The Deceitful Human Heart — A Scripture Analysis

The Deceitful Human Heart — A Scripture Analysis

The Bible has much to say about the deceitful human heart. In fact, the heart is mentioned more than 800 times and is an essential topic of discussion throughout the scriptures. When conducting a quick search of the word ‘heart’ in the Bible, one can quickly see that the term is used in various ways, depending on the context of each passage. 

Matthew’s epistle connects it to treasure and our capacity to love God.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

The Psalmists write about a desire for a pure heart, a longing after the Father, and blessings that follow those who obey.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.

Psalm 119:2

The Prophet Jeremiah warned against trusting our hearts and, conversely, gave advice on how to seek after Yahuah.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he warned of how following after the desire of our hearts would lead to spiritual ruin.

Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity for the dishonoring of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is forever worthy of praise! Amen.

Romans 1:24-25

Mark tells us that defilement begins in the heart.

And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil reasonings, adulteries, whorings, murders, thefts, greedy desires, wickednesses, deceit, indecency, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”

Mark 7:20-22

When it comes to the biblical term ‘heart’ it is quite challenging to provide a short and precise definition. If you search for the biblical meaning of ‘heart’ you will come across numerous discussions attempting to define it. 

Dr. Lorence Collins gives one of the best and most concise definitions I have found: 

In the Bible, the heart is considered the seat of life or strength. Hence, it means mind, soul, spirit, or one’s entire emotional nature and understanding. 

This definition aligns well with the broad biblical usage of the term ‘heart’, encompassing both righteous and sinful applications. 

To gain a deeper understanding, it would be beneficial to examine various aspects related to the heart, including the heart of Yahuah, the heart of man, the wicked heart, the repentant heart, the prideful heart, and the righteous heart. By breaking it down in this manner, we can embark on a more comprehensive study of this term.

Contrasting the Righteous and Unrighteous Heart

As ‘heart’ pertains to righteousness, the term connects with a devout believer’s mind, soul, spirit, and emotional nature, aligning with the ways of God where the believer walks in obedience to His Torah. 

On the other hand, as it pertains to sin, the mind, soul, spirit, and emotional nature align with the fallen world’s ways (sinfulness), walking in opposition to God’s commandments.

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV

As this passage asserts, the human heart is deceitful and wicked but follows with how Yahuah searches the hearts and minds of people to give them according to their ways. 

On one hand, we find encouragement in passages like Psalm 37:4, which instructs us to “delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” On the other hand, there are passages like Romans 1:24, which states that “God gave them over to the desires of their hearts, leading to impurity and dishonoring of their bodies with one another.” 

These scriptures show that whether we choose to live righteously or unrighteously, God allows us to pursue the desires of our hearts. As believers, it is crucial for us to remain focused and disciplined on following God’s ways, so we do not risk our hearts being turned towards sinful desires.

The Rebellious Heart

deceitful human heart

One of the fundamental challenges faced by many people worldwide is the disbelief in the existence of the Creator, a phenomenon commonly observed in the secular world around us. The first chapter of the book of Romans eloquently explains these deceptive matters of the heart, offering timeless wisdom that remains as relevant today as it was in the past.

After Shaul’s (Paul’s) greeting in Romans 1:1-16, in verses 17-32, Shaul summarizes the core of what leads to the heart being deceived. As verse 20 points out:

 Since the creation of the world, His invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, both His everlasting power and Mightiness, for them to be without excuse.

 That is to say, since the time of creation, the ways, laws, and morals of Yahuah are clearly evident in His creation, all around us. Yah’s everlasting power and mightiness are self-evident. If human beings are simply observant of what they witness in nature, they can observe the evidence of Yahuah’s creation, so mankind is without excuse. Psalm 19:1-6 confirms this point, declaring that “The heavens declare the glory of Yah.”

Despite the evidence of the Creator observed throughout the world, humankind continues to rebelliously ignore the truths right in front of them. Disbelief in the Creator is, of course, just one element of a compounding issue of delusion present in the world, as 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 warns:

For the secret of lawlessness is already at work – only until he who now restrains comes out of the midst. And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Master shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and bring to naught with the manifestation of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved. And for this reason, Elohim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood, in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.

Sadly, this is the situation in which we observe most people in the world where they are living in a state of delusion and where they have been turned over to the desires of a carnal, sinful heart. 

Yahusha – Our Example

As believers, we must align our will and actions to agree with Yahuah’s will, walking as Yahusha walked. Yahusha was the example of perfect alignment of his life walk with the will of the Father as we see in John 4:34, which reads, “יהושע said to them, “My food is to do the desire of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”

Likewise, in John 12:49-50, Yahusha states, “Because I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to me, so I speak.” 

It is clear that the desires of Yahusha’s heart were 100% in alignment with Father Yahuah’s will and that the desires of his heart were righteous continually.

Throughout the scriptures, we find numerous examples and instructions from the disciples urging believers to follow Yahusha’s example and walk as he walked to achieve alignment of our lives with the will of the Father. 

As we see in 1 John 2:6, 1 Peter 2:21, and as it is very simply stated in 1 Corinthians 11:1, we must mimic Yahusha’s behavior.

  Be imitators of me, as I am of Messiah.

In John 15, the Messiah gives us a beautiful formula of how to remain in alignment with him throughout our life walk. 

If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete. This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:10-12

Final Thoughts

The list of specific sins related to a deceitful human heart is endless, so there’s no need to delve into each one. The important point is that the root cause of heart matter deceptions stems from walking rebelliously against Yahuah’s Torah and His ways.

Walking in opposition to Yahuah’s Torah results in one being given over to the sinful desires of their own heart, which can quickly cascade into a multitude of sinful behaviors – ultimately destroying one’s soul at the Judgement. 

