Monday, January 26, 2009

Watch, Be Aware of the Times, and Pray that You May Escape

Recently, my very large financial institution issued a new debit card to me – without explanation and without my request! Because my new debit card got mailed to my branch bank and my branch bank did not contact me, I was totally unaware that I had a new debit card and that my existing debit card now had been set to automatically deactivate 30 days after the mailing of my new debit card. It was only when I got online to pay bills one morning that I discovered my existing debit card had been deactivated. When I called my bank via the toll free number, they told me that a new debit card had been issued and I should have followed instructions to activate the new card. After looking into the matter and finding that my new card had been mailed to my branch bank, not my home, they instructed me to pick up my new debit card as soon as possible.

So I headed off to my branch bank. Since my new debit card had a new number, I was infuriated because I now had to take the time to contact the companies that automatically debit my account and update them with my new card number. I asked my "banker" to reorder a debit card and give me back my old number so I would not be inconvenienced. They proceeded to tell me that my old card and number had to be deactivated because it lacked the new "security chip." There was nothing they could do or wanted to do to rectify the situation for a longtime customer, who had just politely threatened to take her banking business elsewhere. All this happened in October… so as I researched other banks, I found that many were unstable and becoming insolvent. My financial institution remained relatively sound by comparison; I opted to stay with one of the few "financially sound" institutions.

For me, however, the REALization that access to my money could be 'turned off' at the whim of my financial institution was truly a "wake-up call!" And, oddly enough, I am one of the few people on earth who need to be reminded of the pending Mark of the Beast. Regardless of my hopes for an early rapture, a rapture occurring sooner than later, I am resolved in being vigilant in my watchfulness of the signs that proceed His coming – the famines, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, deceptions, false teachers and prophets, persecution and hatred toward the Saints – as my LORD and Messiah forewarned me to do. They fact that the LORD told us that some would finally give up on His coming and begin to partake in drunkenness and begin to beat others (physically, emotionally, spiritually?), tells me that the rapture may not occur as soon as we think it should… as we will witness, and have witnessed, the beginning of sorrows: The homes of believers blown or washed away by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike. The homes of believers burned up in the large and multiple wild fires in California. The homes of believers steeped in 3 – 6 feet of water then mud in the mid-west last summer. Thousands of believers losing their jobs in the U.S. and all over the world. The empty bellies of believers in Africa and Asia for the lack of rice and other grains. The believers in 3rd world countries who are sick and dying from the precipitous rise of diseases born from unsanitary conditions. The physical torture and killing of believers in Africa and Asia by corrupt, ungodly governments or Muslim guerillas who commit them to genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, because they bear the name of our LORD.

Remember, the LORD told us to store our treasuries in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy. Remember, this life is but a vapor, whether we live 10 years or whether we live 95 years, this life is a vapor compared to the timeline of eternity. Our home, our ultimate reality, is in heaven… with our LORD Yeshua and heavenly Abba. We need not sell our inheritance for a bowl of porridge as did Esau; in other words, we need not sell our eternal hope and inheritance to gain a temporal reprieve in this world. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage one another in the LORD, in the reality of our inheritance, in the hope of soon seeing our Messiah and heavenly Abba. Mind-over-matter techniques will not deliver anyone from the reality of these birth pains… all of creation is in travail. We need to be so prepared, so ready in our minds and spirits, that we react as Stephen reacted when he was being stoned to death… we need to be able to look beyond the circumstances that may strip us of our worldly goods and beyond our persecutors who can kill the body… and see Yeshua, see the reality of our inheritance with Yeshua:

"To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." – Revelation 2:7

"He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." – Revelation 2:11

"To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." – Revelation 2:17

"…He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
' He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessel'—
as I also have received from My Father..." – Revelation 2:26-27

"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." – Revelation 3:5

"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name." – Revelation 3:12

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." – Revelation 3:21

We need not tell each other that there will be peace when there is no peace. We need not encourage each other to turn a deaf ear toward brethren who are finding themselves caught in the rain that comes upon the just and the unjust. We need not get caught up in false doctrines that lie in telling people of worldly wealth that God desires to bestow upon His children. You see, in God's economy, we should careless for this world and the things of this world… we are to conduct ourselves as heirs of His kingdom, which is not of this world. In so doing, we introduce and bring others into His glorious kingdom through our testimony.

Above all, we are to retain our love for one another – love is the tell-tale sign of a true believer. Lawlessness is going to abound during this 'beginning of sorrows' coming upon the world, resulting in the love of many waxing cold. Many will be offended… they will betray and hate one another. Be aware of your love or waning love, dear ones… do all you can do to remain in love. As times become more difficult for all upon the earth, as our rights as are increasingly trampled because we bear the name of YHVH and our Messiah Yeshua and as our senses are offended for the lack of justice, we must fight the urge to feel contempt toward others. Should any of us recognize contempt and hatred is trying to set up within our hearts, we must immediately cry out to the LORD and ask Him to create in us a right spirit and a clean heart, full of love and compassion! If we say we love God but hate our brother, we would be lying. God is love.

