Will You Turn and Walk Away… Or Seek Him with All Your Heart?

Walking in forest

Yeshua, therefore, said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and do not drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves…. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.” …Then many of His disciples, having heard, said, “This word is hard. Who is able to listen to it?” …And from this time, many of His disciples went away backward, and were walking with Him no more. (John 6:53, mjlt)

How well-attended would our congregations be if we eliminated the experience? Or the ritual? What would happen if we took away the “energetic worship,” or the multi-media presentations, or the “relevant” messages that guarantee our encouragement and comfort? This is what my generation—and younger—craves (whether we know it, or admit it, or not), and it is according to these elements that many decide where and with whom we will “worship.” But while older generations may pursue a bit more subdued set of criteria—more traditions, less volume, less technology—where (and whether) we attend services is still about the religious experience. Take that away, and we have no idea what to do with the leftovers—we don’t know how to relate to one another in Messiah, and we don’t know how to make disciples. Read more

For Our Passover Was Sacrificed

nails

This month, all over the world, most Jewish families will be recounting their ancestors’ ancient Exodus from Egypt through the annual tradition of the Passover seder. Sadly, many of them will also fail to hear of the true meaning of God’s salvation and sacrifice.

According to the Torah, it is not only Israel’s responsibility to perform the Passover sacrifice each year, but also parents’ responsibility to explain the purpose of the sacrifice to their children, as captured in the following father/son exchange from Perfect Word Ministries’ Messianic Passover Haggadah, Behold the Lamb.

son: Abba, “what is this ‘avodah [ceremony, rite] you have?” (Exodus 12:26)

abba: It is “a sacrifice of Pesach [Passover] to Adonai, who passed over the houses of the sons of Yis’rael [Israel] in Egypt when He struck down the Egyptians, and our houses He delivered” (Exodus 12:27).

son: Abba, why are we to “take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel over the houses in which we eat it?” (Exodus 12:27)

abba: It is to remember that “the blood has become as a sign for” us—that when Adonai saw “the blood, He passed over” us, “and a plague for destruction was not on us when He struck the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

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Sharing the Messiah in You

forest

forest

And this is the message that we have heard from Him, and announce to you: that God is light, and darkness in Him is not at all. If we say, “We have sharing with Him,” but walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not do the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have sharing one with another, and the blood of Yeshua, His Son, cleanses us from every sin. (1 John 1:5-7, mjlt)

The entire message and purpose of the Good News of Yeshua is predicated on the idea of sharing. God shares Himself with His Son, they share themselves with us (see John 17), and we in turn share the Messiah in us with our fellow man—both believers and unbelievers. But the most important thing we need to take away from John’s exhortation about the sharing is that we as Messiah’s disciples have the power and ability to short-circuit this critical process; “if we walk in the darkness, we lie,” and we block God’s light from ourselves, making us unable to share that light with anyone else.

Our ability to share the light of Messiah, then, is an exact reflection of the quality and character of our daily walk with Yeshua. Read more

Does the Bible Say God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle?

way out escape

compass

Your loved one is lying there, helpless, struggling in pain. In the sterility of the hospital room, you sit by the bedside—praying, seeking God, wanting desperately to offer an encouragement of assurance or a glimmer of hope. As you agonizingly watch the face of your loved one, you suddenly notice the sluggishly opening eyes; and as they fall on you, you sense the inner urging to speak that word of comfort, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a loving word—a compassionate word—and it is spoken with the best of intentions. But sadly, the endurance of life’s trials are not quite that simple… and unfortunately, that’s not what the Scriptures say. Read more

Post-Truth or Consequences

compass

For “if the truth of God abounded more to His glory in my falsehood, why am I still also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7, mjlt)

Redefining what is true based upon one’s own self-centered perspective is nothing new. People have been trying to get away with this—rejecting objective facts and reality—forever. What Paul’s Roman audience hadn’t quite figured out yet (but were well on their way to discovering), was that there is no defense for changing the truth into a falsehood, nor a legitimate justification for it before God. No, in order to successfully twist the truth and feel blissfully uncondemned about doing it, we have to ignore God altogether.

