Monthly Archives: August 2015

Accepting the Gifts

on the crossHow many people on earth need salvation through Yeshua? Are there certain categories that are exempt? No, for we read in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Every human born on this earth with the exception of the one perfect human, Yeshua, is in need of redemption through Yeshua’s blood so that we can be restored to relationship with YHVH (2 Cor 5:18).

How many people on earth are in need of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? All of us (Matt 3:11, Acts 1:4-5). We need to be fully equipped with all that the Holy Spirit brings to us if we are to be effective workers in YHVH’s harvest.

How many people on earth are in need of deliverance from the oppression and bondage of demons? Is it not all of us? This is the gift that is most often rejected. The most prevalent argument against deliverance for believers in Yeshua is that the Holy Spirit and demons cannot dwell in the same place. How many Christians and Messianic believers, whether water baptized, baptized in the Holy Spirit or baptized in both, are still sinning? If sin dwells in us alongside the Holy Spirit, then so can demons dwell in us and keep us in bondage.

In the deliverance sessions where we have assisted, we are continually astounded at how much damage has been inflicted on people who outwardly seem to be perfectly normal.  In our put-on-a-brave-front society, no one would ever suspect the misery and torment that these individuals are experiencing.

Yeshua announced His mission by reading Isaiah 61 verse 1 and part of verse 2. When comparing the words in Isaiah 61:1 with the recounting of Yeshua addressing the members of the synagogue in Nazareth, we see that a line has been added.

 “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Is 61:1 NKJV)

 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

The Orthodox Jewish Bible also records the same addition in Luke 4:18.  Also, the OJB not only makes reference to Isaiah 61:1, but to Isaiah 58:6 as well.

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 NKJV)

The extra line in Luke 4:18 is talking of spiritual blindness.  Before Peter and I were set free from bondage, we suspected that perhaps something was not quite right with us, but we did not recognize the demons who oppressed us.  However, during the deliverance session, when the Holy Spirit gave our deliverance team revelation, our spiritual eyes started to open. Only after Peter and I were set free from our own bondage to demons, did we began to recognize and understand just how insidious bondage to demons is.

We know that we are called to be faithful witnesses and effective harvest workers as the evil around us becomes more evident. We need to be released from all the bonds with which the enemy afflicted us while we were still members of the kingdom of darkness.  If Yeshua came to set us free from bondage, why do we refuse His precious gift?

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:24-26).

“Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16)?

Witnessing in Love

the truth in love“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” I Corinthians 13:1-3

In a recent blog series, I had spoken about Standing Fast to your Convictions, but at the same time remembering to Speak the Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:15) when you are discipling or confronting someone with the truth of YHVH’s word. This week I want to give you a real-life example of this which is etched into my heart right now due to the passing of my only brother.

Over the 27+ years since I have been a born-again believer in Yeshua, I have witnessed to people within my circle of friends and family, as well as casual acquaintances and strangers. However, the two people I witnessed to most fervently over those years were my father (deceased in 2001) and my brother, who passed on earlier this week. As I felt a special burden from the Holy Spirit to witness to these two significant people in my life, I tried a number of different approaches to spiritual seed-planting, attempting to tear down the intellectual and emotional barriers that kept those seeds from taking root and bearing fruit.

Many of my approaches did not bear fruit, because I was trying to prove the truth of the Scriptures and the existence of a Creator God through intellectual debate, which only spoke to their minds and not their hearts. I was far more effective when I stopped trying to “win the argument” with them, and started giving them my personal testimony of how God changed my life and brought meaning and purpose to my brief existence on this earth. This brought our conversations down to a heart level, and even though they still were not ready to accept all the truths I shared with them, they no longer felt threatened that I was trying to change them or prove them wrong.

While I do not recommend experimenting on your family members with different witnessing techniques, we do need to always remember to speak the truth in love and let our words be seasoned with the salt of grace. Once you learn to keep the focus on your own personal spiritual journey and your relationship with Abba Father and His Son, Yeshua, then you have a greater opportunity to break through all the barriers that inhibit people from receiving the truth. With this approach, the people you are witnessing to feel less threatened and are more receptive to your message, since you are just sharing from your own personal experience.

I will not tell you the specific results of years of witnessing to my father and my brother, but I will say that our spiritual conversations brought us closer together in our own relationships with each other. One great benefit of sharing your personal testimony is that people feel closer to you as you share with them in confidence and they get to know you on a deeper and more intimate level. Although I lived 3000 miles away from my brother and did not get to see him face-to-face more than once every few years, I felt very close to him in spirit and soul in spite of the miles separating us. I feel a great empty space in my soul now that he has left his earthly home, but I also feel great assurance that he is with Abba in heaven and is experiencing joy and Shalom as he never could in the limitations of his physical body.

The central mission of our ministry is to help believers stand firm to their convictions and hold fast to their faith under persecution, equipping them to become the overcomers they always wanted to be – and that the Scriptures promise them they can be. We want you to become all that you can in YHVH’s kingdom, and overcome your fears and self-consciousness so that you can share Yehovah’s love with as many people as possible before you depart this planet.

How About You?

the least of these

My beloved father passed away in April 2007. Peter and I, along with other family members, were privileged to be with him to the last. I wrote the following thoughts down shortly before my dad went on to his reward. It was meant to be both a tribute to him and a challenge to others. It is now time to share these private thoughts to challenge us all, both Messianic believers and Christians.

I am sitting here listening to the clock ticking away the precious little time I have left with my dad. I loathe every ticking sound because I can do nothing to stop the time from slipping away.

