Monthly Archives: October 2016

Trust in YHVH with all Your Heart

trust-in-yhvhTrust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8

I had memorized this well-known passage in proverbs 3:5-8 many years ago and still repeat it often in many different circumstances.  I would like to be able to say that it always calms my nerves or worries, but I can’t truthfully say that.  I usually have to spend some time with Yeshua remembering all the promises He gave us, that we are not to fear or be anxious for anything.  This tells me then that trust is not just about knowing the Scriptures that tell us God is faithful to watch over and take care of us in all situations.  It is far more about personally knowing the Living Word [Yeshua] who inspired the written Word, than it is about just knowing the written Word.

As believers, we often talk about having faith, more faith, or enough faith to endure whatever trial we are experiencing.  Unfortunately though, faith has become an overused and even watered down concept in our modern society.  Nowadays, we can have faith in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.  So what do we really mean when we say that we need to have strong faith in God?  Yeshua told his disciples that they could have cast the demon out of the young boy if they even had the faith of a grain of a mustard seed (Matt 17:20).  It is clear from this story that what they needed was not more faith, but rather a solid foundation of trust to back up the faith they had.

As human beings, we understand what it means to trust someone at a much deeper level than just having faith in someone.  Think about yourself for a moment and how you feel about trusting your neighbor. You may trust your neighbor enough to lend them your lawnmower, but do you trust them to watch out for your house when you go on a trip?  Would you trust them enough to give them a key so they can take of your plants when you are away?  Would you trust them to take care of your children for a weekend?

I would like to illustrate this point through a true story about a man named Charles Blondin, who was the greatest tightrope walker of his time, in the mid 1800’s.  He gained great fame in 1859 when he became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  Charles and his friend and manager, Harry Colcord, strung a 2” diameter hemp rope from an oak tree on the American side to a large rock on the Canadian side, and used a series of guy ropes every 20’ (anchored to the shore) to keep the rope as steady as possible.  The greatest risk was the 50’ section in the center of the 1300’ span that could not be reached by anchor ropes.  The incredible thing was that Charles was able to navigate his way across the Falls without any mishaps.  He traversed the Falls a number of times over the next few weeks, carrying props such as a camera and a griddle on which he cooked an omelet, pushing a wheelbarrow, and even doing a backflip on a couple of occasions.

The most daring feat of all, though, was when he carried his manager Harry on his back during one of his crossings.  This is where the rubber meets the road – although the many fans in attendance had faith that Charles was able to cross the Falls (and even bet their money on him), it was only Harry who was able to trust Charles with his life.  A number of guy wires snapped during their crossing, but Charles never wavered.  Harry later told reporters that Charles had coached him to: “look up…you are no longer Harry, you are Charles. Until I clear this place, you are to be a part of me, mind, body and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing on your own”.

Here is the essence of trusting God; not just having faith in Him. The spectators watching Charles had faith in him and believed that he was capable of traversing the Falls.  Only Harry, though, trusted him enough to climb on his back and ride across Niagara Falls with him walking on a 2” thick rope.  Is this the kind of trust you have in YHVH – do you trust Him to protect you and care for you and supply all your needs?  Do you trust Him with your whole life – body, soul and spirit – or do you trust more in your own abilities, your financial resources, or your trusted friends? In Psalm 3:6, God promised to direct our paths (keep us going in the right direction) if we would trust and acknowledge Him in every part of our lives.  Are you ready to trust YHVH with your whole heart? He is trustworthy beyond any other person or force in heaven or on Earth.  Go ahead and start trusting Him today – it will be the best decision you ever made!

Let all Creation Praise YHVH !

every-created-thingI have often marveled at Psalm 148 that speaks about everything and everyone in Heaven and on the Earth praising the LORD [YHVH].  We know that our LORD God [Yehovah Elohim] created everything in the universe with His spoken Word.  We also know that the Living Word (Yeshua) was there at the beginning participating in every aspect of Creation (John 1:3).

