I am always grateful for the blessed people Yahweh places in my life to reinforce scriptural lessons. This spring was another one of those humble moments.
It was a lovely morning in spring-time where I had every intention of just taking time for myself to re-focus - outside in the warm sunshine & fresh mountain air. After so many days of clouds and rain, the sun was a welcome change. I fixed my coffee, grabbed both my nature journal and my prayer journal then sat out on the front steps. I had a few days that week where I wasn’t feeling quite so connected to Yahweh as I normally feel, and all my personal plans were to just sit and listen for His impressions to rain down on me.
The neighbor down the way was out mowing his lawn, but other than that, the world was miraculously quiet. Even his mower sounded oddly softer that morning than most mornings. And that was okay with me. I couldn’t seem to concentrate much on prayer time, but finally a wonderful relaxing song came on my tablet, and I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew, there was that mower sound, getting closer and closer and closer. I opened my eyes, and don’t you know it!!! There was the neighbor, mowing OUR lawn for us! He has done this several times for us since we moved in, and in fact, he had mowed our lawn all last summer and into the fall last year. He knew we were waiting on mower parts to arrive, which they did - finally - right before the snow hit late last fall! A little late, but we tucked them away and just had not taken the time in the spring yet to put the mower together.
Our lawn is not a small 1/4 acre city lot, but is over 3/4 an acre, with probably about 2/3 of that all out front. And the grass grows very quickly and thick here. This was no small feat he was undertaking as it had been over two weeks since his last service to us because of all the rain we have had. Knowing that we had not had time yet to repair our own mower, I was actually quite grateful for the sound of his during prayer time.
I watched as he mowed right across the front of the lawn, up the side, then pulled up right out front of the porch to stop and talk with me a bit. He surprised me when the first thing he said was the most heartfelt apology for disturbing my devotional time! I was so taken aback - first, because he recognized why I am often out front sitting in the sunshine, and second, because here he was doing us a service yet he was apologizing to ME! I could not thank him enough for the mowing, and he remarked how he was pleased with just a simple thank you. We got to talking for a bit, and he asked several questions just to catch up on things: if we had found a church or assembly to attend, where we were going if we had, how the ministry is doing, etc. All topics we had not been able to discuss over the cold winter months.
I had the opportunity to explain that we hadn’t found a church here yet, and I felt impressed to share with him how difficult it is for us to “fit in” with a particular denomination. I told him we are Torah observant, and he asked me to explain that. I talked about the Feast days, the Sabbath, the Torah. He asked what exactly the “Torah” was, so I explained the first five books of the Old Testament, and then about how we seem to fit along the lines of Torah Observant, Pentecostal, Word of Faith believers in Yahweh. He laughed then said, “Yup - ya’ll won’t fit in anywhere ‘round here!!! Not at all!” I laughed. He understood completely as we are in an area heavy with religions that are set in their ways, and who wouldn’t quite understand our Torah observance. They are lovely, kind and beautiful people, but a very heavy “The law is dead” community.
He did say, though, that he didn’t realize how much he and his wife seem to share similar beliefs as what my husband and I have. Things like the Old Testament is the foundation and the rest is built upon that; that the modern holidays have gotten away from what God would have us honor, as well as several other basic beliefs. He brought up again how they are still looking for a new place to worship because they just haven’t found where they feel ‘right’ either. This was something he had also mentioned when we first moved in almost 2 years ago.
We then talked about some of the blessings Yahweh has been working in his life. He talked of things he has been led to do, dreams that helped their family get through different challenges, impressions he gets while he prays and even answers to prayers he has gotten while riding his mower! He said how much he appreciates having the extra lawn to mow because it gives him extra quiet time to spend with God. I asked him if he writes any of those dreams and impressions down, along with the results that happen. Does he make a record for himself and family. He mentioned he used to, so I took the chance to share with him about my prayer journals. I encouraged him to write them down - record every one he can because one day they may come in handy for him, his wife, or the children.
After he started mowing again, I couldn’t help but think of how Yahweh blessed us both that day. How I needed to be encouraged by his visit and to see that there ARE people here who are seeking a more biblically centered life, and how our neighbor needed to be encouraged by the same things. I absolutely love when Abba moves in our lives like that. Some days it’s the littlest things that show how much He loves us.