We must remember the warning given by the prophet Jeremiah:

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Ultimately, Yahuah will give us over to the desires of our hearts. Since He gifted us with a Free Will at creation, each person will naturally follow the desires of their heart and make their own choices during their lives.

To maintain alignment with Yah’s ways, it is crucial for believers to walk daily with Messiah Yahusha, keeping the Father’s ways and striving to show ourselves approved.

Through our continued growth and dedication to Yahuah, our hearts’ desires will align with Yah’s desire for our lives, and the two will be in harmony. It will result in the desires of our heart leaning toward righteousness and not sinfulness. 

Ultimately, a righteous believer’s heart desires that Yahuah’s kingdom come and His will be done in all things.

I hope this brief discussion has blessed you, and I pray that Yahuah will continue to transform and renew our minds to live and walk in righteousness in a manner pleasing to Him. Shalom Aleichem, and thank you for reading.

10 Principles of Effective Prayer

10 Principles of Effective Prayer

Contrary to what you may think, prayer is not just casual conversation with Eloah — the living God. Our prayers should be based on Scriptural promises and taken seriously, without the need for excessive wording to gain Yah’s attention. Our approach to prayer matters.

Sadly, most believers have never received instruction in the proper protocol for entering the throne room of Heaven. Instead, many of us were fed a top 10 list of why we fail to pray. The good news is it is never too late to learn how to pray. The keys are in your Bible.

Disciples Pray

Yeshua expects his disciples to pray.

Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received, and it will be done for you.

Mark 11:24

Although this verse implies that we will get a blank check to receive whatever we ask, nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer has its protocol. We are instructed to pray to the Father in the name of the Son by the direction and power of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit). This will get us to the starting point. But there is more to consider.

Here is a list of 10 principles for effective prayer:

#1 Believe that the Father loves you

We do not have an emotionally distant heavenly Father. He loves us just as much as when we are obedient as when we fall into sin. After Adam and Chavah1 broke the covenant in the Garden of Eden, YHWH (Yahuah)provided a way for humanity to be redeemed through faith in a coming Messiah.2 (Genesis 3)

Just as the prodigal’s father welcomed him with open arms when he returned home, we can all expect a similar reception from Yahuah when we come to him in prayer. (Luke 15:11-32)

So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Luke 11:13

In his sermon on the mount, Yeshua gave us instructions on how to pray. (Matthew 6:5-13) He stressed the importance of getting alone with the Father in a private place. (Mark 1:35)

In corporate prayer, where two or more are gathered to petition the Father, we pray as one body for a desired outcome. (Acts 2:42) (Matthew 18:20) (Psalm 34:3)

When the disciples asked Yeshua why they were unable to drive a demon out of a boy he replied: ‘This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer.’ (Mark 9:29)3

The Hebrew word for intercession is paga, which is defined as “having an effect by accident or violence, or (figuratively) by opportunity.” The Greek equivalent is huperentugchano, which simply means “to intercede on behalf of or for the sake of.” Jamie Rohrbaugh defines intercession as “colliding with God violently until His will is enforced on the earth.” This kind of aggressive prayer warfare is necessary when we face seemingly insurmountable odds such as catastrophic illness or the impending failure of a marriage.

    #2 Faith triumphs over wishful thinking

    Our prayers ought to begin with faith. We must believe that our petitions will be heard and answered in Yah’s way and in His timing.

    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

    Hebrews 11:6

    According to Biblical Illustrator, the term faith “expresses a confidence or persuasion of the truth of anything not self-evident, received upon the testimony of another.” The testimony here is that of Yahuah’s character. He delights to hear and answer our prayers. But if we doubt his promise to come to our aid, then prayer is pointless.

    Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see

    Hebrews 11:1

    Biblical faith is not a pipe dream or wishful thinking. In Matthew’s gospel, when Yeshua caused the fig tree to wither, the disciples wanted to know how he did it. His explanation tied the moving of a mountain to belief.

    “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

    Matthew 21:21,22

    The Greek word for faith used here is pistis. It means being fully persuaded or having the moral conviction of the truthfulness of Yahuah. When we possess unwavering faith, we can be confident that we will receive whatever we ask for — in Yah’s timing and in His way.

    #3 The Holy Spirit must guide you

    Prayer is not a way for us to get Yah to do what we want. It is a way for us to become an instrument for Eloah to do what He wants. This mindset requires that we renounce our own will and embrace His.

    And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

    1 John 5:14

    According to theologian Albert Barnes, the limitation “according to His will” probably means in accordance with what He has declared He is willing to grant. Put another way, Yah limits the answer to prayer to what He believes to be best for us.

    The expression must limit the petition to what it will be consistent for God to bestow upon us. We can‘t expect that he will work a miracle to answer our prayers; we can’t ask him to bestow blessings in violation of any of the laws which he has ordained or in any other way than that which he has appointed. The expression must limit the promise to what will be for the good of the whole. The interests of the whole creation as well as the individuals are to be regarded.

    To be led by the Spirit is to submit to the Spirit’s influence and control. How does this translate practically? We strive to obey the Torah (instructions for living). The Spirit’s direction as we obey the commandments marks us as His children.

    Since prayer is a major weapon of spiritual warfare we must rely on the Ruach Ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us. (Romans 8:14) To become a child of Eloah, we must be born by His Ruach — without which we can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The key is learning how to be led by the Spirit. We must allow the Spirit to pray through us the type of prayer that needs to be prayed for the situation we face.

    When we release the reins of our soul, the Ruach liberates our spirit to pray effectively through “groaning too deep for words.” The Spirit gives us the right prayer to utter in our own language — a prayer we never would have prayed when left to ourselves. It is an activity of our spirit that goes beyond our mind’s ability to understand.

