Seabbatical | Shemot

Shabbat Shalom, friends! I trust you are having a relaxing and delightful Sabbath. After a busy week of cleaning yachts here in Kemah, Texas, I am delighted for it to be Sabbath!

What’s In A Name?

In this week’s Torah portion, we start a new book: Exodus and are studying Exodus 1:1-6:1. As always, much could be discussed in this Torah portion, but today I want to focus on clarity and courage, something Abba has been personally teaching me in everyday life. Inevitably, life will present many precarious scenarios that we will need clarification on and then much courage to pursue whatever it is we needed help discerning. Moreover, what does our names and more importantly God’s Name have to do with clarification and courage?

Early on in the Book of Exodus, we see two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who ancient Jewish sages have speculated may actually be the names of Moses’ mother and sister, but we don’t know for certain. Since the assigned title of this week’s Torah portion is “Shemot”, which means “names” in Hebrew, it may be worth mentioning the potential meaning of Shiphrah as “beauty, harmony” and “Puah”, means something similar “splendid, radiant”. Both these ladies were commissioned to kill the Hebrew baby boys at birth, but instead these women bravely saved them. Consequently, the Lord viewed their obedience as beautiful, in harmony with His will, and splendid so He blessed them accordingly (Exodus 1:20-21). In order to have that amount of courage, Shiphrah and Puah must have had much clarity and motivation for rebelling against Pharaoh by saving the Hebrew babies. Some historians have said this was the first act of recorded civil disobedience.

One such Hebrew baby Shiphrah and Puah saved was Moses, who was named by Pharaoh’s daughter upon finding him in a tiny ark at the banks of the river. She named him “Moses” because it means “pulled out of the water” or “drew out” or “delivered out of the water”. Fascinatingly enough, Moses’ entrance into Pharaoh’s realm was the same as his exodus being delivered by water. After all, we know in later chapters of Exodus, Moses and all those who followed him, were indeed delivered out of the water many years later in the crossing the Red Sea incident. Through it all, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob not only reveals Himself to Moses, but He shares His Name, and gave Moses clarification on how God wants to use him to save not just Hebrew babies, but all the Hebrews dwelling in Egypt at that time. Unlike Shiphrah and Puah though, Moses is not willing to challenge Pharaoh. He often attempts to persuade God he is not the guy for the job. However, God specializes in selecting unlikely candidates to fulfill God’s “to-do-list”. God’s plan was to use a man named “delivered out of water” to deliver His people through water.

Names are significant and can be prophetic. For example, when living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a couple of years ago, I was on a God “to-do-list” assignment looking for a specific individual, at a specific event (Carolina Country Music Fest), to give a specific word. In the process of waiting for that divine encounter, Jerry, my husband, and I met a man name Luke meandering outside a bar listening to the country music being blasted from a stage nearby. While Jerry was being his typical jovial self, my eyes continually scanned the crowd looking for the gal I was supposed to find and give a word to. But while my eyes were scanning the people around us, my ears were surprisingly tuning into a word for Luke. The Holy Spirit was reminding me of Luke in the Bible, who was a doctor by profession and clearly an author or writer (to have written that book of the Gospel). I sensed the Spirit wanted me to encourage the Luke in my presence to write the book he’s been afraid to write for it will heal people. So despite the loud music and drunken obnoxious people partying in our midst, I said what I was implored to say to dear Luke. Upon saying such things, Luke began to tear up wondering how I knew that he had been fearful about writing his idea for an book. All of which allowed for me to share with him (while Jerry was there) the love God has for Luke and God’s plan for him. All Luke needed was divine clarification and courage. I guess God could check that one off His list that night.

Similarly, all Moses needed was clarification and courage even after he stepped out of his comfort zone and attempted to confront Pharaoh. In Exodus 5:22-23, Moses goes back to God to essentially say, “Yeah, this crazy assignment of Yours isn’t looking the way I think it should, so why are we doing this again?” Sound familiar? I confess I have had similar rebuttals with God. And yet, God reminds Moses of His plan of making His Name known to the Hebrews in it all (Exodus 6:3). Why is it important to know God’s identity, His Name? Because as His people, we are called to bear God’s Name as His representatives bringing heaven to earth. How do we bear God’s Name? By obeying Him. So whether you are instructed to save Hebrew babies or lead people out of captivity or simply compelled to rest on the Sabbath, you are bearing God’s Name to a confused, lost world. By obeying God in His written instructions and personal specific instructions for your life, you are bringing others into clarification and courage as well as being delivered in the process.

Could your name be a prophetic clue as to how you can best share God’s Name here and now? Does your new name given after overcoming this world reflect how well you beared God’s Name over your lifetime or represent how you will serve Him in the world to come (Revelation 3:17)? In other words, is your name giving His Name shame or does it represent His latter rain? Something to pray about and ponder this Shabbat.

What Kind of Priest Are You?

Read what Jesus/Yeshua said about those who don’t do and teach God’s laws. Now, compare what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19 to this passage in Ezekiel 44:10-15 describing priests in the Messianic Era/Millennial Reign of Christ. Notice the priests who didn’t teach the people to obey God’s laws ended up being “least in the kingdom” tasked with maintaining the temple; whereas the priests who did teach the people to obey God’s laws are tasked with directly ministering to God Himself and being in His presence. Lastly, read Ezekiel 44:23-24 and 1 Peter 2:9-10. What kind of priest are you? #doesandteaches

Seabbatical: Vayechi

This week’s Torah and Haftarah portions, Vayechi, reminds me of the proverb, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV).

The title of this week’s Torah portion is “Vayechi”, which in Hebrew means “and he lived”. If you have followed along my YouTube ‘Seabbatical’ Bible Studies or are familiar with weekly Torah portions in general, then you know the title of that week’s passage comes from the first few words of the first verse in the listed passage. For example, Genesis 47:28 is the first verse of this week’s Torah portion and the first few words read “then Jacob (he) lived”.

The last few weeks we have followed the life of Joseph, the favored son/hated brother, who was a victim of human trafficking, ended up in prison due to the betrayal of his brothers, and yet eventually thanks to his spiritual gifts of dream interpretation became a high official of Egypt, who saved not just Egypt, but his brothers, father, and extended family from starvation all the while trusting God and forgiving his treacherous brothers. Ironically, despite being titled, “and he lived”, this week’s portion highlights the death of both Jacob, also known as Israel, Joseph’s father as well as Joseph starting in Genesis 47:28.