Blessings and Shalom.
The other day in prayer, while pleading with Yahweh for the concerns of the sisters in Torah, an inspiration for an article came to me to share with you:
Close your eyes for a moment and picture a HUGE sports stadium packed to the brim with people. There is not an empty seat anywhere to be found. You are walking in with all those people seated and waiting for you to walk up to a podium in the middle of the stadium where there is a remote control and a microphone. You pick up the remote and start showing the entire audience pictures of your children, extended family, every vacation you have ever gone on right on the Jumbo screen. While you flip through the photographs, you make sure that you tell them every little detail about your event and life in general:
- where you live, the colour of your house, and your pets
- your children’s names, ages, where they live if not at home, where they go to school, who their friends are
- include where you go shopping and when
- Where you work, what days and times, and where you go to lunch during work
- Show them your spouses name, where he or she works, and everything you love or hate about them
- Oh, and please remember to tell them when you are leaving for your next vacation and how long you will be gone.
You might be saying to yourself, “That is ridiculous. I would never give all that information to perfect strangers!” Yet many do it every single day - but you don’t call them strangers, you call them “friends”. Perusing social media and looking at other’s accounts, sometimes you can see people who have thousands of “friends” who have access to their very personal data. This is not just public figures who have this high number, but many average people have large numbers as well. Yet, do you really know who you are sharing your personal information with?
Let me go back to the original example - An average sports stadium holds 70,000 people. In 2001, there were over 400,000 registered sex offenders in the United States of America, and over 1/4 of them were reported “missing”. Today, according to statistics the US could have more than 750,000 registered sex offenders. Add to that the annual rate of approx. 300,000 rapes that have no convictions, the number of predators in that stadium just doubled. Doing the math using the percentages from 2001, there would be approx 210 registered sex offenders in that stadium, along with approx. 90 non-convicted rapists. If you consider robberies and forced entry burglaries, out of the 70,000 people in that stadium, 650 of them will be robbed at some point in time. This could be translated to the reverse by saying that 650 people in that stadium are likely to be burglars of some type. This may seem like few people when compared to the 70,000 at the event, but so far that would mean that there is, at minimum, around 1000 potential violent criminals in that stadium and you just gave your information to all of them.
This is not said to instill fear in people’s minds, but to bring awareness to you of who you could be giving your personal information to. Often times we are no more familiar with the people we “meet” online than that group of people in the stadium, yet we are so free with very personal information that could be used to get even more personal information about us. We try to be friendly and nice, and often we do it in the hopes of teaching someone about Yahweh.
You may be asking right now what this has to do with Torah. Not long ago Torah For Women accepted a friend request from a fellow who proclaims to be a follower of Yahweh and Torah observant. Within a short time, this wolf in sheep’s clothing revealed his true self by implying something that was very anti-Torah, through a post about husbands and wives. We not only recognized his false teachings, and blatant self-promotion of what he called a ministry, but we also took the time to do some checking on this individual and discovered many more anti-Torah teachings that he shares with men and women in the Torah movement. We even discovered he had perused our writings, personal information, and public posts to discover our "mind-set", then made an attempt to use it "against us".
This individual was found to not only share anti-Torah teachings of others, but he also writes many of his own false teachings and is even willing to “personally advise” others on their relationships by giving his false interpretation of Torah as well. Sadly, the teachings this person advocates are not something we haven’t seen before and even more alarming we continue to see spread among Torah keepers and Christians. This teaching is anti-Torah, because it involves approving, promoting, and even encouraging the physical abuse of women. It is done to teach wives complete submission to their husband, and as these false teachers state it is often “necessary” to beat a woman so that the wife will properly understand her place in the marriage and home. This type of thinking is not only anti-Torah, but very dangerous and criminal.
This teaching spreading online goes on to claim that a man has the right to deny even basic comforts because they are privileges, and not rights. Things such as food, water, drink, personal care items, showers, even toilet tissue, could be “privileges” that a man can remove until the wife submits to the man of the house - whatever his submission requirements are at that time. Sadly, many men and women are following this teaching and are standing by these so called Torah teachers and adopting these methods of “disciplining wives”.