Now, some who we believe to be our brethren will choose the world and will revel with the world as did happen in the days of Noah… either out of ignorance, because they will not be watching as we've been told to watch, out of rebellion, or out of idolatry. What has light to do with darkness? As we are told, we are to have nothing to do with such people. However, I caution you: although these so-called brethren may betray us, let us not be found to be the betrayers. Should you be offended by these so-called brethren or by professing unbelievers, remember, "Vengeance is Mine!" saith the LORD. If you believe that they are truly believers, and you do not rebuke them gently, then their blood will be required at your hand. But if you rebuke them gently… tell them of their waywardness with a most humble approach... and they listen, you will save yourself and the righteous man or woman from sinning. If they refuse to listen, you will have saved yourself and need to remember that their end will be determined by God. (Ezekiel 3:18-21) Quietly remove yourself from their presence and be on your way, walking in the path of righteousness for His Name's sake.

Brothers and Sisters, I don't care what stance you take on the timing of the rapture, the fact is that the Mark of the Beast can be implemented, or be very, very near implementation, before the rapture… so you need to be watchful, be aware, and be ready to stand firm for the LORD. I bring it to your attention for this passage:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years. – Revelation 20:4

RFID chips are already being placed in passports - this we know as a fact! The U.S. government is very close to issuing a national ID card with an RFID chip containing all personal information known to them among the various government agencies. The implementation of the national ID card was supposed to have begun in August 2008. Should we be told this year, in 2009, or next year that we must have this ID card to access our money and to buy goods and services, will you accept?

I suppose I could have reverted to writing checks versus using my debit card. Perhaps I will. I think I will throw away my debit card with the new "security chip." But the mere thought of having to write and mail checks to pay my bills aggravates me further. You see, I am already very spoiled by the convenience of being able to pay my bills online, within 5 to 10 minutes, without having to go to the post office. I suppose I need to open a savings account at another bank instead of depositing all my money in savings and checking accounts in the same financial institution; but it is so easy to transfer money from my checking to my savings. Agh… although the inconvenience pains me, I will do so this week.

All this being said to lead up to these questions: What if I, and a couple of other believers, had been some of a few thousand selected and forced to accept debit cards with this new security chip or there would be NO way to access our paychecks that had just been automatically deposited? No checks, no cash withdraws, no account-to-account transfers, no wires transfers. What if I called you and told you that I only had $30 cash and I'd soon be out gas? Okay, so we get me and two other believers through the next two weeks. But then, when we try to switch the direct deposit of the next paycheck to other banks, we are told that all new bank accounts require the use of these debit cards with these new security chips. I mean what if the banks and the government agencies are basically telling us, "You cannot buy, sell, or trade unless you accept this new card." Would you encourage us to accept the card because it's not a "mark?" Would you encourage us to accept the card, because despite the varied doctrines surrounding the timing of the rapture, you're quite sure that believers will be out'a here before governments and financial institutions cut us off from our money… our ability to buy, sell, or trade?

Now, fortunately, access to my money was temporarily cut off until I accepted the new card with the new security chip, and the situation not as dire as I describe above since I could have opted to access my money with checks and cash withdraws – I think. (Actually, I did have to do a cash withdrawal the other day and I WAS asked for my debit card by the teller… so maybe I wouldn't have been able to make a cash withdrawal had I not activated the new debit card. I'm sure I could have written a check… yes?) Quite honestly, the minute the government or financial institutions tell me that I cannot access my money by any means unless I accept a new "card"… that basically I cannot "buy, sell, or trade" without the card, I'm folding my hands and with every ounce of God-given strength in me and will politely tell them, "In God I trust. Keep my money, for God will keep me."

Shalom aleichem!

* * * *

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved." – Yeshua, Matthew 24:4-13

36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." – Yeshua, Matthew 24:36-44

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to ESCAPE all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." – Yeshua, Luke 21:34-36

Sunday, January 11, 2009


"Emunah" is a Hebrew term in which the concept got lost within the Hellenized church - "emunah" was stripped of its meaning by the Greek pursuit to mentally transcend the term "belief", a.k.a, "faith." A person in the Hellenized church says, "I have faith... I believe in God." Yet the fruit thereof is nearly non-existent or non-existent altogether - their "faith" is nothing more than a mental transcendence of the idea, not a living out of the idea. The concept of faith in Hebrew, which is "emunah," is FAR more than a mental exercise. Emunah is a working, living, and active trust in God - emunah demonstrates one's trust and belief in God by everything one DOES, not says or thinks. To act contrary to God's Word is to lack "emunah." Emunah is "FAITHFULNESS," it is outright TRUST in God and the exercise and portrayal of God's attributes in one's own life - emunah in a Believer's life is the ACT of portraying God's faithfulness and lovingkindness.