However, before Jacob, father of the twelve tribes of Israel, dies he blesses not only his own twelve sons, but Jacob also blesses and adopts Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 48). Much could be said about this prophetic significance, but for now, I believe the Holy Spirit is having me focus this particular Seabbatical on being mindful of our words as we address others, particularly our families/spouses…

As Jacob continues to give his final words just prior to his death, he “blesses” some of his sons, but much of his blessings seem more like curses or perhaps accurate prophecies. For example, when addressing his eldest son, Reuben, Jacob says, “unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it…”(Genesis 49:3-4). Jacob is referring to the incident when Reuben foolishly slept with one of Jacob’s wives, Reuben’s half-brother’s mother or like a step-mom figure (Genesis 35:22). Gross! Similarly, Jacob speaks more like a curse or rebuke over Simeon and Levi (Genesis 49:5-7) whereas he prophecizes the Lawgiver/Messiah will come from Judah’s lineage. Jacob hints the Messiah will first manifest like a young cub and then later as a mighty lion (Genesis 49:8-12). Interestingly enough, Jacob also prophecizes Dan will be like a judge and venomous snake that bites and causes harm. Jacob says immediately following as a part of Dan’s prophecy, “I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!”. It would seem Jacob could be hinting the Anti-Messiah/Anti-Christ may come from Dan’s lineage, which could also be why in Revelation 7, the tribe of Dan is not mentioned as part of the Israelite tribes sealed with God’s name on their forehead towards the very end. Moreover, Judah and Joseph have the most lengthy blessings and positive prophetic words of all the sons.

Likewise, in the Haftarah portion found in 1 Kings 2:1-12, we see King David blessing his son, Solomon, and providing him instructions namely to be careful to keep God’s instructions, His laws, commandments, etc. so that he will not only prosper, but that prophetic promises may be fulfilled through their lineage.

On a personal note, this passage of 1 Kings 2:3-4 is yet another “2-3-4” confirming the meaning of the numbers 234 I have been seeing frequently especially upon moving to Texas. In last week’s Seabbatical (posted on Flip Flop Fellowship’s YouTube channel), the Lord revealed to me the meaning of all the 234’s I have been seeing. Again this week, it’s as if Abba Father is reinforcing to me how important it is to make disciples, to be fruitful, to produce and instruct future generations in the results, the blessings of being obedient, being holy, to live it out, etc. Moreover, He seems to be encouraging me to continue to do and teach others to obey God’s instructions for life, His laws, His commands, etc. just as Jesus/Yeshua said in Matthew 5:18-19,after all, heaven and earth are still here as are God’s instructions for life.

With all that said, I am reminded in this week’s Torah portion our words (and actions) matter to God and how critical it is we take the time to bless and instruct our children, our spouses, our families, as well as others in the ways of God- primarily, by living it ourselves first. Perhaps in doing so, by doing and teaching the ways of God, we will have experienced the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. After all, is not much of John 10 about hearing and following His voice? Is not the written word, specifically God’s commands, His documented voice (Deut 28:1;30:2)? Perhaps we aren’t really living life to the fullest until we surrender to the instructions, all of them, found in Scriptures. Upon doing so, perhaps angels will record what we are teaching and doing summarizing our obedience to His Voice similar to the beginning words of this Torah portion “then (s)he lived”. May we think before speak pondering carefully God’s instructions as we respond to and instruct others to also ponder and obey Abba’s instructions for life.

Engaged, But Not Married Just Yet

💍Engaged, But Not Married Just Yet👰

It’s a new year! But is it a new heaven, new earth, or new covenant? Regarding the New Covenant, one important truth I realized earlier in 2019 upon evaluating all the Scriptures is it would appear we are betrothed to (similar to engaged or promised/committed) the new covenant, but it isn’t fully consummated yet…

I noticed all the references in Scripture to “new” seem to be connected so I believe the New Covenant isn’t consummated till the marriage supper of the Lamb/wedding reception/honeymoon, which is when *New* Jerusalem is introduced (Rev 21:2-3, 9-10) and the *New* heavens and *New* earth (Rev 21:1-2) appear. I believe this is why there are verses that say there is no more sin, death, etc (Rev 21:4; 22:3) at that time, Jesus/Yeshua as well as His priests and whomever are no longer needing to teach His laws (Heb 8:10-12; Isa 2:1-4; Micah 4; Eze 44:23-24) at that time because everyone knows them and obeys them cheerfully having the Spirit, and there is no need to shut the gates of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:25,27; 22:14-15) because there is no threat of evil anymore…Sin, which is violation of God’s laws (1 John 3:4), simply doesn’t exist. It is back to the garden before sin.

This is also why Jesus says not the slightest part of God’s laws are done away with until the *new* heaven and earth are made manifest and anyone who teaches others to obey God’s laws will be considered great in God’s kingdom (Matt 5:14-19).

2nd Corinthians 11:2 says we are betrothed (engaged) to Christ as pure virgins (clean, lawful, holy).

I believe this is why the author of Hebrews says in 8:13 regarding this current/old covenant “is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” But hasn’t just yet…until all of the *new* is made manifest. 🌍

So all of us who have received His Spirit of Holiness,whose entire job is to cause us to do/obey that which is holy being God’s instructions/laws (Rom 7:12; Eze 11:19-21, 36:27), is just a preview or deposit or foretaste or sample of what’s to come in the New Covenant when it fully encompasses the entire globe (His Spirit). Like we have been given 20% of our inheritance in advance to help us in the meantime or a dowry or engagement ring reminding us to be faithful, to get our wedding dress ready free of blemishes, spots, and wrinkles all symbolizing uncleanliness, unholiness, breaking God’s holy laws (willfully). His Spirit of Grace is like “Shout” or detergent removing the stains, removing sin while teaching us holiness, washing us by His word (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26-27).

Anyway, I found all those connections to “new” revealing and was reminded so this new year. I hope it prompts you and others to keep seeking Abba Father as there is always more to discover in Him. 📖 Blessings!