    #4 We must ask in the authority of Yeshua’s name

    And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    John 14:13,14

    Three things are implied when we pray in the name of Yeshua.

    1. We come to Eloah on the basis of what Yeshua has done for us (1 Peter 3:18) (Ephesians 2:13) (Hebrews 12:24)
    2. We come on the basis of Yeshua’s position as our mediator and High Priest (1 John 2:1)
    3. We come on the basis of the relationship we have with the Father through him (Ephesians 1:3-6)

    The Father had an eternal purpose before Creation ever took place. He had foreknowledge of us and determined that through Yeshua he would adopt us into his family as his children.

    When we pray in Yeshua’s name, it is equivalent to saying “on Yeshua’s account.” When someone with money in a bank authorizes another person to draw on their account, it is similar to how we are given permission to ask the Father for anything in the name of the Son. Because the Father is well pleased in Yeshua and we are friends of the Son, he answers our prayers.

    #5 Our motives must be pure

    Our desire to glorify Yah is always the right motive. It is our sole purpose for living. Prayer is just one of the ways Yah has ordained for us to give Him glory.

    And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 

    John 14:13

    When we pray, we need to ask ourselves: Am I praying for this thing out of the old or new self (man)? Is my request being made because I want it or because Yahuah wants it for me? When we try to force our own will through, we do not make room for the will of Eloah.

    Now to the one who is able to do beyond all measure more than all that we ask or think, according to the power this is at work in us, to Him be the glory int he ekklesia and in Yeshua HaMoshiach to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

    Ephesians 3: 20,21

    Prayer is a way for us to become an instrument for Yah to do what He wants in our lives. The right motive for prayer is to bring glory to Yah. Our purpose for living is to glorify the Father through the Son.

    And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    John 14:13
    Man with head bowed in effective prayer.

    #6 Humility matters

    The hallmark of our Messiah’s life and ministry was humility.

    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    Philippians 2:5-8

    Like our Messiah, we must throw aside pride and self-centeredness when we approach the Father in prayer. We must come to a place in our spiritual maturity where we seek Yahuah’s solution to our problems and challenges in life. Ministry can not be motivated by selfish ambition. The only way to deal with it is to die to “self.”

    In the words of Hannah Whitehall Smith from The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life:

    In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames, and reelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you and therefore He understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.

    Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

    James 4:10

    #7 Prayer is our priestly duty

    As citizens of the coming Kingdom, we must learn to minister as priests, offering the kind of sacrifices — of prayer and praise — that Yah requires in this age.

    And yourselves, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua.

    1 Peter 2:5

    The word for priest in Hebrew is kohen. It means “chief ruler; one who officiates and judges or mediates in religious services.” The first mention of the word priest is in Genesis when Abraham encounters Melchizedek. This is the eternal order of priesthood that Yeshua belongs to. This priestly order came before the Levitical order, which was tied to genealogy.

    This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness.” Then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother or genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God, he remains a priest for all time.

    Hebrews 7:1-3

    One day believers will rule and reign with Yeshua in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. In order to rule, we first have to learn to minister as priests in prayer. As we learn to pray, we become qualified to rule as priests. In essence, we learn to rule “rightly” through the discipline of prayer.

    Priests are intercessors and judges. Unlike corrupt judges in our secular world who are easily bribed, those who inherit positions of authority in the Kingdom will possess integrity. At that time we will be equipped to always judge righteously because of the permanent indwelling of the Spirit in an incorruptible resurrection body. Our judgments will be based on an error-free understanding of the eternal Word of Yahuah that will be permanently etched on our circumcised hearts. This is a promise of the New Covenant. (Hebrews 8:6-13)

    #8 Our personal relationships must be healthy

    Before praying, we should make every effort to reconcile with our brother or sister if there is something we have done that has wounded them.

    And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against another, forgive it, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your trespasses as well.

    Mark 11:25

    Our modern-day, post-temple “gifts and sacrifices” that we bring to the altar are our prayers that are steeped in praise. Believers are not to behave like petulant children. We are called to handle disputes in mature love, with the goal of restoration and reconciliation in mind.

    So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

    Matthew 5:23,24

    Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not neglect to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

    Hebrews 13:15,16

    Healthy relationships between brothers and sisters in the faith matter to the Father. We can’t expect Eloah to hear our petitions or forgive us if our relationship with a fellow believer is broken. It is our responsibility to reconcile before entering Yahuah’s presence. In doing so we approach the Father with a clear conscience and renewed confidence that our prayers will be heard. (Matthew 18:23-24)

    #9 We approach the Father with confidence

    Yeshua laid down his life willingly so sinful humanity could be forgiven and become eligible to receive eternal life. This selfless act made on our behalf means we can be confident in our prayer life.

    When you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our trespasses, having canceled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross!

    Colossians 2:13,14

    Walking in the Spirit means we are doing our best to obey the Torah’s instructions on how to live righteously. Our conscience is clear knowing that we will not be condemned as a result of sin — which is transgression of the law. The gospel of grace made possible by our High Priest Yeshua sets us free from the condemnation of the law.

    There is therefore now no condemnation of those who are in Yeshua Hamashiach.

    Romans 8:1

    #10 Fasting energizes prayer for a breakthrough

    Sometimes circumstances dictate that we combine prayer with fasting. Humbling ourselves by denying our bodies food (and sometimes water too) is a practice that few avail themselves of today. But the scriptures are full of examples where fasting sowed the seed for the miraculous to happen.

