand (sit) before you and confess my sins. First and foremost has always been my time availability. I am so good with mismanaging time. I can get up early and quite easily get distracted away from Bible reading and devotions with just a glance at my phone or tablet. News, weather, social media, texts, and  emails quietly draw my mind away from matters of the spirit. During the all-important coffee time, my brain runs through the daily “to do” list, and before I know it, it’s time to hit the shower, dress, gather my lunch, and race out the door for work. Of course there’s the drive time (I have a fairly long commute) that I could spend with God, but of course as soon as I try to mumble a prayer or listen to Scriptures or preaching via radio, I am distracted by the nuances of traffic and and the many sketchy drivers around me. And then…work. Again, too many distractions to commit time and thought. After work, the drive home, is my time to wind down and compose myself, all the while dodging the inconsiderate drivers who are also on their quest home. Once home, more distractions with domestic duties, dinner, cleaning, and before you know it…time for bed. See? Many excuses and reasons. 

In essence, it is quite easy to substitute our time with God and His Word and replace it with time with the world. And then we wonder why our spiritual walk is struggling and lacking. We wonder “where is God” in our daily battles. We find ourselves wondering why we are so unsure of our footing in the pilgrimage we are supposed to be on. We wonder how the enemy is able to weaken us so much daily. The answer might be obvious, but obvious doesn’t solve the problem.

There are so many people that I see on social media and the like who display their Bibles with full-blown color coded, every-verse-lined and marked, as well as noted and referenced on every page! And what shames me more is that for many, these might be their second, third, or even more, copy of Scriptures that they have studied so diligently that they end up wearing out the pages and ink! All praise to God for their amazing and inspirational devotion to the study of Scripture! More confession: none of the several Bibles I own have anything near that wear and tear within the covers. In fact, many have multiple pages that have never had my hand upon them to be read. This is testimony to “something is wrong with this picture”! 

We know from Scriptures that the god of this world is the devil, and that he and his minions will do everything in their power to snatch people from God. Even if the person is a saved Christian, the enemies of God will try to destroy their peace and joy and damage their relationship with Jesus. This place is not our eternal home. Jesus said that “if you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19) We are not going to have an easy path on this journey through here because we are not only attacked internally by our own nature, but because we are also under siege by the external powers of darkness as well. There is a war going on around us and we are involved whether we like it or not! And subsequently, this war is working to keep us from God and His Word.

So I mentioned that the answer to this dilemma is obvious, but recognizing the problem doesn’t solve the problem. The obvious answer is simply dedicating more time to the Word of God and to prayer. But, not so fast! As I also mentioned, there is this war of time that we are being pulled into daily. From the moment we wake up to the end of the day when we lay down for sleep, we are bombarded by attention grabbers. And whether the demand is from work, kids, appointments, family, friends, or other obligations, we are being tempted away from our personal time with God. But despite what we may think, we really do have personal time available no matter what our circumstances, and that we can devote time to God and His Word. The distractions mentioned above can, and should be, simple enough to avoid as an excuse. This is where spiritual discipline comes in to play.

When we look at our Savior Jesus, He gives us examples of disciplines that show how we are to grow and become strong in faith. Foremost is that the study, memorization, and meditation of the Scriptures is paramount to growth and our walk every day. Without the Word of God in our hearts and minds, we can easily succumb to the demonic influences that are all around us. Jesus used the Scriptures to turn away the temptations of Satan, even when He was at His weakest physically (Luke 4; Matthew 4). Paul reminds us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The Bible is our sword of the Spirit and our only offensive weapon against the fallen evil we come up against. 

Another key part that Jesus shows us is the power of prayer. Jesus took time away from His ministry regularly and purposefully to “recharge” and focus personally on the one whom He is to glorify. He would break away from the crowds, and even His disciples, just to spend important time with His Father in Heaven. This was written for us to see that no matter what life is throwing at us, we also need this intimate time with God. We pray to communicate with God through Jesus, who is our mediator with the Father and to cast all our worries and anxieties on Him as we also listen to Him and commit all our ways to Him in everything we do. Christ instructs us to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) These were not just suggestions, but important instructions because of our weak nature. 