It is not so amazing that people praise YHVH, since He created us to praise and glorify Him.  He says in Isaiah 43:7 when speaking about His people: “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory…”.  In I Chronicles 16:29, David says in his song of praise to YHVH: “Give to the LORD the glory due His name…Worship the LORD in His holy splendor.”  The beautiful thing about glorifying God is that it brings the greatest joy to our hearts because that’s how YHVH created us.  C.S. Lewis once said: “In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him”.   All through Psalm 16, David talks about praising and glorifying God, and then in Verse 11 He says: “You show me the path of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever”.

If we literally believe that “everything that has breath praises YHVH” (Psalm 150:6), then we can look around us and listen to all the voices of God’s creatures.  We are all familiar with the beautiful songs of the birds of the air.  There are also other less familiar voices that are beautifully expressed in the animal world.  Experts say that Fin whales can hear the bleeps of other fin whales from more than 500 miles away, and under the right conditions, Blue whales can hear each other from over 1,000 miles away!

Humpback whales are famous for singing songs that can last up to 30 minutes. They sing in rhyme, and the songs can be heard by other whales. The songs are passed along in the water so that an entire ocean may have all the humpback whales singing the exact same song at the same time—a kind of great whale choir.  How incredible is our God who created these amazing sea creatures, and how incredible is the sound of their praises sung to their Creator!

Any of us who have children (and we ourselves are children of our parents of course), know that when children praise and respect their parents, their relationship is strengthened and there is much greater joy and peace in the household.  In the same way, the right response from us toward God is praise because He deserves it.  When we show our love for YHVH by praising Him, we fulfill the purpose for which YHVH created us.  When we fulfill this purpose, we experience the greatest possible joy—God is pleased, our relationship with Him is enhanced, and He has received what He deserves.

What is even more incredible to me is that all of Creation is praising YHVH (from Psalm 148:1-8): “…His angels; His heavenly army (recall that Yeshua is the LORD of Heaven’s armies); the sun and the moon; all the shining stars (and scientists know that the stars “sing”); the highest heaven of the heavens; the waters above the heavens; the Earth; large sea creatures and the ocean depths; lightning and hail; snow and fog; strong winds that obey His commands; mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars; wild and domestic animals; crawling animals and birds”.  Verse 13 sums up the whole Psalm by saying: “All creation, come praise the name of the Lord. Praise His name alone”.

Fortunately for us, YHVH’s command to praise Him and glorify His Name is not difficult to follow, for when we truly love Him, our praise will flow naturally from that love.  Start praising Him and rejoicing in His name today in this season of joy (Sukkot) and you will experience the greatest joy possible in His presence.

A Time for Joy

shout-to-godScripture mentions joy many times and as we study the “joy” passages, we see many different facets or aspects.  What is joy?  According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, there are a number of Hebrew and Greek words used for joy in Scripture.

The most often used word is Strong’s Hebrew 8057 , simchah, which means joy, gladness, mirth.  There are 95 occurrences of simchah or a variation used.  There is a lot of noisy and vigorous celebration associated with simchah.  Consider the following examples.

  1. Numbers 10:10 “Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind the LORD your God of his covenant with you. I am the LORD your God.”
  2. 1 Sam 18:6 “When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals.”
  3. 1 Kings 1:40 “And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound.”

Joy is meant to fill us and overflow to others.  We see this in the two occurrences of Strong’s Hebrew 2304, chedvah.

  1. 1 Chron. 15:27 “Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling.”
  2. Nehemiah 8:10 “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

At times we are to rejoice with vigor and even with reverent awe and trembling before our sovereign King, as we see in some of the 46 occurrences of Strong’s Hebrew gil and its variants.  The word gil can also mean “whirl” or “spin around”.

  1.  Psalm 2:11 “Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
  2. Psalm 16:9  “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety.”
  3. Psalm 48:11 “Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice.      Let all the towns of Judah be glad because of your justice.”

