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

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

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

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

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

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

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

planet in danger

It’s no secret—and, sadly, no surprise—that many of us as believers in Messiah still walk with the world. Much of that influence actually takes place in the innocuous parts of our lives—the parts that we take for granted and rarely give a second thought. More often than not, we share the same life-dreams as that of the society around us: career, status, house, significant other, comfort, leisure, security, etc. We exert effort and choose paths to achieve these ends, almost automatically. We’ve been taught to aim at such obvious targets, and we keep on shooting at them without question.

It is from these various areas of our life, then, that we mistakenly derive our identity and worth. We’ve been programmed to think and feel this way from childhood. They told us we needed to do well in school so that we could go off to college; then we could earn the qualifications for our dream job in a field that interests and fulfills us—even better, a field into which we feel called by God. Unfortunately, what this formula basically translates into is this: your personal happiness and satisfaction in life is the goal. If you can do good in the world, and perhaps even please God while you’re doing it, all the better; but ultimately, what you do is not nearly as important as how doing it makes you feel. Job fulfillment, feeling valued, doing things you enjoy, acquiring stuff you want, and having a good self-image is what defines a happy, healthy life…

…but is this what the Scriptures say? Read more

wheat

And He gave some… for the building up of the Body of the Messiah—until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God; to become a perfect man, and to attain the whole measure of maturity of the fullness of the Messiah, so that we may no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by every wind of the teaching (by the sleight of hand of men, by craftiness, toward the scheme of leading us astray), but speaking the truth in love, we will grow up in all things to Him, who is the head—the Messiah…. (Ephesians 4:11-15, MJLT)

On Israel’s annual calendar, the period immediately following Passover (which spiritually concerns our freedom from sin) and the Feast of Matzah (which is about walking out and practicing that freedom) is the seven-week “counting from the Omer.” During this time, the barley crop is being harvested while the wheat crop continues to ripen, thus carrying with it the spiritual theme of growing to maturity. For the disciple of Messiah, this can be a vital season of watching ourselves and staying in step with God’s plan, as we cooperate with Him and grow into the fullness of who we are as followers of Yeshua.

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crown of thorns

For what renown is it for you if you are sinning, and then, being beaten with fists, you endure it? But if you endure, doing good and suffering for it, this is favorable with God. For you were called to this, because Messiah also suffered for you, leaving Himself to you as an example, so that you may follow His steps—He WHO DID NOT COMMIT SIN, NOR WAS UNDER-HANDEDNESS FOUND IN HIS MOUTH… who Himself BORE OUR SINS in His body upon the tree, so that having died to the sins, we may live to the righteousness… (1Keifa 2:20-24, MJLT)

As we enter into the Passover season, we celebrate not only Israel’s salvation from captivity and oppression in Egypt, but also the individual salvation that this watershed event ultimately foreshadows. During this annual time of commemorating our freedom from sin, we are presented with the unique opportunity to refocus on, recommit to, recognize, and remember what Ye­shua selflessly did on our behalf, and the consummate purpose to which He has called us. Unfortunately, this high calling—which is clearly spelled out by the emissary, Keifa—is essentially foreign to and lost among today’s modern Body of Messiah.

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