How much does this lack of prayer and study affect me? Quite honestly; a lot! The devil has a purpose to draw us away from God, to strip us of the power of His Word, and to disrupt our intimate communications with Yahweh God. We cannot survive any battles in life if we do not have proper protections, proper weapons, and proper knowledge. To survive the onslaught of the enemy, we must maintain our battle gear, stay in communications with our Leader, and know the tactics of the enemy. Essentially, we read and study the Bible to understand who God is, who we are, what God requires of us, how God saved us through Christ Jesus, and to how to stay connected to God through prayer and the study of His Word…all by the work of the Holy Spirit to help and guide us through. We learn to recognize the enemies tactics and stay equipped with the armor of God and the Sword of the Spirit, the Holy Bible, so as to withstand the attacks. 

Having our attention diverted away from our walk with the Savior simply means that our focus is on other things, such as self and the world. It’s then that sin can so easily creep in and weaken us. Being distracted is like letting our guard down…and the moment we do, that is when the devil pounces. So these excuses we use to skip time with God through His Word are actually tactics of the enemy to break down our defenses and cause us to forget God. In Deuteronomy 4 we are instructed to “give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life.” In order to stand firm on the Truth every day we have to purposefully task ourselves to prayer and reading, to commit our ways to the Lord…long before we pick up a phone, log in to a computer, read a paper, watch news and weather, or even enjoy that first cup of coffee. It is when we put God first, then “we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6) It is when we acknowledge that our life is under Him, through Him, and for Him, that we now set our priorities right and are properly equipped to face any and all of the challenges each day!


And I Wondered

I crossed into the promised land. The land flowing with milk and honey. I was shown all the promises of God. His Word was ever before me. I knew the statutes, I knew the laws. 

And yet I continually looked to the pagan cultures, the pagan places, the very people that I was to push away…I embraced them. I held their ways in awe, revered their lives, and I envied their gods. I became like them. 

And then…I wondered where did my God go? Why did God forsake me? I cried out…where are my blessings? Why do I feel alone? I wondered about this as I continually participated in the pagan ways that I knew God had called me out of.

 When I left Egypt, I denounced the old ways and turned my heart to follow God and His ways. And yet, in my heart I still longed for the life of Egypt. My heart still lived in Egypt.

When I came into the land that God was giving me, I told God I would follow Him. And yet I blended in with the cultures around and embraced them. I lived among them and I was like them.

God’s Word was still there. His words never changed. But I did. 

And yet I wondered…where is God? Why has He forsaken me? He has left me to my own devices.

And I wondered.

Sometimes in life we journey a particular direction, and yet God sees fit to re-direct our steps just before we reach what we believe to be our destination. To some, this would appear to be God denying us blessings and happiness…specially in light of promises He may have made regarding those blessings. And yet, we get re-directed, perhaps even to the point of having to retrace our steps, causing us to think that we are going backward in life. Such was the situation of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and such can be the circumstances we may face in life today. So, why does this happen? One simple thought is that God has plans for us and we might need to be put on a better path instead of our own. That happens more than we may know, but that also shows us that God is walking with us and guiding our very steps and that He wants the very best for us! But another look might show that perhaps God is redirecting our life’s journey because we are fighting against Him by doing our own thing. God took the Israelites back into the wilderness right when they were about to enter into the promised land because of their disobedience and, well, quite honestly, their whining! 

In my previous podcast/writing called “Between Two Worlds”, I spoke about the issues people have when they try to walk between two worlds; the ways of God and the ways of man. The lure of this world, to fit in and enjoy the fun and excesses it has to offer, is a temptation that many easily embrace, including those professing to be Christians. And yet God is clear when He tells us to “choose this day whom you will serve.” And despite what many modern and liberal churches may claim, there is no gray or middle area that is acceptable to God. Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” This is a bold declaration that tells us we are either walking in the ways of God or we will be rejected in the end, and that rejection is to eternal damnation. Harsh, yes…but a reality that we cannot afford to waffle on. 

