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

The days of Noah

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39

Yahshua’s words here in Matthew are so much more than just evil continually. All though we can see the increase in evil and lawlessness, and not just by the average citizen but also those in government who were elected to govern and not rule. i looked at my monthly budget last night and i am $300 over budget on gasoline. i am $75 over budget on electricity (i have all-electric heat). i am $100 over budget on groceries. Combined, that is nearly $500 in the hole. At this rate, it won’t be long before my account is upside-down. One would say cut back. Well, gas prices have increased where i was able to fill up at the end of my day for $20, i now pay $35 which is $15 a day, five days a week, four weeks in a month. Electricity, i only heat a portion of the house, i can’t imagine what my bill would be if i heated the entire house. i leave minimal lights on and always wear a sweatshirt, in the winter. As far as groceries, i buy the same things every week. even cutting back on the quality of meat i buy and still the same items are now costing $25 more a week. This is just three of my examples and their are many facing the same reality. So why am i telling you this?

It is easy to get fixated on these things and make that the focus of every moment. i need to pay my bills, i need to eat, i need to, fill in the blank. It’s not all about bills either, one wants to also live life, and that becomes a focal point. The days of Noah were days in which evil was abundant, yes, but also, life was focused on living and surviving the best they could, “Your best life now.” The solution being offered by Noah seemed out of touch with life. Judgment was coming but their children wanted to get married and have children. They wanted to eat and drink and make merry. The thought of doom and gloom wasn’t a part of that plan. Fast forward to today, and we are on point with the days of Noah. And the return of Messiah is mocked and scoffed at . . . even within the church.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:3-4

Believe it or not, we are being set up to receive a leader who can bring peace and safety, not just on a local level but a global one. Those that are asleep are falling in line with the narrative, hook, line, and sinker. i am not saying you shouldn’t worry about paying your bills, but don’t worry about it. i mean make the necessary changes in order to meet your obligations, of course. However, we are not to worry about tomorrow and to pray without ceasing. Still this isn’t why i write this . . . i am writing to warn us to not get too fixated on living life here on earth. The Kingdom of our Elohim and King is coming and although we will face many many hardships in this life, do not lose heart, keep your eyes on Yahshua. Our hope is in Him and not in this world or anything it has to offer. It is going to become increasingly difficult to hold that line; The Word is clear on that point. If you aren’t in the Word daily you will fall in line with the world.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10

You are loved,

cj

the love of many

“And because of the increase in lawlessness, the love of many shall become cold.” Matthew 24:12

Are you getting discouraged with the direction of the world? There are so many hot spots. We are told that the entire Middle East would be and it is a powder keg. However, let’s mention a few others, China and Taiwan, Russia and Ukraine, North Korea and its testing of long range missiles, that’s a few global, not to mention local uprisings in France, Australia, Germany. Even here at home lawlessness is increasing all over the USA, mainly in your bigger cities but we also have a crisis at our southern border.

Frustration and discouragement lead to bitterness and a loss of understanding, respect, civility, and ultimately love. i am writing to encourage you not depress but knowledge is key here. You have to be aware of what is going on so that you can fight off these feelings. As believers we have the Holy Spirit, we have a Prince of Peace, we have an Almighty Elohim. Knowing this is vital!

There is a reason the early church was given warnings and told what to look out for in the future. Many of them were living under constant persecution. We in the west really cannot relate, but we need to start preparing spiritually, and mentally, for what is coming. Remind yourself of who you are in Messiah. As things become more unhinged knowing these things would come to pass before His return should give us peace and hope.

“Peace I leave with you – My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

” Yahshua answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and we shall come to him and make Our stay with him.’” John 14:23

There isn’t a need for me to analyze these crises, there are many already doing that. i am simply highlighting them to bring awareness to the fact that the reason these things are happening is that the lawless one is currently running the show. Yahshua said, “I shall no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he possesses naught in Me.” John 14:30

“But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7 KJV

Do not let your love grow cold. Stay focused on Adonai. Stay obedient to His Word, by staying IN His Word. Know that these things are coming and we are called to endure, and to love.