A Call To Worship the Way He Wants To Be Worshipped

With the passing of the holidays, many are packing up ornaments, carefully wrapping nativity scenes, and tossing out the dried up Christmas tree. This particular Christmas Hanukkah season I was struck with a call to worship the way our Abba Father wants to be worshipped, to be the light, and to cleanse our temples. The above graphic shared on a public Christian Facebook page compelled me to comment, which sparked many positive feedback as well as some seemingly foaming at the mouth. Truth changes the atmosphere as should our set-apart lifestyles.

Like preaching holiness while sharing the stage with a pagan Christmas tree or other pagan traditions re-marketed as all about Jesus. The Israelites did the same thing starting with the Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32) celebrating saying Yahweh was the reason for the season. Numerous passages throughout Scripture specifically tells us not to adopt the ways of culture/pagans/those who do not believe in the One True Living God (Deu 12; Jer 10; 2 Cor 6:14+; Eph 4:17+ are a few examples). May we test everything and be courageous enough to actually be set-apart, holy as led by the Spirit of Holiness (Holy Spirit). 💝📖🙏”

In response to those genuinely wanting to know more in addition to those whose Christmas traditions were challenged, I invited readers to re-examine traditions, worship, and lifestyles. I invite you, dear reader, to do the same. Blessings! 💝


Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.

The original graphic above poignantly speaks to so-called truth ever-changing with the times and so-called worshipers adapting to accommodate culture. Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.

For those interested in worshipping The One True Living God, do we get to define what worship is? Do we tell Him how He wants to be worshipped? Or does God, the LORD of Lords, King of Kings dictate how He wants to be worshipped, how He defines love, and how He wants to be loved? Is He looking for worshippers of an unholy spirit and error? Or is He wanting worshippers of His Spirit and His Truth (John 4:23-24)? How culture defines “truth”, “worship”, “holiness”, etc. is irrelevant.

With that said, where is God’s truth, worship, holiness, etc. defined? In His Holy Word inspired by His Spirit of Holiness, correct? 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Does His Word talk about traditions, holidays, the birth of Christ, pagan customs? You bet!

I invite those authentically interested in being worshippers of His spirit and His truth, to examine their lifestyle, habits, traditions compared to what He says about the topics being presented. Before proceeding though, understand that I view this platform as teaching opportunity..an opportunity for each of us to be more matured in His love, His truth, His holiness so that we may bear His fruit and bear His Name as best as we can empowered to do so by the gift of His Spirit of Holiness dwelling within.

Let’s explore God’s Word, the source of truth. (This is by no means an exhaustive list of Scripture, but a few to seek Him on.)

1) Are traditions evil or not to be practiced just because it is not commanded? Not neccessarily. Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication, is a tradition not a commandment that Jesus evidently celebrated in the temple or at the very least did not rebuke (John 10:22-30). Surely if that tradition was offensive to God, He would have made it known (i.e. flipping tables). Rather, He used it as a teaching moment to reveal He is God and the Messiah. So, no, not all traditions are evil by default and they can be used to share God’s truth. Are we commanded to celebrate Hanukkah? No. Are we commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ? No. However, His word also says “Whatever is true, excellent, praise worthy, etc., to think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8). Is it a fact and praise worthy event that Jesus was born and the Messiah or that Judah Maccabees and his disciples persevered in honoring God’s commands despite the culture, overcame persecution, and reconquered and restored worship the way God defines it? Yes and yes! Those things are true, praise worthy, etc. So it would be acceptable to think about or celebrate such things.

2) Can we use traditions or other aspects of our lives to share God’s truth? Sure! We covered that above as Jesus used Hanukkah, physical objects, parables, etc. to convey truth.

3) Is it OK to mimic pagan practices, culture, or unbelievers and re-package it as a good thing..as redeemed…as holy…as worship…as truth as something of, from, or about Him? NO. God says over and over again to avoid any appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22), to not learn the ways of pagans/adopt their culture (Romans 12:2; Eph 4; Jer 10:2- Also, the Prophet Jeremiah specifically rebukes cutting a tree, bringing it in one’s home, and decorating it as the pagans do in Jer 10) and worship/celebrate Him that way even if you re-name or market it as having to do with Him(Deut 12:30-32; Exodus 32- the Israelites copied the pagans form of worship by putting up a decorated calf and celebrated it saying it was Him and all about Him..they made a feast/holiday of it), to not have anything to do with things that violate His Torah/commands/instructions/Word/lawlessness (2 Cor 6:14-7:1) and to not associate with anyone who claims to know Him and yet does not obey His word (1 Cor.5).

Please thoroughly investigate how you are celebrating/honoring/worshipping the Lord and His life for the practices of Christmas are undeniably pagan since atleast 500 BC repackaged in order to sell/promote Jesus. In theory, the customs in of themselves could have been OK had the pagan customs celebrating the birth of the sun god on Dec 25 the original winter solstice, human sacrifices being decorated on trees, gift giving to celebrate the sun god, partying orgies, lawlessness etc not been established first leading up to or surrounding that day. The church took the same exact custom practices and attempted to wrap it in Jesus’ Name to spread Christianity (in reality to spread their power and control). Another person attached (see link below) a thorough, non-biased, factual investigation about the history of Christmas. Please do watch it. I learned some things as well.

According to God, can we mimic pagan traditions attempting to celebrate or worship Him? NO.

4) Is it wrong to put a tradition or doctrine above or instead of obeying what God says in His Word? Yes. Jesus rebuked religious leaders for putting more emphasis on their tradition than God’s commands (Mark 7). Are you celebrating traditions like Christmas, Hanukkah, 4th of July, etc, but not God’s commanded holidays like Passover/Unleavened Bread (John 22) or His other feasts (Lev 23)?

I say again, dear brothers and sisters, may we have the courage to examine our traditions, forms of worship, and lifestyle in accordance to God’s word and cheerfully be willing to submit to God’s Spirit of Holiness as He longs to teach us God’s truth, holiness, and the worship He longs for! Ultimately, we each must answer for ourselves (Rom 14:10-12), but love as defined by Him speaks truth, especially to those who claim to follow Him.🙏🙏🙏

I invite you to watch this thorough, unbiased, historical investigation about the origins of Christmas. Blessings to you and yours as you evaluate how you can be
the light in this dark world!