I also pointed out the struggles that the Israelites had with falling into the temptations of idol worship that the pagan people around them would actively participate. These types of activities that the people of God would involve themselves with not only angered God, who is a jealous God, but would also cause loss of blessings because of their actions. You can easily see the direct correlation that I am drawing here! In our lives, in my life, the Lord is illuminating the reality that we are to be a people who worship Yahweh God and Him alone. We can learn to identify the many idols that take away our devotion and worship from God when we take the time to look into His word and then look around at the things that we count as important in our lives. The bottom line is that living contrary to God’s commands is a losing venture. Though you may enjoy some temporal pleasures in the here and now, eternity will have a completely different result.

As I read through the accounts of the Israelites in the Old Testament, I can’t help but put myself in their shoes (sandals) and wonder how my faith would hold up under those circumstances. One of the most important elements in reading and studying the Scriptures is to understand the time and culture associated with the words. Looking at the Word through a 21st century lens will cause us to misunderstand key elements of teaching. We specially have the conflict of having a modernistic, westernized viewpoint to begin with that can skew our application of the Scripture’s teachings and its Biblical worldview. But when we understand the people and places and times that are displayed within the pages, we then see how God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! And most of all how God’s words and decrees are still applicable to us today!

God’s plan for humanity was to set apart a people, the Israelites, and teach them who He is, what He requires, and His laws or statutes. Essentially through these holy (set apart) people, God’s Word would spread to all nations so that even the Gentiles (non-Jewish) could be grafted into God’s redemptive work through His Messiah, Jesus. The non-Jews were brought in by the promises of God when He set aside His covenant with the Israelites because of their stubborn and defiant attitude toward God. But now that the Gentiles (us) have been given the hopes and promises of God’s eternal salvation through His son Jesus the Messiah, we also have the commands to honor and worship God and Him alone. 

Yet, so many walk this world without a thought of God, and, in the same manner, even those who say they believe in God and His son Jesus and yet live life under their own ways and means…just like most of the Israelites did. And you easily see where their neglect of God as their Lord got them!

The temptations that this world offers people today can be seen as more intense, more available, and more accessible than in Bible times. The advent of television, computers, and the internet has seen to it that people can readily access any form of sin they wish just with the push of a button. Yet even in Biblical days, sin’s lure was potent and drew many to their demise. The Apostle Paul had to write many times to the church he planted in Corinth to correct them for their “worldly” and “pagan” behaviors and practices…some of which even the pagans themselves condemned! And sadly, Paul, were he alive today, would be writing those very words to many so-called churches today…most right here in America…because you literally cannot tell the difference between the church and the culture around it. The command to “come out from among them” was not grasped by the Corinthian church, nor has that command been adhered to with many of todays “churches”. 

“Flee immorality.” Simply put, you cannot serve the flesh in the ways of this world and expect God to walk with you. Not only is the dishonoring of our bodies by fleshly lusts an abomination before God, but our willful drive to put self first in our day to day life is just as bad. The world embraces, and even pushes, open sexuality and fleshly desires just as the many pagan temples did back in the Biblical times. Nothing new under the sun here. But neglecting God and His decrees because you want to do things your way because it makes you “happy” or “feels good”, is the very thing that caused God to withdraw His Spirit from the people in Biblical times and that punishment still happens today. Having the “me first” mentality is the very issue that drove the people in Corinth to put self-pleasure as a priority over God’s decrees and, sadly, we see this irreverence to God and His Word even among the many self-professing Christians today. Truly a sad testimony to the very lost and pathetic people that are wandering this world without knowledge of God. 

How do we defeat the issues of “me-ism”? How do we fight the temptations that pound at the doors of our soul day in and day out? How can we stand against the waves of worldliness and selfish desires? Before any solutions can be implemented, we must first and foremost know who God is by knowing His Word. So many men and women all around the world have views and opinions as to who God is and how we should worship and follow Him, yet there is only one true source that we need to focus our time and studies on and that is the Word of God, the Holy Bible! It is in the pages there, God’s inspired complete Word, that gives us what we need to know about God, His son Jesus our Savior, the redemptive work that God has laid out for us, and how we can walk through this war zone with faith that He, alone, will bring us to our promised land in the end! Though the Word appears to be deep with complexities that some may think they cannot understand at first, it is important to know that our Lord has given to us His Spirit, that will illuminate the very Word to our souls and open our eyes to its truths! This we do with simple faith, like a child who trusts his parents for all things to sustain them through life. 

