Is This the Prophesied Great Revival? Not so fast.

Every great crisis causes both the Believer and the secular world to question if this is this the beginning of the end.  No doubt, we are in the end times; but this is not the end.   

The Corona Virus is only a precursor of things to come.  The good news is that the virus is causing many to question their faith, and in the case of the non-believers, to question their lack of faith. 

The Reverend Billy Graham preached about a sickness for which there is no cure. That sickness is sin.  This global pandemic is only a minor precursor of things to come in the end times.  However, that time is not yet.  Until people are ready to give up sin and wickedness, preaching will continue to fall upon seared minds and hearts. 

As the virus reaches its apex, countries, including the United States, will begin to lift stifling restrictions and we will see a Global Reopening.  This will be marked by an end to painful isolation, while people search for ways to resurrect the global economy.  In a relatively short time, we will return to a sense of normalcy, and unfortunately, much of the economic surge will lead to a Return to Sin.  Any hope of the Great Revival will be gone as most realize this was not “the end”.  

The revival will only come to those who truly believe we were once again spared. For those who continue to practice sin, repentance will come much later during a Great Period of Tribulationwhich squeezes and chokes their choices, their minds, and their freedoms.  Once again, this is only a moment in time for God and His people to demonstrate miracles, mercy, forgiveness, and hope. 

As believers, this is a time to continue to petition God for His mercy, for Him to push back apocalyptic events, and for Him to fulfill His promises for long life in His Word.  His body of Godfearers will continue to occupy the earth and dominate through prayerful petitions.  As witnesses to His love and mercy, this will be a time to demonstrate what God truly has to offer. Our hope is that the secular world will be persuaded by His goodness and mercy much more than His wrath.

Make no mistake, we are in the end times.  This is just not that time.  However, this is our opportunity to prepare the body of believers and the secular world to call out to God and turn from sin.  Only after True Repentance, will we see Global Revival.  

Second Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Journey Into The Darkness

I recall a movie I once watched while in Kenya.  The movie, “The Ghost and the Darkness”, left me without sleep for several days.  This true story portrayed “mystery” lions dragging humans off to their death in the night hours. I believe the lions were demon possessed. By nature, lions do not have a taste for human blood.  We know from New Testament theology that demons’ first choice is to possess humans; however, they will inhabit animals, houses, empty neglected spaces, and so forth.  The lions in the movie were eventually killed, and their heads are now mounted in a Chicago museum.

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is much like the movie “The Ghost and the Darkness.”   The mystery of not knowing at what hour, or when the disease my strike, or infect, can be tormenting.  Sometime ago, a Baptist minister by the name of Howard Pittman, witnessed the “mystery demon” as revealed in his book describing his near-death encounter.  On August 3, 1979, his aortic artery ruptured. Within hours, he suffered physical death. Pittman was lifted from his body by guardian angels and allowed to see the second heaven and Satan’s dominion. Upon his return, Pittman revealed that he witnessed demons, their hierarchy, and their operations.  One demon especially worth noting, was the “mystery demon”.  This demon was just that. He was a non-descript demon who inflicted mysterious sickness and disease.  

Is this global pandemic demonic?  While it most certainly is not engineered by God, many of the “cloth” would argue that the Corona Virus is God’s judgement, or some green earth climate imbalance.  At certain times, as recorded in scriptures, God was ready to smite many.  However, the prayers of a few righteous halted His decree, and turned the situation to one of rescue.  As this pandemic coincides with Pesach (Passover), we see the commandments to obey God, anoint the doorposts of our homes, and trust the angel of death to “Pass Over” our homes and families.

The journey into the darkness requires the luggage of faith, physical preparedness, prayer, and teamwork.  It requires all hands-on deck, placing bickering aside, establishing home altars, and partaking in communion in covenant with God, and above all, in Shalom (peace).  As in Psalm 23, God is pleased to prepare a table in the presence of this enemy.  Though “A thousand fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it (evil, disease) shall not come nigh thee”(Psalm 91).  We are “thee”.  We have very specific promises.  It is possible to even prosper in crisis (Psalm 23:5), if we remain anointed and calm.

We petition God not out of fear, nor self preservation, (although nothing is wrong with that), but rather out of a covenant of hope and partnership with Heaven.  We are encouraged to pray about everything, tell God our needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.  No prayer is too small, too insignificant, or ignored.  God is open for business twenty-four eternal hours a day to hear our petition. Even a small child understands how to present a need, desire, or concern.  All prayers for healing, mercy, gratefulness are received at the throne of Heaven. 

We are going to make it through this journey of darkness and will all see brighter days ahead.  We will all see joy as we witness God’s miraculous intervention.  Fear not, all is well that ends well.  Turn to God for life, not just during the crisis at hand. The light is not at the end of the tunnel; rather, the light is bright to guide us through the shadowed, mysterious, uncertain tunnel.

