Monday, January 25, 2016

The Samson Syndrome

As a woman, I didn't recognize it in myself right away, but I finally recognized it and learned a few years back.  Now, by the grace of YHWH, I do not choose to be blind to it, have received His power to avoid it, and been given discernment to recognize it and sound the warning.

Basically, the short explanation is being distracted by trying to make up for a perceived shortcoming or self-diagnosed lack by trusting your own plan or worse, the wrong person; in an attempt to achieve YHWH's plan.  Sadly, I've done it more than once, but I'll use my most outstanding situation because it affects several of us.  The reality is, church is really no place to be single, if you want to feel comfortable.  Oh, I know there are singles groups, "friend fellowship" for divorcees, and support meetings for those who are widowed, but there is an underlying reality.  I can't speak for the widowed groups as often the departed was also a member of the church, but most church singles groups are established to "meet" like minded and like spirited individuals.  Most of the divorce fellowship is clearly offered to avoid making the same mistake again; although some denominations forbid remarriage after divorce.  Now, on to my confession . . .

My marriage was already falling apart, when I entered covenant with YHWH in Moshiach.  My husband was a good man, we were simply not joined.  As far as I know, we were both faithful and he was more than fair in the divorce.  He has since married his high school sweet heart and they appear to have a wonderful relationship.  Here's where my Sampson Syndrome took me down.  It seemed everyplace I attempted to fellowship, women didn't really like me.  I was sure if I was married, that would change their perspective.  By that same token, although I wasn't after anyone's man, I'm guessing, since I thought marriage was the key, I gave the appearance of looking.  On top of being single, I was also Torah observant, which was not always warmly received, either.  So, here I am thinking I need to be married so everyone will quit looking at me like I'm on the prowl . . . I was so sure, something completely out of my grasp would solve my problem and I was also sure another human being would provide the inroad for me to accomplish the purpose YHWH had for me.   See the problem?  Well, I didn't at the time.

Meanwhile, I was completely immersed in ministry outside of the "mainstream mega-rejection" called church.  I facilitated a mission, fed the neighborhood kids on the week-end when they came for a Bible study.  I served as a community chaplain to the state mental health facility, not on their payroll, so I could actually talk about Scripture.  I served as chaplain for both the fire and police departments, and even did some traveling abroad in ministry.  I also attended a traditional synagogue, with the congregants acknowledging I was different as a believer that Messiah had already come, but was still welcome to attend.  I was single and ministering every day somewhere, everywhere, except the church . . . I knew I was called to bring Torah to the church, so like Sampson eyeing the Philistines, I was sure the inroad to church was marriage to a Christian.  You'd think I'd have guarded my heart, knowing how it turned out for Samson, but I was still quite blinded by the pseudo-religious, societal idea of marriage.

As a Sabbath keeper, I was available to play the keyboard for various small churches on Sundays.  As it turns out, there was a death in the family in one of those "family churches" meaning the music department and pastor would all be gone.  When the pastor called to ask if I could do the music, I agreed without hesitation . . . It was that evening that would ultimately lead me to a place I just wasn't expecting to land.  The guest pastor informed me that the piano player in his church had recently passed away, and invited me to come out and play.  I wrote down the name and the directions, but didn't go the next Sunday, or the next . . . Finally, one Sunday morning I set out for this little country church called "Way of Life."  I enjoyed it, went back the next week, and since they only had church on Sunday morning, responded with a "yes" when they asked for a 3 month commitment.

The next Sunday morning, I sat in the usual place for a the piano player . . . Second row, piano side.  Also in the pew was a man whom I'd never seen there.  Through the course of the service, it was announced that "Brother Bob" had a new job and was working Sundays.  After the service, I handed him one of my cards and told him about the Sabbath gathering at the mission on Friday evenings.  My parting words were, "Don't lose fellowship."  Within weeks he visited the mission, but there was one big red flag I was overlooking.  He was consistently late, I mean disruptively late, but his church folk were also coming for Sabbath fellowship and we were all enjoying a pretty fine oneg, as well.  The church gals were just precious, in bringing "extra" for the children who would be there the next day.  Life seemed good and I invited "Brother Bob" for dinner one night that wasn't a Sabbath.  There were a couple of weeks of miscommunication, etc, but basically, we began dating . . .

