Here on Torah for Women you will often see the name Jesus or the word "God" appearing alone in the sentence, or in parenthesis following Yeshua (Jesus) and Yahweh (God) or Abba (father). There's a very good reason for this: one of our goals here is to share His teaching, Torah, with everyone that we can, everyone He brings to this site. Jew and gentile, believer and non-believer, follower and seeker. This includes those who identify as Messianic and Christian, no matter what sub-group, denomination, or doctrine you profess. We are here to deliver the truth to all that come and in terms they and you understand.
I am sure many of you have been there, at the beginning of your journey, hearing all the discussion about which name is correct and which ones are pagan or not. Maybe you switched from Yeshua, to Yahushua, to YAHshua, to YEHshua, and back again. From YHVH (yod hay vav hay) to Yehovah, to Yahweh. Maybe you are even still looking for the correct pronunciations of Moshe (Moses), Shimon (Simon), Yakov (Jacob, also known as James), and Yochanan (John). Then, what happens when suddenly the name of Jesus slips out of your mouth because you have used it for 30, 40, 50 years, and it is what you know, all you have known, and are used to using?
This is a legitimate internal struggle for some and sometimes a stressful time because they have a deep desire to please God in every aspect of their lives. They have read the promises about saying His name, and they have a deep desire to not "get it wrong". Some are almost fearful that He won't answer prayers or hear them if they say his name "incorrectly".
That is why you will see us use Yeshua (Jesus, sometimes even Christ), Yahweh (God), and Abba (Father) when we discuss topics or publish books. Everyone, everywhere is at different levels of understanding and learning. We cannot know their understanding just by starting a conversation with them for a few minutes or quickly chatting with them online, and we cannot know who we will reach with our teachings.
In the Torah movement, we have seen everything from individuals who are trying to teach people the basics and Hebrew names with loving kindness to pure inexcusable venom, insulting and hurting people until they are crushed. I honestly cannot say I have seen it all because, sadly, I seem to be surprised each week by someone new that I meet who crosses a line into wickedness toward another believer. It pains me to see the whole thing play out.
As followers of Yahweh, we can either choose to be forceful and harsh, gentle and mild, or somewhere in between. Or we can choose to follow His spirit and teach the truth. His truth. As Yeshua taught. We are keepers of His word, seekers of His truths ourselves, you know. Weren't we once there, in that place, trying to discover, trying to figure things out?
In daily life we come in contact with so many people, and we may find that we need to adapt the message for their comprehension. I am not suggesting or even implying that we adapt it to compromise or soften His Truth, as so many in the churches are doing today. However, we must be ready to teach in "their language," just as you would teach someone in Chinese, French, or any other foreign language, while still holding firm to The Word.
This was driven home to me the day we excitedly showed a video to a loved one who is not on the same Torah walk yet. We could not wait to share the message we received from the program, but the creator of the video used names that she had never heard before. He used all Hebrew names for the apostles, the books of the bible and the Hebrew name for Jesus. This might be fine and acceptable for a Jewish person that spoke Hebrew, but you could see on her face that she had no idea of whom he was speaking. She became frustrated, and I don't believe the message we had hoped she would receive was the message she got. In fact, I am not sure she got much of a message at all. What would have been the result, though, if the maker of the video had used names she recognized: Jesus, God, Moses, Paul, etc. Would she have heard the message in a way that would touch her heart? I believe so. I know some people want to use Hebrew when they speak or write for accuracy, but why do people use Hebrew when they are speaking to an audience that has no understanding of Hebrew?
At TorahforWomen.com and our main ministry, Shofar Productions, we have been called to reach souls and touch lives for the kingdom. We take to heart the example of Ezra and the other priests "They read from the book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage." Nehemiah 8:8 NLT
If you find fault with this and feel a spirit of contention, then we challenge you to examine your attitude against the numerous scriptures that speak against stirring up strife, against pride, speaking evil, and spreading false statements.