As it turns out, my father is Jewish. He never felt free enough to share this with us until a little over a year ago. Do I see a Jewish person when I look at my father? Not really. I never really knew him that way. But I will tell you what I see when I look at him. I see a man who loves Yeshua, only Dad calls him Jesus. I see a man who has worked hard all his life, who is almost ridiculously honest and fair, and who quietly gives to others and shares without asking anything in return. I see a man who is wasting away and who endures horrifying suffering, yet uses the tiny bits of strength and energy left to him to love and care for others. I see a man who is not wrapped up in his ethnicity; instead, he is following his Messiah to the best of his ability. I see a man who truly knows Jesus and tries to be like Him.

A few days before his death, my younger brother and his son sat with Dad for hours, one on each side and each holding one of his hands. As they were leaving, he said, “I love you. Remember, if you need anything, I’m here.” Dad was so weak he couldn’t even leave his bed. My father showed his love for us through quiet service. He did not seek to draw attention to himself. His faith was quiet, but strong.

Dad did not tell others of Yeshua in words. Instead, he showed them Yeshua’s love through his actions. Many people approached us after he died to mourn with us. Most of them shared stories of how he had helped them, whether it was by making repairs or running them to doctors’ appointments. I truly believed that when Dad met his Master, he was welcomed home with open arms.

The minutes are ticking away for each of us. Do we think that our ethnicity, our “correct” observance of religious rituals, or our intellectual abilities are going to win us any points with the Master? What are you doing with your life? Would your Master be pleased? Will He know you when you stand before Him?

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death (1 John 3:14).

They Shall Know that I Am Yehovah

they shall know that I am YHVH

So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am YHVH, the Holy One of Israel.” Eze 39:7

In my previous postings on the Name of the Creator and sovereign God of the universe, Yehovah, I talked about the importance of knowing and speaking His Name, as well as the sad history of the silencing of God’s Name for the past 2300 years (see There is Power in the Name). If you recall from that blog, after the return from exile in Babylon, priests of the Second Temple era decided that God’s name was too holy to pronounce, and they banned the speaking of the Name among the Jewish population in general and even within the Temple. In this blog, I wanted to present some encouraging words to believers who feel discouraged and helpless, knowing that the Name of Yehovah is known by so few of God’s people, and even a smaller number of people across the Globe.

We know from Scripture that Yehovah wants His name to be known throughout the Earth, by Jews and non-Jews alike (see Ps 91:14, Isa 52:6, Jer 16:21, Eze 12:15; 22:16; 30:26; 36:23; 39:7; Amos 5:8, John 17:6). We also see clearly in Scripture that YHVH wants everyone to speak His name (Gen 12:8; 26:25, Isa 44:5; 54:5, Jer 10:25). While it is true that most people on earth (believers and non-believers alike) do not know what to call YHVH, we have heard recently about how Yehovah is starting to reveal His name to His people in diverse places. We have experienced this especially among non-Jews who are keeping the Biblical feasts and celebrating YHVH’s Sabbaths.

I recently saw a very interesting example of the unveiling of YHVH’s name in a newsletter that comes out Israel on a daily basis. It is called Jerusalem365 and each article is a combination of a Scripture verse (in English, Hebrew, and transliterated Hebrew), and a photo and story of something happening in Jerusalem that relates to the verse (you can subscribe to the newsletter at the Israel365 site: Israel365 Subscribe). The photographers and authors of the articles are all Israeli Jews, many of whom have made aliyah to Israel (meaning they have emigrated there from other countries).

Here’s the thing that fascinated me about some of their articles: whenever the verse contained YHVH’s Name (“The LORD” in English translations), the Hebrew lettering included the vowels and spelled out YHVH so that it would be pronounced as Yehovah. To be more accurate, YHVH was actually spelled out two different ways in various articles: sometimes it was spelled out exactly as Yehovah, and other times they used a common technique of obscuring the exact Name of God (they reversed the first and last letters).

          Here are the two different forms of YHVH [Yehovah] written in Hebrew:The Name There are several amazing things about the Hebrew Name of God being spelled out fully in these articles:

  1. Because of the ban on speaking or writing the fully pronounceable Name of God, Jewish people would be required to spell God’s Name as HaShem (simply “The Name”), Adonai (Lord as a title for God), or one of the abbreviations used for YHVH in the Torah and other ancient Jewish writings.
  2. When the Hebrew was transliterated into English, it was written as Adonai, which would be acceptable to Rabbis and Orthodox Jews.
  3. The Name in the English text is written as “The LORD”, which is the standard translation found in most English Bibles.

The key point here is that God’s true Name, which Jews refer to as the unpronounceable Name of God, is being revealed to individuals in Israel, and is now being communicated out to thousands of people around the world. While it is true that most Christians and many non-Orthodox Jews would not be able to read the Hebrew or understand the significance if they could read it, YHVH is nevertheless revealing His Name to Israel and the Nations as He said He would (Eze 39:7).

In the greatest prayer that Yeshua prayed, He first said that He had glorified the Father by finishing the work that Abba had given Him to do. (John 17:4) And what work had He completed? In Verse 6, Yeshua says that He made YHVH’s Name known to the disciples that Abba gave Him “out of the world”. From this verse we can see that one of Yeshua’s primary missions was to make known the person, character and true Name of YHVH, so that He could glorify God the Father on earth. [Remember that even in Yeshua’s time there was a ban on speaking the Name of God]. Verse 5 says that after Yeshua’s work was done on Earth, then Abba would glorify His Son by bringing Him back to heaven to be with Him again.

So what does all this mean to us as followers of the Way? If Yeshua made Abba Father known to us by revealing His true Name, then I do not want to waste Yeshua’s hard-earned fruit produced while He was here on the Earth. I hope you will also want to know YHVH’s true Name and that you will want to speak it in your praise and prayers to AbbaYehovah wants His name to be known, spoken, praised, feared, and glorified throughout the Earth!