We love to dig into the scripture and share our findings - may you be encouraged and blessed by these articles!  Keep pressing on towards the goal friends and NEVER give up!

Pushy Men

Proverbs 18:22 says "He that finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favour from Yahweh".   It should go without saying that in order to find, we must seek.  If I don't look for something, chances are, I am not going to find it. I have heard some men deliberate whether or not it is the right thing to do to go to conferences and join online singles sites because to some, looking means that you are not trusting God to bring that person in to your life at the right time.  Nonsense!  Do you expect Yahweh to drop a girl on your front doorstep and have her say, "Well, you prayed for me, so here I am - let's get married!" - I somehow don't think this will happen very often.  Men, Yahweh made you hunters and explorers by nature.  This is evident from a young age - most young boys love a treasure hunt.  True, Yahweh did bring Eve to Adam and Ruth to Boaz but these were exceptions to the rule - most stories in the Bible were because the man was seeking a wife or someone was hunting on his behalf (as in the story of Isaac and Rebekah).  It is not showing a lack of faith in God to seek out godly young women, it shows that you are mature enough to get over your hang-ups and shyness (which can subtley be a form of unhealthy pride in some cases).  There are SO MANY godly women out there who are fighting the temptation to do what comes unaturally to us - chasing guys.  I don't mean to say that guys should pester and go after everything in skirts but at least be trying to meet women, get to know them in group settings and take a bold step in pursuing a relationship with a woman you are interested in.  If you men are to be leaders in the home, we want assurance of that leadership before we commit to marriage.  One way this can be demonstrated is by you taking the initiative and pursuing us.  

I know that there are women out there who play games and can't seem to make up their mind - they aren't godly women.  I won't say that the blame is entirely on the guys because women need to get their act together and say what they mean when they respond to a guy's interest.  However, risk is a normal part of the process for you men and you must be brave enough to handle rejection.  If you are not stable enough in your walk with Yahweh to handle rejection, this is something that you should pray and ask your heavenly Father to help you with.   Remember, you have not because you ask not (James 4:2).  I knew one guy who asked over 20 women out (over the space of several years) before he met one that said "yes".  They are happily married now and he is not upset now that the other women said "no" because he would not be with the fantastic girl he is with today if they had said yes.  Learn to see the "no" answer as Yahweh gently closing a door because He will open a better one elsewhere.  Waiting is hard and hearing "no thanks" is hard but it is so worth it when you find the right one!  

Also, please understand that when a godly woman says no, it is a great sign of disrespect to keep pressing the issue.  Several years ago, I had a guy  (from church) ask me out and I said no.  He called me a few weeks later to ask again and I told him no again.  He called a third time a few weeks later and I was feeling hounded and pressured.  I kept thinking, "He must not respect me very much if he believes that I would suddenly change my mind for no reason".  When he asked the 4th time, I was flabbergasted and had to be very firm (almost to the point of rudeness) with him and ask him to please not approach me again because I was certain that he was not the man for me.  At the time, our family had more of a dating approach than courtship - if he had of asked me now, my father would have been the one dealing with him.  The point of the story is, if you truly believe that the woman is godly, respect her "no" as being no and not a maybe.  If you do ask her again, it better be some time down the road and she had better exhibit a clear and unmistaken change of heart.  I am not saying that every "no" stays a no - just use wisdom and discretion and don't pressure or hound her into saying "yes".  Stalking her on FB and trying to get other people around her to speak to her to change her mind is just downright sneaky and we aren't looking for that kind of a husband.  (Ladies, if you are certain that he is not the one you want to marry, say "no" right away, don't get his hopes up with a "maybe")

Guys, I appreciate the fact that you are the ones with the risk in taking the first step.  If you want to avoid heartache, do your homework.  If you don't know the woman really well, ask around to find out what she is made of, if she has a history of dating a string of guys, what her personality is like,etc.  If your relationship is long distance, call her a couple of times and Google her.  Long distance relationships can be more difficult but being open and honest in communication is important.  If you have a lisp or are in a wheelchair, don't email her for 6 months and then suggest going out for coffee without letting her know what to expect!  That puts unfair pressure on a woman if she feels that she can't live with whatever your handicap is.   Have the guts to be honest - you will reap what you sow.  I think that having a disability does NOT make you unmarriageable but it is not honest to hide it from a potential girlfriend. 