I’ll leave us with Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Thy is, HaShem, Adonai, and He is faithful!

**Lion image courtesy of National Geographic Gallery, Honolulu, Hawaii.

It Will Appear

The fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, is a condition described as an individual or individuals fearing that they will miss out, or not be a part of some signifcant event.  This fear can produce negative emotions that could potentially result in dangerous behavior.  This behavior can manifest itself as anxiety or panic, hoarding, financial liquidation, or other fight or flight responses, which do not promote sound peace or spiritual well-being.

There is a significant difference between the need to buy extra supplies and the compulsion to overstock (hoard) which can be very expensive and exhaustive.  Is there a better way in times of crisis?

It Will Appear is a better way, designed by God, and available to those who put their trust in Him.  A study of secular as well as biblical history, demonstrates heroic interventions and other miracles and tales of joyful survival during times of need.  I would like to share just a few of my personal miraculous encounters.

During a recent vacation to Hawaii, I realized I needed, or rather wanted a few things for my comfort.  I could have easily purchased these items.  However, there was no emergency, I was only kvetching (which is Yiddish for complex undesirable dilemmas).  

First of all, I wanted a different shampoo other than the coconut scented shampoo provided by the hotel.  I needed limes for my water, some disposable drinking cups, and one or two umbrellas for the seasonal rains in Hawaii. 

My husband and I left our room to venture out for the day.  On a long community table, there appeared several items for the taking:  one large container of Pantene (premium brand) shampoo and another of Pantene conditioner, along with several red SOLO plastic cups, and three limes.  We collected our angelic-provided find and took the “booty” back to our room.  Our next stop was to check our dinner reservations at a local restaurant for our 40th anniversary.  While confirming our reservations, we encountered one of those seasonal rain events.  Behold, free famous named brand umbrellas were sitting in a bin for our use.  At the end of our trip, we donated those umbrellas along with several other items.  Not only did we repay someone else’s kind gesture, we sowed seed, and we paid it forward.   

While in Hawaii, my husband and I were tracking the events of the new Corona Virus.  We discussed ordering a few things to be delivered to our home, just in case.  There was no anxiety, only stock smarts.  Upon returning home, everything we purchased now seemed like a necessity, rather than a routine purchase. Those items were no longer available for purchase upon our return. It was only because we were at peace and responded to God’s promptings and timing that our products were available and delivered. 

God is not confused, fearful, or poor.  Angels are on assignment prompting us with thoughts and inclinations to act in peace.  These angelic promptings appear in front of us in store lines providing tips to where to go and what to do.  We must be at peace as we sense, listen, believe, and act when we have a “random thought” that requires immediate action.

The Bible gives us countless examples of how God meets our needs.  Isaiah 30:21 tells us, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying: ‘This is the way, walk ye in it, When ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”  This scripture reminds us to incline our hearts and tune our spiritual ears to the promptings of God.  In the Bible, we are also told that the ravens fed the prophet Elijah, Jesus fed 5,000 with two fishes and three loaves of bread, and Elisha multiplied the widow’s oil after her offering.   

Our continual giving (sowing) ensures a future harvest when we need it.  This strategic tenet ensures our continued needs will be met.  I would encourage everyone not to over analyze this principle, but rather to sow when prompted. 

I warmly recall a story from a missionary friend of mine while on a trip to Africa.  Shireen’s husband shared with her the exciting news that they would be hosting visiting ministers for dinner.  The only glitch to his dinner plans was that it would wipe them out of their remaining food supply.  However, they fed the ministers as prompted.  The very next day, a basket of bread and other food supplies “mysteriously” appeared at their front door.  

In the past, money has not only “mysteriously” appeared in my empty wallet, but in some cases, it has also changed denominations.  Upon paying for lunch one day, I emptied my wallet in front of my husband with only a soft crumply fifty-dollar bill.  We proceeded to the mall across the street from the restaurant.  I pulled out the fifty dollar bill to pay for a new shirt.  The fifty I pulled out transformed into a crisp $100.00 bill.  At the time, there was no pressing need for the multiplication.  However, that experience now serves as a perpetual reminder to encourage me that God will supply all our needs according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus!

These personal accounts are just the tip of the provision iceberg in my life. Airplanes, money, food, and so forth., miraculously appearing have become all too common for me.

Remain in Shalom (peace, reassurance, and blessing).  Angels are working on behalf of those who put their trust in God.  God is your Savior; He is your Healer; He is your Provider.  What do you need?  Rest assured, It Will Appear!

Intelligent Faith

Intelligent Faith

As those who have entered into a covenant with God, we are not to follow him blindly, but rather through intelligent faith demonstrating diligence in His word and the teachings of Jesus. Intelligent faith is guided by certain principles. The below list a set of principles to help you employ intelligent faith. It is not meant to be all inclusive. It is just a guide.

