Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Power of Desire

In John 2, Yahshua performs His first recorded miracle: "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Yahshua saith unto Him, They have no wine. Yahshua saith unto her, Woman, What have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it....Yahshua saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim." Miraculously, the water was turned to wine, and not just any wine but the best wine. Ask yourself, "What happened?" The servants fill the pots with water and they draw out the best wine. When did Yahshua ask for the miracle? When did He pray for it? When did He command anything to happen? The only logical conclusion is that His desire was sufficient to bring about the molecular alteration of the water to wine. Someone might suggest that the words were left from the text; however, that makes no sense. The words of Yahshua are very powerful and were not likely to be disregarded, especially when they were the instrument of a miracle. The truth is that Yahshua's desire was sufficient to bring about an interruption of the natural laws in existence. He desired the water to made wine and it happened.

This is not an isolated incident. Consider John 11. Yahshua has come to Bethany after hearing the news of His sick friend Lazarus. Lazarus has died and in verse 41 Yahshua says: "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Yahshua lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." Heard what? Yahshua has not spoken anything to the Father about raising Lazarus from the dead. However, it would be logical to infer that Yahshua desired him to be resurrected. It was the thoughts of desire that the Father heard. He responded to that desire and a miracle occurred.

Yahshua said in John 14:12: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." The Father hears our desires. Greater works shall we do and that includes those things that we desire. Psalm 37:4 says: "Delight thyself also in Yahweh; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Since we will receive the desires of our heart when we delight in Yahweh, we should be careful about what we desire. Our desires will attract the reality of those desires. This is not "The Law of Attraction." This is the law of the Scriptures,i.e. when we meet the conditions of delight in Yahweh. Your desires are powerful. They are heard. They will manifest in reality. They can alter the reality of yourself and others. Are you thirsty for the best wine yet?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday

Yesterday, the church celebrated Easter Sunday. It was a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You know the story; because He lives, we can live. Because Jesus died, we can live. Because He rose from the dead, we also will rise from the dead. My family celebrated the day by attending a private service that I conducted. I spoke of the pagan roots of "Easter." I taught that it was not the best approach to select one day of the year and celebrate the resurrection. Instead, I suggested that we should celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua every day of the year. We should approach each day with excitement that Yeshua lives; that He has conquered death and hell. It should not be restricted to a single occurrence in a 365 day period.

After the service, our family attended a theme park near by. While waiting for a show to begin in a packed auditorium, the woman behind me said to her friend, "Here it is Easter Sunday and all these people are going to hell." I wanted to ask her, "Does that include you?" Further, I wanted to ask her did she really believe what she said? If you really believed that, why would you not shout at the top of your lungs that everyone was in danger? If the theater was on fire, you would have no problem in yelling, "Fire!" Then, I wanted to ask her why everyone was going to hell? Does God not like Celtic dancing? Or, was it because it was taking place on Easter Sunday? The celebration of the holiday "Easter" is a pagan holiday. It is about fertility rites. That is why the symbols of bunnies and eggs are prominent. I am convinced that Elohim would not send anyone to hell because they did not celebrate Easter Sunday. The true holidays are Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. They are Biblical; Easter is not.

A further question I had was, "What type of God did the woman behind me worship?" Was He a loving God that extends grace and mercy up to a point, and immediately upon the death of the person transform into an angry, violent, and vengeful deity? What you believe about people who don't agree with your faith tells others about the God you believe in. So, what does your God look like?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Be Set Apart Because He Is Set Apart

Leviticus 19:1-2 is typically translated as, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." What is real holiness? In the late 1800's and early 1900's churches were started that called themselves "Holiness Churches." They focused on separating from the world. Whenever a new idea or invention came into being, there was a tendency to require the holiness people to abstain from participation in whatever the new invention involved. I remember reading about one preacher who said, "I wish we had not preached against the automobile. I would have liked to have had one." Some made a stand against telephones, televisions, and movies. It seemed that whatever brought entertainment was frowned upon. Today, these groups still exist with their dress codes, hair requirements for women, and bans on sporting events, bowling, and working on Sunday. Are these what YHWH had in mind when He proclaimed that we were to be set apart?

