You seek the impossible!

Be encouraged; seek unity; love one another; These three statements are becoming increasingly difficult to live. Yet, throughout the New Testament we are told to live this way. How are we to be encouraged when looking at the direction of this world, unless one chooses to live in ignorance? How is one to seek unity when every issue is so divisive? How are we to love one another in such a fractured world? i don’t pretend to know all the answers but let me at least point us in a direction to explore.

Be encouraged. There’s a war, rumors of wars, violence of every kind, inflation at never before seen levels, pandemics, a food shortage brewing, and the list could continue. So how exactly is one to “be encouraged?” Here are a few verses to ponder. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 “For Elohim did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Adonai Yahshua ha’Mashiah, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort (encourage) each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” Here is one that i find personally encouraging, Luke 21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Seek unity. We are being divided by, race, gender identity, social economic classes, political affiliation, vaccine status, pro this or anti that, and the absolute vitriol that comes from certain sides is frightening as it is full of unseen hypocrisy by those spewing it. Yet, let us consider these words. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Is this calling us to compromise? Not at all! Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Elohim’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Later in this passage it says; “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18). This brings us to . . .

Love one another. How do you love someone who seemingly hates you? How do you show love to one who uses you or is evil? The Romans passage continues (12:19-21) “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of Elohim, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says YWHW. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Colossians 3:12-14 puts it this way; “Therefore, as chosen ones of Elohim, holy and beloved, put on compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against another, indeed as Messiah forgave you so also should you forgive.”

There is one point i feel needs to be made. When talking about unity, or love, or encouraging one another, in the context of the Church it is done to and for the unity of the Body of Believers. It is through our love for fellow believers of the WAY, that we achieve unity in the Body of Messiah and are able to truly encourage one another. It is in this genuine fellowship that those that are not of the WAY see us as a light on a hill, set apart, different. And in that we hope for the opportunity to share the Gospel of our Messiah Yahshua. Yes, we love everyone. Yes, we encourage, and yes we seek to live in unity with all, however, not at the expense of our commitment to holiness found in Yahshua ha’Mashiah.

Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

You are loved,

cj

Be aware, be kind, be giving, love

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James‬ 1:27

If there is one thing that has always been in the forefront of my faith it is to take care of those in distress. i won’t list the times here as this isn’t about ringing my own bell just simply that even with all i can point to i still feel as if i need to do more. The other day i was talking with some folks and as we talked life and such we got on the subject of foster care. i have done foster care several times and it is an incredible opportunity to show the love of Elohim.

Even if you are unable to take in children, you can support those that do or as i discussed with this couple; Most of these kids when taken from home to home pile all their belongings in trash bags. What if the next time you replace your luggage you take a suitcase down to the foster care center and donate it to a child. Instead of them feeling as if all their worth is garbage they can have some sort of dignity.

It’s not just here but i try to be aware of my friends, especially those that are single mothers. What do they need? Money to help their kids play sports? A bill that is due and you can see their stress? i will often donate to support their children’s sports or pay a bill for them. These aren’t huge but they are helpful. It doesn’t require a lot just awareness. Be aware of those around you. i don’t always give but what i do is seek the Holy Spirits direction and remain open to His leading.

i just want to encourage you in these days of uncertainty, inflation is on the rise, and the cost of living is a giant stress. Those in need now are really going to feel the stress before some of us do . . . Be aware, be kind, be giving, love those around you the best you can. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself untainted by the world.”

You are loved,

cj

Flee from idolatry

And YWHW spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the poeple of Israel and say to them, I am YWHW your Elohim. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow My rules and keep My statutes and walk in them. I am YWHW your Elohim. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My rules, if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am YWHW.’” Leviticus 18:1-5

These are the laws and the statutes that you shall be careful to do in the land that YWHW Elohim of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship YWHW your Elohim in that way. But you shall seek the place that YWHW your Elohim will choose out of all your tribes to put His name and make His habitation there.” Deuteronomy 12:1-5

Have we as a church allowed the influences of the world to creep in on the things of YWHW our Elohim? Have we, as Israel, forgotten that our Elohim is jealous for us? i fear that as we embrace the traditions of man over the appointed Feasts of our Adonai, we are in a way doing as Israel did time and time again. We don’t possess the land, so i am not calling for violence or to take the measures outlined in the verses above. However, in a spiritual sense, i am saying, that we need to purge these things from our life as to not blend man’s tradition with Elohim’s statutes or His Feasts.

YWHW our Elohim is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As He revealed Himself through Yahshua, He didn’t somehow condone idolatry. He didn’t say, it was now okay to worship anyway we see fit. What He did do is affirm our need for a Saviour and dependance on the Holy Spirit in our lives. We cannot serve two masters. We are still to flee idolatry. We should be growing closer to YWHW our Elohim through Yahshua by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and forming our worship of Him through His instruction. How we worship matters, it has always mattered, and it will matter when we see Him, shouldn’t we then focus our attention on the ways He has outlined for us?

You are loved,

cj

Focus People!