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to popular culture, but is it really? Surely you have heard, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. In reality though that is far from the truth. It could be more accurately stated as the holiday we justify using Jesus’ name in vain for capital gain.

Numerous years ago, before being Spirit-filled, much less led by the Spirit to go where He says to go, and to say what He says to say, I had been leary of Christmas and it’s ridiculous traditions, much of which are designed to commercialize the name of Jesus while promoting lies and pagan rituals. When my sons were small I refused to deceive them into thinking Santa brought them gifts for I could not understand why any parent or Christian would lie to their children only for them to be disappointed at a later age – not to mention learn not to trust their own parents. Such “traditions” directly contradict the simply stated commandment which reads, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices .” Colossians 3:9 (NIV) as well as many other Scriptures with similar sentiments. Nevertheless, I still proceeded with all the other typical traditions – mostly to go with the flow of everyone else.

Later, when I researched the origins of Christmas, I was not only surprised to learn it’s pagan history, but I was surprised to learn Christmas was illegal in early United States history for early settlers believed Christmas to be a Satanic, unholy custom:

Publick Notice

For the preventing of disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonour of God and offense of others. It is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like — either by forbearing labour, feasting or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offense five shilling as a fine to the county. Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1659.

as well as a second notice, which reads:

Publick Notice

The observation of Christmas having been deemed a sacrilege, the exchanging of Gifts and Greetings, dressing in Fine Clothing, Feasting and similar Satanical Practices are hereby FORBIDDEN with the Offender liable to a Fine of Five Shillings.

In fact, did you know the origins of Christmas actually have nothing to do with the birth of Christ Jesus, but rather have everything to do with the Roman pagan festival known as ‘Saturnalia’? According to the History Channel’s History.com site,

“Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. Saturnalia celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas.

Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, derived from older farming-related rituals of midwinter and the winter solstice, especially the practice of offering gifts or sacrifices to the gods during the winter sowing season.

The Christian holiday of Christmas, especially, owes many of its traditions to the ancient Roman festival, including the time of year Christmas is celebrated…by the fourth century A.D., Western Christian churches settled on celebrating Christmas on December 25, which allowed them to incorporate the holiday with Saturnalia and other popular pagan midwinter traditions. ” Saturnalia, History.com

Did you also know the pagan holiday known as Saturnalia has been described by other sources likened to Mardi Gras with no morals, drunkenness, orgies, and other lawless activities? Did you know the reason we give gifts during Christmas isn’t because of the wise men, but rather because gift-giving was a custom of Saturnalia where the Romans gave one another gifts representing human sacrifices originally given to the temple god, Saturn?

“On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, known as the Sigillaria, many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.” Saturnalia, History.com

I strongly encourage you to research the origins of Christmas and Saturnalia as article after article I read portrayed nothing but pagan practices later repackaged as ‘Christmas’.

I know what you may be thinking, perhaps you are thinking, ‘Well, that’s not what it means to me, Carrie. It’s just a nice tradition my family has been doing for years…’

A beach-themed Christmas tree dominates the lobby of Hampton Inn of Myrtle Beach, SC. (2017)

In my opinion, customs or traditions, which could also be known as doctrines of men, are acceptable so long as they do not violate certain parameters:

  1. The tradition or doctrine cannot contradict God’s word, His written voice and instructions for our lives.
  2. The tradition or doctrine cannot have pagan origins glorifying other gods or pagan practices that encourage violating God’s word.
  3. The tradition or doctrine cannot supercede God’s word.

While the beautiful lights decorating homes are alluring, in addition to singing famous Christmas songs, as well being bedazzled by Christmas trees of various creative themes, these practices are designed to delight our senses. These sensual festivities on the surface seem harmless, but the fact is, they violate all three of the parameters above. We’ve already discussed their pagan origins, now check out what God’s word says about participating in pagan, Gentile practices. The prophet, Jeremiah scribes in Jeremiah 10, what sure does sound like a Christmas tree, a wooden idol:

“Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.

Thus says the Lord:

Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.

They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.’

6 Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord
(You are great, and Your name is great in might),
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?
For this is Your rightful due.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
And in all their kingdoms,
There is none like You.
But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish;
A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.

Silver is beaten into plates;
It is brought from Tarshish,
And gold from Uphaz,
The work of the craftsman
And of the hands of the metalsmith;
Blue and purple are their clothing;
They are all the work of skillful men.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble,
And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation….

25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You ..”

Whether you realized it or not, the custom of dragging a dead tree in your home is establishing a wooden idol and participating in pagan practices. I have heard others preach you are even offering sacrifices/gifts to it when you kneel down and place them under the tree, unknowingly.

According to an article titled ‘All about the Christmas Tree: Pagan Origins, Christian Adaptation, and Secular Status’ on religioustolerance.org, “During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus.”

In numerous passages, the LORD says to not adopt the traditions or customs of the pagan Gentiles. As believers in Jesus, or Yeshua, in His Hebrew original name, we are apart of Israel spiritually, regardless of your physical DNA, according to Scripture, a type of adopted Israelite (Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 11), no longer identified as a Gentile, but having been born-again, having crossed-over, which is what ‘Hebrew’ means, we are a new creation in Him…no longer a pagan Gentile. To learn more, read https://flipflopfellowship.com/2019/04/23/walk-like-an-egyptian/

  • “And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.” Ezekiel 12:12 (NKJV)
  • “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. ” Ephesians 4:17-24

For me, in recent years, I avoid any resemblance of participating in the typical Christmas traditions like exchanging gifts, decorating trees, etc. for I now understand they violate God’s word, His call to be set-apart, and similar to Halloween, have pagan origins. But I welcome opportunities to spend time with family and friends such as sharing a meal similar to Thanksgiving around or on Christmas Day (unless exchanging of gifts will be present – pun intended). 😉 Even so, my parents still give me something for Christmas, but they would be highly offended if I refused to graciously receive them. So I have discerned for the sake of love, to pick and choose my battles. Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!

Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!

