Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Persecution

 

Persecution


I like to think I have a pretty thick skin---or at least that I'm pretty good at faking it and letting hard things slide off my back. Truth is, depending on the day, sometimes I let people really get to me. 


It's different now that I've left the socially acceptable way of following God and have gone rogue with a bunch of other zealots. In the church, there was mutual acceptance. I accepted what was taught for that particular denomination, they accepted me as a member and let me minister there. Now that I've taken ministry into my own hands, it's not unbelievers who come against me---it's churchies.


I'm thinking of Paul. He wasn't imprisoned for bringing the nourishment of Scriptural truth to a society that was starving for it; no, he was imprisoned for stirring the pot, for shining the light of truth on a society that wanted to continue living in darkness. Paul tried to open the eyes of the willfully blind and the purposefully ignorant---he was a thorn in the side of every person who fleetingly felt convicted by his words.


I've been mocked for comparing myself to Paul (like he's some kind of higher saint, rather than just a regular dude serving God) but he's our biggest example of faithfulness in the New Testament, besides Yeshua. He was literally put there as an example to follow. When I think about how much it stinks to question whether I should share truth today and risk having to fight bad feelings toward former friends, I think about Paul in Philippians chapter 1.


"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel…and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."


I know the persecution I'm facing as a minister of the gospel on social media is laughable in the face of what Paul went through---but the emotions are similar. Reading that portion of Scripture this morning, the Father showed me a couple reasons why He's got me in the stocks, 21st century style:


Through Paul's example of faithfulness in the face of persecution, others were made bold to share the truth, too. If I will keep my temper, stick to Scripture, and pick my battles, the Father will use my example to embolden others as witnesses, also. 


Additionally, we need to realize that this is just the beginning of persecutions. The narrow path is unpalatable to anyone not on it, but especially to those who think they are but are shown they're not. In short: compromisers don't like to have their reasons debunked. The persecution is gonna get a lot hotter and a lot heavier---and it's going to come mainly from those who've "Got Jesus" but don't understand what it means to surrender to Him.


To those of us who are truly walking out this narrow path and trying to reach those around us, let's be so careful to keep our temper, stick to Scripture, and pick our battles. There are arguments out there that just. don't. matter. and we clutter up our ministry by focusing on the noneternal. If you spend more time on flat earth or calendar arguments than you do on ministering about Yeshua and His ways, (Matt. 28:19-20) you're wasting your time. Stop picking apart the little things the enemy is distracting you with and train yourself to go after the really big spiritual warfare stuff. You were shown the narrow path of Revelation 12:17 for a reason.


There. There's my pep talk for the day. For me and maybe for you. Shalom.


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

A Serious Question for Protestant Believers

 A serious question for Protestant believers:


This is not an attack---I'm genuinely hoping to open your eyes to something. 


Why just Protestants? Because one of the main things that makes you feel "free" is that you read and interpret the Bible for yourselves, rather than hearing from "Rome" for your instructions.


Do you realize Rome changed the Sabbath in the 4th century and you've been going along with it for 1700 years? 


When I was in the church, I believed it was ok to observe Sunday as "the Lord's Day" and that the Sabbath was the "old way". I believed it was ok for man to change it---to take any Sabbath day we wanted, as long as we were taking one. (Which I wasn't --- and you aren't either, I can bet.) I didn't know about these truths from Scripture:


The Sabbath is a sign of our covenant with Him: "Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:16-17


Notice it says FOREVER. These are not just laws "for the Jews". 


"You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 24:22


This is what it means to be grafted in. We are grafted into the family of Israel---we have both the rights and the responsibilities.


I didn't understand this because I didn't know these scriptures. I was trusting in man's interpretation and every church or book I'd ever gleaned from didn't address these things.


I didn't know about these truths from history:


Since the Romans kept Sunday as their rest day honoring their satanic sun god, Christians started keeping this as their set apart day, too, to try to blend in. In AD 313, Constantine, a sun worshiper, came to power and legalized Christianity. (This does not mean he became a Christian---contrary to what many like to fantasize). He actually acted in the form of an antiChrist or antiMessiah by "allowing" them to keep a Sabbath, but in his way: 

“On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.”

The Roman papacy in AD 364 confirmed: “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ” 


Rome called Sunday, "the Lord's day"---partly to honor the day He was resurrected. But, if we understood the meaning behind the Biblical Spring feasts, like Passover and First Fruits, (found in Leviticus 23), we'd realize the Father already set up a time for us to celebrate Yeshua's resurrection! 