    • Esther’s preparation before petitioning the King on behalf of Israel (Esther 4:15-17)
    • Moses on Mt. Sinai (Deuteronomy 9:9-18)
    • When Darius spent the night fasting after Daniel was cast in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6:18)
    • The sparing of Nineveh (Jonah 3)
    • When Daniel sought understanding regarding the end of the 70 years in Babylon (Daniel 9:3)
    • Elijah’s escape from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:4-8)
    • Yeshua’s fast before his testing in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1,2)

    However, no amount of fasting will move Eloah’s heart if our behaviors and motives are rotten. Isaiah the Prophet makes this clear. (Isaiah 58) Fasting is not meant to twist the Father’s arm to get what we want. It is designed to prioritize the Spirit’s leading over the flesh’s demands. It helps us reign in our thoughts and emotions to line up with the Word.

    Final Thoughts on Effective Prayer

    As we come to our Father in prayer we must always remember that we have been invited to this throne to receive mercy. A throne denotes a King. In the case of the believer, the King is the Supreme ruler of Creation — Yahuah.

    Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

    Hebrews 4:16

    According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, when grace is mentioned in scripture, the focus of attention is not on the giver, but on the recipient, of what is given. The Greek form of the word is charis (G5485), which is defined as “a pleasing circumstance, matter of approval, beneficial opportunity, or act of favor.” Eleos, the word for mercy, implies “compassion, kindness, or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to help.” (G1656)

    We have been invited to enter the throne room of the Sovereign ruler of all things. We come, not relying on our own merits but on the shed blood of Yeshua, our righteous Savior. Knowing this allows us to approach with humble expectations of mercy and the blessed assurance that our Father will always act in our best interest.


    1 Chavah (H2332) is a Hebrew word meaning life giver or to live. This is harmonious with the description in Genesis 3:20 — “…because she was the mother of all living.” So where did the English transliteration Eve come from? According to Robert Alter [“The Five Books of Moses”, 2004, Commentary on Genesis iii.20]: “In the Hebrew here, the phonetic similarity is between hawah, “Eve,” and the verbal root hayah, “to live.” It has been proposed that Eve’s name conceals very different origins, for it sounds suspiciously like the Aramaic word for “serpent.” Others link the name “Eve” to the word “evil” and blame the woman for bringing sin down on the entire world.

    2 Albert Barnes Commentary on Genesis 3: “Up to a certain point there had been concord and alliance between these two parties. But, on the very opening of the heavenly court, we learn that the friendly connection had been broken. For the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” This expression indicates that the woman was no longer at one with the serpent. When God, therefore, said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” this revulsion of feeling on her part, in which Adam no doubt joined, was acknowledged and approved. Enmity with the enemy of God indicated a return to friendship with God, and presupposed incipient feelings of repentance toward him, and reviving confidence in his word. The perpetuation of this enmity is here affirmed, in regard not only to the woman but to her seed. This prospect of seeing, and of a godly seed, at enmity with evil, became a fountain of hope to our first parents and confirmed every feeling of returning reverence for God which was beginning to spring up in their breast. The word heard from the mouth of God begat faith in their hearts, and we shall find that this faith was not slow to manifest itself in acts.”

    3 In some Bible translations, Mark 9:29 omits the word fasting. Similarly, in chapter 17 of Matthew’s gospel, there is no mention of prayer and/or fasting in many translations. The disciples’ inability to drive out the unclean spirit is attributed to a lack of faith. The Codex Sianaiticus and Codex Vaticanus do not include the verse.

    Patience Rooted In Love

    Patience Rooted In Love

    Patience is a virtue. As it pertains to how believers interact with each other, this adage should hold true. Unfortunately, it often does not as our frustrations with one another’s interpretations of scripture become apparent. 

    Before we allow ourselves to get annoyed, we should pause and biblically consider how to treat one another. 

    We may think: “They are just stuck in the milk of the word” or “They are still brainwashed by Christian dispensationalism doctrine” and so forth. However, the question remains – how should we react to one another when points of view and scriptural interpretations differ? 

    This is a complex area to navigate. It involves our most deeply held beliefs about our Elohim Yahuah (God), our understanding of His character, our role in His kingdom, and our relationship with His son Yahusha (Jesus). 

    For example, you may have very strong emotional and philosophical reasons about how the names of Father and Son are pronounced. Another person may be fully convinced that the calendar they are following is correct, and so forth.

    Nonetheless, we should not be so dug in that we become unwilling to listen and consider different views of scriptural interpretation – lest we risk becoming stiff-necked and hard-hearted. As we interact with one another, we should consider the examples set by Yahusha Messiah and examine how he responded to his disciples and others in similar situations. 

    Likewise, we should also examine how the disciples responded to others following Yahusha’s ascension. 

    Patience is Forged from Friction

    It seems appropriate to prime this section with a biblical reminder that all believers are at different points in their spiritual walk, and only some share the same level of understanding, research, and knowledge. 

    But the wisdom from above is first clean, then peaceable, gentle, ready to obey, filled with compassion and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17 TS2009

    Indeed, all true wisdom comes from Yahuah, and what wisdom we do have, we should apply it in a similar fashion as did Yahusha and his disciples. Additionally, believers should remember that we are all different members of the body of the Messiah. (1 Corinthians 12) It is not everyone’s calling to be a Bible scholar, teacher, rabbi, or preacher.

    Believers should pause before judging brothers and sisters in Messiah who have a different understanding of scripture. First, we must determine if what others are presenting is simply a different point of view,  or if it is indeed a strange or blasphemous doctrine. This advice does not suggest that we tolerate blatant lies, blasphemy, evil, or immorality. As believers, we should stand up against such doctrine in those instances. 


    However, the focus of this discussion is not on these types of situations, but on those where some believers react negatively to scripture topics that should be open for discussion.

    Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

    Proverbs 27:17 Cepher 

    It is essential to remember that when iron sharpens iron there is friction in the process, and although there is friction, the goal is to improve the tools being sharpened. We should be building each other up and encouraging one another as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs.

    Is the Medium the Message?

    Philosopher and media theorist Marshall McLuhan popularized the expression “the medium is the message.” He argued that the medium (video, print, internet, etc.) through which we choose to deliver a message will determine how that message is received. 

    On a personal note, one of the most intriguing phenomena I have witnessed over the years is the quick acceptance of YouTube teachers’ interpretations of scripture versus “face-to-face” explanations. Perhaps a psychologist might better explain this phenomenon of why so many people are receptive to video teachings about a bible topic and so resistant to the same information when presented in a personal conversation. 

    Is it the lack of visual aids, charts, graphs, soothing music, or perfectly edited statements? Or perhaps it is the inability of the viewer to talk back, interrupt, or argue – leaving no choice but to either listen to the message or turn off the video. Nonetheless, it seems very disingenuous that believers won’t give full attention and consideration to biblical interpretation to a brother and sisters they know personally, holding strangers they don’t know personally, of which they have no way of judging their fruit above their personal relationships. 

    I would challenge all brothers and sisters in Messiah to strive to become better listeners during “in-person” scriptural conversations, as this will undoubtedly result in stronger relationships and more profound scriptural growth over time.

    Patiently Building Up or Rudely Tearing Down?

    Several biblical topics are deeply rooted in our core values and beliefs. The pronunciation of the name YHWH is one example. 

    Many believers are deeply convicted about pronouncing the Father’s name correctly as a sign of admiration and respect toward the Father. Once they discover that the name was intentionally removed from Scripture and replaced with “God” and “LORD”, they may feel that using these titles for Yahuah instead of His real name is disrespectful. This is understandable. I also felt this way during a certain period of my walk. 

    However, in doing so I failed to show patience and consideration toward other believers for whom the full significance of the true name had not yet been revealed and who were actively researching and studying this topic for themselves.

    The Bible states in Philippians 2:12-13: 

    So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.


    So, did my adverse reactions help build up or tear down my brother? Did my sharp corrections act as a building block, or a stumbling block for my sister? Could I have presented my understanding of the name more positively? 

    I could have and should have, in many situations.

    Another touchy subject is the calendar. Some believe the traditional Jewish calendar is correct, while others believe the Enoch/Zadokite calendar is accurate. While others’ research has led them to trust another variation of the biblical calendar. 

    Many of us are deeply convicted and emotionally connected to the idea of keeping the calendar in the most accurate way possible. Some may feel betrayed and lied to from years of deception from the mainstream Christian church, which falsifies dates about when the Messiah was born and observes pagan feast days dedicated to the false goddess Eostre (Easter). 

    I once shared those feelings of betrayal and felt very convicted to make sure that I keep Yahuah’s feast days as outlined in the Bible.  I did not want to offend the Father more than I already had in my former sinful life. These are just a couple of examples.  

    As believers, we should be extra considerate of others’ convictions about these topics, given their extreme importance. 

    patience with those who have different opinions

    However, this is a two-way street. We should not become hard-hearted toward one another. We must remain open to listening to a brother or sister’s research which led them to the conclusion they are presenting. 

    We can listen, learn, and disagree with respect and love toward one another. The same approach holds true for discussions regarding:

    • Flat Earth
    • Round Earth
    • The Millennial reign
    • Bible calendars
    • The Crucifixion
    • The Melchizedek priesthood
    • Duties of the High Priest
    • When a Day Begins

     The list of differences goes on and on.

    So how do we show love and patience toward one another in circumstances of differing scriptural understanding? The Bible gives guidance in numerous verses, and here are a few to consider regarding this subject: 

    • Romans 14:1-4
    • 1 Peter 3:8-11
    • Proverbs 16:24
    • Matthew 7:12

    Together with one of my favorites is 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.


    This verse is very instructive in that it simultaneously advises us to be prepared at all times to reprove (correct misguided interpretations of scripture), rebuke (bluntly reject blasphemy), and exhort (encourage, advise, and appeal to sound biblical interpretation). 

    It is an excellent summary of how our approach toward each other should always be. 

    We must also apply Ephesians 4: 1-6:

    I call upon you therefore, I the prisoner of the Master, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being eager to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace – one body and one Spirit, as you also were called in one expectation of your calling, one Master, one belief, one immersion, one Elohim and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  


    Verse 2 presents a critical point to this discussion: if a person is a brother or sister, we should express humility, meekness, and patience toward one another in love.

    Lessons in Patience and Humility

    patience and humility

    So, what might 2 Timothy 4:1-2 and Ephesians 4:2 look like in practice between brothers and sisters in Yahusha Messiah? Let’s take a closer look at how Yahusha behaved in a few situations to understand his example. 

    In Luke 9:46-48 Yahusha reproves his disciples who were arguing about who would be “the greatest” in the Kingdom.  Our Messiah explained that welcoming a child in his name was equivalent to receiving the Father. He also stated that the least (those who humbled themselves) were considered to be the greatest (highly esteemed).

    Yahusha rebuked his disciples several times for lack of faith and for being hard-hearted. (Mark 8:33, Mark 16:9-15, Luke 9:49-50, and Mathew 17) Mark 16: 9-15 serves as a great example of what happens when “the messenger” gets in the way of the message. 

    Mary Magdalene was given orders by an angel of Yah to inform the disciples that Yahusha has risen. Yet, their response was hard-hearted and they dismiss her report. 

    Pause for a second and think about the gravity of this passage and the severe error that the disciples make in rejecting her message. The disciples knew Mary personally as a sister in Messiah. They knew she had sincere love, obedience, and commitment toward Yahusha. They knew this woman had faith and compassion toward them as well. Yet, when times got tough, the disciple’s knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss this woman’s message – in disbelief! Would you recognize a message sent directly from Yahuah through a woman’s mouth? Would I? 

