You hear a lot about how the world is setting the stage for worldwide digital currency. And people are voicing their opinions strongly on all sides. Even Jim and I have our thoughts on the matter and are spending time accomplishing things we need to in our own home and lives preparing for this possibility. Yet, one thing we are hearing above all the standard din, is concern which could lead to fear. I keep asking people who bring it up, one key question:
Is it digital currency that is the issue or is it that you are concerned about taking the “Mark”?
I ask this because, let’s face it, for the last several decades we have ALL been using digital currency, whether we like it or not. Many will shout out that they have NOT been, that they have only been using cash everywhere. But I am almost certain that somehow, somewhere they have used digital currency in some way. Debit cards, credit cards and direct electronic payments have been going into and out of your bank accounts for years. You have been paying your bills online, too, or maybe YOU don’t pay them – instead your bank does it automatically.
We have been doing digital for some time. The latest conversations are that it is going to become a worldwide requirement. Is THAT a real concern? Yes – for a number of reasons. We have all seen how the Euro worked – it had its pros and cons, it worked in some areas, while not in others. And that was just one area of the world.
Even more than the Euro experience is how many people are concerned all this is a sign of the Mark of the Beast mentioned in scripture. It IS possible that what we see happening now is a precursor or a test of methods for making one type of payment work for all things we need.
Conspiracy theory? No, just taking into consideration all the that we see happening – the physical evidence happening all around us. For example, the US doing away with giving change in many stores and attaching that leftover money onto your store card or a gift card. Doing this puts you in the position of being pressured into only digital payments. At our local stores there are options to use now if you don’t have a debit or credit card you can attach a card or bank account to things such as Kroger Pay, Walmart Pay, Apple Pay, digital coin wallets. Even Paypal is taken at some of our dollar stores and other businesses. I am sure that other stores around the country are doing the same. Cash is definitely STRONGLY discouraged these days.
How about the example of masks? How many stores started to forbid people access to food and other needs unless you are wearing their mark of choice right now? You know what I mean – the mask. We and those we know have experienced it – even at a pharmacy to pick up necessary medications. How many people, if you don’t wear a mask, show their strong disdain, even hate, toward you as though you are committing some horrific sin or crime? Some smaller stores, too, WILL NOT do business with you unless you are wearing the mark of the mask.
I am sure you could add your own experiences to this short list. As the evidence piles up, we can see a definite pattern of strange events to make us think about the warnings in prophecy from scriptures. The key is, though, the difference between watching with caution and purpose, or allowing it to set fear in our hearts.
We shouldn’t fear what is happening – not at all. Haven’t we already known for years what will be coming from Yahweh’s word? Doesn’t He also counsel us that fear is not of Him, that it IS however from the Adversary? When we fear, we may place ourselves in a position to think less clearly and may make mistakes or missteps which throw us off the path Yahweh would have us take. So, let’s not walk in fear, and instead be attentive to what is going on around us. As we do, we may need to adjust aspects of our life to fit into what is happening.
For now, there are ways around the ever-changing rules for obtaining food and supplies. We need to seize these opportunities whenever they arise. Sales to stock up, produce markets to put up harvest for winter, assessing local businesses who are more willing to assist us in these strange times. Seek resources that will work with you and your family.
Although there are still shortages of some items and in some areas, and although prices are rising on some products in many areas, for now we still have fairly easy access to much of what we need. Much of what we are doing is definitely still digital in that we may have to order online, pay online, and delivery men bring it to our doors or we pick up at stores. Use them, now, because one day soon that may change.
Now is the time we need to make the effort through prayer and discussion with our spouse to decide what we are going to do if and when that change comes. There seems to be a lot of discussion in various circles including government, news sources, and religious circles, that at some point in the near future our US government may request or require that we be vaccinated for this virus, or be denied access to food and services. Some states governors have discussed not allowing people to get or renew driver’s licenses without proof of the vaccine.
We need to pay attention to these threats and prepare ourselves and our families, NOW. We need to have our backup plan in place. If you cannot buy food without a vaccine, what will you do? If your local government says you cannot make a payment on your property taxes without covid-proof, what will you do?
f you cannot buy gas for your car?
Do you have a back-up food supply? Or local food suppliers? Abilities to garden?
