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

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

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

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

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