Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For our deaf friends: Genesis 15 in American sign language!

This is too cool – something for all our deaf friends! Mrs. Mary Hoover graciously made this short summary of Genesis 15 in ASL with captions. THANK YOU, Mary! May YHWH richly bless you for taking the time to do this!!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

All YHWH ever asks of us is to be wholehearted….

I had an acquaintance once, who excitedly told me that tithing to your church would make you rich because you would always get it back tenfold. This bothered me because, even though I wasn’t living for YHWH at the time, I felt in my gut that this train of thought was wrong, as our motive for “giving to God” shouldn’t necessarily be a financial “return investment” for us.

Malachi 3:10 10 Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "See if I won't open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs. (CJB)

The truth is, YHWH was lamenting (as He so often did) that Israel was “lukewarm” toward Him. He gave them everything and was constantly with them, yet they continued to disobey and do their own thing and turn from Him and go their own way. And so he coaxed, and cajoled and warned.

Folks, all He ever asks of us is to be wholehearted and do what we do for Him because we love Him!

Please take a look at all of Malachi Chapter 3, in context, and ask yourself if you’re wholehearted, or if you’re a “fence-straddler” who needs cajoling and coaxing, always talking the talk but not bothering to walk the walk. (Remember, upon Yeshua's return those types will be considered "lukewarm"....)

Malachi 3:1 "Look! I am sending my messenger to clear the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the covenant, in whom you take such delight - look! Here he comes," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 2 But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like the soapmaker's lye.

3 He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to ADONAI uprightly. 4 Then the offering of Y'hudah and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to ADONAI, as it was in the days of old, as in years gone by.

5 "Then I will approach you for judgment; and I will be quick to witness against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers; against those who take advantage of wage-earners, widows and orphans; against those who rob the foreigner of his rights and don't fear me," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 6 "But because I, ADONAI, do not change, you sons of Ya'akov will not be destroyed.

7 Since the days of your forefathers you have turned from my laws and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "But you ask, 'In respect to what are we supposed to return?' 8 Can a person rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How have we robbed you?' In tenths and voluntary contributions.

9 A curse is on you, on your whole nation, because you rob me. 10 Bring the whole tenth into the storehouse, so that there will be food in my house, and put me to the test," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. "See if I won't open for you the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you a blessing far beyond your needs.

11 For your sakes I will forbid the devourer to destroy the yield from your soil; and your vine will not lose its fruit before harvest-time," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 12 "All nations will call you happy, for you will be a land of delights," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot. 13 "You have spoken strongly against me," says ADONAI. "Yet you say, 'How have we spoken against you?'

14 By saying, 'There is no point in serving God. What good is it to obey his orders or to walk about as mourners before ADONAI-Tzva'ot? 15 We consider the arrogant happy; also evildoers prosper; they put God to the test; nevertheless, they escape.'" 16 Then those who feared ADONAI spoke together; and ADONAI listened and heard. A record book was written in his presence for those who feared ADONAI and had respect for his name.

17 "They will be mine," says ADONAI-Tzva'ot, "on the day when I compose my own special treasure. I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. 18 Then once again you will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the righteous and the wicked, between the person who serves God and one that doesn't serve him. (CJB)

If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re gonna keep getting what we got…..

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.” And Mosheh said to the people, “Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.” (ISR)

We’ve all experienced difficult and even terrifying circumstances. (Many are experiencing them right now!) The outcome, however, always depended on what kind of relationship we have with YHWH/Yeshua. If we’re “lukewarm” toward Him, then chances are, we’re mainly “fence straddlers” (with one foot in the spiritual and one in the carnal – which does NOT work!) who will continue to reap “carnal” results because we constantly “sowing carnal seeds.”

YHWH has given us a perfect outline for moral, holy living via His Torah, and most of us have already learned “the hard way” that veering outside Torah ALWAYS serves to distance us from Him.

