Christian, Forgiving

The Scariest Words from Jesus

Matthew 18:34-35

Matthew 18:34-35  “And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Is unforgiveness an unforgiveable sin? It appears so, doesn’t it? If we do not forgive, neither will we be forgiven. That is serious, and scary.

Forgiving those who have sinned against us was important enough for Jesus that he included it in the prayer he taught his disciples. “Forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us.” How many times have we prayed this prayer and not really thought about what it means?

(Aside: in the same way we have prayed “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth. . .” and not realized that Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God coming to earth, not our going to heaven.)

How do I know if I have truly forgiven those who have sinned against me? What does it mean to “forgive from the heart”?

I have come to some clearer understanding of this lately.  Formerly when I would counsel people about forgiveness, I would start by explaining what forgiveness is.  There is a lot of misunderstanding about forgiveness. People usually think that if they forgive someone it means that what that person did doesn’t matter. This reaction may become evident when I ask someone to forgive me and that person says, “It’s OK. It doesn’t matter.” That’s wrong. It does matter. It matters to us, but more importantly it matters to God. This can also happen when I think about something that someone did to me. I could think, “Well, it doesn’t matter.”

It matters. We must examine our heart. We must remember the pain the sin against us caused. Now we are getting closer to “forgiving from the heart.”

One of the ways this is explored is to say to yourself, “I forgive so-and-so for doing such-and-such because it made me feel ___________________ you fill in the blank.

Graphic example: I forgive my uncle for sexually abusing me when I was eight years old because it made me feel dirty, defiled, and guilty.

Or less graphic: I forgive my fourth-grade school teacher for what she said about me in front of the class because it made me feel stupid and embarrassed.

We can’t just blanket everything with “I forgive everyone for ever hurting me.” That does not come from the heart.

Again, forgiving doesn’t mean that what the other person did to us was all right or that it doesn’t matter. Forgiving means that I am no longer going to let this sin against me control my life. I would tell people that only person I am hurting by not forgiving that other person is me. Your ex-husband is having a great time with his girlfriend. He doesn’t care that you have said, “I will never forgive him.”  It is like taking poison, and hoping the other person dies. So I used to tell the person I was counseling to turn it over to God. He can bring retribution better to that person than you ever could!  That’s what I used to say.

Recently I have learned that is not right. That is not forgiveness from the heart. Hear these words from the Bedtime Shema, a Jewish prayer to be said before going to sleep.

“Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me—whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine; whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly or purposely; whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion; whether in this place or another place—I forgive every [person]. May no one be punished because of me.

The last sentence rocked my world. “May no one be punished because of me.” Or because of what he or she has done to me.

We have a responsibility to those who have wronged us to forgive them, for their sakes, as well as for ours. It is not a matter of turning them over to the Lord for retribution.

This illustration might help. Imagine you and the person you are forgiving are standing near the foot of the cross. You turn to the other person and invite him or her to come to the cross with you, to receive the same forgiveness that you have received.

Yeshua said to love our enemies, and pray for those who despitefully use us. Take the one who has wounded you to Yeshua. Ask him to forgive, just as he did when he said, “Father, forgive them.”

Christian, Grace Harbor Farms, Seek First His Kingdom

Temple in Ruins

October 25th

This morning I read Haggai Chapter 1.

I read it in the context of Ezra 5 and 6

The people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the temple, had stopped doing the work.

Haggai rebukes them.

Haggai 1:5-10

“Therefore here is what ADONAI-Tzva’ot says:

‘Think about your life!

You sow much but bring in little;

you eat but aren’t satisfied;

you drink but never have enough;

you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;

and he who works for a living earns wages

that are put in a bag full of holes.'”

“Here is what ADONAI-Tzva’ot says: ‘Think about your life! Go up into the hills, get wood, and rebuild the house. I will be pleased with that, and then I will be glorified,’ says ADONAI.