Do you have a back-up financial supply or method?
Do you have things stored that you can barter?
I pray, in all of this, we do not worry, we do not fear, yet we sensibly take the words from Proverbs to heart. Take precautions, for ourselves and as much as possible, for those we love.
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (Proverbs 22:3 NLT, Reiterated in Proverbs 27:12)
Take comfort in His word, too……
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 KJV
- Judith Garton
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To reach this point in our series, we pray that you have listened to or read Lashon Hara parts one and two. We also hope that you have an understanding as to why our ministry does not teach “lashon hara” as a principle. Whenever I say this to people, it gets an interesting reaction because some will believe that this means we will tolerate gossiping, lying, tale-bearing, rumors, and such. That statement is not at all true.
As we have stated before, we are a ministry who follows the teachings in the Word of God which include a Biblical diet, the seventh day Sabbath and the Biblical Feast Days. We follow BIBLICAL teachings, not denominational or rabbinic teachings. In several of our other teachings we share why true disciples are not under the rabbinic legal system, in spite of how many believe we should be. As a result, we do not place believers under the judgment category of lashon hara. We don't NEED that system because we are taught to judge in the scriptures by using the scriptures.
Scripture is filled with commandments, counsel, and historical examples which show us how to govern the words which come out of our mouths. There is no need to go to man-made rules, especially flawed rules, for insight on what is gossip and what is not. Over the years, many have come to us with examples from their own lives asking if they are gossip or not. They ask, "Is this conversation or that one sinful or not?"
My hope is this article will give you encouragement to enjoy conversations, while not weighing you down with legalistic rules and requirements. There should be a way to ease your mind so that you will feel comfortable with friends and relatives, while not breaking Yahweh’s commandments.
Please remember, as we have said in a number of our teachings, we do not believe that following commandments is done to earn salvation. Your salvation comes through Christ, alone. Yet once you are saved, you should seek to ascertain how all your ‘beliefs’ are supported by and line up with what Scripture actually instructs. You should be led to follow those things which make you a better witness of Yeshua’s character in you, and an example of righteousness.
Now, let’s move forward.
A quote from our Lashon Hara Part 2 article. “We MUST be aware of our speech. That is very clear. Power of life and death is in our tongue – in the words we speak. God hates gossip (tale-bearing) as much as He hates six other sins – He calls them abominations. Speech is VERY powerful – it can make or break people’s spirits, their emotions, their testimony. Let’s face it, Yahweh spoke this world into existence! How powerful is that! So, do we need to be aware of our words and be cautious of what we speak? Yes.”
The big question then, from many who contact us is: what CAN we speak about other people, and yet ensure we avoid gossiping?
We spent a lot of time in the other two articles covering what we CANNOT say. What we can do and should be saying is all wrapped up in Philippians 4:8 where it says, Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.
How is that for a great description of what we should be speaking of others? True, honorable, just, pure, lovely, good reports, virtuous, and praise – THESE are the words which should come out of our mouths of others when we talk of them.
There are two things in Philippians 4 that often get people into trouble, though. Let’s go over these first: speaking words that they believe are TRUE and JUST. Many times our mouths and minds may believe what we are speaking is TRUTH or is JUST about someone because they have, in our opinion, wronged us. Or in the case of truth, sometimes what we are speaking IS the blatant truth, yet speaking it may not be good for building others up.
What do I mean by this? Well, imagine you saw an alcoholic uncle going into a liquor store one day while you were driving around town. You know that he had been going through a rehab program and had not been drinking for some time, but then you see “this.” Now, you go home, call one of his children or another relative and start speaking about how you saw him there, and HOW LONG he stayed in there. Details and stories like this spread like wildfire in families and even in communities. BUT: Do you know ALL the truth? I can honestly say, no, you do not. You might believe you have ENOUGH information or you have “all you need.” But WHY was he there? Often that key element is the one big question that deeply should be answered. Many people start speaking their truth, though, before they have THE WHOLE TRUTH.