You are loved,

cj

What’s in a name

This post is open for debate, more so than most. Mainly, because it is something i am still working through and i find when i write things out it helps me to see more clearly the thought. Also, i would welcome any of your thoughts on the matter. The question is, what is in a name? If you travel to a foreign country, and the hotel clerk asks you what your name is you tell them your name, as you know it. For instance, my name is cj which doesn’t necessarily work for this example so i will use my full name, christopher. If i travel to let’s say, Spain, and i go to a hotel and the clerk asks my name, i am going to say, “christopher.” In Spanish my name is translated, Cristobal, but i don’t say, Cristobal, i say christopher because that is my name. Moreover, when the paperwork is printed and i am given a receipt, the name on that paper will say, christopher, not Cristobal.

So with this example in hand, why do we use the Greek terms, God and Jesus, for YHWH and Yahshua. It is undisputedly clear that YHWH revealed Himself through the nation of Israel and the Hebrew language. In fact, we are introduced to YHWH in a more personal way in Yahshua, and yet still we render His name in Greek as well. If we don’t translate our name when we travel, why do we do it with names that we are commanded not to take in vain?

Exodus 20:7 says: “You do not bring the Name of YHWH your Elohim to naught, for YHWH does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to naught.”

Here it is in the NKJ: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who take His name in vain.”

The Greek term for the lord is Ba’al. Why have we associated it with our Adonai? Adonai, translated from Hebrew to Greek is Lord but the Greek root is Ba’al. Let me just share a bit of what Wikipedia has to say about this: “Baal, or Baʽal, was a title and honorific meaning “owner”, “lord” in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars previously associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities but inscriptions have shown that the name Ba’al was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations. The Hebrew Bible includes the use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, often with application towards Hadad, who was decried as a false god. That use was taken over into Christianity and Islam, sometimes under the form Beelzebub in demonology.”

Knowing that we are to hold the name of our El which is commonly translated God in reverence, why are we so accustomed to the Greek forms? What does the Word of El Shaddai have to say on the matter?

“And in all that I have said to you take heed. And make no mention of the name of other mighty ones, let it not be heard from your mouth.” Exodus 23:13

“So as not to go in among these nations, these who remain among you. And make no mention of the name of their mighty ones, nor swear by, nor serve them nor bow down to them. But cling to YHWH your Elohim, as you have done this day.” Joshua 23:7-8

“The sorrows of those who run after another one are increased; I would not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor take up their names on my lips.” Psalms 16:4

i am not sure what i think of all this . . . However, for as much as i can, i am going to use the Hebrew names, as this is how YHWH introduced Himself to us and hasn’t, anywhere i can find, changed it. Let me know what you think!

You are loved,

cj

Concerning the coming of our Adonai

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Adonai Yahshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Messiah had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NKJ (Italic’s & Hebrew Names added by me)

i feel a pressing urgency to write to you, in light of current events. i hear many talking about getting ready because the rapture is going to happen. Yet, time and time again as Paul wrote above, and Yahshua, said in Matthew 24:12; “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Many are not ready for what is at the doorstep of the world.

i want to say this as succinctly as possible. Instead of hoping for a rapture, what we should be doing is strengthening our faith in order to endure. There are times that are coming, as Yahshua declared and as Paul taught, that will try every man (humanity), and we are called to endure. Paul says it this way, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Adonai Yahshua HaMashiach Himself, and our Elohim and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

Yahshua says it this way, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” John writes to the Churches in Revelation, saying, “repent,” “overcome,” “endure.” These are not merely empty sayings but warnings; we as believers are going to see a time like nothing seen before and we must be able to endure. Not with fear but with hope. Not alone but by and with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

i fear the reason we read about a falling away is because many are not ready to endure, not many are willing to give up the pleasures of this world. Rather, they are putting their hope in it which only leads to destruction. Narrow is the way to salvation and few find it, are you ready to endure?

You are loved,

cj

Living for the Lord

“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:19

For all that was taking place in Corinth at the time. For everything that Paul was addressing. i don’t think, although it appears a footnote, that his mentioning the commandments is a small matter. It wasn’t about ritual; it wasn’t about Abrahamic Covenant or Mosaic Law; it was instead a call to obedience to God through His commandments. Specifically, The Ten Commandments.