Most of all, I didn't love the Father enough to do exactly what He said in exactly the way He said to do it. I was in rebellion, even though I thought I was living for Him. It was because I suffered for lack of knowledge, because I'd chosen to listen to the interpretations of humans instead of going straight to the Father for His true understanding.


"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." --Hosea 4:6


So, with all that said, my question is: why do you continue to reject the Sabbath and follow the ways of man?


I don't hate the church. I don't hate Sunday worshippers. I definitely don't hate pastors and teachers and those who try to spread the good news of the gospel to the best of their understanding. What I hate is that the enemy has perverted the Father's holy Sabbath day and has confused and lied to Christians for close to 2,000 years. I hate that you don't see it. I hate that you don't understand this beautiful sign of our covenant with Him. 


Please PLEASE read for yourself. Ask the Father to help you block out all the interpretations that you've heard over the years and pretend you're on a deserted island with amnesia and a Bible. Let Him teach you His word in His way. Otherwise, how are we any different from Rome? We are not free from the rule of man when we still follow the ways of man. Time is short, friends, and many aren't actually on the set apart path that they think they're on. Don't set yourself up for a rude awakening when He comes for His bride. KNOW the scriptures for yourself and find people to sharpen iron with---not people to spoon feed you their versions of truth. The Father will help you in all of this, if you ask Him to.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

 


This morning I took a few kids in to town to drop them off at our Shabbat fellowship. Several others aren't feeling well so I had to drive back home to play nurse. We have a Hindu temple across the street from the place our fellowship meets---I've never really thought much about it. Driving past today, I noticed a guy with sort of a Bill-Murray-in-What-About-Bob? look to him. He was out for a walk, and as he passed the temple he took his hat off and put it over his heart. Raising the other hand in the air, he closed his eyes and began praying as he walked by. It struck me that in all the hundreds of times I'd driven by the temple, it had never occurred to me to pray for the people who worship there. My next thought was, "and that's ok."

Sometimes I get hung up thinking about how the prayer needs are so enormous (and my prayer time is so limited in comparison) that it holds me back from praying for the things the Father has placed on my heart, specifically. Often I just get caught up in my own life and thoughts about the prayer needs of others get pushed to the back burner. I know people who are "prayer warriors"---I admit I'm not one of them. I talk to God all day long---but I don't bring the needs of others before Him on a daily basis, unless He prompts me and reminds me.

Don't get me wrong---I definitely believe we should be praying for one another and I know I need to be much more sensitive to this. However, we can't all pray for everything and everyone. I guess what I'm saying is that I want to be sensitive to the needs the Father has put on MY heart to remember. Rather than beating myself up that I don't have all my acquaintances' needs written down in a prayer journal or that I have never thought to pray for the Hindus across the street, I can focus on being faithful to the needs the Father is poking me about specifically and pray for those. Praying as the Father leads us is one of those things we all can do to function as a unified body. While there are many things that serve to divide us, the one thing we all have is access to the Father through prayer. There will be different focuses for each of us---and different amounts of time allotted. I'm praying for discernment to recognize which burdens He's instructing me, specifically, to bear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Torah Led Women Letter Writing Society


 Hello Friends!

Are you a follower of Yeshua who desires to keep the Father's commands according to Torah? If so, you know that sometimes like-minded fellowship opportunities are few and far between! Do you enjoy writing letters and expressing yourself in words? If so, this new letter writing society may be for you. Read on!

In the summer of 2017, I formed the Victorian Letter Writers Guild, an international society of over 800 women, focused on matching pen pals who share specific interests. After five super fun years, I've decided to pass that very large and diverse group on to a friend to manage in her own way, and I'm choosing to focus specifically on bringing together women in Torah. 

Membership in the Torah Led Women Letter Writing Society will include four pen pal matches per year and at least three annual group mail opportunities (Cozy Mail in fall/winter, Cheery Mail in spring/summer, and a Birthday Card Exchange). All exchanges are optional so you can opt out of a season, if needed. Letters should be handwritten or typed---this is not an email exchange.

Membership cost is $5 per year and is open to women worldwide, 18 years or older.

To join the Society, please read the following statement of faith and society rules. By submitting your payment, you declare that you agree to the statement of faith and society rules. Once I receive your payment, I will send you an email with a questionnaire to fill out. This will give me an idea of your interests, as well as what age range and part of the world you prefer for your pen pals. You will be assigned your first partner within two weeks, and will receive additional letter writing opportunity emails throughout the year.

Statement of Faith

*I believe Yeshua is the Messiah and it is by faith in Him that we are saved.