    Yahusha responded with righteous anger a few times because of disbelief, hypocrisy, and lack of compassion toward one’s neighbor. 

    Many of us are familiar with the account in Matthew 21, John 2, Mark 11, and Luke 19, where Yahusha (Jesus) went into the temple and drove out the moneychangers. His anger at their sinful behavior and disrespect of the temple is evident in this account. A response of righteous anger was warranted.

    In Mark 10:13-16, Yahusha expresses his displeasure with his disciples, who rebuked those who brought children to him. Messiah publicly called out their errors and corrected them in front of both children and adults. It must have been embarrassing and humbling, considering they were his trusted twelve who walked with him and learned from him daily.

    There are several other instances where the Messiah becomes indignant and displeased, rebuking people and disciples. However, the point is that when appropriate, Yahusha is quick to correct egregious errors in scriptural interpretation, thought, and misstatements in a righteous and very blunt way. Sin is sin. Believers should not pull punches in publicly calling out sinful and unbiblical behavior.

    Patiently Exhorting 

    Lastly, Yahusha set an example of exhortation – encouraging, advising, and appealing to people earnestly seeking the truth of Scripture. 

    Messiah Yahusha showed patience with his disciples and the Israelites’ lack of faith and scriptural understanding on numerous occasions. One good example is found in Matthew 6:23-27  where Yahusha rebukes the storm. Messiah calmly questions their fear and faith. And yet he shows them, by example, what genuine faith in practice can accomplish as he commands the storm to stop. 

    In Matthew 13, Yahusha patiently unpacks the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds. Likewise, in Matthew 14, Yahusha tells his disciples to give the crowd of 5,000, something to eat. The disciples lack the faith and understanding to accomplish the task – responding with a list of food inventory (logically) instead of feeding the crowd by faith as he commanded them to do. Yahusha shows them what faith can accomplish. 

    Likewise, Yahusha showed patience with Peter when he tried to walk on water. Instead of highlighting his failure, Messiah reached out his hand and asked the disciple why he doubted. 

    These are just a few examples from the book of Mathew. Numerous other examples can be found in Mark, Luke, and John, wherein Yahusha responds to a lack of faith and misunderstanding of scripture with patience and understanding. It is not done in a corrective or rebuking manner. 

    Patience In Context 

    Much depends on the context of the situation and the person’s heart condition as to how Yahusha responds. He is the perfect example of how a mature believer should behave and react. 

    When we think of Yahusha’s reactions when questioned by the Pharisees, we most often recall the verses where the Messiah points out their hypocrisy and lack of scriptural understanding. He rightly calls many of them out as a “brood of vipers and sons of the wicked one.” 

    However, in some instances, Yahusha responds in more of a reproving and advising manner. 

    In John 3:1-20, Nicodemus the Pharisee meets with Yahusha. He confesses that they know he came from Yahuah – because no one could perform the signs he has unless Yah was with them. However, Yahusha responds with an astounding biblical salvation statement in verse three, stating that unless someone is born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God.

    Nicodemus does not understand and asks, “But how can anyone be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” 

    This discourse is interesting in two ways. First, it is apparent that Nicodemus is asking the questions earnestly, not with a hidden hypocritical agenda. Second, Yahusha doesn’t perceive the questions as a trap or trick, but instead, he sees that Nicodemus does not fully understand the deeper scriptural mysteries of spiritual matters and knows Nicodemus is thinking only in the physical. 

    Yahusha provides a few examples to help Nicodemus understand the spiritual meaning. He even reproves Nicodemus in verse 10, reminding him that as a teacher of Israel, he should know these things. Again, this discourse is not presented as adversarial but is an excellent example of a firm yet respectful and mature discussion between the Master Yahusha and a person with a much different understanding of scriptural interpretation.

    Final Thoughts

    The reactions of Yahusha in these various situations depended on the content of the questions, the agenda of the person, and the context of the topics. If the line of questioning was a blasphemous or hate-rooted question or challenge, Yahusha rightly put people in their place with a biblically founded, righteous response. 

    However, if they asked a question earnestly, they are responded to with grace, wise correction, scriptural guidance, and truth. 

    Hopefully, these examples will help Torah-observant brothers and sisters who sometimes struggle to know how to respond to challenges in their understanding of scripture, as I, too, struggle. There are always two sides to the coin –  two different minds at different places in their spiritual growth and walk. It is my hope and prayer that we treat each other with the love, patience, and forgiveness spoken of in Colossians 3:12-13, Ephesians 4:32, and 1 Peter 4:8. 

    Through the grace and power of Yahusha Messiah, may we all do as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 advises:

     “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 

    Blessing and shalom to you all, and thanks for reading.

    The Gospel of Pie-In-The-Sky

    The Gospel of Pie-In-The-Sky

    It wasn’t at all what I expected or hoped for. The twenty-something preacher with the stern look was not playing around on this particular Sunday. He was laying it all out there for me to wrestle with in the private recesses of my tortured soul. 

    The pastor spoke of sin, repentance1, counting the cost, and the lake of fire. I wanted to hear about streets paved with gold, eternal bliss, and a Savior who would do all of my heavy lifting in matters related to salvation. I wanted the idiomatic ‘pie-in-the-sky’ gospel message.

    When the altar call came, I sat glued to the pew. I was convicted of my sins, but my feet refused to move me in the direction of the altar, or my heart to repentance.

    So I left.