Furthermore, throughout the year, I celebrate God’s holy holidays prescribed in the Bible (see Leviticus 23, as one passage discussing them), since they are commanded, prophetic, and centered on our Messiah, Jesus/Yeshua. It is believed, but not proven, based off clues found in Scripture, Jesus may actually have been born during the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’, the final Fall feast known in Hebrew as ‘Sukkot’. It also is speculated for those same reasons, Jesus most likely was conceived during or near Hanukkah. In addition to God’s holy holidays, I also celebrate the tradition of Hanukkah since it meets the parameters discussed above, though that holiday is not commanded to celebrate like the others. However, even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22-23).

Keep in mind, coming to such observances was a long process of cooperating with the Spirit of Holiness dwelling within me for He specializes in removing the unholy and replacing it with holy, hence, God labeling His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. I respect your decision to celebrate Christmas even if you still choose to do so now knowing it’s pagan origins and what I believe are contradictions to God’s word. I hope you too can respect me as I choose to no longer celebrate Christmas.

To learn more about God’s holidays, Hanukkah, and my perspective regarding other holidays, click on the following links for various articles or videos I have published.

Holy Holidays: Why I Celebrate The Feasts of the LORD

Mom, Why Don’t You Say Happy Easter Anymore?

Halloween: Just Don’t Do It

Why I Am Celebrating Hanukkah

Regardless if you agree or disagree with my faith, I love you still.

Blessings & Shalom,

Carrie R. Tuner

12.8.19

Seabbatical: Toldot | Video

Better late than never! I have been battling a pesky and inconvenient sinus infection all week so I apologize for the delayed ‘Seabbatical’, which I normally publish on YouTube on Friday evenings. Due to my illness, I recorded it, edited it, and published it today, Saturday. Nevertheless, I hope it blesses you richly. This recording is themes and lessons I gleaned from this week’s Torah portion (Genesis 25:19-28:9 | Malachi 1:1-2:7).

Does Your Faith ‘Go Forth’?

Hubby and I did a little Bible Study this evening. In addition to these passages listed below, we also discussed the ‘everlasting covenant’ introduced to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 17 as eventually being the ‘new covenant’ as defined in Ezekiel 16:60, 34:25, all of Eze 36 thru 37:26, Jeremiah 31:31-33. We also discussed how the Apostle Paul wrote anyone who believes in Jesus/Yeshua is considered a (spiritual) descendant of Abraham in Galatians 3:29 and how Jesus attempted to explain to the Pharisees in John 8:37-47 that just because the religious leaders were physical descendants of Abraham did not mean they were children of God…they lacked the faith of Abraham by believing in Yeshua/Jesus. Jesus later said He is the only way to Abba Father not lineage or any other means (John 14:6).

We also noticed as a sign or perhaps you could say the fruit or outward expression of the internal aspect of being in covenant, Abraham was instructed for him and his son as well as any physical descendants and foreigners aligned with him in his household to be circumcised. All of which is yet another example of how God’s commands/instructions aren’t just for physical descendants but for all those who are in covenant…apart of Abraham’s spiritual descendants…aligned with Israel. Moreover, first and foremost, it is about being circumcised in the heart by receiving the Holy Spirit and cooperating with God’s Spirit of Holiness as it aligns your crooked, uncleanness with His straight and narrow will for you found in His Holy Word…hence, the point of receiving a HOLY Spirit, right? Ezekiel 36:27. We all get the same Holy Spirit, but you are either growing or shrinking depending on if you are listening and obeying Him. Luke 8:18 Will your faith be like that of Abraham? Would you leave it all behind to go where He says to go? Would you circumcise yourself immediately upon hearing God’s Voice at age 99, your 13 yr old son (Ishmael), and convince the other guys in your household to do the same eventhough you never met a circumcised soul let alone heard of such a thing? May our obedient faith ‘Go Forth’…Lech Lecha in Hebrew! Shabbat Shalom

Nov 8|2019: ‘Seabbatical’ Torah Portion

This Friday, November 8, 2019, and on a bi-weekly basis going forth, Carrie and Jerry are hosting a fellowship gathering on their boat they liveaboard full time. Since the Sabbath starts Friday evening at sunset through Saturday at sunset and we are hosting this fellowship on our boat (or at the marina depending on how many people attend), we are calling this aspect of our ministry ‘Seabbatical’ to play off the term ‘Sabbatical’.

Who: Adults interested in learning more about applying all of the Word of God to our lives today, a Spirit-led lifestyle, and perhaps a thing or two about boat life! 🙂 {sorry, due to the nature of a sailboat/water and lack of childcare, this gathering is not suitable for children}

What: We will gather to study the Bible’s weekly designated Torah (1st 5 books of Bible) and Haftarah portions (prophets and other OT Scripture) as well as any relatable New Testament Scriptures.

How: The agenda of the gathering is to light the Shabbat candles, worship in a song or two led by Carrie on her guitar, study and discuss the Word, and pray for one another. Carrie will email you the weekly Torah/Haftarah portions in advance for you to read prior to our gathering.

Why: To grow up in God together as He matures us in the truth of all of His word and the abundance of His love. **We don’t claim to be perfected in love just yet nor have all the answers, but we know the One who does!

When: Every other Friday night starting at 6:30-9pm

Where: Kemah, Texas – Call/Text Carrie @ 281-717-0622 or email us at flipflopfellowship@gmail.com to learn more and get specific directions.

In this week’s study, we will be discussing the ‘Lech Lecha’ portion and any applicable Bible passages. Please read and reflect on the passages prior to your arrival. Bring a snack, song, or applicable passage to share!

The Gift of Grace: Do You Have It? How Do You Know?

Christian culture is centered on the concept of G-d’s gift of grace made possible through His Son, Yeshua/Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you have been exposed to such important concepts, surely you have heard the famous toted verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

These two verses, and these verses alone, are what most Christians think of when they think of grace. However, the very next verse (10) in that same passage seems to be encouraging good works as if grace and good works are related by saying, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The following verses go on to tell the new believing Gentiles in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1, 3:1), who Paul calls “saints” (Ephesians 1:1) not to behave like the lawless Gentiles because now through believing Yeshua is the Messiah, Gentiles are also part of the covenants (see verses 2:11-13). He emphasizes Yeshua’s death and resurrection provide a way for unity (Ephesians 2:13-19) while seeming to re-emphasize although genetically you are non-Jewish, you are considered a “saint” in G-d’s eyes. The Apostle Paul goes on to explain in the following verses of Chapter 2, Yeshua the Messiah’s death and resurrection paid the debt or the consequence or curse of breaking the One True Living G-d’s covenant or relationship by disobeying Him (see Deuteronomy 28-29) now providing the eventual promise of eternal life through our own resurrection one fine day. HalleluYAH!