This walk might not be on an easy road that is evenly paved with clearly marked signs and directions. We might be on a path that has many hills and curves. We may be on the wrong road in life and need to turn around and go back to a new starting point. We might be traveling rough roads that have caused us deep pains and sorrows for many years. We might be in a position where we are totally lost and have no point of reference where to go. What I can tell you is that the Israelites as well as many believers in Christ Jesus have been exactly where you might be now. Each one of our current locations might be unique to us but, like the people before us who have sojourned through rough and hostile places, we can be assured that God above knows each of us personally and knows exactly where we are and how to get us on the road that He has for us to reach the Celestial City of Heaven. Our road map is the Holy Bible and our guide is God’s Holy Spirit! We do not travel this journey alone! We just need to trust completely in Him. We may not like some of the ways and means we go, but He does know the best way. He may be taking us down a particular path for a season and for a reason that we need! We have to just trust Him and stay focused on His Word!

Like those that have gone before us, we may have a tendency to think we know better. We might want to do things our way because it brings us instant gratification. We may think that we know a good shortcut through life. We may want to go a different way to experience firsthand the pleasures of the world along the way. But deviating from God’s plan for our life only brings us to ruin and misery. At some point God will let you go (give you over) to navigate this life by yourself. But one thing that is important to know is that you will never arrive to the eternal joy in the heavenlies by your own power. You will not be able to enter into the rest for eternity by doing things your way. Only God’s way will lead you to that peace and joy that He alone can offer. And only through God’s way will you be able to have peace and joy during the journey…knowing that God is in control for our best.  

The journey might be rough, difficult, confusing, and even completely different than what we thought was the better way, but we can know for certain that God will never leave you or forsake you. He will never put you in a direction that is beyond your capabilities with His help and guidance. God knows you. He says in Jeremiah 1:5 “before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” He also says in Luke 12:6-7 “are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” If God is for us, who can be against us? 

Therefore, we can take comfort in God’s plan for our lives by trusting in the salvation work of His Son Jesus, who took our place on the cross and bore the penalty for our sins upon Himself unto death, yet rose from the dead and lives today…defeating death for us! He sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us! Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through the Son and that by putting our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can be restored to a rightful relationship with God! We repent of our sins, submit to God, resist the devil’s lure to sin, and walk in faith guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God! By this only can we enter into the promised land!


Between Two Worlds

Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:12-13

The old saying that a broken clock is always right twice a day has some truth to it; yet it still doesn’t make that clock worthy for use. When things break down, cease to function properly, there are essentially two options that are available: fix it or throw it away. Without it being fixed, the broken item has little to no value. 

Under the grace and mercy of God, whom we can rightfully praise and thank, we broken people here on the earth have the opportunity to be “fixed” or restored to newness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ! The Bible has a lot to say regarding things that are broken. From the accounts recorded in the Old Testament about the early Jewish people to the accounts recorded in my own heart and soul, God displays His glory by, and through, the works to rescue the broken, repair the damaged, and restore the functionality of the lost! 

I have spoken many times before about how much our current lives mirror those of the Israelites in the Scriptures. How God has set apart a peoples through whom His revelation and power would be displayed to the whole earth. How ‘little ol’ me’ would eventually hear about the God of the Bible through the ongoing story displayed in nature and history. And how we, like the Israelites, continually mess up the instructions of the Lord, even though we have His truth spelled out right in front of us! The people of the Old Testament saw and heard the instructions of God through the prophets and miraculous displays. We, today, have the complete testimony of God through His Word, the Holy Bible, illuminated by the power of the Holy Spirit. Neither party can ever say “we didn’t know” when breaking the commandments of God! And yet, here we are…breaking the “rules” time and time again! 