Intelligent faith:

  • has a personal relationship with God, as David demonstrates in Psalm 42, 114, and 119.
  • comes by hearing the word of God often and then embracing it.
  • knows and can interpret scripture.
  • is not mental ascent. We steadfastly rely on God’s word and his unbreakable promises.  God’s word is His bond.
  • remembers God’s past performance and fidelity in our lives to project and produce more rigorous faith.
  • is black or white; it believes or it doesn’t.
  • recognizes a trial or rough patch as an opportunity for a miracle.
  • works with man and God toward an expected, celebrated outcome. In other words, God wants others in on your miracle.
  • ambushes doubt and defeats the lie of “God just doesn’t care.”
  • despite the circumstances, reaches up through the flood waters with outstretched hands, not in search of a life preserver, but rather in full worship and surrender. It demonstrates that God has not lost first place in our lives.
  • does not parrot the words of “fantasy faith,” which only disappoints. Fantasy faith declares, “I have divine health, bless God,” “I choose when I die,” or “I command the miracle in this moment.” Intelligent faith knows the parameters of the authority given it; the measure of faith built for the particular circumstance and surrenders the rest to God. Intelligent faith understands there must be present, the tangible unction or supernatural propulsion behind the decree.
  • recognizes when to make a request, to trust, to rest, and then witness God’s intervention. (Ephesians 6:13). It is in standing we witness God’s miracles.
  • has elements of endurance, links with others’ faith, and moves as a unit with God, the prayers of the righteous, and the angels.
  • counts all prayers of the righteous as important. The faithful fervent prayers of the righteous avail much. It doesn’t judge levels of “spirituality.” It looks upon the heart.
  • is ready and expectant for a positive outcome or miracle.
  • is not tested in the sunshine; it emerges out of a resolve to walk with God as a friend, partner, and life coach through the flood.  Intelligent faith knows that God sticks closer than a brother.
  • collects all the data when recognizing God’s hand in the situation. Every trial is considered part of God’s plan no matter how negative it may appear. “All things work together for the good for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose; not ours.
  • refuses to ask “Why have you forsaken me?” knowing full well that God does not forsake us.
  • knows the answer before it becomes tangible. Intelligent faith knows those who stand in the gap on our behalf, including the Holy Spirit, to effect a joyous outcome.
  • hears God all the time, even when tempted to rebel against His ways.
  • restores things better that before. Intelligent faith adds the victory to the case for God and His love for us.
  • knows his or her authority, the weapons of his or her warfare, and the difference between intelligent faith and blind faith.
  • knows we are never alone, and that the supernatural is always in operation. Intelligent faith apprehends the eternal as well as the temporal.





Come Back In, The Water is Warm

God is standing with open arms to receive those back, who in reality, never left. The Bible tells us that no one can snatch you from his grasp. We leave God in our heads when we listen to the enemy’s analysis of us. Those falsehoods propagated by the enemy against God and his children, are just that…propaganda.

Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, demons or whatever label you choose to ascribe to the prince of darkness, is a master communicator. His lies are brilliantly packaged. Mayhem and entrapment are brilliantly executed. When God creates something, it’s perfect in every way…until man’s will intervenes and then Satan’s gift makes room for him through his lies, hatred of God, and hatred of God’s redeemed.

Have you ever wondered from God’s presence, “fallen from grace”, and felt separated from the love of God? Romans 8 tell us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We can all return to the warm water. It is always there, always yours. The truth is, you never really left in God’s mind. He knows those who are His.

But, how do we return to God? The answer lies in our senses. Satan’s lies are sensual, tangible, appealing to the flesh. Our senses are likened to an imitation cubic zirconia diamond. Satan’s lies looks real, but has way too much flash to be real.

Satan is not defeated by wearing a cross, or speaking “I bind you.” He is defeated by quoting scripture until he relents. We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and power of the Word. I never understood “plead the blood”. The operation and function of the atonement are at work all day, every day. That circular cleansing that operates in us is constantly in effect. Talismans, chants, and clichés simply do not work. Far “less spiritual” folks get a lot further simply by quoting the words of Jesus or Psalm 91.

Perhaps you have gone all the way around the mountain, and the water, as God remains on His throne. However, God was with you the whole time. Come on back where the warm water is awaiting you. Return to His love and learn to use the “weapons of your warfare.” Come back for a cleansing and a fresh garment. God knew your situation all along. He has a place reserved for you, and will redeem the time!


Painting courtesy Yehoshua Wiseman, Israeli artist

The Misunderstood: Humility

We all ask God to help us be more humble; yet humility is one of the most misunderstood divine attributes. It is important to understand just what humility is, why it matters.