What if you discover later that your Uncle stopped there to drop-off flyers for his rehab group hoping to help others suffering from alcoholism? What if his car broke down and he was in there calling for help? What if he is someone’s sponsor, and the store clerk or owner called him to come pick the person up because they are too drunk to drive home? Before speaking your first truth, one ought to find out THE WHOLE TRUTH. This could easily be accomplished by taking the time to call him, ask him, in all loving kindness, “Uncle, I was concerned today as I was driving to the store to do some shopping. I saw you going into Linda’s Liquors and I was just checking on you to see that everything is alright.” If you feel that you are not at the relationship level with him to make this phone call, it MIGHT be appropriate for you to talk with ONE OTHER PERSON who IS in that position. But choose this person carefully, wisely, and through deep prayer, and choose your words carefully, too. Lest it backfire and create a reputation of your uncle you hadn’t intended to create.
That is one example involving what is true and appears just. My prayer is that you will be able to apply this example to other times when you are tempted to share truth believing it is just and right to do so. We have to be VERY cautious with these two especially and must always take into account the balance of scripture. Examine your own heart, your reasons, your motives for speaking: jealousy? Pride? Anger? Fear or worry? All of these would not be of Yahweh, and are spoken against in scripture. So going back to Philippians 4:8, we need to ensure our heart’s purpose is something that falls into “whatever things are pure.”
This What If section is designed after questions we have gotten from sisters who have asked for help in their own conversations and relationships with loved ones.
-- What if: Your loved one calls and starts talking about another relative to you. How do I know if they are just catching me up on family business and blessings OR that they are gossiping and spreading rumors? Which way is OKAY and which way is NOT OKAY?
I find this is one of the easier ones and it doesn’t just apply to family, but also to friends. Someone calls you and says, “Oh, my goodness! I have to talk to you about Jane! You are NOT going to believe this!” These words could be warning signs right off the bat – your radar should be on right away. If these words are followed by, “She just bought a house in Nebraska! She, her husband and kids are all moving there right away. Her husband got a new job there as well.” And then your loved one or friend starts to share all the details, makes comments about how you guys all grew up together and you share old stories from your childhood and youth.
Gossip or sharing? Sharing.
Why? Because it doesn’t demean, smear a reputation, stir up controversy, spread negative reports of another in any way. It doesn’t have any wrong purpose behind it, no evil reports, no tale-bearing, lies, falsehoods, sensationalization, meddlesome stories, or tall tales. It meets none of these negatives which are mentioned in scripture, and instead completely meets the qualifications in Philippians. Your radar can go down at this point and you can be assured that sin is not a part of the conversation.
If, however the warning words are followed by your caller’s list of all the horrid things Jane did in a situation, things are leaning into the sin zone. You CAN turn this around by trying to counsel your caller that they ought to be talking to JANE about this. It would fit right into Matthew 18:15 WEB "If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother.”
If your loved one continues to complain and gossip, you can also give them additional counsel on how to handle the situation Biblically, but at some point you may need to state that you aren’t comfortable talking about Jane in this way. That you are concerned you both may head down the path of sin through gossip, back biting, and rumors. Then ask your loved one if you can talk about something else.
This may cause them to become angry with you – especially if you have been their listening ear in the past. In their anger, you may have to deal with backlash about how you didn’t have a problem with it in the past. I have faced this myself and have learned there is a simple reply, “I know I have. And I apologize for that, especially if I have led you astray in that respect. Please forgive me. I am making changes in my life and in my spiritual walk. I pray you can respect that change in me, and hope it will help us both in our relationship, too.” I will be honest, it could go either way at this point. Sometimes the other person is very understanding, other times, not so much.
When talking to others about friends or family, or when sitting in on a conversation, keep it positive, uplifting, and pure.
-- What if I am having a critical issue with my mother, father, sister, brother, in-laws, spouse, someone in family, and I WANT to be righteous and kind – all while feeling terribly hurt or frustrated with the situation, and needing someone to talk to for counsel?
This one is complicated because it can easily float right into gossip if you are not extremely careful. In your hurt and anger, you could easily stray from the true intent of your conversation, which should always be to come to some form of plan or solution to handle your initial conflict. Asking someone, a good friend, pastor, or mentor, for help in this situation also could cause this person to recall sorrowful memories of similar issues in their own life, leading them into gossip about their own loved ones. You will both need to be guarded in an effort to protect yourselves and each other from sin.