Stepping outside the boundaries of Torah is dangerous because it keeps us in the realm of the Enemy. Out there, we are subject to all manner of “carnal” enticements and desires and pleasures. This doesn’t necessarily mean sex, drugs or alcohol; it can also mean idol worship, such as the constant pursuance of “more.” More money, more possessions, more “stuff”. Nobody in pursuance of “more” has ever reached that point of “enough”….

“More” - for us Americans - naturally includes excessive use of credit cards - which are nothing more than plastic money-eating monsters that devour your time and energy as you attempt to feed their little bottom-less pits which seem to get pregnant and multiply and nip at your empty wallet because their high interest rates prevent you from ever paying off the principal.

Sure, you realize you can’t get ahead, even though you have three jobs and work long, hard hours - but gosh, it’s just plain HARD not to use those handy-dandy pieces of plastic that provide the instant gratification you so desperately crave!

But, of course, when you finally realize you’ll never pay those cards off, instead of deciding to cut up those hideous little beasts that are clearly ruining your life, you call on YHWH to get you out of your jam! “God, I TRUST you to meet my financial needs! Please give me a miracle!”

His response? “You should have trusted my Word to show you how NOT to end up in this mess, in the first place! It’s up to YOU to change your lifestyle and start following ME!”

...The thing is, Torah TELLS us NOT to go into debt (or do ANYTHING to excess)! Scripture is replete with passages about debt and how the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7)! Torah contains everything we need to know about conducting our lives as stress-free as possible, at every level - including the fact that YHWH's people should never cheat each other. We are to use “equal weights and measures” when buying and selling and anything that involves a transaction of some kind (Leviticus 19:36, Proverbs 11:1 and 20:10), etc.

But “the world” doesn’t necessarily do this, does it? Our world is “dog eat dog” and if what I do hurts you, well, too bad, so sad! It’s YOUR problem….

If people would only begin to realize that YHWH’s Word holds the “key” to our happiness and success! (Happiness and success doesn't necessarily mean we will all supernaturally become millionaires; it means we should "bloom where we are planted.")

We need to learn to recognize that the trials in our life are usually self-induced due to our own, flawed reasoning, lack of understanding and/or self-control! WE are our own, worst enemies! If we could all start learning to "let go of ourselves" and begin to seek HIS ways, what a better life WE would have, and what a better world this would be!

If we could only learn that, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re GOING to keep getting what we got!” It’s true! We will stay in our self-dug ruts if we don’t start learning to look to YHWH for the answers, and that the trials and tribulations of life are often constructive tests to build dependence on, and faith in Him!

This is why He had His people wandering in the desert for 40 years…to TEACH them to trust Him and begin to do things HIS way, because HIS ways are perfect! Everything we need to know about life and living in ways that cause Him to smile upon us, can be found between the pages of the Bible! TRY it; you'll like it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Well, lo and behold - it WAS another Muslim!

Well, lo and behold - it WAS a Muslim! https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/live/2017/mar/23/westminster-attack-parliament-resumes-tributes-keith-palmer-live What a surprise, eh?

So... my question now is, WHEN are MUSLIMS going to stand up against this kind of thing? Why are Muslims around the world QUIET about this kind of behavior?  Why don’t we see MUSLIMS from that supposed “religion of peace” protesting ISIS and Al Qaida, and other hate/violence groups from their illustrious religion? 

Silence = condoning, folks.....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Experiencing hard times? Turn to ADONAI….

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Mosheh, “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.” And Mosheh said to the people, “Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.” (ISR)

We’ve all experienced difficult and even terrifying circumstances. (Many are experiencing them right now!) The outcome, however, always depended on what kind of relationship we have with YHWH/Yeshua. If we’re “lukewarm” toward Him, then chances are, we’re mainly “fence straddlers” (with one foot in the spiritual and one in the carnal – which does NOT work!) who will continue to reap “carnal” results because we are constantly “sowing carnal seeds.”