*I believe that YHWH's set apart ways are found in the Torah, and I purpose to walk out these commands daily, to the best of my understanding.

Society Rules

*As a member, I understand that there are many different approaches to a Torah Pursuant lifestyle. I will not condemn a sister with my words---written, typed, or spoken---because she follows Torah differently than I do.

*As a member, I understand that I have the right to discontinue a pen friendship for any reason and I will strive to do so in a way that glorifies the Father and does not bring hurt or embarrassment to a sister.

*As a member, I understand that my failure to keep the four promises above may result in my removal from the Society. I also understand that my membership fee is not refundable for any reason.

Are you ready for a new pen friend? Submit your payment below (please include your correspondence email in the notes section of your PayPal payment) and keep an eye on your email for further instructions. Any questions can be directed to sarah@torahledhomestead.com. I'm looking forward to glorifying the Father through our fun new pen friend society! Shalom!


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Autumn Spiced Cornbread Recipe

Here is a delicious cornbread recipe I began making for my family many years ago. They loved it but probably don't remember it now. Maybe I should make it again!  

Autumn Spiced Cornbread

3 Tb. melted butter
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk melted butter, oil, milk, and eggs.  (If you put the eggs in after the milk, they won't cook from the heat of the melted butter)  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 9" square pan and bake 18-22 minutes at 350˚ or until done in the middle. 

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Friendships and Mentors and Cans of Worms

 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-2


My Bible titles this passage, "The Value of a Friend."

A few years ago, I attended a women's event where the theme was mentoring. It reawakened some things in me that had been dormant for too long. I made some commitments to Yahweh regarding using more of my time on other people and I came away feeling energized in my calling to women's ministry. 

Shortly after, the Father tested me in those commitments---as is often His way! I was in a room with many women chatting and laughing and getting to know one another. I had visited with a few friends and was wandering around looking at decorations. (These kinds of events always make me feel awkward. I struggle with small talk---always want to get to the nitty-gritty!) I was just hanging out when the Father told me to start looking at the people more closely. 

I noticed a woman standing off to the side a bit, not talking with anyone. I'd only chatted with her briefly in the past and didn't know her well, so I went up to say hello again and see if I could bumble my way awkwardly through my normal kind of 50/50 introvert/extrovert conversation. 

I took her hand and said, "Hey (Friend), how's it goin' tonight?" 

She smiled and said, "Oh fine!" 

I could have stopped right there. I mean, right? That's the ultimate Sunday morning Christianese phrase: "I'm fine!" 

Sometimes it means, "I've got a lot of stuff going on but don't have the time/desire/interest/strength to discuss it with you." 

More often it means, "I'm struggling and I really do actually want to tell you but you're just making small talk and I don't sense I can trust you with my heart."

For a split second I thought about giving her the pat Christian response, "Oh great! I'm glad. Well, have a good night!" But, praise Yah, He spoke stronger to me than He had in a long time. So, I pulled out my can opener, looked her straight in the eye, and opened up that can of worms. 

"No really, Friend, how are you?"

*****************************************************************

When I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, I think about all the lonely people out there. There's a lot of them, you know. I read, "For if they fall, one will lift up his companion," and think, "Who will lift up the one without a friend?"

I've had a saying for a long time that I once thought was clever---maybe it was, for its time. I used to say, "I've only got enough emotional energy to spend on a couple of friends."  

Wifing/mothering/homeschooling 10 people is tough, y'all, and there was a brief time there when it was absolutely all I could handle. The Father allowed my outside-the-home ministry to go dormant for awhile so I could put my focus in the right place. I think I allowed it to go on a little longer than He would have liked, though. I got comfortable in my solitude. I also got selfish.

However, now I think of that phrase and I know that time is over. I feel so driven to speak the Father's truth and encouragement to all those lonely women---cans of worms popping open all over the place! (Gummy worms, please. No pork gelatin.)

I want to be that friend that sticks close enough to lift someone up when they fall and point them to help and healing in Yeshua. I'm praying the Father will help me become more and more usable in this way, and that he will bring just the right relationships along. Who has time for small talk? Not this girl. But I've got lots of time---all the time He's given me---for cans of worms. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Journaling 101: How and Why I Use Journals Every Day

 

 I have several journals that serve different purposes: personal life, Bible study, and more. Watch this viewer-requested video to learn about the benefits of keeping a written record of your daily life and activities.

Persecution

  Persecution I like to think I have a pretty thick skin---or at least that I'm pretty good at faking it and letting hard things slide o...