Could “grace” somehow cause us to do “good works”?

Earlier in the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes that upon trusting and believing in the gospel message, you will be sealed with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13). Acts 2:38-39 says essentially the same thing stating the promised gift of the Holy Spirit is for all who repent and are baptized in the authority or identity of Jesus/Yeshua The Messiah.

But did you know receiving the Holy Spirit is a distinct event in a believer’s life? I did not know this either until it happened to me unexpectedly in 2009 many years after believing Jesus is the Messiah (some 26 years later!). Many preach that receiving the Holy Spirit is an automatic, seemingly secret event that occurs instantly upon believing Yeshua is the Messiah, but according to Scripture, it is a distinct, separate, and undeniable event in one’s life, an event you cannot control nor choose.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16 (NIV) #giftofgrace #graceproducesfruit

Acts 2 revealed receiving the Holy Spirit is a noticeable spiritual event that causes a physical reaction. Likewise, in Acts 8:14-17, we see some in Samaria believed in the gospel message and had even been baptized, but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit until the Apostles laid hands on them and prayed for them, then the Holy Spirit fell on the believing people. Evidently, it caused some form of physical reaction for them to observe and record the Holy Spirit falling upon them to where they could surely verify the had received the Holy Spirit. Similarly, in Acts 10, the Holy Spirit provided a vision and the interpretation of the vision to the Apostle Peter, who typically ministered to Jews (Galatians 2:7-8). Through that vision and interpretation, Peter came to understand that the Gentiles were just as loved and wanted by G-d as well as the Jews and no longer considered unclean (Acts 10:34-36; Galatians 2:6) and shortly thereafter, the Spirit provided an opportunity for Peter to minister to the Gentile household of Cornelius and the Holy Spirit also fell on Gentiles causing a physical reaction (Acts 10:44-48). Additionally, in Acts 19:1-6, the Apostle Paul asked some Gentile believers in Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit yet, but they answered they hadn’t even heard of the term Holy Spirit prior to then and evidently they had not been baptized yet either. Moments later, they decided to get baptized, Paul laid hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them just like it fell in Acts 2, for the Samaritans, for Cornelius’ crew, and now for these believers in Ephesus, causing a physical reaction to what was happening in the spiritual.

Let’s unpack this:

1) First, we can see receiving the Holy Spirit is a distinct separate event to occur sometime after a person believes Yeshua/Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

2) Secondly, we see receiving the Holy Spirit is not limited to some formula of first believe, then be baptized, then receive the Holy Spirit for although some of those believers had already been baptized (Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6), others had not (Acts 10:44-48) and yet they received the Holy Spirit. Incidentally, this is what manifested in my case as well (first received the Spirit then baptized by immersion into Him). We can deduce from this that not only is receiving the Holy Spirit a separate, noticeable, and distinct event that occurs sometime after trusting the fact that Yeshua is Messiah, but it is not limited to first being baptized or another outward expression of faith.

3) Thirdly, we can see them receiving the Holy Spirit was no act or choice of their own, an event that could not be forced or manipulated, but rather, an event given only by the grace of G-d, in His time, and His way, after they simply trusted Yeshua is their Messiah, their Redeemer, who paid for the cost of their lawlessness, and were open to receiving His Spirit of Grace.

4) Fourthly, we learn from these passages that receiving the Holy Spirit causes some sort of physical reaction to what is transpiring in the spiritual (i.e. speaking in tongues, but not limited to speaking to in tongues). Similar to when G-d, who is spirit (John 4:24), spoke, then something physical manifested (Genesis 1). What transpires in the physical often reveals what is happening in the spirit realm.

5) Lastly, we can discern from these passages, that G-d does not discriminate for the Holy Spirit was poured out on both Jews and Gentiles.

Did you know the Holy Spirit is not just referred to as the ‘promised gift’ (of the Father- see Acts 1:4-5, 2:38-39), but also the ‘gift of grace’ (Ephesians 2:8), and ‘the Spirit of grace’ (Zechariah 12:7; Hebrews 10:29)? So it would seem to me, when various authors in Scripture refer to G-d’s grace, they are referring to not just believing Jesus/Yeshua is Messiah, but the manifested promise of believing in Yeshua through receiving His Holy Spirit, which did not become readily available to all until Yeshua the Messiah rose from the dead (see Galatians 4:6)!

Did you know even though the Holy Spirit has existed from the beginning (Isaiah 63), it is what makes the new/renewed covenant distinct from the other covenants? Jeremiah 31:31-33, as well as Ezekiel 11:19-20, and Ezekiel 36:26-27, and Hebrews 10 as well as other passages like Joel 2, informs us while various chapters in Acts demonstrate to us Abba Father will pour out His Holy Spirit on those He chooses as a sign of a new covenant made, similar to physical signs He has provided other times when He made a spiritual covenant with His people (Romans 4:9-14) and that the purpose of that Holy Spirit being deposited within us, also known as the ‘Spirit of Holiness’ is to cause those who believe to do that which is holy (Romans 7:12), to seal G-d’s laws on the hearts of His disciples (Isaiah 8:16), and to educate, encourage, and empower us to obey His Kingdom Constitution or put another way, The Father’s household instructions being found in the Torah and elaborated on throughout the rest of Scripture.

In other words, the gift of grace is receiving the Holy Spirit, who then takes us from living a lawless, unholy lifestyle to a lawful, holy lifestyle in His time little by little, step by step. In our natural selves we cannot to do so nor want to (Romans 8:7), but the supernatural being within our flesh causes a physical reaction to do the good works Ephesians 2:10 refers to! HalleluYAH!

But I Thought The Law Was Just For The Jews, Not Gentiles?!