    A Different Gospel

    The phrase pie in the sky was the brainchild of labor activist Joe Hill. In 1911 Hill wrote a song titled “The Preacher and the Slave” which parodied the hymn “In the Sweet By and By” – a song often used by the Salvation Army. Hill claimed that the organization’s promise of future heavenly rewards did nothing to address the earthly needs of the poor.

    The gospel of ‘pie-in-the-sky’ is a bit more nuanced. It subtly mixes the truth of heavenly rewards with questionable soulish doctrine.

    Here are a few of its basic tenets:

    • once saved, always saved
    • the Law was done away with by Jesus
    • the Scriptures are all about me
    • if you name it you can claim it as yours
    • reciting the sinner’s prayer gets you into heaven
    • a believer’s life will be trouble-free

    A person can spend years in church trying to make sense of this brand of soundbite theology; feel-good phrases that misalign what the Scriptures actually say when taken in context. I know, because it happened to me.

    These doctrines lead to confusion and disillusionment. They misrepresent the Father’s plan of redemption through Yeshua, our Messiah, and High Priest. Many churches rarely bring up the subject of a believer’s covenant2 with Yah.

    In his Notes on the Bible, theologian and Greek and Hebrew scholar Albert Barnes had this to say about erroneous doctrines:

    They will not merely eat out the truth in the particular matter to which they refer, but they will also spread over and corrupt other truths. The doctrines of religion are closely connected and are dependent on each other – like the different parts of the human body. One cannot be corrupted without affecting those adjacent to it, and unless checked, the corruption will soon spread over the whole.

    The apostle Paul constantly warned his protegee Timothy about the danger of accepting doctrine at face value alone without taking the time to search and study Yah’s word. The Berean believers in Messiah took this to heart.

    Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth. But avoid irreverent, empty chatter, which will only lead to more ungodliness, and the talk of such men will spread like gangrene.

    2 Timothy 2:15,16

    Easy Believism Theology

    Many of us in the faith have fallen prey to certain individuals, groups, and institutions promoting a set of beliefs about what it means to be a disciple of Yeshua. The doctrine they teach tickles the ear and stirs up the flesh. 

    Wrapping themselves in the ‘seeker-friendly’ mantle they try to make the Gospel that Yeshua preached3 more appealing by making it all about the individual. This is referred to as narcigesis — a combining of narcissim with eisegesis. Through the lens of narcigesis, a person is taught to view the Scriptures as being primarily focused on his or her life at this particular point in time. So, the Bible becomes all about them. Worship is all about them.

    The individual is taught that since “God loves me just the way I am” I am absolved of any responsibility in the sanctification process. There is no incentive to obey the commandments from a heart of repentence so I can be changed. The implication is that Yah is here to serve the believer.

    Name It and Claim It

    Another heresy of the gospel of ‘pie-in-the-sky’ is the “name it and claim it doctrine.” The so-called prosperity gospel falls under this umbrella of teaching whereby you can speak things into existence. People are encourged to proclaim such things as: “That new home is mine” or “I declare that I am wealthy.” They are told to sow financial seed in order to reap a harvest. If they name it they can claim it. This power belongs only to the Most High.

    — God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

    Romans 4:17 (b)

    Let all the earth fear Yahuah; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.

    Psalm 33:8,9

    Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless Yahuah has ordained it? Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?

    Lamentations 3: 37,38

    Just Invite Jesus Into Your Heart

    The notion of “inviting Jesus into your heart” as a way to everlasting life is another scriptural distortion. Peter did not lead three thousand people to repentance and belief by telling them to ask Jesus into their hearts. (Acts 2:37-41).

    Illustration of woman caught in adultery - John 8:1-11
    Repentance and Forgiveness – John 8:1-11

    Almost as bad is easy believism’s assertion that once you give your life to Yeshua your problems will miraculously vanish. And while it is true that many have experienced quick deliverance from addictions to drugs, alcohol, or smoking — these are the exceptions.

    Most will have the same problems and more to face. However, we get help from the Holy Spirit in dealing with our problems and setbacks. What once may have seemed impossible is now possible. But it requires perseverance if we expect to bear the fruit of righteousness. (Luke 8:15) (Luke 13:24) (Hebrews 12:1)

    Living a life that shows genuine repentance and is dedicated to walking in obedience to Torah is proof of salvation. (2 Cor 5:17)

    We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.

    Romans 6:4

    You can’t fake this. When you encounter Yeshua nothing about you will ever be the same. The ‘old you’ has to die to make way for the new you. Everything about your life will change.

    The Sinner’s Prayer

    Another component of easy believism is the use of the sinner’s prayer to bring someone to a salvation decision while they are in a highly emotional state. Unfortunately for those who sincerely want their sins forgiven, this method is a gross distortion of the way of salvation.

    The sinner’s prayer is not in the Bible. It is a tradition of the modern church that was popularized in 1930 by Billy Sunday, an Iowa baseball player, and utilized by Billy Graham during his revival meetings. 

    Because of easy believism the church has failed to impress upon people the seriousness of being in covenant with the Most High. There is more to this life than just repeating the words of a prayer. 

    The fact of Yeshua’s resurrection is just the beginning. We all face a lifelong sanctification process of regeneration through faith and works, and we will not experience the fullness of sanctification until we are resurrected.

    Our part involves a commitment to walk in his ways by obeying Torah – instructions on how to live. Yeshua’s part as our High Priest involves interceding4 with the Father on our behalf. This goes beyond an emotional choice made during an altar call. This process of intercession includes obeying the call to repentance and returning to the ancient paths. 

    This is what Yahuah says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: ‘Where is the good way?’ Then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’

    Jeremiah 6:16

    For when I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt, I did not merely command them about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but this is what I commanded them: Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be My people. You must walk in all the ways I have commanded you, so that it may go well with you.