Like the broken clock, we “broken” creatures can also be dealt with in two different ways: fixed or tossed. As mentioned before though, we should be praising God for His mercies in that He does give us the option to be fixed…to be repaired, or restored, so that we can glorify God and enjoy Him forever! He showed His amazing grace constantly for the people of Israel and He still does this today for us though His gift of salvation; Jesus Christ! Though we all may have had periods of “corrective actions” placed on us to teach us lessons about our disobedience, these punishments are always for our good. God used other countries to teach the Israelites correction for their sins and we have the Holy Spirit convicting us of sins, as well as the consequences of our actions. The Bible also exhorts and teaches us today because “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)

One such example of God’s merciful grace is shown in Ezekiel chapter 36. Beginning at verse 17, God expresses His wrath on the people because they defiled the very land that He had given Israel. They corrupted the land because of their habitual problem with idolatry. If you remember back to the Laws, or Ten Commandments, God expressly told the people that He, alone, is Yahweh God and that “you shall no other gods before (besides) Me”. He also exclaimed that they are not to have any idols; things like carved images or likenesses of anything and “bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God”. Essentially clear instructions. Yet, they continually worshipped other things first and, thus, God punished them…time and time again! In verses 19-21, God even points out that other nations were shocked by the habits of the Israelites. “I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. Even though the people desecrated God’s name, God would still continue to do amazing things to restore His honor! That, dear friends, is mercy!

And what about the people of God today? Those who claim themselves followers of Jesus the Messiah and declare their worship of the God of the Bible? Well, like the people of yesteryear, we continually have very similar failings before God. We have our idols that we put before our worship of God. We have our agendas that take personal priority over God’s agenda. We are hypocrites at the highest levels when we claim to be Christians who worship God, yet live our lives in the same manner as the unbelievers around us. Even the unbelieving pagans point their fingers and say that we are no different from them in our thoughts, words, and deeds. A sad testimony! Yet, God will continue to declare Himself and will restore His honor! As He says in Ezekiel 36:23 “And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD”

So it is clear that God’s people before, as well as His people today, spend much of their time and energy doing things for their own glory and praise. God says that the failures of men are for two main reasons: 1) forsaking Him and 2) doing their own thing. Humanity has such a drive to be industrious and self-sustaining, but yet are fueled by selfish pride, even since their youth, and want to do everything their own way. We have an insatiable desire to prove ourselves as being better, to make a name for ourselves, and seeking to gain the approval of others so that we can “fit in” and heap glory on ourselves. And yet the Bible speaks clearly that all glory is to be given to God. Conflict! 

One thing that is shown within the covers of the Holy Scriptures is that God’s will shall be done! We can kick and scream, demand and pout, or even turn our backs and ignore Him, but in the end, God’s way will come to fruition! God has patiently time and time again, reached out to the people and offered them a way of blessedness and peace with Himself. In the span of time between the Israelites and ourselves today, we find a central core of Scriptures; the Gospel. God gave the ultimate gift to remedy our broken relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. Through Jesus, God promises us the living waters we need. God said that He is the “fountain of living waters” and Jesus said “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10) Jesus also proclaimed “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

These wonderful promises are truly a blessing that should give all who read and believe in them a hope for eternal life. Yet the words will mean nothing if our spiritual thirst is kept in containers that are broken, cracked, and leaking all the time because we are trying to do things our way, by ourselves. It’s the same type of issue that is described by putting “new wine into old wineskins.” In other words, we must become new in order for the living waters to exist within. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Our old nature cannot co-exist with the new. We must let God transform us through the renewing of our mind. Joshua 24:23 commands us to “…do away with the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD.” In other words, put away all the idols that control our lives and surrender to Christ Jesus completely so that we can be sustained by the living waters! We are to remember God, not forsake Him, in all things, and submit to His commands and walk in His ways. 

But if the broken vessel does not want to be “fixed”, the only other option is for it to be tossed out, since it will be of no value to the Kingdom of God. This sounds harsh, but if people continue to turn aside from God and follow their own ways, rely on their own strength, reject God and His righteousness, then God will have no choice but to give them over to their desires. They will fall with their created false gods and be cast out for eternity. Jeremiah 2:28 says: “But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble…” These people will be cast out for their ungodliness because they choose to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. 