Humility may be the vital element missing in moving forward in life, business and relationships.

Humility begins with gratitude to Adonai (God) for everything. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. True humility recognizes God’s gifts, is amazed at the results, and then falls to the ground in awe of God’s willingness to bestow these gifts upon us.

Humility does not come natural to humans. It is the Mount Everest of virtues; seemingly impossible to attain. It requires us to be self-aware; very aware. Sometimes this awareness manifests itself in self-doubt. Can this virtue that God so genuinely prizes be truly achieved? I will share a little secret with you. If it were not possible for man to truly be humble, God would not require it.

It is possible.

Humility does not involve self-deprivation. We are made in God’s image. We are not worms; God refers to us as Kings and Priests. However, humility is God’s way of keeping us tight with Him in our earthly walk. Those who fail to seek humility often fall prey to pride which is the snare of darkness. It doesn’t work. As a matter of fact, pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Haughtiness is pride’s precursor, as it only results in a fall. It is pride’s warning light.

I have observed several people who truly walk in humility. They are more concerned with the whole team and God’s preferred outcome rather than what’s in it for them. They serve, contribute, and expect nothing but God’s excellent results in return. They are secure in themselves. They are not afraid to take a lower position to gain a higher level. They are competitive but play within the rules of the game. Their reward is helping others succeed.

Do not mistake greatness for pride. Do not mistake the operation of divine power in us for pride.
Do not mistake strength for pride. We need these.

Those who walk in pride often consider themselves to be self-made men or women. They act with disdain and arrogance toward those who walk in humility, treating God’s people as if they are of little value. And then there is pseudo humility which appears super humble and contrite. This comes as a result of not having a proper understanding of one’s true relationship with God. Pseudo humility is a nuisance, and in reality, is a form of self.

The devil is the prince of this world. He uses the venom of pride to destroy our destiny. Only knowledge, love of God, and vigilance can ensure avoiding this demon. We have to ask ourselves, does our prayer go like this, “God make me great so I can serve you” (already signs of pride), or does it go like this, “God anything I can do for you, with your help, I WILL it”?

Theodor Hertzl a Zionist forerunner once said, “If you will it, it is no dream” concerning the Zionist state of Israel. We can will to be humble and achieve God’s joy in seeing his will in action.

Humility is an hourly decision of the will. It must be a conscious part of our lives. Humility destroys pride, and renders to God a pure conscience. Humility understands there are two sides to everything. Humility understands it needs heaven’s intelligence as our information resources are limited. Humility gives the benefit of the doubt; it trusts God and his people. Humility leaves judgement for a later date to be reviewed by God.

We know the feeling of success, a completed project, recognition, even consistent excellence in all we do. Yet, God laughs. Humility and praise to God, acknowledging him in all, may very well open the door to another dimension of progress in our life. A door of opportunity we never dreamed to make a difference will open. True humility will lead to a Tikkun Olam (repairing of the world).

Albert Einstein never credited his great research, or his genius, to himself. He publicly credited his Theory of Relativity to a dream God handed him in trust. Even Einstein was surprised with what God had trusted him with. The proper response was to honor God and not himself.

We must walk with God in rhythm. We must be obedient to his word and to his will. Leave the impossible with God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Humility is the quiet hero, the empowered servant. It is the hidden secret of favor with God, that is, really, no secret.

#KEY: New Testament theology states in Galatians 5:22, the importance of the fruits of the Spirit.  Humility is the master of all these disciplines.


The Coach In You

A new phrase has arisen in Christian Ministry which is causing confusion. The term “Life Coach” sounds good, but has no biblical basis. There are Five-Fold offices; teachers, perhaps even mentorship. However I am hard pressed to find reference to a ‘life coach’. I want to offer my thoughts in describing this newly coined niche among ministers.

If I were to offer a description of Life Coach, it might read, “One who was once called to ministry but was compromised between God and man. A professional rebranding designed to save face after God’s termination of ministry service.”

Parallax vs Paraclete. We already have one called to be a Life Coach. The person of the Holy Spirit is the believer’s life coach. He is available to intercede and guide.  In Hebrew, the פרקליט (transliterated praklit), is our legal counsel. He is holy and is ready to  make you holy, whole and complete.  Parallax is the former ministry hybrid termed Life Coach. A Life Coach can be obscure in mission, offering no guaranteed outcomes, with non-biblical advice.  This ministry hybrid changes in the vision of the observer.

Jesus on the other hand remains constant, the same yesterday, today and forever.

A Life Coach is what you get when ministers try to tone down Jesus in order to make His message more palatable to those who love the world.  Life Coach is what ministers become when they no longer believe the message God sent them to deliver. I liken it to a large diamond that is clarity enhanced. It is fracture filled to improve clarity to an otherwise undesirable stone. It is a stone which may look good to the untrained eye, but one that has not increased in value. Fracture filled is ok, it’s just not natural.  It’s flashy, but not more valuable.