True holiness is being set apart from the common or profane. The Hebrew word is kedushah and it means sanctity or "set-apartness." Being holy implies being different. How should we be different? We don't have to guess or make up man made rules to form a denomination. The answer is found in Leviticus. The following will set you apart from the world and YHWH will be pleased:
1. Honor your parents and keep the Sabbath (Lev. 19:3);
2. Honor YHWH by abstaining from idolatry (Lev. 19:4);
3. Leave gleanings of your harvest for the poor, i.e. give money to help the poor (Lev. 19:10);
4. Do not steal, do not lie, do not deceive one another (Lev. 19:11);
5. Do not curse others (Lev. 19:12);
6. Judge others favorably and avoid gossip (Lev. (Lev. 19:15,16);
7. Do not hate your brother (Lev. 19:17); and
8. Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).

There are others, but the above are a good start. Notice that to YHWH, holiness is about what you do or don't do. It is not a feeling or emotion. It is a duty. We have been commanded to be set apart. When our actions follow Torah, you will be set apart. You will stand out and be prepared because the world will not embrace you. However, that is the price to being set apart.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How To Pray

The Christian church taught me to pray using specifics. I was to find a Biblical passage to support my request and bring it to God in prayer. I was to detail what I wanted God to do because if I didn't, I would not receive a specific answer. I have found such an approach to make prayer a burdensome activity. It reminds me of preparing a case for the courtroom to present to a judge or a jury. Such approach makes God a legalistic entity that requires that you jump through theological hoops to get what you desire.

I have discovered a better approach that yields more effective results. It sounds like this: "Elohim, I need a miracle for _____________." This may sound simple, but break down the prayer. First, I am addressing Elohim. Elohim means Mighty One in Hebrew. I am talking to the One that can perform a miracle for me. He is Mighty and no hand can prevent Him from doing what He wants. Second, I am asking for a miracle. My prayer recognizes that my situation needs a Divine touch. If man could perform the activity, God's hand could be stayed. However, what I seek needs His hand active in my situation. Third, notice what is not prayed. I have not sought to manipulate Him. I have not told Him how to do what I seek. Instead, I am as a small child that asks his father for help. Prayer becomes a real joy, the way it should be.

Is your prayer life burdened by rules? Do you enjoy praying? If you enjoy your prayer life and you see results, don't bother with a change. However, if your prayer life needs freshness, consider the simple request of, "Elohim, I need a miracle for _______________."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Has Salvation Come To Your House? Part 2

Yesterday, we considered Yeshua's statement that salvation had come to Zacchaeus's house when he made restitution to those he had wronged. Today, we look at Yeshua's statement to the rich man about eternal life. Mark 10:17-21 reads: "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Yeshua said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, Elohim. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Yeshua beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." First, I want you to notice the commandments Yeshua referenced as essential to obtaining eternal life. You won't find anything about taking Elohim's name in vain. Neither is there any reference to idolatry or Sabbath observance. Yeshua answers the question with the commandments that have to do with how we treat each other. Second, I want you to notice that Yeshua connects eternal life with assisting the poor. What passes for salvation in most churches today is not even close to the teachings of Yeshua. Do you not find it strange that those who claim to follow Jesus teach so differently from what He taught?

Consider the events at the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:4 records: "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." The people intended to build a tower that would reach heaven. This action was very disrespectful to Elohim. How does YHWH respond? He confuses their language and scatters them. Was there any loss of life because the people had disrespected Him? The answer is no. However, consider the wickedness of Sodom. Ezekiel 16:49 reads: "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." How did YHWH respond to the people of Sodom who were guilty of pride, idleness, and neglect of the poor? They were destroyed completely. It seems clear that YHWH responds differently depending who the wronged party is. He is more forceful when the poor are being mistreated than He is when He is being mistreated.

We would do well to consider salvation from YHWH's and Yeshua's perspective. They both connect eternal life with the taking care of others, especially the poor. Perhaps this is why Yeshua taught: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Elohim." Whatever you have, remember the poor. Take care of them; if you have no money, find something to give. When you do, the Scriptures say that salvation will come to your house.