Read the Word Publicly

Just a note to let you know that we’ve posted a new article to the website titled Read the Word Publicly. We advocate reading large portions of the first five books of the Bible and the first five of the New Testament. We use an annual reading schedule that is popular in synagogues called the Parasha or Portion, except we modify it with New Testament readings. It takes a while in our meetings to read eight or ten chapters, but in a lot of ways it is much better than preaching.

The article is about eight pages and covers a number of reasons for why we think this should be a widespread practice among people who genuinely follow Jesus. Click on this link or copy and paste into your browser.

http://www.wholebible.com/read_the_word_publicly.htm

Oh yeah. The new Manna for Whole Bible Christians reading schedule booklet ready for printing is also posted on the site at

http://www.wholebible.com/Manna/MannaBooklet17_18.pdf

Shalom

Bruce

Whole Bible Christianity, The Book

Our book Whole Bible Christianity has finally been published! It is on Amazon at this link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997501413/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1DQVER67Q2HMX&coliid=I1RPTLB6JQO1FI

There is a Look Inside feature, you can flip between the front and back cover, and it is only $19.50. If you would prefer, we will have the entire text on a web page when we update our website so you can read it online.

The book has about 800 direct quotes from the Word, around 1,500 entries in the Scripture Index, and is about 340 pages. One of the many uses of the book is as a handbook for whole Bible Christians everywhere who need a reference to help counter attacks against a whole Bible lifestyle. Chapter 7 deals with a bunch of the objections to following God’s living oracles, and chapter 8 has a list of blessings from doing what Jesus says.

Let us know what you think, and make sure to post a review on Amazon if you would be so kind.

Shalom
Bruce

The Lie

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8–12, AV)

There’s been a lot of discussion at times over the nature of the “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Some think it’s a special lie just for the end times, like a campaign promise by the Beast. That is the context anyway; the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed and then people will believe a lie. The lie could be one of the things that the Beast will be peddling, which is his claim of Messiah-ship. Or it could be the lie that we can be gods, which the power behind the Beast (the serpent or deceiver) has been trying to sell since the Garden.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5, AV)

According to Strong’s Lexicon (4106), the word delusion is related to “wandering” (from truth) and “deceit.” Sounds like a campaign promise to me. We can see the desire for this campaign promise to be true all around us. I like superhero movies as much as the next guy, but the one commonality they all have is the idea that if we just had more strength we could solve all man’s problems. They sell the lie that we can solve everything without God. All we need are super powers.

You can see the lie in the desire for cheap, abundant energy. Like the push for figuring out fusion energy in movies like ‘Chain Reaction.’ The idea there is we can solve all mankind’s ills if we just had more power.

You can see a form of the lie in the slavish devotion to science. Scientists (mostly) push the thought that we could solve all of man’s ills if we just had more knowledge. The doctrine of evolution is designed to give substance to the lie by implying that knowledge is just around the corner. We just need to keep “evolving.” The knowledge that the scientists think we need doesn’t include knowledge of God. Just knowledge. This assumes that if we had the knowledge we would also have the wisdom to use it. History shows just how much of a lie that is.

Pay close attention. The lie in all it’s forms is simply that we can do without God. We might not actively be calling ourselves “gods,” but that is exactly what we are doing – trying to become as God. Pursuing power (omnipotence), knowledge (omniscience) and presence everywhere (omnipresence) through TV, the internet, and radio are parts of the same lying principle. We want to believe that if we just had a little more (something) we could solve everything and live long lives in peace and happiness. Just don’t include God in that something.

The Beast will probably use all of these elements in selling his Messiah-ship to the unbelieving world. In deceit he will present himself as God and exalt himself above all that is called God, but will not have a tenth part of what makes up God. So he is doomed to failure. In part at least much of the “progress” of science and technology is nothing more than enabling the kingdom of the serpent to flourish. The deceiver cannot be all powerful, or all knowing, or all present. But with nuclear weapons, a bag of “all power and signs and lying wonders,” some science, evolution principles, TV and fast transportation he can come close. And he will, for a while. But like everything built without God it will fall apart of it’s own lack of substance. Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.

No matter what we try we come up short when we wander away from the truth of God. It wouldn’t matter if we had super powers or abundant cheap energy or if we could be everywhere at once. The deceit of that thinking would be evident as we continued to have the same problems we always have without God in our lives. Whatever we build will fall apart. The power of whatever government we invent will lean to tyranny without Him. If we lack God we lack that basic something that actually gives life and that more abundant. Nothing we try without Him will work. We are doomed to failure if we believe the lie. There is no way that we will be successful or complete without submitting to the source of all things good.