‘You looked for much, but it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ asks ADONAI-Tzva’ot. ‘Because my house lies in ruins, while every one of you runs to take care of his own house. This is why the sky above you has withheld the dew, so that there is none, and the land withholds its yield.’”

Here is the importance of this message, for that time, and for now: Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you.

How do we now rebuild his temple—his house—his Kingdom?

By joining in the work of First Fruits of Zion.

Boaz just sent out to us the new FFOZ mission statement: Reconciling Disciples with God’s Prophetic Promises to Israel.

Tim and I are at a turning point in our lives. We have been self-employed all of our lives. For the past 23 years we have been building a business called Grace Harbor Farms. We started with two goats in 1999. We made goat milk soap and lotion. We sold it at the local farmers market.

The business grew and evolved. By 2005 we were bottling milk, making yogurt and cheese. We were selling our dairy products to stores throughout the Pacific Northwest and the skin care products on line. At that time we split the business into two: Grace Harbor Farms makes and sells the dairy products; Grace Harbor International makes and markets the skin care products.

In 2020 we turned the dairy business over to Tim’s son, David. We moved the skin care business off the farm to get out of David’s way as he grows the dairy business.

Now, Tim and I are creeping toward old age. I am 73, he is 66.  We are not able to maintain the level of work that we did in the past. So, we are facing, experiencing, and making, changes.

Proverbs 20:29

The pride of the young is their strength; the dignity of the old is gray hair.

We lack the strength we had in our youth, or even a few years ago. For myself: I don’t hear very well, I need glasses, have little sense of smell, have false teeth, and recently my hands failed me. My hands have served me like two unpaid slaves for more than 70 years. They have picked thousands of salmon out of nets, dressed uncountable numbers of halibut, loaded and unloaded tons, and tons of fish into the holds of boats, and off again. My hands have made innumerable meals, baked bread, canned fruit and vegetables, milked goats and cared for their young, built fences, cared for horses and cattle, planted gardens and trees, wrote a book on a typewriter,  but most importantly raised my daughters and tended my grandchildren. One day I even delivered a baby goat with my toddler granddaughter who was sick with a cold,  wrapped around my waist. For the past 22 years my hands have made soap, lotion, cheese, and yogurt; packaged and shipped thousands of packages of soap, lotion and MSM cream,. A few weeks ago, my hands quit. Their strength was gone. I couldn’t finish doing the morning goat milking. I put my equipment away and told myself “I’m done.” I came to the house expecting to fall against Tim’s chest and cry, but as I came through the door, he met me with his phone in his hand.

“Seth is on the phone,” he said. “The offer they made on the property has been accepted. They want us.”

Tim’s son, Seth and his wife Jessica, had been talking to us about coming to Montana and joining them on their new property. They were looking for a place where they could have the grandparents come and be part of their family. They plan a little farm with goats, chickens and a garden. Seth had told us that this is what God intends for families. A friend of mine told me that a home with grandparents, parents, and children is a three stranded cord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 . . . an attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him; and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.

The timing was perfect.

We put our house on the market. We plan to go to Montana when it sells. In the meantime we are making steps to move Grace Harbor International. Next week, Lord willing, we will move the shipping part of that business over to Grace Harbor Farms in Custer. For now, the manufacturing part of the business will stay here in Sequim. Laura, our faithful production person, will stay with it. When/if the house sells we will move the manufacturing, and Laura, over to David’s place, too. Until then, we will be able to send the finished products over to GHF via their truck. It makes deliveries to our area every week.

Back to the building of the Kingdom:

Tim and I host four meetings a week for disciples of Yeshua seeking the Kingdom. It is the most exciting work we have ever done. Every week there are “ah, ha” moments as Truth penetrates our hearts, and the hearts of the people who meet with us in our home and on line. This is the work of re-building the temple and seeking the Kingdom that we can do, are called to do, commanded by Yeshua to do, right now. We can continue to do this work from here or in a new home in Montana as long as the Lord provides.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Christian, Grace, law vs grace, Sabbath Keeping, Uncategorized

Was the Law Abolished?