"I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4 WEB
NLT - Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright 1996' 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015, by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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The Name Game
Peter, James, John, Paul, Moses, David. There are countless examples in scripture of people recording things. Everything from every day items and genealogy to seriously important prophetic words for those in the future. Dreams, visions, or revelations have all been written for people to read and study today as they work toward a better relationship with Yahweh. Today we call these records “The Bible”, Torah or “scripture” and look to them for the words of Yahweh, for teachings, guidance, comfort, and strength.
We can see so many examples of people either feeling it is important to make records, or being told directly by Yahweh to do so. Examples of this can be found in Exodus 24:4 when “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord”, and we see the Ten Commandments being written, then they were to be stored in the Ark. 1 Chronicles gives another example of how certain Levites were appointed to make records, and in Revelation 1:19 John is point blank told to write the things he has seen, things that are happening and things that are to come. It is very obvious that Yahweh feels that his words of counsel and direction need to be remembered and recorded.
If His ancient words were important then, how important are the things he speaks to your heart now? Personally, I have found they are very important in my life. Not long ago, He impressed upon me to get a journal and record all that he shares with me, in dreams or in prayer time with Him. What a blessing it has been to follow his instruction in this matter!
Before writing things down, I would know that he had blessed me, but I could not always recall them. Sometimes I would forget important details that I should have remembered. When trying to share a testimony with others, I would have to rack my brain to find examples of when He has comforted, strengthened, or blessed me. I also would have moments of frustration thinking Yahweh had not blessed me, and maybe even feeling a little left out or not sure he has been with me in a trial. Now, with my journal, I can call upon my records and remind myself or share testimony with others of times when Yahweh has been truly loving to me.
What should you write down? How about recording your dreams? Daniel, Habakkuk, and Joseph all had dreams. The dreams are written in the Bible for us to study and learn from. When you awake in the middle of the night and have one of those dreams that feels so very real, or that has touched your spirit in a way that is different than your “normal” dreams, write down what you remember before it is washed away in your sleepiness. If you can, record as many details as possible. Places, scenery, as well as the people there, whether someone you know or strangers. Sometimes you may find there is a pattern that will reveal something to you about lessons you need to learn in the Torah or improvements you can work on in your character or changes to make in life.
“For God speaks once, yes twice, though man pays no attention. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, in slumbering on the bed; Then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.” Job 33:14-16 WEB
When you pray and you have that burning feeling that an idea needs to be written down? Write it down! During prayer time I have been truly inspired with topics to write on, have been led to find scriptures I could not recall when I needed them for teaching or for self-study, and was encouraged to study a specific topic for personal edification or for someone in need. Whenever I get an inspiration for teaching, or even personal revelation, I always enjoy taking the time to compare it with scriptures to validate it, then I study it as much as I can. I have grown so very much in His ways and His word by writing down and following His inspirations for me.
Often I take the time to go back and read what was recorded in the past. I try to do this at least every few weeks to see what has come to fruition, what needs to be worked on, what blessings He has worked in my life. I write it all down, too, no holds barred. The positive AND the negative, because I know I am not perfect and may need some refining; and sometimes he rebukes my attitude or my lack of study. I need to hear that just as often as I hear the good things. When I do go back over these pages, I can see how much I have grown, where I still need to work on myself, and can be lifted up by the evidence of the power of Yahweh in my life. These are the times that drive home that our Abba is a loving and gracious father! Psalm 86:15 KJV “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
I also like to make notes of changes that have happened or blessings fulfilled, often in an ink of a different colour, so that I can see what is new in life. This always helps in those low moments, too, when you feel as though you are questioning His presence. When you see all the wonderful moments where His hand has corrected, protected, guided, or directed, it gives you courage and strength knowing He has your back. Psalm 121:1-3 WEB “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from Yahweh, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber.”
I challenge you to take the time and make the effort to run to the store and grab yourself a simple journal to make your own records of His words to you. It need not be a big, expensive, leather bound journal, a simple pad of paper will do. Just make it your own and fill it with His love shown to you in inspirations and record the expressions of faith for your life. Each week on Shabbat you can take your journal, review your inspirations and compare them to the scriptures. You will see how visible He is in your life. Blessings and shalom!
Blessings and Shalom.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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