Yes, you read that right, there is a move among Torah followers that is teaching men to beat a woman into submission and deny them basic comforts as well, and both husbands and wives are following it and falling for it. Some men, we discovered, will even go so far as to make the wife’s life miserable by selling her car and buying her one that is less than what she had. This is done to show her that she must comply with his directions in keeping the home and raising the children. Not selling it for financial reasons as if it is a burden on them, but for punishment for not “taking care of the house properly”. It was also recommended on one fellow’s counseling site to “punish” or “discipline” the wife as you would a child by changing the password on the internet, cancel the television service, turn off her cell phone, and embarrassing her publicly until she “submits”. If these methods don’t work, then it is recommended to perform “harsher punishments as discipline”, such as beatings. These people (men and women) think this form of relationship and submission is biblical, but we outright call it unbiblical. These people claim the bible teaches men to be harsh masters of their home, but we 100% dispute this and call their teachings sinful.
Here is our biblical proof to refute these false teachers that promote spousal abuse.
Colossians 3:19 says “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them”. Is this method of forced compliance taught by these false teachers fulfilling this counsel to love your wives? NO!
Psalm 11:5 “Yahweh examines the righteous, but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates.” This teaching by these men that promote domestic violence is something Yahweh hates. Pretty clear to me.
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it;. . .” Husbands - is beating your wife the way Yeshua loves his church, the assembly? No, he sacrificed himself for his church/assembly.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” These men need a lesson on true love.
1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered” Please, answer for yourself, ladies, do you want a husband to give you honor or to give you a relationship where you are forced into doing everything a man demands and if you refuse to obey get beaten? I hope you would always want better for yourself.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Don't you know that you are a temple of God, and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for God's temple is holy, which you are.” God’s temple is holy, you are the temple of His spirit, should that temple be beaten, abused, misused, tortured, and demeaned? Any Torah keeping man should recognize this.
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone doesn't provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.” These men who think they have the right to hold back food, water, clothing or other things from their wives are not only in need of help themselves, but the scriptures call them WORSE than an UNBELIEVER.
Each home is different, each has its own dynamics, direction or flow. It is not our job here at Torah for Women or our responsibility to tell one couple or another how to run their home. It is our calling, though, to teach what the Torah teaches and this matter has been pointed out several times in recent weeks to us. We have even witnessed ourselves how this violent teaching is being shared amongst brothers and sisters, and it needs to END!! This is a great concern for us. Violence of any kind toward a wife is not biblical.
We don’t care what any wolf in sheep’s clothing is teaching online or in home groups. These false teachers might claim this criminal activity is approved by scriptures, but that’s a lie. These false teachers will encourage men and women to adopt their teachings and will even proclaim themselves Torah-keepers and “experts,” but we know enough about the scriptures to tell you their teachings are unbiblical, sinful and ungodly. Sisters, know that their are weirdo’s online pretending to be Torah keepers and biblical teachers. Don’t be so trusting of everyone you meet online!!!
Many of you sisters are single and are praying Yahweh bless you with a Torah observant spouse. Others are married sisters looking for places to fellowship with your husband and family. In either case, I want you to place yourself back at the stadium scene. In this stadium you’re allowing everyone and anyone to come along and know your deepest, most intimate details and learn enough about you to weedle their way in to your life. You’re allowing them to look into your relationships, your problems and the feelings your experiencing. These people might offer you comfort, console you, offer advice and attempt to win your trust. For the safety of your children, yourself, your family, please search your friends list, read what people post. Be skeptical before accepting random “friends”. I would also like to recommend as soon as possible, read through the timelines of these so called “friends” you barely know and read what they have been up to. You may find you need to make some changes and delete some people from what you thought was your sanctuary....(your personal Facebook page). If you love having all these friends then stop posting your personal business on your page. Talk scriptures, talk about world events, talk about generic topics and keep your personal business among your real friends and family by sending private messages.
Check them out, don’t be afraid to do it either. It is YOUR home they are coming into, through your computer, your phone, your tablet. Don’t forget people can download your photos, your kids photos and use them. People can scope out your possessions, and know enough about you to approach your kids and claim they are family and you sent them to pick them up.
You are the one who lets them in, or doesn’t. Be blessed, but also: BE WISE. and Be courageous.
