Thursday, December 22, 2016

Turn to HIM: Expanded Edition


Expanded second edition of Turn to HIM is now available on Smaswords, Amazon, etc.


You can download the entire book for free OR purchase from another retailer below:

Enjoy and please do review if you like the book.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The cancer in our midst

Most of us feel that the world is slowly but surely getting worse and worse, day by day. I sometimes think of this as the feeling of 'walls closing in on you from every side'. It's the sense of being boxed in and without any place to run and escape to. 

Take, for example, the terrorism which is everywhere and the destruction of Western society (in Europe especially) at the hands of migrants and jihadis. The news is an endless barrage of killings and injustice. Judges fail to adjudicate according to their oaths but favor holding up foreign legal systems. Outright violence and weak responses to that violence. Political leaders we hope will correct wrongs make inexplicable moves which seem to move us the proverbial two steps back.

Where does it all end? And where are we to run?

If I've sufficiently depressed you or you are already on the same page as I am in feeling a sense of despair, fear not. Because there is an answer, there is a place to run to. There is shelter.

His name is Yahweh and we are to fear (respect, revere, and be in awe of) Him and only Him. We  are to call on His mighty and holy name when we face troubles and we are to have faith that He will deliver us.

YHWH will give us the strength we need if we believe. He will save us in our time of trouble. He will instruct us and guide us by His Word. We need not fall into despair when we realize that the only One we should fear is Him.

And let us remember that YHWH favors life, but He also favors life which worships and exalts Him and His Name. He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants nothing to do with evil and expects all to repent and come to Him. Those who do not do so at their own peril. 

And as we meditate on these things we should remember that having too much respect for life can be a deadly thing. Cancer is a good example. In order to beat cancer, which destroys healthy cells, we must cut the cancer out or use treatments such as chemotherapy, or both, to kill the cancerous cells. And by doing so we will inevitably kill healthy cells as well. What would happen if we did nothing? All of the cells would die and the entire organism would die. Therefore we have to remember that we cannot allow a cancer to exist and to spread. We have to be strong and kill the cancer that is among us, the cancer that is destroying healthy cells.

We all know what this cancer is. It cannot be allowed to go unchecked.

Did YHWH not command the Israelites to take hold of the land and destroy those who were engaged in all sorts of evil practices such as child sacrifice? If Israel had not followed YHWH's commands, that 'cancer' would have spread among them. In fact, sadly, it did later and YHWH's wrath was immense.

Brothers and Sisters, we have everything to be hopeful for because we know the Almighty Yahweh Elohim and He loves us. We have a lot to repent for and we have a lot of work to do to be the best children we can be to Him. And we must recognize that as much as we love life we must also protect life, especially innocent life, by cutting out the cancer which is among us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

YHWH is great and highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable

Image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6f/Tetragrammaton_scripts.svg/477px-Tetragrammaton_scripts.svg.png
Tetragrammaton
David wrote, "Yahweh is great and highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable." in Psalm 145.

The LORD's most holy name is Yahweh. This is The NAME we are to tell to all the world. To be a light to the nations. The Messiah is Yahweh Himself.

Were you ever taught this in Sunday school? Me neither. We must confront the fact that the LORD's most holy name, Yahweh, has been kept from us-whether by error or on purpose. We must spread the truth.







Praise His Name.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Isaiah 66, all of the LORD's lessons and warnings

in but a few lines:

“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a person,
and whoever offers a lamb is like one who breaks a dogʼs neck;
whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pigʼs blood,
and whoever burns memorial incense is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread.
For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”

Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: “Your own people who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:2-5‬

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Areligious, but not atheist

It may seem strange to some: I consider myself to be Areligious, but not Atheist.

That is to say, I believe in the One True and Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And I believe that Jesus/Yeshua is Messiah, the manifestation of the Living God on earth. And, as I've said before and in Turn to HIM, I don't believe that Jesus came to set up a new religion. Rather, he came to end all religion. 