Many believe, however, that obeying Abba Father’s instructions only applies to Jews and not Gentiles, but my Bible does not seem to teach that the Jewish people receive a different Holy Spirit than the Gentiles. In fact, the Bible seems to reiterate there is no partiality or difference in Abba’s perspective between His natural kids (Jews) and His adopted kids (Gentiles), He loves us all the same and His household rules applies to all His kids. Just the very essence of referring to the G-d of the universe, the One True Living G-d, as Father, infers He is our authority, our parent. Just as children are taught to honor their father and mother by obeying them, Abba Father’s spiritual kids must do so also. Unfortunately, there is an ugly spirit of sibling rivalry among believing Jews and believing Gentiles seeming to assert one’s status over another.

I have discovered along my faith journey that there are various teachings found in the Body of Messiah that seem to teach a different lifestyle of holiness or infers (perhaps unknowingly) that a different Holy Spirit is poured out onto Jews than Gentiles. Here are the 3 common teachings regarding obeying G-d’s laws in summary: 1) We are not under law so neither believing Jew or Gentile in Messiah ought to keep Torah anymore; 2) Only the Jews in Messiah are required to keep Torah, being the Jews are the chosen priesthood, but for the Gentile obeying Torah is optional; 3) Upon receiving G-d’s grace and being filled with the Holy Spirit, a believer in Messiah, whether genetically a Jew or Gentile will be Spirit-led to obey Torah in His time.

From what I have discerned from Scripture thus far is the gospel message that is we all sin (Romans 3:23), which is Biblically defined as breaking God’s law (1 John 3:4), but Yeshua the Messiah paid the debt of our lawlessness (Romans 6:23; Colossians 2:13-14) or our rebellion towards God’s voice, His will, which is His law or instructions for life, by removing the consequence of breaking the law: hopeless death. In doing so, the Spirit of Yeshua/Jesus, also known as the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Holiness is given in His time at His choosing in order to help those of faith obey Him and teach others to do the same AND to guarantee the hope of eternal life, the seal of our redemption, the guarantee of being resurrected. As the Apostle Paul explains in various passages but especially Romans 7:22-25 we are no longer under the “law of sin and death” meaning the curse or consequence of breaking God’s law, but we are still to submit to and honor our Heavenly Abba Father by obeying His law, the “law of God”, also referred to as the “law of Christ” or “law of the Spirit” in Romans 8.

IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE IN SCRIPTURE JEWS AND GENTILES RECEIVE A DIFFERENT HOLY SPIRIT OR SET-APART LIFESTYLE OF HOLINESS?

Since we opened this discussion in the Book of Ephesians, please investigate Ephesians 4:4-6 which reads,

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Does it say there are different faiths or a different Holy Spirit given depending on if you are Jewish or Gentile? Do we have a different Father?

In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter, who typically ministered to Jews (Galatians 2:7-8) came to understand after seeing a vision that Abba is after the hearts of not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Shortly thereafter, as discussed earlier, Peter witnessed first hand the Holy Spirit falling on the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48).

{warning: theology rant}

The Apostles expressed numerous times that there is no difference between His genetic Jewish kids and His genetic Gentile kids for we are one family in our Father’s house upon believing Yeshua is Messiah; hence, the tearing of the veil (Matthew 27:51), the breaking down the barrier between Jew and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) for Yeshua is our High Priest (Hebrews 5-10) and all in Him, including Gentiles, are His Chosen Priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-12; Romans 11). He is not concerned with your physical dna, per se, rather He is more concerned about your spiritual DNA…your circumcised heart, your spiritual maturity gleaned through your spiritual giftings and overall role in His body, first and foremost. Do you have different backgrounds, different experiences, different genders, eye color, shapes and sizes, and natural tendencies? Of course! But neither your past or your flesh have a place in the kingdom in light of eternity for He is making you a new creation in your identity in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are being matured in love together, as one new man (Ephesians 4:17-24), one olive tree (Romans 11; Zechariah 4), one kingdom and nation of priests (1 Peter 2:9-10) collectively as genetic and spiritual “Israel”. It is my understanding of Scripture that believing, adopted-in Gentiles, now also known as “Israel” don’t replace the natural, genetic children of God, but they are legally adopted as part of God’s enlarged family.

Just as in any family, we may have different genetics as well as varying personalities and talents, but we are still Family. Likewise, do you have different spiritual gifts? Different spiritual roles in G-d’s kingdom (i.e. apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelist, pastoral, etc)? Of course, and yet, you are still one, according to 1 Corinthians 12. Just as there is no one gift better than the other or how no one body part in the human body can properly function without all the others working in unity, neither is woman better than man (1 Corinthians 11:11), man better than woman (I Corinthians 11:11), Jew better than Gentile, or Gentile better than Jew. “Distinction Theology”, a relatively newly defined theology circulating in some of Messianic Judaism and some even more limited circles of Christianity, fosters division elevating Jews above Gentiles, by teaching Torah is required for Jews, being they are G-d’s exclusive special chosen people, His actual priesthood, but the Gentiles can do their less serious role by adhering to the moral laws of Torah. It like “Replacement Theology” are false doctrines that foster division and discord. “Replacement Theology”, the most predominant theology circulated for centuries throughout Christianity, creates division by elevating Gentiles above Jews and typically teaches the Torah is irrelevant to both Gentiles and Jews. Both of these contradict Scripture and demonstrate sibling rivalry at its best or more accurately, worst! If I had to pick a theology that best describes my perspective regarding unity and honoring Abba Father’s instructions for His kids, it would be “One Law Theology”, circulating in the Hebrew Roots Movement as well as Messianic Judaism, but even that could use better clarification because it implies every single command in Torah applies to every single person, which it does not. For example, can a man obey the commandments provided in Torah specifically for woman (i.e. her menstrual cycle)? Do the commandments intended for farmers or the military apply to everyone? Do the commandments pertaining to the Levitical Priesthood apply to the average person (i.e. what clothing to wear or not to touch dead people)? Moreover, it is clearly difficult to label and explain the mysteries of G-d and His family dynamics plus we are all at different mile markers on the same narrow path (hopefully). I certainly can appreciate attempting to explain various revelations, but we must do so being founded in the entirety of G-d’s word and in His love while fostering the atmosphere of being in one accord. Is our theology demonstrating fruit of the Spirit, demonstrating love or are we creating doctrines that place one over another? Is that the Spirit of Grace? The Spirit of Holiness? Yeshua taught us to serve others, to be humble, to love. He ministered to all walks of life lowering Himself even to the point of death for ALL of us. Perhaps a better label could be “One Family Theology” or “One Love Theology” or “One Father Theology” or “The Functional Faith Family Theology”. It grieves me to see those who claim to believe in One G-d be so divided.