“Do not think that I came to abolish the law. . .”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,* but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-20

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:21-29

Several years ago when my husband and I started to learn that Jesus, Yeshua, was a Torah keeping Jew, we joined a group that was studying the “Old” testament. The study is called “Shadows of the Messiah”. It teaches what Yeshua taught the two disciples on the road to Emmaus—the entire “old” testament points to Him!

Our study group met in a church near our home. We met on a weekday evening. The pastor’s wife came to the first couple of lessons. When the third lesson started, the pastor of the church walked into the meeting—not as an attendee, but as the authority of his church. He demanded to know, “Who in this room believes that we are still ‘under the law’”?

The twenty or so people in the room were stunned into silence. No one answered him.

Now, several years later, my husband and I would have an answer for him, “Yes. Of course. Jesus did not come to abolish the law. He was a Torah Observant Jew, and as his disciple, we do what he did.”

After the confrontation from the pastor, the group moved their meetings to our home. We learned, and are still learning the importance of  keeping the law.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

“Workers of lawlessness?” ! Who were these “workers of lawlessness”? Those who thought they were doing things for Him. Did they not do mighty works in his name? So why did Yeshua call them “workers of lawlessness”? Because they did not keep the law! 

One of the things we learned early on in our study of Yeshua and “the Law”, is that the word that is translated “law” in most of our English bibles, is “Torah”. Torah is the first five books of the Original Scriptures (the name we prefer for what is commonly called “Old Testament”). “Torah” means instruction, or teaching. Yes, God’s laws/commandments are part of it, but Torah is God’s loving instructions for life. Torah teaches us how to approach Him, and how to live with each other. When Yeshua comes back, Torah will be the constitution of the whole world. We had better learn to follow His instructions now and not be numbered amongst those who are “workers of lawlessness.”

Grace and Torah are not opposites. Grace and Legalism are opposites. We cannot do enough good, or earn our way into the kingdom of God by “keeping the law”. All of us before and after the incarnation are and were, dependent on grace made possible by Yeshua. That’s what he meant when he said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom”. He said, “No one comes to the Father (i.e. enters the kingdom of God) except by me. Since God doesn’t change, the rules don’t change. All the people before and after the cross are dependent on His grace. Abraham saw his day, and rejoiced.

So do we.  

*Do you think Paul will be called “least in the kingdom of heaven”? Of course not. He was, contrary to teaching you may have heard, also a Torah observant Pharisee right until the moment he died. When he was brought before the chief priests and the council before being sent to Rome “he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Acts 23:6

He also said, “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.” Acts 26:4-5

Christian, Creation or Evolution, Evolution, fourth commandment, Sabbath Keeping, Walking by Faith

Evolution vs The Fourth Commandment

 

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

“Mom, why don’t Christians keep the 4th commandment?”

My young daughter had recently started to read the Bible when she asked me this question. I didn’t have an answer for her. I am not even sure if at that point I could have said what the 4th Commandment is. Her question haunted me. It has for more than 30 years. Recently I set out to figure out the answer to that question. The answers I found have changed the pattern of my life. By God’s grace, my husband agrees with me. We now “honor the Sabbath” and are learning to “keep it holy”.

Why?

Notice that this commandment is the only one that begins with the word “Remember”.

Why?

Because God knew that we would forget.

Why did he want us to remember?

Because he did not want us to forget, to neglect, the truth of creation.

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11

What has our culture forgotten, even despised?

Answer: Six Day Creation

Recently my family had a big crisis that began when my granddaughter asked, “Couldn’t God have used evolution?”

My husband and I, with firm commitment, and, tragically, with lack of grace for my granddaughter’s struggle with this question, said “No! God could not have ‘used evolution’.”