I follow certain religious practices, it's true: lighting Sabbath candles; kissing my wife and daughter and blessing them as we embrace each other (on those nights when we're not having a row about something trivial...we're not saints); I pray; I fast sometimes; I've tried my best to observe the LORD's special days. But I don't feel that I have to do these things as though my life or salvation depends on it. I don't feel (as I did when I considered myself a Christian and was under the willing yoke of 'the church') that God is nitpicking everything I do to death. Nor do I feel ridiculously self-important as though God is depending on my every little move to make sure that His Kingdom is brought about and that it all somehow depends on me. Granted I do believe He wants me to behave according to His will-I don't believe one can just do whatever one wants. But there's a reason to everything that God does, and a reason for everything that He has spoken to us through His Word.

To continue reading, please download my book Turn to HIM for FREE.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Why I left the church; or: It's not you, it's me, except that it's a lot you

For whatever reason, for whatever it is worth, I feel compelled to put these things down. I get the feeling that many others have had similar feelings.
  • I can no longer adhere to, believe, or go along with the many man-made doctrines which are un-biblical. This includes the doctrine of the trinity, replacement theology, the baptism of infants (which I never believed in), or the authority of the "church".
  • I can no longer worship under or near the symbol of the Chi Rho. Too many have suffered at the hands of those who have worn it. I'm also ambivalent about the symbol of the cross, and no longer wear it or have it in our home.
  • I can no longer think of myself as a Christian, in so far as I no longer believe that Jesus/Yeshua came to set up a different religion. And in so far as the so-called church (anglo catholic and roman catholic) have strayed so far in interpretation and practice from the Word that identifying as a christian is anathema to me.


To continue reading, please download my book Turn to HIM for FREE.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rabbinic Judaism and Roman Christianity

Recently I've been reading "Rabbinic Judaism: The Theological System" by Jacob Neusner. This book is fascinating and instructive on many levels. I won't dive into all of that in this post however, because I want to discuss something I've learned that isn't in the book, but which the book demonstrates nonetheless.

That is, that the so-called Oral Torah, which Neusner discusses at length, is the product of the sages, men who wrestled with The Torah, that is written Scripture. Rather than something which was handed down from Moses and Aaron on through the generations, the Oral Torah is the product of thought and philosophy by the sages. 

There is much in the Oral Torah which is interesting, even enlightening on several levels, but it should never be taken as something given by God, because that's clearly not the case, despite what rabbis will teach you. Reading Neusner's work, this becomes self-evident, though he doesn't state. (Whether Oral Torah is from God or not isn't Neusner's concern so he doesn't touch that.) I won't argue with such a preeminent scholar as Neusner-his work proves what the Oral Torah is even if he doesn't set out to do so.

And here is the tie-in with Roman Christianity: it's the same story as so much of human tradition which was basically derived from scripture by the so-called church fathers (most of whom had pagan backgrounds and were virulently anti-Jewish.) I should clarify here that when I say "Roman Christianity" I include Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, even Orthodoxy, all flavors and brands of Christianity which have adopted man-made doctrines which have no biblical origin. I call it Roman because that is truly the origin of the category error which has manifested itself in the faith of so many, a faith which has become a new religion; something I'm convinced the Messiah never intended. Just as He never intended there to be Bishops, child baptism, fining people when they don't go to 'church', etc. I digress.

Both Rabbinic Judaism and Roman Christianity have a feature in common: that they have layered countless man-made features on top of Scripture and have (whether on purpose or not) distorted the message of God and have confused/misled many people. Now, not all of the traditions are bad, per se, but what's bad is that it's presented as something it's not. If Rabbinic Judaism and Roman Christianity would simply admit that they are layering on top of what God has told us, that would be fine. But that doesn't happen because of pride and probably a whole host of other reasons.

What we have in our world are two extremes on either side of the Messiah. One side which not only denies Him, but which says terrible and slanderous things about Him and claims to do so by authority it doesn't have, by words it never received from God. The other side holds Him up but goes astray too far in the other direction, also by authority it doesn't have, by words it never received from God.

