Sunday, August 29, 2010

Proper (Torah) Procedure for Handling Disputes

YHWH is a Set Apart (Qodash) Elohim. He will not and cannot be joined to sin. Sin is transgression (disobedience) of the Torah. Torah states clearly defined and easily understood instructions on how to treat each other and handle day to day situations. Having said that, we must take a closer look at the serious divisions and disputes among so-called Believers and how it affects other Believers.
I am not going to address specifics regarding any situation; I just want to address correct procedure (Torah) for these types of confrontations. In any dispute there can only be the following facts: Both parties are wrong, one party is wrong and the other is right or both are right and are misunderstanding each other. So how does Torah advise us to handle these situations?
Lev 19:16-18
(16) ‘Do not go slandering among your people. Do not stand against the blood of your neighbour. I am יהוה.
(17) ‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove your neighbour, for certain, and bear no sin because of him.
(18) ‘Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people. And you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am יהוה.
Do not go spreading tales among the people (Hebrew am). This is clear that taking your “side” of a dispute to the Body without proper procedure should NEVER happen. Neither take a position or stance against the blood or life (Hebrew dom) of your neighbor or brother (Hebrew reya). When we take a position of defense of opposition towards a fellow Believer, we in essence stand against their life. This is a life or death situation and should NEVER be taken lightly.
Do not hate or make an enemy (Hebrew sane) against your brother or one who has stood with you in battle (Hebrew awkh) in your heart or inner man (Hebrew leb). So if you suddenly have a dispute with someone you have previously called a “brother” or close companion, either you were greatly deceived and didn’t allow the Ruach to give you proper discernment or you are in the wrong and have allowed evil to move into your heart. It is Scripture folks.
We can and should reprove or rebuke (Hebrew yakach) sin or missing the mark (Hebrew chet) in a fellow Believer. But we should never try to get even with or avenge (Hebrew naqam) ourselves against another Israelite. If someone in the family of YHWH has missed the mark and fallen short we should personally and privately address the issue giving them a chance to correct the sin. This never gives us the right to try and “get even” with another Israelite.
We should love or look out for (Hebrew ahab) our neighbor as we do ourselves. YHWH puts His stamp on these instructions by saying, Ani YHWH,” I am YHWH. When YHWH says this He is making sure you understand the severity of what He has just said, and how Who He is and who we are defines these instructions.
If we always handled these situations with proper prospective/fear (yarah) of YHWH, we wouldn’t see the cold and calculated assassination of our family members.
Proverbs 15:18
(18) An ish chemah (angry man) stirreth up madon (strife), but he that is slow to anger pacifies a quarrel.
A hot-headed, furious and angry (Hebrew chema) man stirs up or gets excited (Hebrew garah) about strife or contention (Hebrew madon), but he that is slow or patient (Hebrew arek) to anger or flaring of the nostrils (Hebrew af) settles or pacifies (Hebrew shaqat) strife or controversy (Hebrew reeb).
Quite an interesting contrast painted here by Shlomo. On one hand you have a loud, red faced, big mouthed person waving their arms, flaring their nostrils and yelling about how right they are and how wrong others are; on the other hand you have a quiet and patient person who prefers to put out fires rather than play with matches.
So as fruit inspectors (See Matthew 7:20), we can sit back and watch these dilemmas play out. We will know who was planted by the Rivers of Life by the fruit their tree bears. We also will know whose roots where evil by the fruit their tree bears. (See 1 Timothy 6:10). Isn’t amazing how often these types of contention between so-called “leaders” are centered on money and or possessions?
Pro 16:28
(28) A perverse/fraudulent ish (man) soweth madon (strife, dissension), and a whisperer separates close friends.
We can watch a person and know that someone who continuously seems to be in the middle of contentions is wicked and a fraud. Again I am not pointing fingers just quoting Scripture. A whisperer or a talebearer divides leaders or teachers.
Okay fellow fruit inspectors; let’s take a long hard look at these divisions. Who (if any) are handling these contentions with calm and patient demeanor, and who is waving their arms making accusations and telling tales? You decide. If both sides are acting improperly and violating Torah, both are wrong, they need to teshuvah. If one party continues to show the attributes of a perverse and fraudulent man, then we can determine who is at fault. YHWH is not about division within the Body; however, He is about division between the world and the Body. If it is clear that someone (be it one or both parties) is causing division by violating Torah, we should give them an opportunity to teshuvah and if they do not we separate ourselves from them. We cannot support, condone or follow (spiritually, monetarily or in any way) someone who is willfully violating Torah. The Body should freeze all support until these matters are resolved. YHWH will take care of the innocent and we should not support the guilty that have not repented.
When one chooses to set themselves up as a leader within the Body of Yahshua they are now subject to more scrutiny because of the position they have sought. You cannot call yourself a leader and not expect those following to watch how you handle yourself. Is not a Torah teacher bound by the same Torah they teach?
The first and fatal mistake many Believers make is when they put humans on a pedestal. If we would stop acting as if those who lead are infallible, we would not have the repercussions we are seeing when we find out they have fallen. Keep Yahshua the focus and follow others who are following Him and do not follow those who don’t follow Him.
Let’s agree that we should not judge that which we do not know, but we can and should judge Believers by their fruit. If their tree bears unrighteous fruit we should as a Body demand and expect teshuvah. Those who bear righteous fruit, regardless of false accusations, we should support and lift in prayer.
Shalom Aleichem and may the Body be Echad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