Shalom,
Bruce

Hating Religion

It seems fashionable nowadays to talk about hating religion but loving Jesus. One young man (Jefferson Bethke) has even made a career out of it, starting with a youtube video of a rap song he created titled ‘Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.’ It has over 27,546,644 views, so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Others are writing books, like the

book by Alex Himaya. He’s a pastor of a church that has grown from 120 to over 5,500 people in eight years (by his own testimony), so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Um. No. Neither are correct, at least from a biblical standpoint.

Why? Because they only offer two choices – religion or no religion for one thing. For another, they confuse (as many people do) Bible teachings. They are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They both define religion as “following rules,” when they should distinguish between God’s rules (the Law) and man’s rules.

There is good religion and bad religion. Bad religion defined correctly is man reaching for God or trying to get to God on man’s own terms. I prefer to call this “man’s traditions.” Good religion is following God’s rules written on a heart of flesh by the Spirit in love. We can call this “God’s traditions.” Also known as The New Covenant.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34, ESV)

Man’s traditions can include some of the Bible, but frequently are way outside what God requires. God’s traditions, however, are always good. We can follow His rules or laws with confidence that they are living oracles, a light to our path, a guide to eternal life, and in every way huge blessings and a beneficial lifestyle.

It is true that God hates man’s efforts, in his own knowledge and pride, to connect with Him. From fig leaves in the Garden to works righteousness by following some laws (even His), He has always discouraged man’s efforts to buy a stairway to heaven. The opposite is to use the free stairway of His Word, the stair steps of His Laws, statues, commands, and charge, a ticket to which has been secured by the blood of His Son our Messiah. Even repentance is a command.

Just because people have a big church (which in my opinion isn’t biblical) or a lot of views on youtube, that doesn’t make them right. Popularity to me is suspicious, because generally people don’t like the truth. Truth is too uncomfortable. Ear tickling is more fun. When the popular kids are poking at you for following His laws, remember that they are only using part of the Bible. We need to fill them in on true religion. God’s religion. The New Covenant. The Law written on a heart of flesh by the Spirit. God’s traditions followed in love.

Shalom
Bruce

The Book of Job

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:22, ESV)

The book of Job can be puzzling, especially when trying to compare the commentaries with the actual words being spoken. It helps if we realize that these events probably happened around or just before the time of the patriarchs (Job might’ve been a distant neighbor of Abraham or perhaps just before Abraham’s time). For one thing Job lives 140 years after these events (Job 42:16), and he had to have been upwards of perhaps 60 or 80 years or more to have what he had (10 kids, huge flocks and herds). That kind of life span was evident just before the time of Abraham.

The book seems simple enough on the surface. God thinks Job is doing a good job of following God, but Satan says Job worships God only because he is paid (has a hedge of protection). So God gives the okay to test the theory. Of course, true to his nature, the Satan hits Job with every bad thing he can think of. He never hits with good stuff, does he?

Job has his children and possessions taken away, and eventually his health. The verse above is inserted after he loses family and home, but before his health is taken away. After his health is hammered he still keeps his head though.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9–10, ESV)

As he’s sitting in misery he has four friends come to visit. They are appalled at his condition and spend some time just sitting with him.
Soon enough, however, they begin a discussion of the causes of the misery. Job’s argument boils down (you should know by now how much I like puns) to a protest that he is righteous and should not be treated this way.

You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me. Behold, he finds occasions against me, he counts me as his enemy, he puts my feet in the stocks and watches all my paths.’ (Job 33:9–11, ESV)

The first three friends think he must’ve done something wrong against God. Both groups miss the point: there are reasons for suffering other than our lack of righteousness. The fourth friend (Elihu) is younger and stays quiet until towards the end of the book (chapter 32). Then he pops his cork because the three older friends can’t adequately answer Job’s protests of innocence. Elihu’s arguments center around the wisdom of God, and the fact that Job’s wisdom doesn’t even come close.

“Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend against him, saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. (Job 33:12–14, ESV)

This dovetails with God’s response which at it’s root says the same thing. God has reasons for doing things that usually go way past what we know. He formed everything, and many of His plans for it we can only guess at. The main point of the book (and many other exchanges between man and God) is that God doesn’t do anything wrong (as our verse at the start of this article states so eloquently).

Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. (Job 34:12, ESV)

As Elihu speaks, a storm moves in and he uses some of the visuals to make his point. Pretty quickly we see that God is in the storm and speaks to Job from a whirlwind. Job (and the three friends) are rebuked quite strongly, with God telling them that all they know is not all there is. He shuts them all down with a series of questions the answers of which demonstrate His unequaled wisdom, power, and love. Job hastens to repent.

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:3–6, ESV)

As I said, the key to this book is that we don’t charge God with wrong. Sometimes we suffer because we did something wrong. Sometimes we suffer because we did something right. And sometimes we suffer for reasons that go beyond our knowledge to fathom. In all things we do not question the wisdom of God to order things as He sees fit. He is good, there is no shadow of turning in Him, and all things work together for good to them that love Him back. We turned from Him in the Garden and our counsel is darkened without Him to shed light. We might be saved, but we are still under the curse until He makes all things right. In the meantime we do not charge Him with wrongdoing, instead accepting His wisdom in both good and bad events of our lives. We look forward to the revelation of more of His wisdom and love in our final redemption at the establishment of His throne on earth through His Son our Messiah Jesus the Christ.

Shalom,
Bruce

Lessons for Taking the Word of God Literally

A lot of people have a hard time accepting all of the Bible as God’s Word to be taken literally. Those of us who see it just fine are getting attacked left and right by those such as atheists who focus on a verse out of context or a concept like capital punishment that they personally find abhorrent. So through this short post I’m going to give out a couple clues that solve the problems of defending the Word for many believers. We’re lacking in clues I think because of our own teachings such as splitting the Word into “old” and “new” testaments, “church” replacing “Israel,” an “age of grace” as opposed to an “age of law” (or whatever other ages we make up) and “Jesus died so we could eat a ham sandwich.” Two clues in particular are balance and continuity.

Balance means that all of the words from God are considered together. God (and His Word) is perfectly balanced between judgment and mercy, grace and law, love and holiness. He doesn’t stop being loving to judge wrongdoers. When He gives a Law, He is not diminishing grace. A penalty such as stoning given for the breaking of a Law is just as gracious as the offer of forgiveness if one repents of sin (not leading to death). The grace is in warning others that similar behavior results in death. Stoning is like a sign post telling other people not to drive off a cliff. People have plenty of warning that certain behavior will result in capital punishment. Usually people just bull ahead knowing that it is wrong in the first place. God-given conscience tells them it is wrong, but hard hearts won’t listen. When they cease listening, that is when they are truly “stoned.”

He doesn’t stop being gracious in order to tread the winepress of His wrath. How is this so? Would you believe that treading out the winepress of His wrath IS grace? In order to have cleanliness, you have to take out the trash! If He wants a perfect kingdom with tons of blessings and no death (and He does) God must insist on removing the rot.

Continuity means that He (or His Words) are always the same. What is holy is always holy. What is not holy is always not holy. False problems are created when we try to explain His Law any other way. If we manufacture a grace that excludes Law, then we have a problem explaining judgment. If we (falsely) say that Law is “old” and grace is “new” then we have to reconcile what happens to people who don’t accept it (usually turning to the mystic lie of universalism).

It’s not God’s Word that has the problems. It is people who look at only part of it, like the blind guys trying to figure out an elephant. Remember, we started out in perfection in the Garden. If you want to find a comparison to use for where we should be, use that one.

God Approaches

It’s morning, Yom Kippur, otherwise known as the Day of Atonement. I wake up thinking about the approach of God. He comes in clouds and thick darkness with lightning and flame of fire to judge the earth. I get up to meet Him.

I shower, but I still don’t think I’m clean enough. My clothes are some of my best, but they are not adequate to cover me. I am naked beneath His searching gaze. The earth shakes; the sky reels. Is this what they call a vision, or have I been transported to a mountain? The very air is heavy with the edge of His holiness and white with the light of His glory. I seem to see a flaming sword in one hand and stars in the other as He approaches from on high. I am terrified. I fall to my knees in supplication hoping that His judgment passes over me. As he comes closer my strength fails and I fall prostrate and blind before the majesty and might of my creator.

His voice is like a shout, like the blast of a thousand trumpets. A mighty noise, and then sudden quiet. There is a touch on my shoulder. Strength flows from that light contact. Still fearful, I open my eyes to see the dirt, and without moving look to the sides to see if I can see who touched me. The touch on my shoulder again. More strength flows in. A regular voice says, “Be not afraid. Rise and speak.” He uses a name for me that I recognize but have not heard before. I get to my feet to see a man standing. He is a little shorter than I, brown skinned and barefoot dressed in a white robe.