And so here we find ourselves today—evading God’s righteous judgement, reinventing truth as we deem fit—and it is all being done under its audacious, new name: post-truth. Read more

3 Reasons Why You’re So Stressed

stressed man

Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs down, but a good word makes him rejoice. (Proverbs 12:25)

If there’s one thing you’ll never have to worry about, it’s running out of things to worry about! There’s plenty going on in the world (especially in your world) to make you worried, anxiety-ridden and stressed-out. But as a disciple of Messiah, you cannot respond to stressful circumstances with more anxiousness, worry and stress of your own! God has called and set you apart for something far better. Thankfully, the Scriptures teach us why we’re so stressed—and how to overcome it. Read more

How Shall I Vote? What the Bible Says

vote

If you’re like me, you have been troubled over the impending presidential election. Though past cycles have yielded some less-than-ideal candidates, this time around our alternatives appear, well, apocalyptic. While there was one candidate I never personally considered a viable option, the idea of voting for that candidate’s main opponent has not exactly brought me a great deal of comfort. After months of contemplating many peoples’ opinions on the topic, I finally decided to go to the Scriptures to see if they could provide me with any guidance about how I might cast my ballot in righteousness. Read more

The Season of Sacrifice

palm frond with crown of thorns

As we round the corner from Summer to Fall, we can easily become distracted with the busyness, worries, and struggles of life. In times like these, it is more important than ever to fix our eyes on the Master, and to focus on the truth of our salvation. The second group of holy days on Israel’s annual calendar, which take place over the course of just twenty-two days, offers us a unique opportunity to do just this. The Fall Mo’adiym (“Appointed Times”) tell an extraordinary story of remembrance, atonement, joy and rest. These most special days point us powerfully and creatively to the reality of Yeshua’s sacrifice. Read more

Circum­stances, Self-Image, and Salvation

clay pot

Yeshua, then, having been weary from the journeying, was sitting this way on the well… and there came a woman out of Shom’ron to draw water. Yeshua said to her, “Give Me something to drink…” The Shom’roniyt woman therefore said to Him, “How do you, being a Y’hudiy, ask for a drink from me, being a Shom’roniyt woman?…” Yeshua answered and said to her, “If you had known the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give me something to drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water….” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not thirst, nor come back here to draw water.” (John 4:6-15, mjlt)

The woman at the well didn’t have much going for her on that fateful day that she met the Messiah. The first strike against her was that she was a Samaritan, with whom Jews—like Yeshua—did not associate. Second, she was a woman, which made it that much less likely that a strange man would even speak with her. Third, she was tired from having to haul buckets of water from Jacob’s well the long distance to her home. And fourth, she was thirsty—wanting desperately to quench her thirst for good, yet having no earthly idea how to do it.

But being a tired, thirsty Samaritan woman was just the beginning of her problems. Read more

Milk vs. Meat

milk

When was the last time you read your Bible? …just your Bible? How long has it been since you shut out the sounds and writings of so many “teachers” and expounders of the Word and just read your Bible? For far too many of us, we make a farce of Bible reading by keeping the Book nearby—yet spiritually closed—as we engage with and open up our minds to others’ “revelations,” hidden nuggets, and “lost” truths of the Word. We have exchanged the proper use of the Bible for being entertained by the use of the Bible, and we have done so in the name of craving meat—the solid food of the Scriptures. But how unfed we truly are!

Somewhere along the way, someone convinced a great number of us that the plain, simple Word of Scripture just wasn’t deep enough—that once we have been nourished by the “milk” of the Word, we are supposed to move on to the “meat.” In other words, we think that the fundamentals of the faith are not meant for mature believers, but for the immature. Mature believers, we are told, are to pursue God—to understand and know Him—in deeper, more meaningful ways… and to discover these, we must seek out and explore the exotic and mysterious minutiae under the Word’s surface.

Well… that’s simply not true. Read more