The Greek word chara (Strong’s 5479) is used 59 times in the New Testament.

  1.  Matt 2:10  “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!”
  2. Luke 15:10 “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
  3. James 1:2  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, …”

When are we to rejoice and be filled with joy?  When we recall the greatness of YHVH (Is. 12:6), in our love for one another (Philemon 1:7), before Yeshua returns (1 Pet. 1:8-9), when we are persecuted (James 1:2-3; Heb 12:2), when we hope and trust in YHVH (Rom 15:13, when we speak face-to-face (2 John 1:12) and when Yeshua returns (John 16:22).  In other words, we are to be joyful at all times and in all circumstances (Phil 4:4).

As we embark on Sukkot, we are commanded to rejoice and be filled with joy (Deut 16:14-15).  We remember YHVH with the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness and we celebrate YHVH dwelling with us now through His Holy Spirit.  Yeshua has promised to never leave us or forsake us and He will return to us soon to reign over us.   Our Father’s glory will once again be present in Jerusalem.  We will see YHVH face to face (1 Cor 13:12).  We have much cause to rejoice.  Chag Sameach (from simchah) Sukkot!

Healing Our Souls

the-righteous-personYHVH tells us in His Word that He is our Healer (Ex 15:26, Ps 103:1-5; Is 53:4-5).  We know through the sacrifice of Yeshua we can be set free from sin.   And that would have been enough, but Dayenu!  We have a God who always does more.  He heals our bodies and souls completely!  Today, let us focus on healing for our soul wounds.

We all have them.  Some are just under the surface and others are buried deep within us.  It is nearly impossible to reside in this fallen world and remain unscathed.  However, it is up to us whether or not we will remain injured and broken.  It is possible for YHVH to heal  all our soul wounds if we are willing to cooperate with Him. This is often easier said than done, but well worth the effort.

What are soul wounds?  Our souls are made up of mind, will, and emotions.  Many types of wrongs can damage to our souls.  In many societies, we feel pressured to bury emotional  pain and proceed as if nothing happened.  Over time, some hurts get buried deep for so long that we seem to forget about them.  Isn’t it best to forget and move on?  It is best to forgive and move on, but it is also necessary to take the time to work on healing the soul wounds that often remain.  We must not confuse forgiving others with healing the wounds they have inflicted.  The two are separate although closely connected.

Just as untended flesh wounds get worse and cause complications, so do untended soul wounds fester within us.  Fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, rejection, pain, or guilt must be dealt with properly.  Holding onto such burdens slows us down and weakens our relationships with YHVH and others.  We build walls or strongholds to “protect” ourselves from being hurt again.  However, the strongholds do not guarantee that we will be safe from future harm;  they actually imprison us, making us more vulnerable to our enemies.

YHVH is aware of all our injuries and promises in His word to restore us to perfect wholeness (shalom).  Let us examine some of YHVH’s promises.

Fear, anxietyPeace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Rom 7:15-16)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7).

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb 13:6)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Is 41:10).

Anger, bitterness, resentment:  [YHVH] will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Ex. 14:14)

In your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  (Eph 4: 26-27, 31)

Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you (Prov 20:22).

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 2:9-11).

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Pet 5:10).

Loss, mourning, rejection: When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken (Ps. 34:17-20)

 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Ps. 147:3).

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, (Ps. 20:11)

Sin, guiltTherefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16).

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps. 51:10).

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Heb 8:12)

But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:9-11)

How can we cooperate with YHVH to make ourselves whole again?  First, we need to examine ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to bring soul wounds to our attention.  Next, we take our wounds and lay them at the feet of Yeshua.  Then, we ask YHVH to heal our wounds according to His promises.  We meditate on His promises until they become not mere words, but reality for us.  Healing of soul wounds can lead to physical healing.

Only when we are made whole do we reach the full potential YHVH has planned for us.  During these ten days of awe, let us seek YHVH’s help in examining and healing our souls.