There are times, though, when we DO need help – we may feel as though we have done all that we can. Turning to someone who we value and asking for assistance can bring us peace and even new ideas on how to word something, how to address something, and even may bring rebuke to us that we need. There are times, even in my own life, where I have talked with a dear friend and they have been very direct and blunt with me. Pointing out to me what I need to change in myself. Times when I may have felt justified, yet was instead, self-centered and prideful. Let’s be ready to take that counsel – even if it comes in the form of reproof, correction, or rebuke!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (WEB)
In cases where we definitely do need to reach out to someone for help, we should first and foremost choose our confidant wisely and prayerfully. Use discernment and wisdom choosing someone who will not be a gossip when they leave your company. We should begin with prayer, if the situation allows for it, and ask for prayer when we finish. We should also go into it with an open heart and mind, as well as kindness and love.
We know that grudges, vengeance, unjust anger, gossip, backbiting, and other things that may occur during our conversations are all addressed in scripture. We don’t want to fall into those things, and we also want to be ready to do as is in Proverbs 19:20-21 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end. There are many plans in a man's heart, but Yahweh's counsel will prevail. (WEB)
-- What if my friend starts talking to me about another friend? Is this wrong? If that friend is talking about it to look for a solution, is this acceptable?
Again, we need to use caution. If our friend who is talking is truly looking to make amends with the absent friend, then please! Do give advice on how to approach the situation from a Biblical perspective. You may also feel prompted that it is time to let the other friend alone for a time. No matter what has happened between you and the absent friend, this is not the time to feed any hurt or anger with something that may have happened to you with the absent friend. This would be crossing into gossip, back biting, and will only get out of control very quickly, leading you both into sin. This type of situation often happens when there are more than two people talking, too – you and friends are having coffee or lunch and before you know it, an absent party is brought up in a negative light.
Remembering what we discussed in the previous “What if” section, you CAN find a way to turn things around, or remove yourself completely from the situation.
-- What if I just want to sit and talk over coffee with a friend or loved one and catch up on life?
We need this. It’s just nice to have an outlet for bearing one’s soul; someone with whom you can share life’s goings-on, our own or those of others. Hurts, frustrations, disappointments, anxieties, joys, celebrations, inspirational moments, accomplishments, you just want to share them with others. When does “sharing” become inappropriate or self-seeking?
Let’s set the scene: Pretend for a moment that your having lunch with one group of friends and one of them remembers she needs to give you a heads up on the fact that another friend has moved in with her elderly mother. She shares how this friend lost her home to a fire. She shares emotions your other friend is going through, all the ups and downs with fire inspectors, adjusters, insurance companies. The challenges she is has in trying to find a new home. Your present friend is just letting you know what is going on. In case you wanted to help, a fund has been set up at the bank. She shares the address to mail in a check, or explains how you can mail something directly to your friend at her new address.
Next you guys start reminiscing about growing up together and how much fun it was. You share laughter, experiences, memories, and events that took place. This is similar to an example I used earlier. Everything is fine to this point – no gossip or back biting involved at all. Your whole group is enjoying catching up, while showing concern for your absent friend and the struggles they are going through. These kinds of conversations between relatives or friends are how we stay involved in other people’s lives. It is how we stay connected, show charity, be compassionate, love our neighbor.
In this day and age when we are so restricted on how we can spend physical time with our extended families, we need to know that these conversations are okay when they do happen. Even if we spend a little time sharing frustrations from the past, we can help others work through problems or emotions they are dealing with. We need this and are suppose to seek good counsel – scripture tells us this.
Proverbs 19:20 (KJV) Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Proverbs 1:5 (New Heart English Bible) A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will attain to sound counsel.
Now, imagine suddenly, your friend begins to change the conversation to discussing how she was angry and hurt by something your absent friend did 20 years ago. She starts to talk about how rotten it was, how she has never been able to forget what happened. Then she starts to lure you into talking about other incidences where similar happened to YOU. She tries to draw you into the negative conversation and tries to lure you into saying nasty things about your cousin.
What do you think about this example?
Clearly the first part is NOT gossip – even if you are just going down memory lane and reminiscing, it is not gossip. You all simply want to help in what is happening to your other friend. How things have changed, and how she is doing. An update is not gossip.