John 8:32 says ” . . . and the truth will set you free.”
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to social media this month. . . Seems the truth definitely set me free - from other people’s social media, to be exact. I have to say that social media is not my favorite thing on the planet, to be honest. I didn’t even have a Facebook page until just a few years ago. I always sensed that social media could rob you of time and get out of hand quickly when not “babysat” properly. I have watched this happen on several occasions to myself and to others, and it has taught me to be much more watchful and careful.
Recently it seems, there has been an uncomfortable tendency to attack people and say things about them that are just not right and decent. The concern started when people with normally kind hearts, seemed to change from the ways they would usually act, which was kind and caring, and then turn on people with venom in their words when people challenged their faulty beliefs, both biblical and secular beliefs. It took me some time to get the courage to stand up for someone else because I knew I risked losing “friends”. Probably not the right attitude to have, right? After all, the Bible tells us several times how we are to stand up for others.
Proverbs 31:8-9 WEB Open your mouth for the mute, in the cause of all who are left desolate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and serve justice to the poor and needy.
Let’s quickly explain that in Verse 8, the word mute means someone who is unable to speak for themselves, someone who is speechless. This definition can be used to mean someone with a physical inability to actually speak, but is also used to mean someone who just isn’t able to speak for or stand up for themselves. This may be someone who is not courageous enough or who feels intimidated. Yet, you can see how these verses tell us to open our mouths for those who cannot so that we can help get justice for the afflicted, humble or weak ones. By not speaking up because there is more worry about whether or not the numbers of our friends or followers will go down, then we are not following the advice of scripture. I was not speaking up at first because I was more concerned about risking being “deleted”. Finally, something stirred inside me and I just could not watch while others were disrespected by unkind words and taunts, especially by people who are normally very kind and loving.
Psalm 82:3 WEB "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed”
Psalm 94:16 WEB Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the evildoers?
What happens when we choose to sit silent and allow the insults, taunting, or what-not to continue? There are a few very clear verses in Ezekiel that warn us of consequences for when we DON’T speak up. You see, when we remain silent, we are failing to share the truth that Yahweh gives to us about how to treat others.
Ezekiel 3:17-19 Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word from my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I tell the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he doesn't turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
OUCH! Yahweh has given us his truths, and we are responsible for lovingly teaching others through our example and sometimes even through rebuke. It is our responsibility to try with love in our hearts to teach them, for the burden lies with us who know the truth.
I was faced with this on a few occasions recently and, well, after much hesitation, I finally spoke up. I carefully chose the words I used and tried to follow the Torah in everything I said. I wrote, erased, and rewrote each line several times. It was important to make certain my heart was true and my intentions were pure so that I could be blameless for what I was saying. I prayed before I “spoke”, in written words of course, and I tried to use scriptures for those who would listen to scriptures. For those who are not believers, I tried to use only truths that were Torah, not worldy “truths”, and worded things so they would hold up to their personal belief system. Knowing that mentioning the Torah or “God Stuff” would upset them more, I tried to avoid mentioning Yahweh, scripture verses or His teachings in any way, while still teaching His Truth.
No matter how much I struggled with writing just the right words, they were not well received. The reactions were less than kind, often accusatory, and in the end, very angry. None of which were my intentions. Yet I have learned one thing over the last several months in Yahweh’s refining process, there will be people who will not yield when the truth is presented, no matter how it is presented to them. I watched as my words were misquoted, twisted, and misused. As things unfolded, my true intentions were misrepresented and untruths were told about my character and my reasons for speaking. Very little was spoken about the content or whether it was right or wrong, just personal attacks launched against me and those I defended. When things I stated WERE rebuked by this other person, it came across as nit-picking about phrasing, or my grammar, and an attempt was made to embarrass me in front of their friends for my misusing one word. The truth from scriptures I was attempting to teach was never accepted, denied or even addressed. Instead, all I got back as a response was a diversion from the real message, like a magician who uses slight of hand to trick the audience, or a politician who redirects an uneasy conversation.
John 3:20 WEB For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.
Proverbs 1:7 “. . .but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction. . .”
Proverbs 15:32 “. . . He who refuses correction despises his own soul, but he who listens to reproof gets understanding. . .”