    Jeremiah 7:22,23

    The Testing of Our Faith

    The faith we profess to have in Messiah will be tested. Believers should expect their life to be filled with many hardships5 and trials. (Acts 14:21-22

    Paul and Barnabas were very clear in their message while visiting Lystra, Derbe, and Antioch. It was during this time that Paul was stoned and left for dead. The ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t begin until after we are resurrected. Right now it is time to train for the battle that is on the horizon. (1 Peter 1:3-7) (1 Peter 4: 12,13

    Our brother in the faith James (Ya’aqob) wrote: 

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    James 1:3,4

    Counting the Cost

    Salvation is offered to us as a free gift but it cost our Messiah everything. We are expected to die to self and conform to the likeness and behavior of Yeshua. This takes time and commitment.

    In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting for Yahuah, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. So Yeshua is not ashamed to call them brothers. Hebrews 2:10,11

    The Gospel demands that we count the cost of our salvation

    The thought of being persecuted for our faith in Messiah is foreign to most brothers and sisters who live in America. We recoil at reports of Christians being martyred for their beliefs in other countries. But, quite frankly, most of us would rather click away from those stories or change the channel. 

    Watch the movie “Perpetua: Early Church Martyr” 

    While a believer’s life in his mortal flesh is a life of challenges, it is also a life filled with hope, love, joy, peace, and blessing. Yes, we are overcomers and more than conquerors, but the ability to move mountains can only be obtained through faith and obedience.

    What is the Kingdom of Yah worth to you as a believer? Are you willing to die for your convictions? Knowing that ‘the way’ is paved with suffering, do you still desire salvation?

    The Gospel of Truth

    The only way to know if you are being served a slice of the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ gospel is to know what your Bible says. New Testament-only churches do a grave disservice by ignoring the first half of the book, or by only referring to cherry-picked scriptures from the Old Testament to prove a pet doctrine. 

    Who in their right mind would not read a novel from cover to cover? If we believe that the scriptures are here to instruct us in righteousness, we need to consume every page of every chapter.

    We have been told that in the last days, many will not tolerate sound doctrine. They will seek out teachers who suit their soulish desires and turn away from the truth. (2 Timothy 4:3,4) These teachers who promote a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ gospel are unwittingly producing churches full of narcissistic believers. They suck you in through love-bombing then push forward doctrine and practices that keep people confused, enslaved, and carnal. 

    Through tenets of easy believism, modern-day Scribes and Pharisees convince biblically ignorant followers that all they have to do is practice love to get to heaven. They suppress the weightier matters of the Torah by elevating their traditions. (Matthew 23:1-34

    We must pray for both well-intentioned teachers and well-meaning people who sincerely desire to become disciples of Messiah. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

    Yeshua modeled a righteous life in obedience to his Father. We are expected to do the same. What does this look like?

    The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10) speak of the characteristics of those who will inherit the Kingdom of God. In the rest of the chapter, Yeshua instructs us on how we are to behave in this life. (Matthew 5:11-48) The last verse of Matthew 5 sums up what Yah expects of his children —

    “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

    The Greek word for perfect is teleios (G5046). It means “brought to completion; fully accomplished, fully developed, or fully realized; brought to its end, wanting nothing necessary for completeness.” 

    If we hope to be resurrected to eternal life, our High Priest is telling us how we should be living now. While we understand that we will sin, we have been given a mechanism to deal with our sinfulness. 

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    1 John 1:9

    The perfection that Yeshua desires to see in us is an uncompromising dedication to righteous living. Our main goal in this life should be focused on emulating Yeshua. It is the highest calling for those of us who pray to be found worthy to inherit the coming Kingdom. 

    The Rest of My Story

    After I left the church that Sunday, I wrestled all afternoon with the Holy Spirit. Years and years of living a sinful life had caught up to me. I finally realized I needed a Savior, and only Yeshua was qualified to offer the forgiveness I so desperately needed. 

    By the end of the day, I repented and surrendered. I picked up the phone and called my mother to tell her that I was ready to become a Christian and turn my life over to Christ. I could hear the joy – and relief – in her voice.

    Fast forward many years and I am more committed than ever to seeing this narrow walk through to the end. This road has not been easy. I have struggled (and still struggle) to understand the Bible (cover-to-cover). With the help of the Ruach, I have managed to cast away the residue of the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ doctrine that clouded my understanding for many years. 

    I have lost friends and alienated family members along the way. But this journey has been more than worth it.

    My prayer is that someday Yeshua, as my High Priest, will vouch for my authenticity as a true believer before the Father. My heartfelt desire is to be deemed worthy to be called a citizen of Yahuah’s glorious Kingdom.

    Until that day, I press on toward that goal and take to heart these words of Paul the apostle:

    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

    All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained.

    Join one another in following my example, brothers, and carefully observe those who walk according to the pattern we set for you. For as I have often told you before, and now say again even with tears: Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things.

    But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body. Philippians 3: 12-21


    1 The Hebrew word for repent is teshuvah (#H7725) which means to turn back.

    2 Simply put, a covenant is an agreement that secures a relationship of commitment between Yahuah and his people. The reality of our covenantal relationship with Yah has sometimes been called “Christianity’s best-kept secret.”

    3 Read Chapter 10 and the Epilogue section of The Gospel Worth Dying For to understand the Gospel of the Kingdom that Yeshua taught. (Download a PDF of the book here.)

    4 In Romans 8:34 the Greek word for interceding is entugchano (#G1793) and can mean to ‘entreat’ (in favor or against).

    5 The word used here for ‘hardships’ is thlipseon. It is in a category of tribulation that implies persecution, affliction, distress, and tribulation. These are stresses that we experience in our inner being. Put another way, it is a type of internal pressure whereby a person feels they have no options or no way out.