Since the beginning of time, man has pushed to be his own god and elevate himself above the heavens. His arrogance demands that he be worshipped and that he should be able to have his best life now. He sets himself before others and puts his faith on man-made idols to worship as accomplishments and rewards. Matthew Henry describes our plight and shortcomings before God when he comments “to forsake this Fountain is the first evil; this is done when the people of God neglect his word and ordinances. They hewed them out broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Such are the world, and the things in it; such are the inventions of men when followed and depended on. Let us, with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord only; where else shall we go? How prone are we too forego the consolations of the Holy Spirit, for the worthless joys of the enthusiast and hypocrite!” 

Why return to the past and become slaves again to the sin that God has already freed us from through His Son Jesus? Why strive after vain emptiness and worthless temporal things when we can have treasures stored up in Heaven where moth and rust can’t destroy! We were broken once, destined for destruction, but God saw value within us, His very own creation, the children that He loves, the one’s who were trapped in the snare of sin in this world. And He has always been there, providing a way of escape and salvation! Despite how man has treated God, God has always called for His children to return home! We can see how God worked diligently in the lives of the wayward Israelites of the Old Testament, continually drawing them back to Himself, even when they turned away from Him and chased after idols. We also see how He has worked in our prodigal lives, always calling us back to Himself, even when we’ve strayed from His presence and placed our trust in the things of man. Yet, He is loving, forgiving, and patient beyond measure! And before God punishes sinners, he pleads with them, to bring them unto repentance. If we repent, “therefore there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).

Between our old nature and the enemies of God, they want us to take our eyes off of God and place them on man and the idols, to replace the Creator for the creature. But we must stand firm on the truth of God’s Word, which is our sword, and maintain our faith in it, which is our shield. The consequences of our choices have ramifications that will last for eternity! Since God has provided the ultimate repair for our brokenness through Jesus Christ, let us keep our eyes on Him and drink of the living waters that He gives us! 


Got Milk Or Meat?

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Have you ever experienced those hot summer days where you just cannot seem to quench your thirst, even after drinking some refreshing cold water? Or have those moments where you wander around the kitchen looking for something to quiet the rumblings in your stomach, hoping not to spoil dinner, but just want a quick snack in hopes to tide you over…but after nibbling you find you’re still hungry? One thing that many westernized people struggle with is the insatiable need for instant results. We chase after fads because often they make promises of immediate solutions. All those late night infomercials that promote wellness, healing, self-improvement, and the like, by either taking some pills or using this-or-that product show the desperation of people to shortcut the work that is often necessary to obtain their goals. Everyone is looking for the “quick fix” to make them happy and there are many companies that are more than willing to take your money and give you the “miracle” without the work! But, do they really work? No, because in reality the things we think we want or need does take work and time. There are no overnight miracles.  Unfortunately, this is the life of most modern Christians today when it comes to gaining spiritual fuel for the soul. Instead of putting in time and labor, many resort to quick-fix short-cuts instead.

When someone first comes to faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, their first steps can often be likened to a newborn baby that can only take milk early on for their nourishment. Obviously, babies cannot eat solid foods in the beginning days of life until their systems develop. The same idea holds true with new Christians. They are not prepared to absorb the heavy meats of doctrinal or theological substance until they have the basics of their faith understood. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Some “newborn” Christians try to delve too fast into deep spiritual matters before they have a solid foundational stance on the Gospel. Problems can come about because there are so many deeply contested topics of theology and they can become overwhelming and cause the new believers to stumble or get confused since they still struggle in the flesh. New Christians early on may still hold a worldly viewpoint that can conflict with the Gospel message. Paul addressed that issue to the church in Corinth by saying “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) He told them this as a warning that they need to lay a firm foundation of Gospel truth, turn away from the worldly passions and ideologies, before they were ready to gain deeper spiritual insights. 