The LORD has given us His Word. He has sent us His Messiah. Men are always welcome to wrestle with the details, and that can lead to some very interesting thoughts and debates. But to usurp the LORD's authority is a grave and deadly error.




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What is your job as a believer?

What is your job as a believer? Is it to convert people? Is it to "create disciples"? One thing which disturbs me about the Christian ethos (which I'm slowly but surely disentangling myself from) is the concept that as believers in the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua) it is somehow our responsibility to go into the world and make disciples. As though God needs us to do this for Him?

Obviously, God wants us to be a light to the nations and to share the Gospel. But we cannot make anyone anything. Only the LORD can do this, in His own way, in His own time. Our duty is to share the Gospel, our faith, and what makes us who we are (loved by the Father Almighty and redeemed by our Messiah). But Christendom makes people anxious and self-important share-monsters who want to try and force something on people. When I see people engaged in this it makes me cringe.

This is not the way.

Messiah gives us an example of how to share knowledge of the One True God when He talks with the woman at the well. He doesn't beat her over the head with it, He talks with her about it. This should be our blueprint. And there are numerous examples in the Book of Acts.

Conversely, where do we find anyone forcing something on someone else? I'm not talking about debate and discussion, for those are healthy. But where do you find the apostles going out into the world feeling that it is their duty to get people to believe? Instead, you see people who are filled with God's Spirit, sharing the good news and living their lives in such a way that people are drawn to them. 

From there, God takes over.

If you do nothing else, in a moment where you may share, share that God is with us.

God is with us.
You are not alone.
He loves you.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sabbath for a believer in The Messiah

When a father teaches his child how to do something, whether it be a household chore, homework, or a lesson in social behavior, he delights when the child goes from doing so begrudgingly to doing so out of joy and a desire to please the father.

It saddens me when believers talk about the Sabbath in the context of it being a burden which we are 'now free of', or some other such discourse. How much more saddened must the Father Almighty be when He hears us complain and grumble about enjoying the rest which He has provided for us?

Certainly, much of the discourse on the topic has to do with people trying to keep numerous outdated 'rules' imposed by mankind on the Sabbath, which don't recognize the place of the Messiah or the desire that the LORD has for us to love one another and Him on His day.

One need not observe the Sabbath in the old way, with the old leaven. Rather, observe it with love for Him that has created us, saved us, and sustains us. Observe it with love for our families. Spend time together enjoying the world which He created, and all it has to offer. Spend time reading His word and praying to Him, and in being thankful to Him.

He cares less about rules on His day than He cares about us thanking Him and blessing our families with our love in His presence. He wants us to enjoy His rest as much as we can, as often as we can. But there can be no denying that He wants us to focus on Him on His day, in as many ways as we can.

Some common questions and concerns:

Should I be worried if I cook some food or 'start' Sabbath a little late (after sundown)? What if I don't say the 'correct' prayers or blessings, or miss a step, is that bad? No, not at all.

What if I spend time playing with my kids, taking them swimming or out on a nature hike? Is that bad? Nope, not in the slightest. Enjoy!

What if I don't read scripture or pray throughout the Sabbath? Does it 'count'? Obviously, the more time you can spend prayerfully reading scripture, or time in prayer to the LORD, the better. But doing such activities out of obligation to 'check the box' of Sabbath activities is meaningless. God would rather you spend time with your family, loving them, and spending quality time with them. And if you can read scripture and pray together, wonderful! He also will be pleased if you spend time helping others, so long as it is done out of love and genuine service to His glory and wishes, and not out of a dutiful sense of 'checking the box' of 'holy' activities.

Remember, the LORD wants our worship to be in spirit and truth. In our hearts and minds, not just on our lips or in outward actions which we know internally are empty and devoid of real meaning. Get real on the Sabbath. God knows what you're up to anyway, so why bother faking it?

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

God's existence: the orphan thought experiment

One thing to consider, or to share with an atheist/agnostic friend/foe, regarding the existence of God is something I like to call "the orphan thought experiment".

The thought experiment goes something like this. Imagine that you are an orphan. You've never met your parents and you know nothing about them. You live in an orphanage. Now, the fact that you've never met your parents and that you know nothing about them wouldn't lead you to believe that you don't have parents at all, would it? 

