Sunday, April 27, 2014


"We're all at a Different Place in the Journey."  The basic gist of that sentence sounds almost like a New Age mantra.  I'm hearing it quite a bit, in one form or another.  It seems a religiously correct "cop out" to "agree to disagree" or come to some sort of "universal acceptance . . ."  Granted, we are all in various stages of maturity or immaturity, but this generic "journey" term could apply to any belief system or even secular ethics.  In realizing unity is hard to come by, it seems we've garnered some sort of mutually acceptable dismissal to avoid dispute and debate.

Although I am quite relieved to realize many of us have accepted, in the debate and dispute topics, the concept that it's pretty much all been said.  The topics don't change, the arguments don't change, and the debaters don't change, unless one becomes silent.  The Word of G-d is called a Sword, not a battering ram, so I'd like to gently offer another perspective to the "different place in the journey" statement.  There is more to living a G-dly life than simply staying between the ditches along side of the narrow path.  We are called to be part of the body of Messiah.

To truly be a set apart people, we don't need to use the broad brush terms of any other belief system.  Messiah's followers are all called to be different parts of His body.  Consider Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 11:29, and the various references to "the body of Messiah."  I believe what is causing a lack of unity, is our cookie cutter mentality; when it comes to fellowship.  We could even be so focused on "unity" we take our focus off of Messiah!

Hands and feet were not created for the same purpose, nor do they function in the same way, but both are valuable!  On the "journey" mantra, some may believe the hands are closer to the head than the feet . . . but it's the hands that wash the feet.  Hands and feet are not interchangeable and without one or the the other, major accommodations must be made.

It seems what we've all forgotten, in our sayings and expression of views, the mouth is IN the head!  That means the head controls the mouth!  I've personally struggled in this area for some time and have often found, the less said the better.  I actually find myself getting much quieter in airing my own perspectives, except here at the Goshen Gazette, where I can simply offer an idea or information.  There is no need to brow beat or explain myself, this life I'm living for Messiah, isn't about me, anymore . . . Followers of Messiah are called to: "sanctify YHWH G-d in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: "  We're told to give an answer when asked.  That's not to condone compromise, but rather our lives are to be so set apart, those who see it, recognize there is something different.  That's what leads to their asking . . .

Maybe what we need to do is individually understand what part of the body we are, to be able to fulfill our responsibility that brings glory to YHWH and doesn't hurt Messiah's body.  Messiah has already been bruised for our iniquity . . . Some of us also have a call on our lives, and that isn't about a title or giving constant correction and criticism!  A call is a responsibility, a big one, that a human cannot fulfill in their own power.

I was blessed to fellowship face to face with one of our steadfast contributors and although there are obvious differences and perspectives, there is a unity that transcends geography and personal perspective.  We agree that Torah defines holiness and defines sin.  We agree that Messiah is the Son of G-d and lived a perfect Torah observant life, and we are called to follow Him.  Then as we celebrated Sabbath together, we were blessed to agree the body has need of various parts that do not operate in the same way.

As the ends of days continue to unfold, I believe we are all going to mature in appreciation of each other's differences, and not see it as a different place, but rather a different part of the bigger purpose.  Perhaps as we are being blessed to fellowship by phone, social media, or face to face, we may find we don't have to "feel" we are in different places in "the journey" but are actually just different parts of the body . . . of Messiah, and He is the head!  

Scriptures referred to in article.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith YHWH, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jeremiah 29:11
For the gifts and calling of G-d are without repentance.  Romans 11:29
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Messiah.  I Corinthians 12:12

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seeking vs. Chasing

This is more than mere semantics.  With so many religious buzz words and so much psychology intertwined now with faith, it seems many are chasing a feeling instead of seeking our Creator.  I refer to this as "Jonesing for a holy high."

Most of us have met someone that is clearly after the next "awesome manifestation" or searching for "the anointing" or to "receive a word."  Realistically, not only have most of us met someone like that, in all likelihood, at some point in our walk we've been that person.  On one hand, it can be genuine humility to seek counsel and teaching from a more seasoned follower of Messiah, but on the other hand, it can also be following a person instead of Messiah.  Or, and I'm out of hands, it can literally be an emotional rush rather than a spiritual yearning.

I'm certainly not trying to strain gnats here, but by the same token, people board busses, travel for miles, and stand in long lines attempting to swallow religious camels!  Fellowship is important, but chasing a feeling isn't fellowship.  We are told in Hebrews, to forsake not the assembling, but the word assembling in the original Greek was not a reference to "church" at all, but rather shared the same root word as the word, synagogue.  Forsaking not the assembling was instructing the Hebrew believers to not disregard the set apart days specified in Torah.