A Life Coach should not be confused with rehabilitative counseling in the case of our U.S. military veterans, or others who are experiencing a life crisis.  The life coaching I am referring to is self-help for self; unlocking more of self for self’s sake.  You get the idea.  After all, if someone gets addicted to the Life Coach he or she will also need the latest book or CD which of course includes some scriptures and scant reference to God.  Jesus may even have a brief cameo to justify the schemed theology.

A viable alternative would be sixty six referential library books with tons of self-help principles along with sound advice for teaching a person to fish and develop his or her own thirst for living water. I love the Hebrew word for drink or rather to cause one to drink. That word is (lahashkot-transliteration), and is more beautiful in Hebrew להשקות*. Some call it the Tanakh, or the Bible. It is referred to and inferred by Jesus in New Testament theology as living water. Can God actually cause us to drink? This is hope. This is the beginning of living again.

Check it out at a life—I mean a library near you. Finally, I would add, take the advice found in the sixty six self-help books I mentioned and add some quality time in prayer. You will receive all the help you need.

L’Chaim to life and the coach in you.



*Ulpan-Hebrew, Hebrew English lexicon


Angels Among Men



This article could be titled, “Angels and Debra, The Supernatural Norm.” I could fill volumes with my personal encounters with angels. I have found myself in countless situations where I was abandoned in the mountains, stranded in foreign countries, or in need of an airplane. I was once rescued off the side of a mountain by three huge mysterious “men” and a woman, in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. Several times, I have experienced the sudden appearance of money when there was none. I have appeared at hotels where reservations where mysteriously made for me. Was that a man, a woman, or an angel? Poof! They are gone in an instant.

The New American Standard Bible records this familiar passage from Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this, some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

The Bible is replete with scriptural validation of angels and their operations, purposes, rank, and temperament. For example, Luke Chapter 1:11-20 demonstrates the power of prayer and intergalactic operations of angels on a mission. Zacharias got a taste of rank and authority in His encounter with Gabriel.

The angel appeared to the elderly priest as Zachariah prayed and honored the Lord at the incense altar. Zechariah was doing the right things in the sight of God. His actions resulted in a personal annunciation from heaven and a mouth guard. Why the muting of Zachariah? Words have power. Angels are not only messengers, they are equipped to ensure God’s product is fully rendered in spite of man’s fallibility.

Angels are the unseen resistance. They are heaven’s “underground.” They operate in both clandestine and covert fashion. This means they sometimes make themselves known, or not. Angels have a will. They are created beings without a soul in the similar manner of God and man. However, they are not to be worshiped. They can be encountered, felt, commanded, provoked, and on occasion, seen. They are specialists. They operate in, and according to the laws of God. And, they will be judged by the believer according to the New Testament studies. It is important to believe, engage, and work with the knowledge of angels. However, it is also important not to get bogged down in details which are too “lofty” for us mere mortals to understand. Just know this, much of answered prayer is carried out by angels.

What types of angels are there? Good question. I am glad I asked. There are the cherubs; those pure rounded fierce warriors that guarded the entrance to Eden. There are military angels; huge, swift, strong, and powerful. On one occasion, my daughter and I have personally encountered this one. He is assigned to accompany us on dangerous missions and to mysterious places. There are guardian angels assigned to watch over us every day, during our time on earth. And then, there are even healing angels.

Sadly, there are the fallen angels. These are angels which rebelled against God and are no longer privileged to the glory and intelligence of heaven. They are also referred to as demons. Lucifer, or Satan is chief among them and is often referred to as the prince of darkness. No light exists in, or around them. Their only source of knowledge comes from what we say, and by studying our lives and habits. They are unclean, evil, and are constantly seeking avenues to gain unauthorized access into our lives, as well as the lives of our families and friends.

Angels have orders from heaven concerning our individual lives. Angels work in cooperation with those who obey, move, and are sensitive to God’s promptings. Angels appear to always be in a hurry. Their directives are sometimes audible, sometimes physical, and sometimes mind to mind. Angels cannot read our minds. Our thoughts, good or evil, are protected by God’s privacy act. Men will be judged in the court of heaven, on their actions, at a date to be disclosed by God himself.

The issue with most believers is the fear of doing something wrong concerning angels. The reality is that most people believe in the existence of angels. The facts concerning angels are completely uncontestable. The challenge first comes in the awareness of angels. Second, we must accept their operations as the supernatural standard.

Finally, we must understand what we can, and cannot command, or expect of our angels. Angels understand their roles and functions. They work in cooperation with man’s will and man’s words. We find a perfect example in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 10: 5-12, “…thy words were heard, and I am here for thy words”.  Another example can be found in Psalm 103:20, which reads, “Bless the LORD, all His angels of great strength, who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.”