This blog will not make me popular; in fact I may lose some friends over this one. I have had this spinning through my mind for quite some time and cannot put it off any longer.
I spent my childhood years during the peak of the Vietnam War. My dad did not fight in the war, so I had no personal connection. However, it did affect my life and was an integral part of my world. When I was in school we still recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Love for your country and patriotism was still very evident. Later in my early teens, I was blessed to attend a private Christian school, where the only colors worn were red, white and blue (everyday). We recited the Pledge and raised the flag every school day.
I studied American history and loved the stories about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln along with the other heroes of our Nation. I also read the tall tales about Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill and many more great yarns. I spent many hours reading comic books and dreaming about being Superman, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk. There was no shortage on heroes to emulate and I had a vivid imagination, so I wore all the hats.
Lately I have realized a horrific fact, as much as I love this country and the folklore that surrounds it, there is a truth that must be acknowledged. If we have an allegiance and we have heroes does it matter the source we draw these images from? If our Heavenly Father has a favored country what is it? Does the United States have some kind of leverage with YHWH and does He consider this Nation the “apple of His eye”?
What does it even matter if we are told stories from our youth that in fact may not be true? Do you know the difference between fact and fiction anymore? For example, George Washington didn’t really cut down a cherry tree and probably never said “I cannot tell a lie.” In fact that story isn’t verifiably true. Neither are the ones about Paul Revere, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed Chapman and Daniel Boone. There may be elements of truth in some of these stories, but the truth mixed with lies creates a lie.
Have we become comfortable with telling our children lies? Does a world mixed with Harry Potter, Thomas Jefferson, Scooby Doo and Billy Graham really affect the lives of our youth? Can we continue to raise our sons and daughters to believe that the U.S. is God’s Nation? Where in Scriptures do you find this mindset to be acceptable? Can we continue to take verses like the following out of context?
Heb 13:17
(17) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
1Pe 2:13-14
(13) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the sake of YHWH: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
(14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
Where do we draw the line, at what point do we put our allegiance back towards our Heavenly Father?
I submit to you that YHWH does have a favored country. There are heroes worthy of our admiration. The truth is out there waiting to be embraced and believed.
Fasten your seatbelts; I am going to take the rocky road now. Is it possible that most of the wars this Nation has fought had motives that were less than honorable? Should we continue to wave the flag and propound the godliness of a nation that is by and large ran by men who don’t know, fear or love YHWH? Not every man who has wore a uniform and fought had noble and righteous motives, so a blanket endorsement of all those who have fought seems a little extreme. Recently I read a comment that was circulating on the web and cringed. The comment was, “If you want to burn this flag, wrap yourself in it first.” Is this what we have become? Are we so patriotic that we condone someone dying if they burn the flag? You may not agree with me on this one but the flag of the United States isn’t technically my flag. I have been exiled here due to the sin we have committed that is keeping us from our Land Israel. I am so thankful and grateful for being in this country, but if we hadn’t sinned in the first place I wouldn’t be here. Check your Scriptures, the sin of the people led to the dispersion to the four corners of the earth. We were driven from His Land, Israel, when we turned our backs on Him. Where do we end up? When we return to Him and His Torah, YHWH returns us to Israel and the two sticks become one again.
I know that I have risked offending some of those who have fought or had relatives who fought for this country. If you are offended, you have misunderstood my message. We are here until YHWH calls us back and we should be good stewards and be righteous within our community. But stop and consider your allegiance. In this day and time, our nation is changing. When the laws of this land demand that we violate the Laws (Torah) of YHWH will we still fly the U.S. flag? The day is coming when we will have to choose, and as for me and my house we will serve YHWH.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ode to a spider while mowing the lawn

I mowed the lawn today
While mowing there’s not a lot you can say
Just sit on the mower
As your world spins around slower
And you watch the grass clippings soar away

Mowing gives you plenty of time to think
To ponder, take in and drink
Of the things that aren’t seen
In your daily routine
While starting to sweat and to stink

The first thing that caught my eye
As my mower and I flew by
Was a the web of a spider
Though the tree it did hide her
Her web was exactly head high

I am sure that the spider worked hard
At this great food catcher in our yard
But to mow all the grass
On my very next pass
The web I would have to discard

I wondered as the web blew away
How did my actions change her day?
Would she sit and mourn?
Would her Creator the spider scorn?
And if so what would she say?

If this spider were like a man
I am sure she wouldn’t understand
For in her little world
Catastrophe was hurled
And it must have been from YHWH’s Hand

She probably would start to complain
“Is my Creator trying to drive me insane?”
“Doesn’t He even know?
Without food I can’t grow
And my existence will certainly wane?”

She might have even been the kind
When troubles and trials she did find
Start blaming her neighbor
For the destruction of her labor
Even though he was nowhere to find

For you see what we can’t explain
Does certainly drive us insane
Since we don’t KNOW our Creator
We become a typical hater
And put on Him all of the blame

We can’t see the complete universe
So when things in “our world” turn for the worse
We feel we’ve been cheated
Our hopes have been depleted
So often we all start to curse

Maybe we need all to know
If the grass does continue to grow
The level of pain and loss
In our universe from the chaos
Would create problems above and below

So the issue we all must work through
Is our world and all that we do,
Is so little in the frame of it all
But still yet if any should fall
He would catch us…if only we knew