There is so much information out there in the world today. Every one of us carries endless information in our hands via our smartphones. Most of us have a Facebook or a Twitter or some sort of social media account. Those platforms are riddled with information. Some of the information is labeled, misinformation, and then some sort of fact-check is done on it with other information that is now misinformation and the original information is correct.

Have you been following the events in Ukraine? There is so much information coming out of there that it will have your head spinning. Many of the stories carried by the MSM have been false, for example, the Ghost of Kyiv was just a propaganda piece, as was the Snake Island heroes. Even the reasons for the invasion are sketchy at best. With all this misinformation and misdirection it is hard to know what to believe or even who to listen to for that matter.

There are a couple verses i am going to share here and all though they aren’t necessarily within full context they still hold some marit. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 For good measure here is another, Paul writes to Timothy, “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) We live in an iformation age and anyone with a smartphone has their fingertips on endless knowledge. Yet, we find ourselves almost dumber for having them.

Just today i was on my tablet scrolling through Facebook when i received a text from my oldest son who happens to be in Ecuador at the moment. So of course i stopped what i was doing to see what he said. After replying i then began to scroll Facebook on my phone. A few minutes go by and i look up and i have the same post open on both my phone and tablet, at least i am consistent. But that isn’t the point, i just shook my head and said how dumb is this!?!?! i will answer it for you, it is very dumb!

i was immediatly drawn to the passage i read this morning in my personal devotional time . . . “Coffee with Yahshua.” Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethern, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatevert things are of good repoet, if there is any virture and if there is anything praisworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the Elohim of peace will be with you.”

Be encouraged today, set your focus on the things above. Don’t fear what is happening in the world. Our Adonai is coming soon . . . look up! Meditate on His Word, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will fall into place as He has planned.

You are loved,

cj

Elevator to Eternity

i read an article today about a girl who, for all that could be seen, was a happy, healthy, successful, accomplished, beautiful young lady, she died by suicide. She was just 22. i recently found out that a childhood friend died from a drug overdose in 2019, she was 45. Another childhood friend was found dead in her home last year, i don’t know the cause of death but i know that it was unexpected. There has been a rash of celebrity deaths, many of them were sudden all of them tragic. Sudden, unexpected, like a thief in the night, death lurks at all of our doors. No one knows when your ticket will be punched as you step out of this world and into the elevator to eternity.

Everyone expects to step into that elevator and hear the words, “Going up!” Sadly, far too many will hear the opposite. In a world of uncertainty, one can be certain about one thing, what you will hear when stepping into that elevator to eternity. Yahshua, said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) His entire goal, His life mission, was to save a world standing in line for the down elevator. He made it possible for anyone to step over to the up elevator. He did this out of love; out of a desire to restore creation. Paul records it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:19 “that is, that Elohim was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

So how does one switch lines from down to up? It isn’t complicated but it requires death, not physical, although we will all die eventually, this is a metaphorical death. Dying to the flesh, the desires of this world, and living new. Again Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” How does one become new?

Yahshua said in John 14:6 “Yahshua answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Earlier in John Yahshua said, “For Elohim so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For Elohim did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of Elohim’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18). We read in Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Yahshua is Lord,” and believe in your heart that Elohim raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” That’s it!

Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Yahshua is Adonai and you will be saved. In John 10:9-10 Yahshua said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” He doesn’t stop there however, He continues, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. . .” You see one never knows when their time on earth is up, sudden death, is around the corner, simply meaning we will all one day die. Where you spend eternity can be secured right now by simply calling out to Yahshua. Believing and confessing as stated above and with it comes the assurance of salvation. Of course with believing also comes a life change but that isn’t the first step, that is the journey. The pressing question today is, which line are you in?

You are loved,

cj

A Different Gospel

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Messiah, to a different gospel.” Galatians 1:6

As the world grows darker and societies and governments move further from Adonai, we will see many turning from the truth to have their ears tickled. As Paul writes above to the Galatians and also warned Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We need to be dilegent in our study and understanding of Scripture specifically the “Good News of Yahshua Ha’Mashiach” (Jesus Christ). The world is turning further from the truth and embrassing lies, many of which are cloaked in half-truths. If it contradicts the Word of Elohim we must turn from it. Schools are becoming a target for this as well. When i was in elementary school i remember taking a bus on wednesday’s to a church to study the Bible. It was called, religious release. Later as a youth pastor, i help establish and participate in Campus Bible Clubs. All great things, however, as the world hates the name of Yahshua they also will hate us as Yahshua states, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22. Now enters, Satan Clubs, an alternative after school program. And it’s not technically new as they have been around for a few years now.

i believe their end goal isn’t to have a club but for their to be such an outcry that all religious clubs are banned. Either way they will see it as a win. The influence of this world is growing stronger, with the increase of influence by the internet, social media, video games, and soon the metaverse. The struggle for the mind of our youth and even many adults have increased exponentially. Many churches today are only a shell of what they once were in doctrine as they have begun to preach a different gospel. Folks, if you don’t know, you will fall prey to the sceams of the devil.

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:9-10

I charge you therefore before Elohim and Adonai Yahshua Ha’Mashiach, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2

You are loved,

cj