Guys, don't give up!  There are thousands of women out there who are wondering if there are any godly guys left.  Just keep seeking and you will find.  Keep knocking and eventually the right door will open up to you.  Remember that Yeshua is seeking a pure bride also - it is nothing new for a man to seek out a bride!  When you find her, it will be worth the wait.  I want to encourage you to keep seeking the will of Yahweh and He will guide your steps. 

Ties That Blind

When I meet a new Messianic person, I can get a pretty good understanding of them usually within the first 10-15 minutes.  You can get to know anyone pretty well by asking them a few questions and getting them to talk.  That's likely why even a fool is thought wise if they learn to talk less as Proverbs says. 

I am amazed at how many Messianic people I meet online who start talking about the weirdest things right off the bat...

'Are you a two house person?'

'How do you understand the name of YHWH?'

'What version of the Bible do you use? Really? Oh I use this version, it's the best because....'

'I hope your not one of those Messianics who believes...'

'Do you celebrate pagan holidays?'

'How come you are not wearing tzit tzits?  Women can wear them too you know...'

'I hope you keep kosher like I do...'

-sigh-  There are two kinds of people in this world, ones who form ties that bind and those who form ties that blind.  There are those who seek to look for things that they have in common with others and those who try to find some point to debate about.  We are called to unity friends...that does not mean uniformity but rather agreeing to disagree.  Don't misunderstand me, I am not talking about peace at any cost, I am saying that our conversation should PROMOTE peace, not PROVOKE quarrels.  

Talk about Yeshua, talk about His life, love and legacy.  Talk about the Torah in such a way that you show others that you love His word and are passionate about it, not using it as a hammer to beat down the newbies or to impress the mature Messianics.  We have a sacred duty to love our neighbour and to treat others the way we want to be treated.  

I don't agree with being wishywashy and with my Christian associates, I make it plainly known when the holidays come around that I don't celebrate Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.  I don't bash them for celebrating it and I certainly don't spam their inboxes with dozens of pamphlets explaining how 'wicked' they are if they celebrate those feasts.  I strongly disagree with them keeping it but my job is to be salt and light.  If I blind people with my insensitive attitude and criticsm, how can they see the light.  If I singe their taste buds with my hot and spicy sauce, how will they taste the salt?   We are NOT to be wishywashy but we are to be ready to give and answer to everyone who ASKS about the hope within us.  When people ask questions, it usually means that they are curious and willing to hear the answer.  The old saying goes, 'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink'...the comeback is 'Nope, but you can pult salt in his oats and make him thirsty!'  We are to be the salt that makes people thirsty for the living water, not the fire of judgement that burns them to a crisp.  We need to stop arguing over bible versions, YHWH's name and how we keep this or that feast.  If we prayed for people as much as we criticized them, we might see more change.  If we prayed for others INSTEAD of criticizing them, there would be a revolution.  We can't make people into 'us', we need to love them wehere they are at and gently show them the path of truth as we see it.  We need to pray and ask Father to open their hearts.  

I hope that we are not turning people off of the Messianic Community by our actions.  YHWH forbid that people who are new to this faith should see us as arrogant.  YHWH resists the proud and although we can try to fool eveyone into thinking that we are pressing our point in order to 'help' others see the truth, we are often in danger of trying to build our own ego.  Humility means keeping silent sometimes even if we are the only one who has the 'right' answer...if the question is not asked, learn to wait until it is.  We should share the gospel in fear and trembling...we should be moved to tears for the lost who celebrate paganism, most of us were there at one point and how quickly we forget how blindness feels.  

Seek peace and pursue it, learn to love those in your community who share differing views than you.  Don't be argumentative but rather seek to focus on what binds us together and ask the Father to remove the ties that blind.  

Do you ever think to yourself...'if only?'

If only I had a better car, I would pick up people and drive them around.  

If only I was married, I could do more for the kingdom of YHWH.