His darker skin is the canvas for the white scars on his forehead, light brush strokes on a smooth brow. He looks young, but his eyes are very still and I sense ancient depths. He holds up a hand in peace. His sleeve falls a little and I can clearly see a scar in his wrist.

“My lord and my God,” I say. “You sent for me?”

“I sent an invitation to everyone to meet me on this Day” He says. “I am glad you accepted.”

“But when,” I ask, “did you invite me here?”

He replies, “The invitation was in the book I gave you. You read it and agreed to meet with me here. Walk with me now, and let us talk.”

“As you wish,” I say. He speaks a word that makes me blink, and when I open my eyes I am at my house. But I can still hear Him talking.

“I am with you always,” He says, “though you may not be able to see me the same way all the time. We are together, you in me and I in you. Each word of mine that you take to heart will make your vision clearer, your hearing sharper. Soon you will see me in all my glory. Tell me what is on your mind. Share with me your fears and sorrows. Speak of your concerns for your family, your friends, your country. Let me hear what moves you. Let us walk together like this always whether I am seen or unseen.”

“Your will is my will,” I answer.

“It is enough,” He says.

Day of Wrath

Saturday is the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. On this day, and this day only, when we had a temple the high priest would go into the holy of holies and apply the blood of the sacrifice to the mercy seat of the Aron Khodesh, also known as the Ark of the Covenant. He had to do it in a very specific way, with no deviation, or he would die. There was a time far back in history when the high priest had to go in with a rope tied around his ankle for fear he wouldn’t do things right and would die. If he did then others could drag him out without going in themselves and risking the same death.

 

The Day of Atonement was a day associated with wrath, smoke and burning. There are two facets to the smoke and burning. Either there was a sufficient sacrifice for sin, or there wasn’t. One type of smoke and burning was from the acceptable sacrifice, and God’s wrath was turned away. The other facet of smoke and burning was the wrath of God directed at people who did not have an acceptable sacrifice.

 

The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. (Zephaniah 1:14–17, ESV)

 

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus the Yom Kippur sacrifice looked forward to the offering of His own blood on our behalf. Now we remember that work in humility, but we still look forward to that final day of judgment and fast and pray for those who aren’t prepared. Those of us who believe have accepted His sacrifice and God’s wrath on this day is turned away. Those who haven’t accepted Jesus are risking the burning anger of God. This is why we “afflict ourselves” (fast) as it says in Leviticus 16:29 and other places. We bow our heads in humility remembering the sacrifice, and the cost of that sacrifice for our sins. We also fast and pray for repentance that everyone would likewise accept God’s Word and humble themselves.

 

Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the LORD. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD. (Zephaniah 2:1–3, ESV)

 

Some misguided people make a big deal out of exactly which day to have the holy days of the Lord. There is no procedure outlined for us in the Word, but there are people who want to help God out by splitting hairs about the new moon (which indicates the start of the month). They are missing the point about the whole thing. Majoring in the minors. Forsaking unity and brotherhood to push their “holier than thou” agenda. This kind of quibbling is proof that the Word does not dwell in their hearts, because love dwells with the Law and love is not in these arguments. I’ve seen many who not only quibble about this kind of minor detail but other non-biblical issues such as head coverings while at the same time ignoring more salient and weightier issues such as love and honoring others. It’s not just me, either. Watch them yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Remember the Law in its entirety with love and the Spirit in a heart of flesh. Don’t get caught up in quibbling with the quibblers. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches. Repent. Love God. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

 

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:1–6, ESV)

Judging with Righteous Judgment Pt. 4 – Honor Parents

The admonition to honor father and mother is one of the toughest to apply in these “progressive” times. Parents are not always right. In fact many of them are consistently very, very wrong. Too many are listening to liberal philosophies of men and ignoring what God says for living and raising kids. We (especially older “we’s”) can point fingers at the younger generation’s growing refusal to honor their elders, but not without the proverbial three fingers pointing back at us. The parents are the ones that produced the younger generation. If they have shortcomings it’s obvious that we are the ones who made them that way. We don’t follow God’s ways ourselves, but then wonder why our children turn out to be so lawless.