In the full context of what Paul was addressing, we find that he was qualifying the new believer. This is no small point either. However, you came into a relationship with Jesus, remain. If you were circumcised, then remain; if not, don’t seek it out. If slave, don’t concern yourself with freedom; if free, don’t seek to be enslaved by man. Instead, both should consider it a joy to be now a slave to Christ, obedient to the one who calls us out of the bondage of sin into a life made free in Christ Jesus.

Yet, one point in this, “but keeping the commandments of God.” What are the commandments of God? Here, specifically, The Ten Commandments. That’s right; Paul qualified his remarks by stating it should be our concern to follow the commandments of God. Paul didn’t seem to think it was too much for the new believer to find himself a slave to Christ and a subject to the Law of God.

1. Have no other Gods before me. (How might we put other gods before the Great I AM? Could it be in our traditions steeped in pagan practices?)

2. Do not Worship any graven image. (This one is a bit more speculative on my part, but could it be our adoration for electronics, or even perhaps the use of statues within Catholicism?)

3. Do Not Take the Lord’s name in Vain. (Beyond a curse word, this also implies the use of the Lord’s name to make a statement more impactful, “The Lord told me!” Be careful, my friends, on how you use the Lord’s name!)

4. Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy. (Certainly, this doesn’t mean any ol’day of the week. Clearly, a day was chosen. History reveals to us that Jesus observed the Sabbath, what we refer to as Saturday. It is clearly written here, to remember it and keep it Holy . . . yet so many dismiss this commandment with ease, why?)

5. Honor your father and mother. (This is more than a child being obedient, this is a grown child caring for his elderly parent. It goes far beyond simply obeying your parent as a kid under their roof).

6. Do not kill. (This is about cold-hearted murder, don’t confuse the issue with self-defense).

7. Do not commit adultery. (More than a physical relationship, this is also emotional, Jesus talks about adultery of the heart through the lust of the eyes, or inappropriate texts, etc.).

8. Do not steal. (When having a peaceful protest, it still isn’t ok to loot).

9. Do not bear false witness. (Beyond lying, this is also gossip that is based on rumor and not fact. Be careful what you say and of whom you say it).

10. Do not covet. (Be content. Live in the moment. Don’t concern yourself about how your neighbor lives; concern yourself with your relationship with the God of the Universe, one day, you will meet Him and receive either reward or condemnation).

You are loved,

cj

A living parable

Adventure through life like it’s a parable. What is a parable, you ask? Well, simply, it is a story with spiritual meaning or application. Imagine, if you will, every situation, every conversation, everything you read or watch, becoming a parable. It can if you simply ask the question, “what does Jesus want to say to me through this . . .?”

“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’” Matthew 13:31-32 ESV

This is obviously talking about how the Kindom of heaven may have small beginnings but grows beyond what one would expect. Life is a bunch of mustard seeds. Every word you speak. Thought you think. Choice you make. These seeds grow. It is why it is essential to choose your words wisely, be quick to listen, and slow to speak. It is why we need to take every thought captive and bring it before the Lord that we not be ruled by our limited understanding but by the Truth of God’s Word. It is also why we must choose wisely, be doers of the word; whatever we do in word or deed should glorify God.

Could you imagine the impact one could have if they started to think of everything they do as the beginning of a parable? Considering what a word or action would later produce is kind of common sense, but sometimes although the idea is there, the actual thought is not. You might say it would be too much pressure. i disagree. i view it as an adventure! It’s like one of those old choose your adventure books. You read a little and then your character faces a choice. In the book whatever you choose, you turn to a particular page and continue the story, some outcomes are good and some are not so good. However, unlike most choose your own adventure books, most of our day to day choices are redeemable. That should give us some hope.

i have been living this parable life idea now for some time, and i can honestly say that my life has become a great adventure! i don’t always make the right decision, but i am constantly learning and growing and experiencing life with a desire to have the mind of Christ, the hands and feet of Christ, the words of Christ, the love of Christ.

Join me in my adventure in being a living parable.