If only I had a better job, I could give more money to help people.

If only I had a nicer house, I could have more people over.

One of the best stories in the scripture is when Moses is before YHWH and he asks Moses, 'what is that in your hand?'  YHWH is not blind, he knew what was in Moses' hand so why did He ask?  I think it is a lesson to us that YHWH will use whatever we have and do great things with it.  I have found myself in situations where there was not enough prepared food for a crowd at Shul (I help in the kitchen) and the phrase, 'what is that in your hand?' comes to mind.  I look in the fridge and cupboards and put a bit of this and that together and come up with more food.  Sometimes, people drop in on me and I feel that I am not prepared.  I hear, 'what is that in your hand?' and somehow I can come up with a meal for them.  Many times in my life, YHWH has used the little I had and, like the boy's lunch that Yeshua blessed, it has become enough to feed everyone.  

If I waited until I felt that I was adequate or that I was adequately supplied, I would miss out on many blessings and be very ineffective.  When I started Messianic Singles, it was a freebie website with a small amount of space and it grew slowly at first.  NEVER despise small beginnings!  Remember the servants and the talents.  If the servant with the one talent had just used 'what was in his hand', he would have not been called evil.  It is interesting that he was considered evil for not using what he had but rather hoarding it.  If we do not use what little we have, it will be taken away from us and given to those who are using what they have.  To sit there and say, 'if only' when we already have so much is not right!  

Are you able to walk?  I know people in wheelchairs who are able to accomplish much for YHWH

Do you have a house?  I visited people who lived in shacks in Brazil who shared what they had with me with joy

Do you have a car? I know people who have to take the bus everywhere who show up every week for shul and midweek services. What's your excuse?

Do you have money in the bank?  I know single mothers living on social support who are raising children and they still open their homes to others and share what they have.

 

Can you understand my point?  If you are procrastinating about reaching out in any way, you will be held accountable for it when you stand before YHWH.  You do not need a lot to be useful...simply use that which is 'in your hand'.  With just a staff Moses was used of YHWH to do many miracles.  The boy's lunch fed 5,000+ people and Gideon conquered an army with some clay pots, torches and trumpets.  David used a slingshot to defeat a giant everyone was afraid of.  Surely, many of us can say that we have more resources than these people had - we should be able to do that much more with YHWH's help!  

Stop saying 'if only' and start using what you already have been given.

 

Finding True Love

Over the last few days, I have been pondering the definition of true love as it relates to marriage.  What is true love? How does one make love last? I have been shocked by the number of people who are Messianic and have gotten married to people they barely knew and then within 6 months they were divorced. Actually, shocked is an understatement, horrified is more accurate. I am not writing this to judge anyone, rather to investigate for my own peace of mind what is happening here. I have often been ridiculed and chided for having what I call, a logical approach to love. I think that love and romance are two different things. Many people have romance and feelings of desire and attraction towards someone but love takes years to grow. Although the seed of love can be planted quickly, it does not blossom into a tree overnight.

I have come up with a series of questions that I believe is helpful in ascertaining whether or not you truly love someone. They are not meant to be exhaustive but to provoke thought…I encourage you to take off the blinders and step past the infatuation for a few moments to reflect on them. Please, do NOT answer these questions in the future tense. Do not say that the answer will be yes in the future, if it is not a yes now, it is counted as a ‘no’. Don’t fudge the answers, you will suffer for it if you do.

Do I love my significant other?

1. Do I REALLY pray for this person daily?

2. Do I go out of my way to make sacrifices for this person? (Driving long distances, going with less to buy them something nice, listening to them when you’d rather be sleeping, re-arranging my schedule to be with them, helping them cheerfully with something that is not your thing, refraining from criticism when they mess up, etc)

3. Do I respect their body? (Not pressuring them for sex ahead of marriage, or if you are married, not pressuring them to have sex when they can’t )

4. Do I speak well of them and praise them to others, refraining from dropping teasing hints about their faults? (ie. Joking about them being late all the time, etc)

5. Do I study them to know their interests, recognize their moods, understand their strengths and weaknesses?

6. Do I daily think about something I can do to give them enjoyment or to make them happy?

7. Do I step out of my comfort zone for this person? (Trying new things that they want you to do, being willing to eat things you might not like because they want you to try their cooking)