We read that Messiah arose early to be in communion with the Father, or made a point of set apart time.  He gave instruction that men were to pray in secret, not in shame, but not on display.  The miracles that were witnessed were not organized and scheduled.  He said His followers would do greater works and we read throughout the book of Acts, there were miracles of healing and deliverance, but they weren't staged, either. Walking in the power of YHWH involves alone time with Him, well beyond all the gatherings.  Community worship or as it is buzzed, "corporate worship" is wonderful and it does "feel" good, but it is not the foundation of our relationship with YHWH.  A personal decision to repent and follow Messiah is the foundation for our relationship and everything in our lives must be built on that foundation of truth.

Chasing an experience is not the same thing as seeking the Living G-d.
 But seek ye first the kingdom of G-d, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ~ words of Messiah 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passover and the Resurrection

Social media becomes a buzz through the seasons of celebration.  I think Shavu'ot / Pentecost probably receive the least debate, which makes sense, I think.  Torah was given at Mt. Sinai on Shavu'ot.  The Holy Spirit was given to the apostles in that upper room, and the reason there was such a crowd in Jerusalem speaking so many languages, is it was Shavu'ot.  Pentecost is the Greek term for 50, which aligns with Feast of Weeks.  Back to the social buzz of the spring.

Passover and Easter were very definitely defined to be separated, religiously; not by Messiah, but by the Nicene Council.  As we know from the accounts of the Gospel and Paul's writings, Passover was observed by believers and followers of Messiah.  When someone became a believer back in New Testament days, they continued to observe the Feast Days commanded in Torah.  Y'hshuwah did not come to start a new religion, but rather came in fulfillment of the Covenant of YHWH with Israel.  It was Constantine who started the new religion, but this article is not about Constantine.  In all the debates of tradition, perspective of symbolism, and practices of paganism, what is truth?

I have a few observations and a couple of questions when it comes to the official sorting!  Since Israel first experienced Passover, it has become quite steeped in Jewish tradition.  Since Messiah uttered the words, "this do in remembrance of me" words such as "Last Supper," Communion, and Lord's Supper have replaced what the Gospel writers called that meal.  The writers of the accounts of the Gospel referred to that last meal, as the Passover.  While the Christians of our culture continue to debate the proper name and frequency for this bread and wine "in remembrance," Passover has come to be considered a Jewish holiday, and both presumptions are wrong.

Here's just a few observations I'd like to share.  Traditional synagogue doesn't really make mention of Easter, other than to refer to the Christian holiday as a date on the Gregorian/business calendar.  Passover, on the other hand, is loaded with traditional observance.  Now, the Christians have plenty of Easter traditions that have been incorporated into their celebration as well.  I never heard anything "official" about Messiah's resurrection, rabbits, or dyed eggs in Judaism.

I do remember the question in Christian circles, years ago, about how rabbits became part of the Easter tradition.  The eggs were a bit tricky to explain as well, other than just "the celebration of life" . . . What stands out the most to me though is something I learned while visiting a Calvary Chapel nearly 20 years ago.  That Pastor taught from the pulpit that Easter was the English translation for "Ishtar" the goddess of fertility; Babylonian, I believe she was.  He then proceeded to give some very gory details about how the eggs were dyed.  Please allow me to reiterate, this information came from a pastor at a Calvary Chapel, long before myspace, Facebook or Google +.

As this season of life comes to it's fullness this year, I pray we see and celebrate the true meaning of Scriptural observance.  I have to admit, I miss the different colored eggs.  I am such a color enthusiast, I evn tinted the hard boiled eggs after I shelled them to make "deviled eggs" which have since been left uncolored and renamed "salad eggs."  As for eggs in abundance, homesteading has taught me, this is just the peak season for egg production.

Messiah didn't die to do away with Passover, it is to be observed through all generations.  He was the perfect Passover Lamb and was resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights, on the day of lifting the firstfruits in offering.  Scripture never once refers to Passover as a Jewish holiday, it is the Passover of YHWH!

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  And he shall wave the sheaf before YHWH, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  Leviticus 23:10-11

But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits . . . I Corinthians 15:20

These are the feasts of YHWH, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.  In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is ADONAI's passover.  Leviticus 23:4-5

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to YHWH throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.  Exodus 12:14