We told her, in no uncertain terms, that if evolution were true, then Genesis is not true.

We told her that if evolution were true, then death is not the result of the fall because there would have been death for millions of years before Adam and Eve.

I asked her, “How could sexual reproduction evolve?”

I explained how I had realized that Jesus could have created everything with the appearance of age, because he had served cooked fish and baked bread to thousands of people without those things going through any process that took time. He created them, ex nihilo, on the spot.

Tim told her that if death did not result from the fall, then what did Jesus save us from?

My granddaughter could not deal with our empathic defense of the six-day creation. She left the table, and later insisted that Tim and I not come back to their home that evening.

Why?

Because this culture is not “Remembering the Sabbath, to keep it holy. . .because in six days God created everything.

At the point of that family crisis, Tim and I had not yet realized the connection between the 4th commandment and the problem of believing in the theory of evolution. We put those things together as I began to ponder my daughter’s question from 30 years ago.

“Why don’t Christians keep the 4th Commandment?”

I am convinced that this commandment begins with the word “Remember” precisely because God knew that at the heart of the apostasy to come would be the devastating lie that creation could not have happened in six days.

I have come to understand why the 10 Commandments are so offensive. It is not because they tell us not to tell lies, steal, or kill. It is not because they tell us to honor our parents, and to be sexually pure. It is because the satan does not want us to remember that God created everything in six days.

Why?

Because if God did not create everything in six days, then the story of creation is not true, so the Bible can’t be trusted; death is not the result of sin; and we don’t need salvation.

God said “Remember the sabbath” because he knew that by ignoring the truth of the six-day creation people would think that they were not created by God for his purpose, they would lean on their own understanding, they would not acknowledge him. This would lead to all kinds of debauchery as Paul explains in Romans Chapter One.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse
Romans 1:18-20

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:24 – 32

This is what happens when the 10 Commandments are removed from our consciousness, from our government, from our marketplaces, from our schools, and from our families. When people “believe in evolution” they don’t keep any of the commandments.

I am 70 years old, this year—2019—I could never have imaged the depravity of society that we are seeing today when I was growing up. I grew up in the Bay Area of California. I didn’t even know one person when I was in school whose parents were divorced—NOT ONE. The 10 Commandments were still in our schools then. We even learned, with shock, that in Russia the Bible was not allowed in schools!

Read Paul’s pronouncement above and think about what has happened since we took down the 10 Commandments and specifically denied that God made everything. People no longer think that we will be held accountable to him–that we need to be saved. What Jesus did became irrelevant.

In our quest to understand how to “keep the Sabbath holy” we are not trying to set up a bunch of rules, but we are attempted to keep the 7th day separate from the other six days of the week. We have a special dinner on Friday night, and another one Saturday evening to mark the start and end of our sabbath rest. We decided to close our farm store for the whole weekend, instead of just Sunday. We are basking in the peace that these decisions have made in our lives.

There is a lot more to say, volumes, about sabbath keeping. I am not going to go into any of that right now. If you have read this far in this blog, I encourage you to check out all the controversies about, and history of, sabbath keeping. Perhaps you will come to the same conclusion we did.

“Remember the Sabbath, to keep in holy, because I created everything in six days.” Amen.

Bless those who curse you, Christian, Christians and Guns, Persecution at home, Testing Your Faith, Witnessing

Guns and Gold, Or God

I am re-posting this blog because recently I have had people tell me that they would shoot someone who came into their house or threatened their children. Thank God nobody killed the Apostle Paul before he was converted. What would the New Testament have looked like if someone had killed him when he broke into one of their houses in his zeal to wipe out the followers of the Way?

Members of the early church did not defend themselves against their persecutors. They prayed for them and laid down their lives. As far as we can tell from the historians, all of Jesus’ disciples, with the possible exception of John who was exiled, were martyred. The church was, and still is at times, built on the blood of the martyrs.