 

That doesn’t let the youngsters off the hook, though. Sooner or later they grow up, and make their own choices. Frequently they take the hard work and sacrifice of parents and squander it on selfish decisions (like the prodigal son). There are other role models than parents they can look to, and many biblical helps available if they used their “free will” to choose them. God tells us that in the last days the love of many will wax cold (that means get colder and colder for you modern graduates of the public school system).

 

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12, AV)

 

“Iniquity” is none other than lawlessness. Living without the Law. The church leads the way in this department with many many excuses for why they don’t follow parts or the whole of the Law. So not only do parents share the blame for the fecklessness of the younger generation, but churches are bearing a chunk of the blame too.

 

The primary meaning of “honor” is to take care of your parents when they need it. This includes financial help, or help with living arrangements, or legal assistance.

 

For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:10–13, ESV)

 

It also means to respect your elders for the good things they do and forgive them for the bad things. Parents can make it tough to be honored. Sometimes they refuse help. Other times they just aren’t deserving of help. Honoring parents does not mean you agree with everything they do or say. Sometimes too, we cannot honor our fathers and mothers because they are far from the faith. In that case perhaps the best you can do is to just be ready to honor them, avoid bad attitudes, and forgive.

 

I try to honor my adoptive mother (father’s gone now) but she really makes it tough. She has wandered from the faith and has hard feelings towards me. She sort of booted me out of her life a year ago and “adopted” another son (a son of a friend) to take care of her end of life issues. I still honor her in prayer and attitude though, and if I get a chance I will honor her as she needs in other ways too.

 

I can’t properly communicate how pleased I am that my kids honor their parents. Mostly. 🙂 They have financially helped us quite a bit in these tough economic times. My daughter and son-in-law in particular give their tithe to us. This will redound to their heavenly bank account in multiples. I’m not taking any of that away from them with public praise because they are not doing it for that reason. They are doing it because they are honoring God and honoring their parents. But it doesn’t hurt to give them some praise anyway because they’ll be picking our nursing home too!

 

Righteous judgment begins in the individual with self-analysis and application. Honoring parents is a part of it. Not as a take-it-or-leave-it suggestion, but as bedrock for any other blessings God wants to give us.

 

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:2–3, ESV)

Encouragement

This is kind of an odd time in the history of man for communication. We can instantly speak with almost anyone anywhere in the world. In spite of knowing this we sometimes lose sight of the fact that when we post on our whole Bible blog and our Facebook page we have brothers and sisters in many other countries who have liked our pages and read what we write. When you live in the U.S. with all of the freedoms we have it is very easy to forget that things are not so great in other parts of the world. Especially for Christians.

 

We have battles here too, but they are pretty tame in comparison. We don’t have to worry about getting raped and shot on the way to the grocery store like Bernadette in Egypt does (unless we live in Chicago or Detroit). We don’t have to think much about what we’d do if somebody threatened to hang us unless we converted to Islam as one brother suffered recently. We don’t have to figure out if we can forgive the person who is cutting our throat or the throats of our children or grand children. Nobody here threatens us with economic or physical harm (well, maybe a little economic harm sometimes) for our faith like they do in many Muslim or communist countries. When we wear tassels on our pants we don’t have to think that they might make us a target for a pagan bullet. If we rest on Sabbath or observe the Passover here it only marks us as a little weird. The church might not be comfortable with it, but they aren’t plotting to burn down or blow up our houses. At least not yet.

 

But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. (Ecclesiastes 9:4, ESV)

 

So it seems a little lame for us to try and encourage those brothers and sisters who are suffering as we don’t have to at the moment. But it is not lame for God. Our Messiah Yeshua suffered as many of us have suffered since the beginning. He was (and is, and will be) victorious, and promises we will be too if we persevere. Everything is in His hands, and not even a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing about it. He sees, and He knows what is going on with His children. He will repay, and no unbeliever will escape His vengeance. I hope I can remember this and cling to it when it comes my turn.

 

Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:18–22, NRSV)

 

We feel helpless to do anything to alleviate your terror and suffering, and “praying for you” just doesn’t seem adequate. But we do pray, and we do speak of you often to the Father. We give to certain organizations that help somewhat with some needs, and can perhaps get you to another country where it’s safer. (Consider Israel if you can’t make it to our country. As dumb as they are sometimes and even though they are at the center of the storm God will protect the apple of His eye.) Our God is bigger than all of this, and will supply all your needs. There is a plan, and a promise, and He will always be faithful and will never let us down.

 

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21–24, ESV)
It’s going to get worse for us all before it gets better, but it will get better. We win. This is our hope.

 

Shalom