8. Am I laying down my life daily for this person?

9. Am I being prudent financially for this person? (Saving money, working hard to provide, etc)

10. Am I taking care of my body to try to keep it looking nice for my significant other? (Showering regularly, not eating garbage, being conscientious (not obsessed) about my weight, grooming your hair, etc)

11. Do I consistently ask my significant other how they are doing and ask for their opinions on things?

12. Do I talk about difficult subjects regarding our relationship because I want the truth?

13. Can I handle criticism from them? Can I give criticism lovingly?

14. Is Yeshua and the Torah a priority in our life? (If you have an unbelieveing spouse, this is not applicable. If both of you claim to be followers of Yeshua, then this is VERY applicable)

So how did you do? If you are not courting or engaged to someone, flip the questions around and ask your self if they could say yes to these questions. I am amazed at the amount of crap women put up with in relationships because they love their man and he treats them indifferently or is selfish . They will sacrifice and go out of their way to communicate with him, give him gifts and help him with his needs and in return the man buys them supper once in a while and throws out some scraps in the form of compliments. Ladies you should not be somewhere on his priority list you should be second from the top! Only his relationship with Yeshua should be ahead of you. Men, the same goes for you…if you are putting all kinds of effort into the relationship and the woman you are courting is not returning your calls quickly, makes excuses for being late all the time for dates with you, doesn’t give compliments unless you give them first (answering out of obligation)…wake up! Life doesn’t get rosier after marriage and sex is not a giant fault eraser. Truly, if they can’t be unselfish before marriage, it does not get better afterwards.

So, are you ready for marriage? Are you ready to take the step towards doing something that will be for the rest of your life? For better or FOR WORSE? Why is it that we take our marriage vows so lightly? The only reason for divorce after marriage is infidelity according to scripture…not incompatibility and surprisingly, not even abuse. I do NOT advocate abuse but I have heard so often, ‘it just did not work out’ or ‘we were incompatible’. Those are not reasons for divorce! I was reading several articles lately on arranged marriage and, according to the articles, the divorce rates were low and the satisfaction level of the couples was very high in arranged marriages. Why? I believe that it is because their foundation was a lot firmer than most couples. Their marriage started off with unselfishness, hard work and determination not merely flowers, moonlight strolls and whispered promises. Right off the bat, they were doing love, not feeling it. The feelings came later. They both realized that trust is earned by sacrifice and effort, not quickly won by sweet words and compliments. In arranged marriage, couples don’t often have lengthy courtships involving months and months of dinner dates, fun activities and extended physical contact - that all comes AFTER the marriage. After marriage, each person in the relationship behaves as though their behavior will make or break the relationship.

There is a LOT we can learn from this. If a couple told me that they were getting married and they were not in love, it wouldn’t fizz me. I am not against people being in love when they get married but I view it as a bonus. It is the walls and roof of a house but if the foundation of self-sacrifice, determination, common values and goals, being equally yoked spiritually and having a Torah centered relationship with Yeshua is not there…the walls and roof will collapse eventually. Romance is one of the most wonderful gifts YHWH gave his children but it is meaningless without the solid foundation of true love that is not feeling based. I see couples get married quickly (nothing wrong with that as long as you have set your strong foundation in place) and then their marriage fizzles out quickly. They either did not take the time to get to know the person well enough before marriage or else they set their expectations of marriage too high and when the rubber met the road, they couldn’t hack it.

I meet people who are married and still act single. They take stay out late without letting their spouse know where they are. They make plans without consulting the other and they hang out with their friends all the time. They make messes and don’t clean them. They eat the last piece of bread and don’t replace the toilet roll. They see their spouse as an extension of themselves…the extension that will cook, clean, bring in the money, do the yard work, etc. That’s not the way it works! Marriage is about giving yourself completely to the other and daily seeking to serve them. It is not about what we can get from marriage, it is about what we can give. If you feel you can’t give much, why are you seeking a spouse? You should rather be putting that effort into making yourself a more giving and unselfish person so that you can BE the kind of person who is ready for marriage. I meet men all the time who think when they meet the right woman, they will miraculously change and become more organized, better savers, more neat and clean, harder workers, more spiritual, etc. Hogwash! Iron does sharpen iron and you will help each other to grow but you will not miraculously change overnight. Why wait to change? Why not start preparing yourself NOW to be a gift to your future husband or wife?