So what will it be

Guns and Gold, or God?

Jesus sign cropped

At the end of our driveway we have a sign for our business and store. On the east side of the sign we always have the name of Jesus and say something about him.

A man came into our store one day and said, “How can you be so bold to put up the name of Jesus on your sign?”

“We run this business for Jesus. What do I have to lose by holding up his name?” I asked.

“Maybe some people won’t buy your stuff,” he said.

“Jesus runs this business. He will direct sales to us,” I answered. “My responsibility is to point people to him.”

The man mused for a moment. He then told me that he was a Christian; he even led Bible studies and home groups. We had a good discussion about the Lord. As he got ready to leave, he asked, “You are investing in gold, aren’t you?”

“What for?” I said, “You can’t eat gold.”

“Yes, but when the monetary system collapses, you are going to need gold.”

“You can’t eat gold,” I said again.

“You won’t be able to buy anything if you don’t have gold,” he said.

“You can’t eat gold. It won’t be worth anything. We are making food. Food will have value, give us something to trade, if it comes to that.”

His forehead crinkled as he looked intently at me.

“Well, you do have a CWP don’t you?”

“A what?”

“A permit to carry a concealed weapon?”

“You have got to be kidding me,” I answered.  “Who would I shoot?”

“Things are going to get very bad. You are going to have to defend your property,” he said.

“I don’t agree,” I said. Then I gave him my perspective on guns, self-defense, and defense of my possessions.

“Let me tell you about one of my heroes” I said. “I met Dorothy Bennett, who was in her 80’s, in the dough nut shop in Lynden. She heard me and my mom talking about the Lord. She asked if she and her husband could join us. After introductions she told us that she had been doing radio broadcasts into Muslim countries, daily, for many, many years. She told us lots of stories. One of them was about a prayer meeting she and her husband, Richard, were holding in Africa. Genocide was going on in this part of Africa. People in that meeting had been attacked by neighboring, warring, tribes. Suddenly a man burst into the meeting. He was drunk. He had a machine gun. He threatened them all. He put the gun in Dorothy’s face and told her he was going to kill her. “Go ahead,” she said. “I’m going to heaven. Where are you going?” The man fell face down, on the floor, Dorothy’s husband, Richard, kicked the gun away. When the man got up, he was sober and saved.

“I hope,” I told the man in my driveway, “that I will have that kind of courage if I am ever faced with that kind of threat.”

I went on to tell him that I had thought a lot about this. The worst-case scenario would be, in my opinion—someone is torturing a child. I have been given the power to stop it by denouncing Jesus. I hope that I would respond by commanding the perpetrator to stop, in the name of Jesus! If he didn’t, I would assume that this was the will of God. Then I would speak to the child, “This is temporary. Have faith. We will be out of here soon.”

I told him that I read Voice of the Martyrs magazine every month. Christians are having this kind of experience, right now, in many parts of the world. I hope I never have to go through such a thing, but if I do, I hope that I can be as steadfast as they are.

The man said not another word. He got in his car and drove away. As I watched him leave, I thought. “Isn’t that interesting. Here is a guy that says he’s a Christian, but he questioned my “boldness” to hold up Jesus’ name. Then he showed me that he doesn’t trust the Lord. What he is really counting on, trusting in, are his gold and his guns.

Guns and Gold

This ad came in the mail. a few days ago. Tim was about to throw it away, but I told him I would keep it. It helps to illustrate my point.

I am not a gun control advocate. But I wonder why so many Christians are running to gold and guns instead of trusting in the Lord.

  • He told us not to love the world, nor the things of the world.
  • He told us to seek the kingdom of God.
  • He told us not to fear him who can kill the body but fear him who can send the soul to hell.
  • He told us not to worry about what we are going to eat, or what we are going to wear.
  • He told us not to worry at all!

Some men trust in horses, some men trust in chariots, but we will trust in the NAME of the Lord.