Unfortunately, God’s humility and practicality is often eclipsed by man’s more “intelligent, logical” mental ascent. Some are too proud to call upon their angels for help, while others simply don’t how to activate them. But, here is an important truth. They are already activated, prepared, and anxious to be called upon. You just need to tune in, be mindful of them, and then command away. Do something for Heaven’s sake, but just make sure you are in line with God’s word.

Like many testimonies, most of my angelic encounters were as a result of taking risk. I put myself in a position knowingly, or unknowingly, where I needed angelic intervention. If you make a mistake, don’t worry; like Zacharias, you may be muted, but only for a season.

Go Ye. Know that God has His angels prepared to go with you. Vaya con Dios, as well as with His angels!


One Day Never Comes: The Dark Art of Procrastination


It is human nature to want to put off difficult tasks and decisions, especially those that effect other people. Why do we think through, and sometimes overthink a problem to the point where it interferes with the continuity of our daily lives? Why do we refer to procrastination as the dark art?

Too often, individuals saddle themselves with missed appointments, late work, and broken promises, frequently followed by one excuse after another. These types of behavior are a symptom of escapism, which we often label as the “freedom to choose”. The problem is that choices effect relationship with others, as well as with God. One bad choice can effect your future as well as the kingdom of God.

God provides his sentiments on the subject of keeping appointments in Chapter 23 of the book of Leviticus. Leviticus 23:2 reads, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The Lord’s appointed feasts (holy days) that you shall designate as holy occasions. These are My appointed (holy days).” God was very specific concerning holy appointments, to the point of designating dates and times. What conclusion can we draw from this scriptural narrative? Man requires a schedule to maintain a close relationship with God.

We build inner strength and endurance by keeping our word, and keeping appointments. Being prompt, timely, and decisive are marks of character and integrity. In essence, when we are strong in character  we reflect the character of God. We fulfill God’s command: “Sanctify yourselves and be holy: for I am holy.”

Holiness simply means living and acting with integrity. Holiness is ascribing to a set of morals and ethics pleasing to God, rather than delaying due to self-gratification or indecision. Holiness includes wholeness, providing us the power to contribute as a witness of heaven. Compromise, lying to others, breaking commitments, and promises may not have an immediate personal impact; however, sooner or later, the fabric of character is fractured. The momentum to pursue meaningful purpose is lost though the dark art of procrastination. The dark subtleties of distraction, to include those mesmerizing technological devices, or “waiting” for a phenomenal encounter to emerge, only serves to allow more time for sand to pass quickly through the hourglass of life.

It just may be the most menial task, or the undesirable appointment, in which we find our greatest breakthrough. Don’t hesitate. Make that decision or complete that task. Otherwise, you may miss the divine opportunity or appointment with no second chance in sight. Don’t tempt God with the expectation of constant “do overs”. God can and will move His second and third choices up.

Procrastination is the assassination of motivation! It is the wolf in sheep’s clothing that devours our opportunity for living life to the fullest. How can God give us something new, when we have not completed the last thing we committed to? Scripture tells us not to wait for the clouds to perfectly align before we act on a command, an inspiration, a hope, or a dream.

Dream. Think. Plan. Act.

I love the Hebrew word for now! (ach’shav, עכשו).

“One day”…is עכשו (ach’shav), not tomorrow.



Returning Jesus To Judaism

Returning Jesus to Judaism

“The Jews murdered Jesus; the Savior of the world.” The cross, the crusades, and the conversions. The destruction of the Second Temple. Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Martin Luther later taught on “the Jews and their lies.” And then there was the Hitler with his Final Solution to the Jewish problem. Even today, there is a line of teaching that the Church has replaced Israel (known as the Doctrine of Supercessionism).

But Jesus was Jewish, or at least a “token Jew.” However this is far from the truth. There was absolutely nothing token about Him. The reality is that Jesus was King of the Jews. The fact that Jesus came from Jewish lineage is indisputable. The purpose of this teaching is to return the “Christian Jesus” to His appropriate Jewish context so that we can properly bridge the relationship between the Jewish and Christian communities.

Jesus will be the first to tell you that He came for His own…“but to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16). He also conveyed that He must go to other sheep not of this fold (John 10:16). That is to say, He came to be the Messiah for all nations, to include both Jews and gentiles. During the time of Jesus, it was common practice for the kohanim, or priests, to sacrifice seventy animals representing the gentile nations (Numbers 29:12-40). So, it should be no surprise that any good Jewish Savior would be willing to make a provision of sacrifice for the non-Jewish nations.

Why is returning Jesus to Judaism so relevant? It is not relevant to the gentile who embraces Jesus’ eternal sacrifice, teachings, provisions, and privileges to all who call him Savior. These people are good to go. However, it is extremely germane to the global Jewish community who have suffered “in the name of Jesus.”