So, why should your significant other marry you? Why should you marry them? Beyond the attraction and feelings you have around them, how do they fare on the checklist above? How do you fare? If you are not DAILY making sacrifices and seeking to keep the heart of your partner, do you truly love them? How do you know if it’s a sacrifice? Often, it costs more than we have and pushes us out of our comfort zone. The man who gets up day after day to work hard for his family when he’d rather stay in bed and takes time to hug his wife when he’s having a bad day…he truly loves. The woman who stays up half the night with the sick kids and still gets up to make her husband breakfast and meet his sexual needs although she’s exhausted…she truly loves. Infatuation will make excuses when asked to sacrifice. Romance will eagerly squirm out of pain. Feelings will come and go. True love is hard work, not fairy stories and happily ever afters that require nothing more than goo-goo eyes and kisses. If you don’t have what it takes, get on your knees and ask YHWH to help make you that kind of man or woman or resign yourself to being single.  

Read 1 Corinthians 13 and ask yourself...do I truly love?

law

Passover is coming!  As I was contemplating the concept of removing leaven over the last several weeks, a man from my congregation shared how he and his roomates scoured the house for leaven last year and thought they had gotten every last crumb. A few weeks after Passover was over, one of them went to clean the toaster and found 6 months worth of crumbs on the bottom.  It was a striking lesson to me that sometimes, the leaven (sin) can be right in front of us and we can miss it. It can hide until the Ruach shows us what is truly in our hearts. Sometimes, He will do this in a gentle way through the scripture or perhaps, if we are not 'getting it', He will use pain or difficult circumstances in our lives to help us realize where we need to change. I want to point out some areas where we can have blind spots...as we get ready physically for Passover, let us get ready spiritually also.