As I read and prepared for yesterday's Torah study, Parshah Vayechi, the Ruach HaKodesh ministered this truth to me. After the Ruach HaKodesh ministered the true meaning of faith, of emunah, He asked me to read Hebrews 11... interjecting my new understanding of emunah wherever I read the word "faith." Oh, my... a new and tremendous understanding was revealed. "Without 'emunah' it is impossible to please God." Now, I understood that Abraham did more than just "believe" - Abraham did more than mentally acknowledge God. Oh, yes, Abraham acted on, worked out, adhered to, and relied upon God's Word and promises. Yeah... now read Hebrews 11 and interject "emunah" wherever you see the word "faith."

Woo hoo... wowsa!

What I've always understood as, "Without 'the mental acknowledgement of God' it is impossible to please God..." came to life and now read as, "Without 'faithfulness, trust, adherence, and reliance upon God and the exercise and portrayal of God's own attributes in our life' it is impossible to please God..." (Hebrews 11:6a).

What I've always read and understood as, "If we 'lack the ability to mentally believe God,' He remains faithful 'to those of us who struggle to believe or who are doubleminded'; He cannot deny Himself" came to life and now read as, "If we 'are not faithful, do not trust, do not adhere, do not rely upon God and do not exercise and portray His attributes,' He remains faithful - 'He faithfully demonstrates His attributes'; He cannot deny 'demonstrating His own attributes'."

Actually, the passage directly proceeding 2 Timothy 2:13 says, "If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (That statement should provoke a healthy and fearful respect of God, no matter how men's theology have carved out various doctrines.) Therefore, 2 Timothy 2:13 should have never been construed as "If we act as if we don't believe in Him, He will continue to believe for us or be faithful to us." No, rather, "If [people] act as if [they] don't believe in Him and [they] do not demonstrate His attributes, He will continue to be faithful in the demonstration of His attributes (righteousness, justice, and lovingkindness); He cannot deny the demonstration of His own attributes."

The trustworthy saying Shaul is quoting basically explains that if we crucify our own flesh (beliefs, desires, egos) on Yeshua's cross, we will also live with Yeshua. It goes on to explain that if we endure, if we run the race and finish the race well, we will also reign with Yeshua. Both concepts (crucifying our flesh and enduring until the end) require acting out, portraying, and exercising our trust, adherence, and reliance upon God, His Son, and His Word - His commandments, precepts, and promises - during our earthly lifetime!

11 This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.

12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.

(The faithful, trustworthy saying above demonstrates the meaning of EMUNAH, and the immediate passage below speaks of the lack of emunah...)

If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.

(Shaul goes on to tell Timothy that the faithful (or trustworthy) saying sums it up when it states, "if people lack emunah (faithfulness), God cannot lack emunah (faithfulness) since He cannot deny His own attributes/characteristics.")

13 If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
- Shaul, 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Now, since we understand that Greek thought (Hellenization) in practice and in essence stripped the Hebrew of its meaning, even within the first century congregation of Believers, we see that Yaakov (James), the brother of Yeshua, sought to revive the meaning true of 'faith'... the Hebrew meaning and understanding of "emunah": 14 "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." - (Yaakov) James 2:14-17

It is surely God's grace (unmerited favor) that has provided salvation for all, not the works of our flesh, but is is (1) TESHUVAH (a daily turning from sin - seeking to recognize and acknowledge sinful behavoir and the thoughts in which it began - and returning to God (Luke 9:23)), and (2) EMUNAH that demonstrate a true circumcision of heart.

Yeshua described teshuvah when He said if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourself, and take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Emunah demonstrates that we have entered into the new covenant (the Brit Chadasha - Jeremiah 31:31-34) with YHVH and are heirs according the terms of the new covenant (Hebrews 9:11-28, 10:1-20, John 3:1-16, Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 3:19-31).

Emunah is being, is acting, as sons and daughters of God, who desire to emulate their Father, thus truly BEING heirs to Yeshua's inheritance. Hence, Yochanan (John) the Baptist told the Pharisees, "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance..." (Matthew 3:8). In one sentence, Yochanan the Baptist summed up teshuvah and emunah.

Over the past few months, in my own practice of teshuva, I have been asking YHVH to compel me, to strengthen me, in portraying Him, His attributes, to others in my everyday world - to those whom I work with and my family and friends - rather than acting sinfully, thereby, dishonoring Him. My greatest desire is to turn to the LORD with all of my heart and that He guide me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. Little did I know, I was already exercising emunah before I came to any knowledge of the Hebraic word and concept.