Christianity was a deeply Jewish phenomenon in the first century, leading into the second century. In the beginning, we understand Jesus was Jewish, the Apostles are Jewish, and everyone who argued with Jesus and did not followed him was, well, Jewish. Those who followed Jesus, and were not Jewish, sought whether they needed to convert to Judaism in order to truly follow Him and His teachings. So, in fact, there was a conundrum. Many in the Jewish establishment did not follow Him, and those non-Jews who chose to follow Him, were unsure if they were required to convert to Judaism.

Jesus was first and foremost, a student and lover of the Torah and Moses. Very few Jewish scholars would disagree with this. Jesus attended synagogue with His parents and made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the high holy days. Among the four sects of Judaism: Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots; Jesus identified as a Pharisee.

The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, a central truth in Rabbinical Judaism. Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees did not enjoy “hard power” with the occupying Romans. The Pharisees were the Rabbis who thrived in groups of teaching or the early “yeshivas.” They had great popularity and support on the ground as local leaders. They avoided the political fray, and elitism of the Sadducees who represented the establishment. The High Priest Caiaphas, was an example of the Sadducee sect.

The Pharisees’ message and doctrine appealed to the ordinary people of the day. That is why Jesus’s message took off – he spoke plainly to the common people. He was viewed as an early populist. Jesus went about teaching and preaching the Kingdom of God in towns and villages and His fame spread among the land (Matthew 9:26,31,35).

Jesus would have quoted Hillel, a prominent Pharisee of His time, whose teachings are still studied today in the Pirket Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, and other sage Jewish publications. Jesus would have been around twelve years old when Hillel passed. Yet, Jesus was educated on the doctrine and wisdom of Hillel. Additionally, as we know, Jesus was an ardent student of the written and oral law. Many of Jesus’s sayings, such as “turn the other cheek”, and “love your neighbor as yourself” came directly from the law.

We then have to ask, why was Jesus so hard on the Pharisees? According to Dr. Henry (Hillel) Abramson, a well-known Hebraic professor, Jesus was somewhat “rebellious” concerning the Pharisees’ teachings and doctrine. A little known fact is that the Rabbis’ held ultimate authority in interpretation and dissemination of the Torah and as stewards of Temple affairs. We know that Jesus was more concerned about God and man’s relationship with God than the Pharisees’ doctrine.

Jesus, in typical Jewish Rabbinical fashion, challenged the status quo. As a popular Jewish saying goes, “Two Jews, three opinions.” The New Testament account in Matthew 9:34 emphasizes how many Pharisees sat under the same instruction, yet had different conclusions and results concerning Jesus. These teachers were considered mishpacha, or family to Jesus. As with all families, healthy debate and discussion is always present. This disagreement and division led to a Jewish breakaway movement that, to this present day, shows no sign of slowing down. We now know this as the “Parting of the Ways.”

In contrast, the Essenes were kind of the weirdo types who took numerous daily mikvahs (ritual purification baths), ate, slept, and worked on writings that would later be discovered as the Dead Sea Scrolls, in a place called Qumran. Further evidence of an Essenes community is found in Jerusalem, near Mount Zion.* The Zealots, on the other hand, were the Jewish rebel forces who took on the Romans, or at least, gave it their best shot. They would not hesitate to kill their own Jewish brethren if they failed to support their fight against the Romans, or stood in the way of their mission.

The Jewish Jesus message of good news rapidly spread under a prominent religious, educated, zealous, Pharisee. This man, Saul of Tarsus, is commonly thought of as one of the ten most influential Jews in world history. He is more affectionately known in New Testament theology as the Apostle Paul. Saul was chosen by Jesus to spread the gospel of Jesus after his life changing encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.

The Jewish character of Jesus has been lost in translation among the gentile nations who have historically outnumbered the small Jewish population. The parting of the ways for Jews and Christians began to widen as new believers were not familiar with Synagogue life, Jewish law, observance of feasts, and High Holy days. Paul, as a Jewish leader, was betwixt as to the application and implementation of Jewish law as God fearing gentile converts came to Jesus. Issues such as cleanliness and circumcision had little relevance to the original “sheep of other pastures.” The Jews also had their own form of jurisprudence, civil law, and distinct court system under Roman rule. Early gentile believers, or Christians, did not have those privileges.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, for example, as in the case of John whom Jesus loved, other circumcised Jews began to depart from the practices of Judaism and Temple life. Excommunication out of the synagogue, jurisprudence, and Jewish family life was an oxymoron. After all, Jesus was a Rabbi, and their teacher; He was a miracle worker. “We are all Jews.” What was the problem?