I am sorry that there is now a wedge between me and these others I had hoped to help. That was never my intention. I have spent several hours over the last few weeks, a few minutes here, several minutes there, questioning, and re-examining my behaviours, to ensure that I stayed within Torah. There are a couple of things I will correct, should I ever have the chance again to speak with the people who are angry. I am not above judging my own actions, receiving rebuke from Yahweh or refining myself, but for now things will be left unsaid.
There was never another chance to talk sensibly, calmly, or humbly with each other. The immediate response was for the person to eliminate the perceived “problem." In each case, it was my sincere prayer that the recipient of my messages will take to heart what was said, pray on the words that were spoken and see the spirit in which they were given. In the end, it is in Yahweh’s hands and only He can change or mold hearts. And if anything else that I have said or done was in error, He will correct me, change me and continue to mold me as well. In the meantime, life goes on, and social media is STILL not my favorite thing in the world. It is, however, a useful means to minister to others, especially those who are at a great distance as long as we continue to have the boldness to speak the truth and the compassion to minister to others.
Ephesians 5:11-13 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of. But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.
A lot of the topics we discuss on Torah for Women come from actual things we have seen or heard amongst believers in Yahweh and Yeshua as they try to find their new path in a purposeful life. It is common to see both men and women turn from everything Christian, including all the things that are good and right in their “old” Christian faith. In an effort to distance themselves from those things that are legitimately incorrect or inaccurate, we have seen many people who have decided to give up on the truth that they had learned in their previous Christian walk, and that brings great concern.
Imagine for a moment you leave a church and faith that has distinct pagan traditions or untruth running rampant through their doctrines, activities, and belief system, but that church also has a strong faith in healing or a strong teaching in repentance and baptism. Should you forsake the truth, they shared with you and now create new dogmas or doctrines that contradict the truth you learned just so that you can be different from what you used to be?
I remember being there at that stage where suddenly you see contradictions in so many areas that you have to purge your entire thought pattern and do a mind dump just to find Yahweh. I remember being over-zealous and anxious to share my new knowledge with everyone. The interesting thing is that as time wore on and I conducted deep biblical studies, I discovered some of the things I had learned as a young adult and as a mother, in that “pagan” religion were true and biblical. I was taught in my old church that many of the churches on the earth draw NEAR to Abba, but none is entirely truthful. Of course, they went on to teach that only THEY held the FULL truth of Yahweh; only THEY have all the words and teachings that men are to follow. It seems that each and every religion believes this about their own doctrines. Remember the best lies always contain some truth.
When you take a much deeper look at every mainstream religion currently practiced, it is easy to see that some of the teachings are quite obviously false. For example teaching that the Ten Commandments are no longer to be followed, they are obsolete. Other church doctrines are close enough to Yahweh’s teachings that they seem plausible or believable, and yet others are very close to His truth. Whether Protestant, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, or any other “Christian” religion, each has some truth, some half-truth, some untruth, and it becomes necessary on the journey to remember to keep the beliefs that are the truth. Yet what we have seen often is men and women throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Believers on their new Journey back to the Biblical roots of their faith have often been hurt by their previous church, the leaders, or the members and that anger and pain can drive a believer to claim every little thing about those people and that religion is completely false, a lie, pagan, or heretical. The concern comes when others see the “new believer” in Torah become so engrossed in fighting against the past that they forget to search for the spirit in all things. It is important to discover the truth in the Word and then turn to teach that truth with love and kindness to those who have been left behind in your previous Church. We must, as believers in The Way, find it in ourselves to forgive, love, and find a way to fill our hearts with the same compassion and patience Yahweh has shown to us in our own journey, and lead others down a similar path.
Which way do you wish to be treated? Would you prefer Yahweh teach you by screaming and yelling at you, cussing and cursing, and blasting you for believing what you believed before, all the while ranting about what beliefs you had that are all “PAGAN!!!” Or would you learn better by being taught with gentleness and patience? Maybe the next time you feel the urge to combat another “Christian” or someone considering becoming an “Ex-Christian,” you could take that into consideration. . . just food for thought.
1 Thesalonians 5:19-21 WEB
Don't quench the Spirit. Don't despise prophesies. Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.
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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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