A solid Biblical upbringing in the faith builds over time through the study of the Scriptures, coupled with good teaching from a faithful church and fellowship with Godly saints. This growth is called sanctification, and is a process that continues in the life of a believer until the end times and our appearing before the Lord in Heaven. Like any training, we must strive diligently to grow in the new life in Christ and “not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.” We are also to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) By thorough study of the Scriptures we can “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness”

Being lackadaisical in our walk can lead to spiritual laziness and weakness of faith, which can certainly be used against us by the enemies of Christ. It says in Hebrews 5:11-14; “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” 

The solid food that is referenced in Hebrews comes from a deep and sound Biblical understanding derived from the study of the complete Word of God. We will never get a full understanding of the Scriptures by reading snippets of verses from the Bible or seeing the occasional memes posted on social media. Nor do we gain a full understanding of the Bible reading nothing but devotionals. While there is nothing wrong with these things in the periphery of our faith walk, we cannot use them as a substitute for reading and studying the word of God. Many of the best preachers and teachers will present Scripture using a method called “expository preaching,” where they will teach through an entire book of the Bible, from beginning to end. Then when complete, they will start another book and teach through that one from the beginning to the end. By this method, you learn not only what the Word is saying, but you will also gain knowledge of the history, context, and other related Scriptures that becomes the “meat” needed for your edification and growth. And we need to do this ourselves!

Unfortunately, many Christians remain stagnant in their growth because they don’t put forth the effort to read and study the Word. They might feel they receive sufficient “teaching” because they read a paragraph or two from a daily devotional that might contain a Scripture verse related to the commentary. While these are nice and quick encouragements, this should never be a substitute for daily reading the Word of God. It can become easy to dismiss a regular reading and study when the rush of life flares up and we have limited time outside of the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules. Often we find that we are either too limited with time or too tired from the exhaustive schedules to sit down with the Lord and His Word. When this occurs, it is quite easy to slip into the comforts of a quick devotional and count it as “good” with God. But, again, this is mere “milk” versus “meat”. 

Since there are so few Churches truly teaching depth from the Word of God each week, and add to the fact that many professing Christians don’t attend church either regularly or at all, there is a gaping void in people feasting on the riches of God’s Word with fervency. Without a good solid growth, many will easily fall prey to the enemy’s lure and lies. False teachers multiply casting their deceptions because the believers are not equipped enough to identify the devil’s falsehoods. The busy Christian feels comfortable with a casual and light atmosphere gathering, so as not to place too heavy a burden of theological teachings on their already chaotic life. By avoiding having to “think” too much on the teachings, they can relax and count the feel-good fluff as “enough” of God’s Word to suffice their intake. If the soul is not hungry for more, than it might be time to evaluate your standing with God!

We don’t need to become Bible scholars or theologians to study the breadth and depths of God’s Word. But the Bible does tell us to search the Scriptures diligently and that the Word of God is important in our lives as believers because “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) Every aspect of our growth needs the deep study the Word of God because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) God’s Word is the “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119) so that we know where we are going and have the confidence to finish the race!  In fact, we are even commanded to meditate on it day and night! 

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8

Remember that Jesus defeated the temptations of the devil in the wilderness because He was able to quote God’s truths from the Scriptures back at the enemies lies. If our Savior used Scripture to thwart the devil, what makes us so sure we can stand against temptations in this world without the full knowledge of God’s Word? This knowledge is so important in our daily walk to stand in the truth and avoid temptations from the enemy. If we take His Word casually, that very Word which God has given to us for our edification and sanctification, we can easily become deceived into thinking that we are walking faithfully, and yet we are going through life essentially unarmed. Without the deeper studies, beyond the bits and pieces we glean from “other” sources, we will never truly get the complete nourishment that our souls need to survive this fallen and dark world. Milk is never enough to fuel and strengthen us to withstand the storms in life and finish the race. We need to devour full meals, a complete course of meat from the entirety of Scripture, to grow and be equipped, as He wants us to be…mature and complete! 

Quick snacks may help tide temporal hunger pains, but our souls need complete sustenance. The full three course meal daily consists of the study of the entire Scripture, solid Biblical teaching, and fellowship of the Saints. Anything less is like going to bed hungry and can leave you weak and vulnerable to the ravages of sin. God has seen to it to provide all that we need from our beginning walk with Christ until the very end, but we need to know His Word which says “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) His Word is the “Sword of the Spirit” that helps us be able to stand against the evil one’s attacks and lies. God says in His Word that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” So, let us know Him and His will for us completely through the diligent study of His Word, the Holy Bible, and become the mature and solid believers that God wants us become…equipped for every good work to the glory of His Name!