A conversation, though, that transitions into negatively addressing events that should be long forgiven, this crosses into gossiping. Although it, too, simply may seem to be reminiscing, it also has conflict behind it. The absent friend isn’t there to share her side of the story, nor is she able to defend herself against what is being claimed. This is no longer just going down memory lane. The motive behind the second portion of the conversation is what clearly draws the line.
If the historical events weren’t brought into it, let’s remove that part of the conversation and instead imagine you transitioned from the initial update into complaining about your friend's life, how she has chosen to live it. It might have been easier to see the gossip starting. But because it was wiggled into memory lane, it may not be as obvious. These are times we just need to be ready for if we fall into sin. We have the blessing of grace and we can repent of such things.
What we need to do, is work diligently so we are able to find the righteous balance in these situations. If we use these examples that I have given as foundations for helping us analyze how we speak with and about others, we will prayerfully see a change in our conversations.
My hope is that this has helped you in identifying issues in how you speak, how to improve your conversations, ways you might find yourself getting stuck in gossiping situations, and given ideas on how to get yourself out. I pray we each remember that we want to be witnesses of Yeshua in our lives – and that we want those we come in contact with to see the fruits of the Spirit exemplified in us.
Will we be perfect? No – but we certainly can be working on being better.
Blessings and shalom.
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Chamomile and Me
I love chamomile tea – it is such a blessing if my tummy hurts from stress, to calm my digestive system, and to relax me when I just need to relax. It also smells SOOOO LOVELY in my teacup. Last year for the very first time, I grew chamomile in the herb patch in the veggie garden. I was so pleased that it grew and I was even able to cut some to supplement our store bought teas for winter. It always felt satisfying when I could pull a little home-grown herb out of the freezer to enjoy in a cup.
THIS year my goal was to grow a huge patch of it and dry a ton, so we never had to buy it again at the store. I planted seeds in starter-packs, placed them in a sunny window and waited. All those seeds I planted only produced a few plants, maybe 5 or 6 total. Two in particular seemed to grow pretty large in the pots, and when they were ready, I helped them to adjust to the outdoors a few hours each day.
I picked a spot in the herb patch of the veggie garden and planted all 5-6 in a little circle, allowing them enough room to grow. Two survived. I was so very sad. I knew two would not be enough to grow a huge patch for winter teas. So, feeling disgruntled, I prayed over them in my dejected tone, and just hoped in my heart that Yahweh would bless us. My deep hope was to harvest for teas, plus gather enough seeds for next year’s attempt to grow a much bigger patch in the prayer garden.
As summer wore on, I watched those two survivors grow, and amazingly, they grew twice as large as last year’s plants. Finally a small flower head seemed to pop out of each plant. As they grew the stalk from the larger plant seemed to clearly tower over the littler fellow. Then it spread apart, and produced flowers – about TWENTY OF THEM!! The flowers bloomed beautifully, drawing plenty of bees to the garden. I decided, though, with only about 20 flowers, I wouldn’t save any for teas, but would let them go to seed and harvest those for next years planting. Maybe, I thought to myself, Yahweh would bless them to be so filled with seeds that I can attempt a second planting this year to harvest flowers for fall.
Next thing I knew that flower stalk had 40 flowers on it, then 60 flowers, and now I have lost count! There are plenty to harvest for seeds and some to harvest for teas! How two small plants, grew so large, then produced so much - I don’t know what happened other than Yahweh’s blessings! It just kept flowering and flowering and flowering and is still flowering here 4 weeks later. A completely different experience from last years crop.
I still didn’t pick any flowers for teas. But I plant to and maybe if more new plants come up, we will have more than enough THIS year to not have to buy from the store.
I am very excited at the seeds we have harvested – I have planted a patch of about 1 teaspoon of seeds directly around the two plants. Plus I have harvested at least 2 tablespoons of seeds for next year! I have so many seeds now I can grow a HUGE patch – or two maybe three or four patches of chamomile!
I am always amazed and ever grateful for how Yahweh opens up the flood gates to provide what we need and MORE! He is so good, ALL THE TIME. Praising Him as we enjoy the blessings. . .
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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.
Torah For Women
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