  1. Resistance to correction: Proverbs has a lot to say about people who resist correction. It calls them foolish, simple and proud. Yet, many of us still do not handle correction properly or with the proper attitude. We immediately think of all the faults of the person correcting us as if that justifies our sin. Every prophet YHWH used to correct his people had sin in his own life in some way, none of them were perfect but that still did not discount the message. Even Balaam could only utter the words of YHWH at one point and he was full of trickery and deception. YHWH may use the most unlikely of people in your life to give you correction and if you arrogantly refuse to see it because you are focused on the communicator's imperfections, you will miss the growth YHWH desires to give you. Even if you are certain what they are saying is not true, our attitude needs to be one of humility and gentleness, not anger or pride.
  2. Deception: I can hear you thinking..."I don't lie! I would not do that!" What about exaggeration? What about concealing the truth from someone or phrasing something in such a way that we could later say that the person must have misled themselves and misundertsood what we said? Lying is a form of deception but it is not the only form. When we hear someone say something about another person that is not true and we say nothing, we are engaging in deception. By saying nothing, we are sliently agreeing with them. I am not advocating arguing or fighting but I think we need to stand up for the truth and not be a part in 'bearing false witness against our neighbours'. Flattery is also a form of deception and this is one I see a lot amongst people. Some people are so quick to praise everything and they think they are just complimenting others, but examine what you are saying! If you really don't like Esther's dress, don't say that it looks gorgeous on her when she asks! If we are to be followers of YHWH, we must speak the truth in love. That's not to say that we should say it's an ugly dress, simply say that although it is not your taste, you are so glad that she likes it and you find her attractive no matter what she wears (if this is true of course). Keep your tongue from evil folks.
  3. Apathy: This is not a sin you will find listed by name in the commandments but it is surely addressed many times in the Torah. Apathy leads to apostasy as surely as the sun comes up every day. By being spiritually lazy, we set ourselves up for backsliding. YHWH instructs us to dilligently apply ourselves to do ALL that is written in his Torah. If we become lazy, we will be like Aaron's sons who brought strange incense - they likely thought it was 'good enough'. I know some people get very offended when I mention that there was a death penalty for those who worked on the Sabbath. They say I am being judgemental of those who have no choice but to work on that day. Truthfully, we always have a choice. Many Jews have been killed for refusing to break the Shabbat and we are afraid of losing a job or being criticized by others? We say we want to give up all for Y'shua and to live by His Torah and yet we are scared to make even simple sacrifices. I had a thriving wedding photography business that I gave up because it violated the Sabbath. My parents criticized me and threatened to put me out of the house for keeping it. I still kept it and I know that YHWH will reward me - I do not say this to pat myself on the back but to say that if it is truly a conviction, we will keep it no matter what the cost. If our donkey falls in the ditch on Shabbat, we can rescue it because it is a life or death situation (donkeys would be mauled by wild animals if they fell into a pit on Friday night and were not rescued). Working a job on the Shabbat is not a life or death situation. Some people pray that YHWH would open up another job for them before they give up their Sabbath-breaking job. Maybe He wants you to take a leap of faith and obedience? Obedience is always rewarded, but doubt and breaking His commandments are not. I heard someone recently say that they were glad for grace so that they were not stoned for working on Sabbath. Honestly? That is using grace as a license to sin...thanking YHWH for 'looking the other way' while you intentionally sin is not going to cut it. If you look in the scripture, there is NO sacrifice for intentional willful sin and Hebrews warns us that if we continue to sin after we have received a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins. Sobering? I hope so. Beware of apathy, it is a slippery slope and greasy grace simply does not exist.
  4. Bloody hands: Ezekiel tells us that if we know the truth and we do not speak the truth to warn others, their blood will be considered upon our hands when we stand before YHWH and He will hold us responsible. I truly believe that our speech needs to be gentle and seasoned with salt but I also know that we still need to speak the truth. There is a saying, 'it is better to be kind than right'. True. However, I think 'it is best to be kind AND right'. Sometimes, when we say the right thing it can seem unkind but it is actually the kindest thing we can do for that person. When people are molly-coddled, appeased and treated preferentially while sinning or offending others uncessarily, they never grow up and they never realize that their behaviour is offensive. I personally have been in this situation many times where a person in a certain setting or group was behaving obnoxiously towards other people - mooching off them, interrupting people all the time, being argumentative, imposing themselves on people, etc. People were saying 'well, we have to bear with them because they aren't mature in the faith yet (even after years of being in the congregation) and they just need gentle guidance'. Sometimes, people need a kick in the pants! They need someone to stand up and say, 'you can't treat people this way and if you do, you are not welcome among us'. Paul even taught people to kick people outside of the assembly if they would not listen after several people warned them. We don't even get to the warning stage! When I worked in the nursery (back when I attended church), once in a while I would get a baby that would start throwing a temper tantrum. They started kicking and screaming and so of course, I gathered up all the other quiet babies and took them up to their parents saying, "Since there is a screamer in the nursery today, we are bringing all the well behaved babies up to their parents so they won't be bothered by the antics". How absurd! No, I took the screaming baby and called their mother down and she would take the unruly child out to deal with them. Why punish the innocent because of the antics of one unruly