Through the course of the courtship, I had a couple of misgivings, but I talked myself out of them . . .  It's so easy to judge Samson's decision to trust, time and again; then never even consider the reflection in the mirror.  I moved right along and got married, just sure this was the inroad to ministering to the church. In less than a month after the marriage, the church where I'd met this man, made it clear I was no longer welcome . . .  Suffice it to say, a Christian marriage was not the inroad into the church, nor did it give me the married respectability I'd hoped.  As a matter of fact, the results were quite the opposite.

This is not to say the person or distraction of itself is evil or nefarious, but rather the danger in trusting one's own idea of an inroad, especially in ministry, could be a very costly and blinding distraction.

Trust in YHWH with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

Friday, January 1, 2016

In Modern Times

What if Paul or John the Baptist were alive today, doing what they did 2000 years ago?  What do today's prophets and apostles look like and sound like?  Does it seem Pastors and Teachers/Rabbis are as abundant as Evangelists were in the previous generation of America?  I mean where would Christian television have been without televangelists?  We have an abundance of internet Teachers, and a generation of "Pastors" between the evangelists and teachers.  It seems there has been much name dropping or title claiming of the five fold ministry, but there's been so little power with minimal to no repentance.  The believers don't seem to be fairing any better in society than the unbelievers.  Why is this?  What are we missing?  In my search for The Way, The Truth and The Life, I've come across the information that we simply have a preconceived plan to protect our traditions and often truth just will not fit in that picture.

Paul's writings are generally interpreted or have been interpreted to render Torah, null and void.  There are many modern preachers teaching that very thing, but why?  If 137 pages of a 2000 page book render the rest of the book obsolete, why claim to believe any of it?  And even more thought provoking.  If the author of the 137 pages has defined and set the standard for nearly 2000 years, just what it is to please a Deity that changed His mind?  Who are we really serving?  How can we possibly know He won't change His mind again?

We also have to consider Paul's original claim of authority, after Messiah said, don't follow those who would claim to see Him in various places . . . So, Paul is on the road to Damascus, gets knocked off his donkey, sees a bright light and hears a voice . . . No doubt, this account would be readily received by the thinking crowd of today, am I right?  If the modern day Christians are correct in their interpretation of his letters, and he did teach against Torah, then by definition in Deuteronomy, that would make him a false apostle.  I do not believe Paul is a fake.  I believe folks have misinterpreted his writings, and he never intended to present Torah to be obsolete, but rather make obedience a matter of the heart, rather than outward appearance.  All of his references to Messiah . . . following Messiah is to walk as He walked, live as He lived and that is obedience to Torah.

John the Baptist would more than likely be grouped with any number of preppers or modern wanna be cult leaders.  I mean, I've been called some pretty horrendous names, myself; and I'm relatively obscure.  Fortunately for John, he did have the support of his family.  His parents may have been deceased by then, but there is documentation that he had full support from his cousin, who is Y'hshuwah Messiah.  In all likelihood, just as is recorded, the "vipers" would be gathering to offer their judgment, but . . . he wouldn't align himself with such religiosity and hatred.  John the Baptist would tell it like it is, regardless of where he was.  He'd speak just as boldly at his family gatherings as he would on social media.

Throughout Scripture we see that those who received a message from YHWH often found themselves "detained," imprisoned, or completely shunned by society.  Joseph was thrown in a well, then later, in prison.  Jezebel hated Elijah.  Obadiah hid prophets in caves.  Jeremiah was thrown into a well, then a dungeon.  The three Hebrew boys were cast into the fiery furnace, and Daniel into the lion's den.  We know John the Baptist was imprisoned for telling Herod the truth about his adulterous relationship.  

It could be comedienne Joy Behar gave a truthful reason, although wrapped in mockery, as to the way our society would deal with a modern Paul or John the Baptist.
I have a theory that you can't find any saints anymore because of psychotropic medication. I think that [in] the old days, the saints were hearing voices and they didn't have any Thorazine to calm them down. Now that we have all of this medication available to us, you can't find a saint anymore.

Be ready, saints, they will call us crazy!