You are loved,

cj

“Just the facts, ma’am.” -Sgt. Joe Friday

It has been somewhat challenging not to read Christain books. i usually alternate between a good, who done it, mystery novel, or just a novel based on somewhat real life, and a book on spiritual formation from a Christian perspective. However, since the beginning of this year, i have cut out all of the latter and have been focused on a biblical foundation to my understandings rather than the interpretations of someone else. i will look for insight as needed or perspective from others, but i have cut out reading extensively on one subject. That isn’t to say i won’t ever again, just not in this season.

i want to focus on Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. i know a novel concept. Yet, so few dive into this idea of coming to Biblical truth by simply reading the Bible and seeking wisdom and understanding or interpretation from the pages of God’s Word. After all, Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Therefore, i have deemed 2021 my year to set aside all my favorite Christian authors and seek wisdom from the purest source, the Bible. With some helpful commentaries or specific short writings but from several perspectives and interpretations to gain perspectives i may not have seen before with the understanding the Biblical text will determine the outcome of what it says . . . if i cannot make sense of a passage in the pages of Scripture, i will sit in it, pray through it until it is made clear. Knowing, however, that there are mysteries and that at present, i am looking through a mirror dimly.

Meanwhile, i am also enjoying my reading of secular novels. As i turn the pages and enter into the life of the characters, i ask myself, “how would i respond, or what would i do given the circumstances presented?” Or “how would i reach this person with the Gospel?” i am not a fast reader, so the fact that i am on my fourth novel this year is awe-inspiring for me. my current book is going to be very interesting for sure and will be a great source of inspiration as i turn the pages of Scripture in order to seek ways to present the Gospel to Edward, the main character. Who often says, like SGT. Joe Friday, from the old TV series Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

One of the verses that have spurred this idea or venture on is found in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” i think we are living in similar days now. Now because i have a desire to understand Scripture and to know God, just not know of Him, i am searching Scripture as a miner seeks after gold, and silver, or as Indiana Jones, hunts down treasures.

i hope that my journey inspires you. That you are encouraged to seek the Truth of God through the pages of His Holy Word, with the filter of the Holy Spirit. John records Jesus saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) Why do i find it essential to have a personal understanding, one based on Scripture first, confirmed by the Holy Spirit . . . because difficult times are upon us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Finally, let me remind us of Jesus’ words during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

You are loved,

cj

We made it!

my writing has grown more sporadic. i have been finding it difficult to think of what to write, and then when i do have a topic, it doesn’t flow as easily to the keys. i start and then delete and then stop. i am determined this time to sit here until i have written something, anything, and then post it. Why? i don’t know other than i feel compelled to write and beat the distraction and the lack of self-confidence that are my biggest detractors or deterrents.

i was inspired yesterday through a very sad encounter. She was an elderly woman, in her seventies, i would guess but with early onset of dementia or Alzheimers. She was frail, slow, with thinning hair. i picked her up from the cancer clinic, so i can only assume she was or is or had been dealing with that as well. She was, at this moment, very alone. i wondered as i realized more and more of her condition; where was her family, her friends, anyone?

But there i was and although the situation was frustrating, it was so, not because of her, but because i desired to help. Yet, i was limited and didn’t precisely understand fully what she was dealing with, which made helping a shot in the dark. i had some help that i sought from a couple of receptionists from the clinic. Who in the midst of it were as heartbroken and frustraited as i was.

i tried to imagine from her perspective, you know, walk in her shoes, what would i be thinking, and having never experienced such a thing it made it nearly impossible, however, as all turned out to be good in the end. i was able to help her, and now reflecting on it, i can see some spiritual application.

The spiritual relm is a mystery to us, in fact, God in large part is a mystery to us. We have some understanding through the fully man and also fully God, Jesus, even still we don’t fully understand. Paul writes it this way; “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Earlier Paul wrote:

Yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

As i helped this woman get home, you could see her mind coming back; she began to recognize her surroundings and her confidence returning. Bit by bit and mile by mile, she knew more, recognized more until we pulled into her building. She exclaimed, “We made it!” i feel this way as i walk with Jesus, bit by bit and mile by mile, i know more and understand more, and i look forward to one day pulling into heaven and exclaiming, “i made it! by the grace of God, i made it!”

You are loved,

cj