person? It is the same inthe congregation. If someone is being particularly negative, demeaning, argumentative, etc. - I would be punishing the innocent by allowing them to continue behave badly. My practice is to gently warn this person and then to take someone else with me. If they still won't listen, I would go to the leadership and then the correct thing to do is to shun them. Why? YHWH resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. If this person is being so proud that they can't accept and apply correction, YHWH Himself will resist them, how much more should I follow in His footsteps? This sounds harsh but the doctrine of love is not a feel-good, sweetness-only doctrine...sometimes true love is tough but for the good of everyone involved. Because I love YHWH, I must hate evil. Because I love my sister, I would fight hard if someone tried to harm her. Because I love my congregation, I would want a proud, evildoer who is not accepting correction to be put out so that the spirit of division would not take root. Please, warn people when you see them in sin or division. We should not be a hypocrite and remove specks when we have logs - referring to accusing someone for the exact same thing you struggle with. If you read that passage carefully, the whole motivation for taking the log out of our eye is so that we may see clearly to remove the speck from our brother's eye!
  5. Worldliness: We are told over and over again not to be like the pagans and to abstain from the things of this world. All too often we rush after the things that the world has to offer and we make every excuse in the book for it. I laugh when I hear people say things like, "I would die without my microwave" or "I can't live without a cellphone". Really? I am not saying that having these things makes you worldly but saying that you can't live without them? That shows very mixed up prioroties indeed. YHWH says if we have food, shelter and clothing, therewith to be content. So if we say we can't live without anything more than that, we are disagreeing with Him. Does that mean that we can't have more? Nope. It simply means that we CAN live without internet, cellphones, a car, the second car, microwaves, hydro, running water, etc. Millions of people on this planet do. Our priorities should never be dictated byt the world and when we start caving in to the pressures to have the latest and greatest, we become a slave to fleshly desires. Why do we have 5-6 coats each? Why do some women have 20 pairs of shoes? Y'shua said let him who has two coats give to him who has none. We have a lot more than two of many things so why do we hold onto them when we see people in need? My sister and I have made a decision to live simply and to not practice buying things that are frivolous. Once in a while I will treat myself to something nice and I will enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that, but making a lifestyle of self indulgence and buying things that we don't need just because we want it, is not wise and you will be called into account for how you spend your money. Do you think that you can justify the 'junk' in your house to YHWH when He asks you why you had to have it instead of storing up and helping your neighbour? When people complain to me that they have no money or they are buried under debt, I begin to really listen to their conversations from then on. I will hear about vacations, eating out at restaurants, buying new brand-name clothes, wasted food from the fridge that they threw out, how they drive a gas-hog vehicle, the cost of their cable, interenet and cellphone bills, the price they pay to have their hair coloured and/or the amount they spent on gifts for their kids. Honestly, I don't give people money when they express a need to me until I have checked out their style of living. Even Paul said that regarding widows, there were qualifications they had to meet in order to receive financial support. When the scripture talks about giving to someone in need, it means genuinely in need. To be genuinely in need, you should have used up all of your resources first. Otherwise, what you need is a loan (interest free to brethren of course), not a hand out. I try to help people find jobs, start a business, etc. more than just giving money. Give a boy a fish and you feed him once, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. That proverb is so true - we are not helping people by bailing them out so they can go right back to their overspending habits. Beware of the leaven of worldliness, it will creep in and choke out the word of YHWH in your life. Be content with little and you will never lack.
  6. Hypocrisy: Y'shua warned us about the leaven of the Pharisees. He said they were hypocrites to the core and did not practice what they preached. We should be very careful to be sure that our life lines up with our actions. I remember saying that I would rather work for worldly people than for Christians because they paid lousy and expected everything done yesterday. They did not give good raises, they hoarded money and on Sunday morning they would give large tithes and dance in the aisle while their employees were overworked and underpaid. Maybe you don't do that but what about stealing things from your office? What about gossiping and bad mouthing people at work? How about watching films that you shouldn't be and then talking about them with your unbelieving friends? What message will you be giving to the world around you when you are like them in every way except for the fact that you go to assembly on Shabbat, you keep the feasts and you don't eat pork? When you claim to be one of YHWH's chosen people, they are looking to see how it is making a difference in your life. If they see very little difference between you and them, they will not see the need to live in the light themselves. This is related to the worldliness that we just talked about but I can't stress it enough that we are to be salt and light. Some of us have a barely flickering flame and lukewarmness is not spoken well of by our Father. I exhort you to be careful that your words and claims are lining up with your actions. You can't have one foot in YHWH and one in the world, it's impossible.

So friends, I encourage you to rid yourselves of the leaven in your homes and hearts. No-one is perfect but we seek to be like Y'shua and in that way, we are seeking to attain perfection. I look forward to the day when we will stand before Him and He will clothe us in perfection. Until then, we have to search for the leaven and humble ourselves before Him and be willing to make changes in our lives no matter how difficult. Be blessed this Passover with the amazing gift of life and the exodus of our souls from darkness into light!