In a related way, given what we are as a species, it makes little logical sense to imagine/believe that we just suddenly appeared out of nowhere; even if the "appearing" takes place in the form of what people call evolution. God may well have created man through some process which we don't well understand and might think of as "evolution" or which looks like evolution to us. Regardless of how He created us, to imagine that it all happened without God as Father (eternal parent) would make as much sense as an orphan imagining that he/she just suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Messiah is GOD Himself: Why I no longer believe in the doctrine of the trinity

Hear Israel, the LORD our God, The LORD is one.


I'd been a trinitarian most of my Christian life, and had never much considered whether or not it was true-I just accepted it because it was taught to me. In a recent meeting of fellow believers someone (who believes in the trinity) pointed out to me that the doctrine of the trinity isn't mentioned in scripture. I put the thought aside for a while but then I began to think about it more closely. But something kept gnawing at me: I had to acknowledge that I could no longer believe in any doctrines that are man-made, no matter what the social pressure or the tradition. If it isn't supported clearly by God's word, I must reject it.

My first step was to read this Stanford history of the doctrine of the trinity. It's about as objective a history on the subject as one can find. The main takeaway for me is that the doctrine appears quite late. It isn't as if it appeared in the first century, immediately after Jesus' death. Given this, it seems suspect to me right off the bat. I don't trust man-made doctrines and the pain they have inflicted is a wound on all humanity, which has caused damage to Jews especially. Reconciliation of all this trouble is part of God's plan. For more on this see my book.

Another influential reading for me was this page, which I highly recommend.

And the following video has also made a big impact on my thinking and beliefs about the doctrine of the trinity, though I'm puzzled why the One For Israel site has blog posts supporting the trinity.


Another video which well illustrates the confused thinking about the trinity is here.

And yet another video which well illustrates the reasoning why the LORD is our Savior is here.

It seems to me that the doctrine of the trinity emerged (and is maintained) because man looks for a way to understand God and His power, which is of course not understandable by us humans. The LORD sends His Spirit to us and He came to us in the flesh, as Jesus, that is, Yeshua. Some seem to think that the LORD cannot manifest Himself on the earth, or that in order for the Messiah to operate, while the Spirit is also operating, that God must therefore be split up into 3 co-equal parts. But isn't this an affront to the LORD and His great powers? Certainly, God can do anything which He chooses to do. He has told us many times in scripture that He is capable of anything. Shouldn't we listen?

So, I humbly ask you, if you believe in the doctrine of the trinity, please examine the passages that are used to support the doctrine. Ask yourself if this is what the LORD is really saying to us. Certainly, many passages can be used to support the doctrine, and many are. But hasn't the LORD told us many times that He is One and that there is no other besides Himself? Is the LORD vague about important things? Why didn't Yeshua mention the trinity, if it's true? Why did He underscore God's oneness in Mark 12? Why didn't Jesus' disciples discuss this or have arguments about it? It certainly can't be said that the doctrine was there all along, the history doesn't support that notion.

Since coming to the realization and change of belief that the LORD manifests Himself however he chooses; that He sends His Spirit upon and into people and onto the world; and that He came to be among us as our Messiah, I have felt a heavy weight and burden lifted off of my shoulders. You might call it relief of cognitive dissonance, because there was always something in me deep down which questioned the doctrine of the trinity. But not, mind you, because I question Yeshua's divitiy. It is more that I question that men have tried to force upon the LORD some concept of His operation which He neither has spoken about, nor needs.

In summary, the LORD is one and He manifests himself however He chooses, whenever He wants to. It isn't our job to try and put God into a conceptual box if our feeble human minds cannot comprehend how He does all that He does.

He has told us and we should listen:

"I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God." Isaiah 44:6 

"I myself am the LORD. Besides me, there is no savior." Isaiah 43:11

"Isn't this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?" Mark 12:24

The Messiah is indeed God Himself.

For more on this topic, please see my book Turn to HIM, available for free download or purchase