YHWH has given us a perfect outline for moral, holy living via His Torah, and most of us have already learned “the hard way” that veering outside Torah ALWAYS serves to distance us from Him.
Stepping outside the boundaries of Torah is dangerous because it keeps us in the realm of the Enemy. Out there, we are subject to all manner of “carnal” enticements and desires and pleasures. This doesn’t necessarily mean sex, drugs or alcohol; it can also mean idol worship, such as the constant pursuance of “more.” More money, more possessions, more “stuff”. Nobody in pursuance of “more” has ever reached that point of “enough”….

“More” - for us Americans - naturally includes excessive use of credit cards - which are nothing more than plastic money-eating monsters that devour your time and energy as you attempt to feed their little bottom-less pits which seem to get pregnant and multiply and nip at your empty wallet because their high interest rates prevent you from ever paying off the principal.

Sure, you realize you can’t get ahead, even though you have three jobs and work long, hard hours - but gosh, it’s just plain HARD not to use those handy-dandy pieces of plastic that provide the instant gratification you so desperately crave!

But, of course, when you finally realize you’ll never pay those cards off, instead of deciding to cut up those hideous little beasts that are clearly ruining your life, you call on YHWH to get you out of your jam! “God, I TRUST you to meet my financial needs! Please give me a miracle!”

His response? “You should have trusted my Word to show you how NOT to end up in this mess, in the first place! It’s up to YOU to change your lifestyle and start following ME!”

...The thing is, Torah TELLS us NOT to go into debt (or do ANYTHING to excess)! Scripture is replete with passages about debt and how the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7)! Torah contains everything we need to know about conducting our lives as stress-free as possible, at every level - including the fact that YHWH's people should never cheat each other. We are to use “equal weights and measures” when buying and selling and anything that involves a transaction of some kind (Leviticus 19:36, Proverbs 11:1 and 20:10), etc.

But “the world” doesn’t necessarily do this, does it? Our world is “dog eat dog” and if what I do hurts you, well, too bad, so sad! It’s YOUR problem….

If people would only begin to realize that YHWH’s Word holds the “key” to our happiness and success! (Happiness and success doesn't necessarily mean we will all supernaturally become millionaires; it means we should "bloom where we are planted.")

We need to learn to recognize that the trials in our life are usually self-induced due to our own, flawed reasoning, lack of understanding and/or self-control! WE are our own, worst enemies! If we could all start learning to "let go of ourselves" and begin to seek HIS ways, what a better life WE would have, and what a better world this would be!

If we could only learn that, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re GOING to keep getting what we got!” It’s true! We will stay in our self-dug ruts if we don’t start learning to look to YHWH for the answers, and that the trials and tribulations of life are often constructive tests to build dependence on, and faith in Him!

This is why He had His people wandering in the desert for 40 years…to TEACH them to trust Him and begin to do things HIS way, because HIS ways are perfect! Everything we need to know about life and living in ways that cause Him to smile upon us, can be found between the pages of the Bible! TRY it; you'll like it!












Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reader question: Please discuss the difference between Leviticus 11:40 and Deuteronomy 14:21

A Facebook friend, Angela Lewis, had a wonderful Torah question for us. She wrote:
Please can you help us with a question. We noticed during our Parashah study that in Leviticus 11:40 it says that he who eats of the carcass (that dies) will be unclean till evening - but in Deuteronomy 14:21 it says that you are not to eat anything that dies of itself. So, our question is how do these two verses tie up? Have we missed something or is there a context we didn't see? After much discussion, we thought the only answer was to ''ask Carmen' ha ha. Thank you both, Angela xx

Liam’s response:
 
Thanks, Angela! Sure. Happy to answer. The problem is in the English. English only has the word "die" and it unfortunately conveys only a narrow meaning, i.e., "to die". The word does not convey the manner of death. But in the scripture, different words are used which do convey meaning in the original Hebrew.

In the verse in Leviticus, the Hebrew word is "yaMut" which means "die or died causatively", that is, the animal was intentionally killed for food. So the animal died, yes, but in the original Hebrew it is clear that the animal died because it was killed for the purpose of being eaten. The word in Deuteronomy however is "ne'vah'la" which is also translated into English as "died" or "died naturally" and in Hebrew actually means "died of itself" (this can be a natural death or an unknown cause including another animal or even a pagan or occult slaughter.)