The new Jewish movement led by Jesus, became outnumbered by those wanting a taste of this new phenomenon. They heard the Jewish Apostles preach and witnessed wondrous miracles in the name of Jesus. His crowds of up to five thousand people and miracles of multiplication could not be refuted. Healing lines grew, the demon possessed were freed from torment, and Jesus taught as one having authority. But wait. All Rabbis had authority, right? This exceptional Rabbi taught with authority from above, he was set apart from the others, as signs, wonders, and miracles followed Him. There was overwhelming evidence of Jesus and His powerful ministry. His existence and work in the first century could not be disputed.

So, why isn’t Jesus accepted as the Messiah among the Jews of the past and the Jews of today? In the beginning, Jesus’s followers were Jewish believers and converts to His teachings. Among the masses, there were many who claimed the role of Messiah then, as well as today. Early Rabbis and synagogues were faced with the dilemma of allowing Jesus’s Jewish followers to worship alongside non-believing Jews. The Jewish leaders decided that the two could not co-exist. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, expressed the greatest displeasure over the ruling. In 200 C.E. came the Mishnah, or a written redaction of Oral Torah. It is comprised of major Rabbinic works which include legal interpretation not recorded in the Torah, or Five Books of Moses. T he introduction of the Mishnah may have put the nail in the coffin concerning the parting of the ways between Jewish believers in Jesus and Jews today.

According to traditional Jewish teaching, Jesus did not meet or exceed the Messianic expectations outlined in scripture. While He is considered a prophet and sage, even quoted by Jewish scholars and included in the Pirket Avot, Jesus still failed to meet expectations. He did not gather the Jews from around the world in one place called Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6). He did not bring world peace, end hatred, suffering, or disease (Isaiah 2:4), and He did not conquer Israel’s enemies. He did not build the Third Temple. He was not seen as a universal savior, nor one who made atonement by wiping clean (a Yom Kippur upgrade of sorts) mankind’s sins by the shedding of His blood (which makes atonement Leviticus 17:11). Finally, Jesus did not spread the universal knowledge of the God of Israel, fulfilling the essence of the Shema which stated “He is one and His name shall be one.”

The covenant, stewardship, Torah, laws, education, economic advancement, science, arts, priesthood, spreading of the monotheistic belief in one God was given at Mount Sinai, to a group of people, which would eventually become known as the Jews. The Jews would be persecuted and reminded of Jesus’s death for centuries. Yet, the Jew who started it all identified with persecution, suffering, taking in His body the hatred for the one God of Israel and this peculiar people. Jesus was both student and teacher of Judaism, lover of Torah, lover of God, and lover of His people. He was both physically and spiritually circumcised in covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A Jew rich enough to offer the good things of God and heaven to all of mankind.

The Holocaust demonstrated the hatred for God; it was not a defense of Christianity. True Christianity loves Israel, respects and learns from the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim), and the sages. The endurance of the Israelites and Jewish people is a living validation of their relevancy and the importance for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. The Jews continue to survive. Their purpose, and contributions are revolutionary. The shekinah glory of God pours through the reading of Torah, the prayer of Shema, the kindling of the Shabbat lights, the beauty, and unified identification of the high holy days and feasts.

The law is a good thing. People need guidelines and boundaries. They help preserve and keep a people and nation on course. However, not everyone wants these Jews and their laws. Jesus did not have problem with God’s laws; oh how He loved His law. He had a problem with the assumed theological authority by the so-called spiritual leaders. These leaders would not allow the Torah reading without Rabbinical commentary or authoritative dictates.

What about Isaiah 53, and the fulfillment of prophecy?  Conventional “Christian” are right–Jews are wrong! Funny thing, the older a child becomes, the wiser his parents are. Judaism holds the parental role for Christianity. The Rabbi and disciple of Rabbi Hillel, Ben Bag Bag, admonished his students as it pertained to Torah. He said “Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it, reflect on it and grow old and gray with it, for nothing is better than it.” There is no such thing as secular Judaism. A Jew has an obligation to observe the Shabbat, pray the Shema, and fulfill his covenant with Hashem. He or she also has an obligation to pursue mitzvoth and the mission of Tikkun Olam (repairing of the world). The Jewish role and its significance has not gone away. Christians, oftentimes excuse themselves of Biblical study and works under the interpretation of “grace.” Jews are not all wrong and Christians are not all right. Each person must face the issue of Jesus in their own spiritual quest.

Shalom Jesus, welcome back to Judaism. We can learn from you. There is no longer fear of this Jesus when we understand Him as He really is. Jesus is the chief Jew among Jews. His example was as the ‘captain of captains” of spirituality, mitzvot, and miracles. The time has come in Judaism  to reexamine this beloved, controversial Jesus who’s following show no signs of slowing down.

*Jesus and Archaeology-James H. Charlesworth, William B. Eardman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids Michigan. 2006