I have been thinking and praying these last few days about how the world is reacting to this Covid-19 virus, and the announcements of various governments around the world. I have been listening and watching the reactions of people, both online and in the public as we have ventured out. I have been weighing these behaviours against The Word of Yahweh written for us to bring us through these days.
This is what occurs to me.
At one point I read a story of an elderly man, someone who has been through the Great Depression. Someone who knows what it is like to do without - bread shortages, flour and sugar rations, and other things which greatly affected their lives during that time. This man has “seen it all,” you could say. He went to the store and, with everyone else in line with overflowing carts of toilet paper, just wanted 4-6 rolls to get him through the month. That was all. Just to get through the month. He asked the “owner” of cart upon over-flowing cart if they would sacrifice just ONE package for him. Not one would give up a single pack of toilet paper for an elderly man. Not one. I wanted to throw up. Literally – my stomach got so knotted that I felt like throwing up.
Is this what we have come to in America? If so, then it is time for people to check their heart!!! Do you know what hurt the most? Watching people who under normal circumstances call themselves believers, but under THESE LAST FEW DAYS, threw all that, shall we say, three sheets to the wind??? Yes, I went there and made a toilet paper reference!
If anyone would have, even for a brief second, questioned or hesitated about giving toilet tissue to that man, you need to check your heart. But I will go even better on this topic, if you think that saying one thing here on social media or when talking with friends, but act differently in public - Check your heart!
And remember these words and use them as your check list:
When you have hoarded things to yourself or prevented another less fortunate than you go without, what you just did was as if we have done it to Yeshua!!! Literally.
In Matthew 25:40 WEB it pointedly states: "The King will answer them, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, YOU DID IT TO ME.” (CAPS added for emphasis)
I know, I repeated myself. I did that in hopes that it drives the point home. Sometimes, in front of others, we may behave or speak one way, yet act or react completely different in another setting. Because of that, NOW is the time to truly examine Yahweh’s truth, the words recorded from Genesis to Revelation. THIS is the time to find out, discover, and examine how well are we witnessing of Him in each aspect of life.
Remember those verses in the New Testament that say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” We hear them often as believers, don’t we? Well, let’s look a bit more closely at the words in Matthew 7:12 WEB “Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”
I love this version because it is very direct: whatever it is that you want people to do to you, go out and do it to them!!! As you venture out to the grocery store or bulk store, can you say that you did to others as you wish to be treated? Another way of saying this is: Didn’t you just express to others by your actions that you want to be treated a certain way? What way was that? Were YOU a good example of Yeshua? Of His teachings? Did YOU exemplify Christ?
Or how about Luke 6:31 WEB “As you would like people to do to you, DO EXACTLY SO TO THEM.” (CAPS added for emphasis). Ouch. We often use these words to scold others for how they treat us, but is that what it truly says? I see things a bit differently – I see that we’re being told to treat others EXACTLY how we would like them to “do so” unto us. So, when you are rude, are you expecting to be treated rudely? Angry – angrily? Lacking compassion and denying basic needs to others – you want others to deny basic needs then to you.
I know believers who have taken pride in screaming in the faces of clerks, cussing at store workers, cursing at family members! Using this teaching, we should ask them when they brag about it or demonstrate this in front of us, “Did you just give permission for that person to scream and cuss in YOUR face?” Of course, they will say no, and likely claim the person deserved it or “had what was coming to them.” But if you show or recite either of those verses to that “believer,” I pray you can show them how they actually ARE giving that person a certain level of permission to do the same to them.
Reversing the attention in those verses should be an attention getter for every believer. How YOU ACT TODAY, TOMORROW, NEXT WEEK during this entire man-made crisis is a statement of HOW YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO TREAT YOU.
If you hoard all the toilet paper to yourself, then that means you want people to withhold basic needs from you in an emergency. If you ensure you buy all the meat or milk, cereals or pasta, and do not share with the neighbor who didn’t make it to the store before the panic, then you are stating out loud that is how YOU want them to treat you in your time of lack! Have you ever thought of it that way? I have – many times. It is one of the “exercises” I use regularly to try and keep myself in check.
I have used this throughout my life. If I want others to backbite or gossip, lie, cheat, steal, and covet from me, then I will do the same to them. Yet I don’t want people to lie to or about me, covet, cheat or steal from me. And so, I try my best to not do those things to them.
That is what those words are there for in the scriptures – to help remind us of what NOT to be. Yet many don’t look at them from the other side. Most often we try to use those words to put OTHERS in check for how they are treating us or those around us. Take the time, please, during this trial in our nations. And think about how you are treating others. Remember that old saying about walking a mile in their shoes? Now is the good time to try that. Some days it is as simple as asking yourself, if I were the store clerk, cashier or manager, or even the other customer: would I want those words coming out of someone’s mouth aimed at me? Would I want them to behave that way toward me?
This is what will get us through the next weeks.
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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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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