The point is you did not kill the animal for food, so you don't know if it is still kosher! So you see there is no contradiction, it is, indeed, only a language problem! In Leviticus 11, it is basically saying that when you kill an animal at home (of the type permitted for food), you have touched the carcass of something that has been rendered unclean. (Not "unclean" in the sense of not kosher, rather, unclean because it was not a Tabernacle/Temple sacrifice.) That is, it was not likely slain in a manner prescribed for Temple sacrifices nor is it likely the animal itself was unblemished.

So verses 39-40 are only saying that the people become unclean at that time they have eaten meat killed and prepared at home and thus they would not be permitted to come before YHWH at the Tabernacle or Temple until they are clean again. (You see this evident in Leviticus 7:21 "Anyone who touches something unclean — whether the uncleanness be from a person, from an unclean animal or from some other unclean detestable thing — and then eats the meat from the sacrifice of peace offerings for Adonai, that person will be cut off from his people.")

A person in an "unclean" state is not to come before YHWH! The verse in Deuteronomy 14 clarifies that an animal which is found dead cannot be eaten by people who belong to YHWH because the manner of death is unknown and that lack of knowledge renders the animal "unclean" for people who are supposed to be remaining holy.

While on this topic, let me add this: When a sacrificial animal is offered at the Tabernacle or the Temple it remains "clean"! Take a look at all the sacrifices described in Leviticus chapters 6-10. These sacrifices are done at the Tabernacle/Temple, and the blood and body parts are presented to YHWH, and in many cases, the meat is consumed right there as it is considered holy, not rendering the person unclean! This is the difference of a sacrifice in the prescribed manner, by the cohen at the Temple in YHWH's presence!







Friday, March 17, 2017

A word about financial debt

Luke 14:28-30: Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Don't you sit down and estimate the cost, to see if you have enough capital to complete it? If you don't, then when you have laid the foundation but can't finish, all the onlookers start making fun of you and say, 'This is the man who began to build, but couldn't finish!' (CJB)

This is not what happens today. “The world” encourages us to go into debt so you can have everything you want “right now” … never mind that you’ll be working to pay off this debt for years to come, never really getting ahead because the interest rates on some credit cards are outrageous.

Scripture tells us that the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), yet most Americans continue to borrow, thus remaining in debt up to their eyeballs.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey says: “According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, 47% of Baby Boomers have mortgage debt, 41% have credit card debt, 13% have school loans, and 36% have car payments. It takes a lot of will, discipline, courage and help to slay the debt monster. But it can be done. Imagine how much you could put toward retirement if you just didn’t have a stinking car payment! This is how the wealthy really build their wealth.”

Ramsey’s advice is straightforward and common sense: Cut up any and all credit cards today so you cannot be tempted into using them again, and simply start paying cash for everything. If you don’t have enough cash, wait until you’ve saved it.

This makes perfect sense because, no matter how much we tell ourselves we’ll pay the whole amount off at the end of the month, we never really do because we DON’T HAVE THE MONEY! Many fail to take their whole budget into consideration when making purchases, and they fail to plan for any emergencies (hospitalizations, ER visits, car accidents, transmission goes out on your car, etc.); and, consequently, end up using that handy-dandy credit card because they think they have to have things right NOW!

Well, if you have a roof over your head, food to eat along with all the “creature comforts” we humans expect, and transportation to get you where you need to go, why can’t you WAIT to buy that new cellphone or tablet or motorcycle? All that, that kind of thinking does is to lull you into a false sense of security and entitlement to buy whatever you want right now.

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is really a lame and prideful thing to do. It keeps you enslaved to, and constantly thinking about that almighty dollar - which really amounts to self-absorption and idolatry. If this is what you're doing, don't bother praying to YHWH to get you out of the jam you got yourself into. YOU need to learn some self-control and start making some changes in your life, because gluttony of any type is a sin....

The bottom line is: America’s debt problems would begin to vanish if only people would start recognizing the difference between NEEDS and WANTS. The “wants” can wait until you can pay cash!