It grieves me to see those who claim to believe in One G-d be so divided.

Some of the Messianic Judaism communities seem to attack the Hebrew Roots communities while some of the Hebrew Roots communities seem to attack Christianity and some of Christianity seems to attacks its own variations/denominations…it is never ending division. Hopefully, you are hearing my heart on these important matters for when the trumpets start blasting in the end (see Revelation 8-11), I promise you, you won’t care what your theology is called, you will need each other and finally start fulfilling the heart of Torah by BEING love, as the Body of Messiah, simply to survive.

I invite you to explore the following verses that foster wholeness and the heart of our Father…

“..God shows no personal favoritism to no man..” Galatians 2:6

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise….And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba Father!’ Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 3:26-29, 4:6-7

Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

Incidentally, do you remember Paul referenced believers in both his letters to the Ephesians and Romans as “saints”? Did you know the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation refers to “saints” as those who both believe in Yeshua as Messiah AND keep G-d’s commandments (see Revelation 12:17 & 14:12)? It doesn’t say the “beast” makes war with just the Jews or just the Gentiles, does it? But Scripture says in 2nd Thessalonians and Revelation, the LAWLESS one, the beast, goes after those saints who believe in Yeshua and do G-d’s Torah/Law! Let that sink in for a bit.

Back to being one family obeying the Parent…

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6

Set your mind on things above and not on earthly things for you died and your is now hidden with Christ in God….Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all in all.” Colossians 3:2-11

But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:25

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.‘ ” 2 Timothy 2:19

..for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, stife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos’, are you not carnal?…For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:3-9

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (see note below)

But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness- indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:8-10 (My interpretation of this phrase ‘to the Jew first’ mentioned here and in Romans 1:16 is the Jews were offered salvation and blessings of obedience first and then such things were also made available to the Gentiles – see Romans 9-11).

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. ‘For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.‘ ” Romans 10:12-13

For if God did not spare the natural branches (Jews), He may not spare you either (Gentiles).” Romans 11:21

Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:29-31

Before I proceed, notice Paul writes in the last phrase of Romans 3:31 “we establish the law”. But if the Jews are already well-acquainted with Torah, having had it established thousands of years prior, then who were the Apostles focused on establishing the law with in addition to the Jews? The Roman Gentiles (Romans 1:1-7). Not to earn their salvation, but because of their salvation..because of their repentance for sin, which sin is Biblically defined as breaking Torah or being without Torah (1 John 3:4) and then the eventual receiving of the Holy Spirit, who in turn, causes those who have believed and received to obey Torah. Because He chose us and put His Spirit in us like He will genetic Israel one fine day (Ezekiel 36-37; Jeremiah 30-31), His Spirit causes us to want to cheerfully obey as living sacrifices. Paul writes in Romans 1:5-6, “Through Him we have received grace and apostleship FOR OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH among all nations for His name, among who you also are the called of Jesus Christ..

I see believing in Yeshua as Messiah, Spirit-led Jews as being the “oldest” in the family, the firstborn, the ones who know better and who can help instruct the younger siblings in what Abba Father expects. That seemed to be my role as the oldest sibling and best explains this family dynamic too.

We have learned thus far, we are betrothed to a new covenant and a sign of that covenant is the outpouring of Holy Spirit onto both Jew and Gentile alike. But why make a Holy Spirit anyway as a sign or gift? Why not make a glowing cross in the sky when a person believes Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah like G-d made a rainbow when He made a covenant with Noah? Again, it is important we understand this: The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to help us honor Abba Father by obeying Him, by obeying the terms of all the previous covenants (to those that apply anyway) since clearly without the Holy Spirit, it could not be done – Welcome to the Renewed/New Covenant (see Ezekiel 36:27).

It is about being the light to the nations. The famous “Great Commision” where Jesus/Yeshua instructs His followers to continue making disciples teaching them to do all that He did being the Living Light or Torch of Torah (Matthew 28:19-20; also see Matthew 5:14-19) was the same Great Commission given to ancient Israel: to bring the light of Torah to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). Yeshua was the Living Word, the Living Torah, the Light and implores us to be and do the same.

Overall, dear reader, in my interpretation of Scripture, it is about making disciples and cultivating an authentic lifestyle of holy worship upon receiving G-d’s gift of grace.

In summary, having obtained grace is having obtained the Spirit of grace/the Holy Spirit, in G-d’s time and His way, through no merit or doing or manipulating of our own. We will receive the promised Holy Spirit when G-d deems it time – His grace. That Spirit of Holiness, once received, will begin spiritually circumcising our spiritual hearts, removing the unholy and replacing it with holy, eventually causing our flesh to follow accordingly. In other words, the inward spiritual workings of the Holy Spirit, will produce physical outward works, good works (Ephesians 2:10), which if led by the Spirit, will produce love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, etc (Galatians 5:22-23). Similarly, G-d’s presence and law are centered in Jerusalem, likened to a heart, but will be circulated and enforced throughout all the nations one fine day likened to the body when He returns and the Spirit of Holiness encamps the whole earth bringing us into shalom, into wholeness, unity, and one accord (see Isaiah 2, 51; Micah 4; Zechariah 14:16+). Can’t wait! 🙂

Moreover, upon receiving the ‘gift of grace’ or ‘Spirit of holiness’, which is the Holy Spirit, He begins to teach us the heart of the Father, and what love looks like as exampled by His Son. The Spirit flowing in us and through us, explains, educates, encourages, and empowers His kids to walk like our big brother Yeshua walked, to follow Him, and to love G-d, His word (all of it), and consequently, we will love others for love is the summary of Torah- it’s what His Torah and the Gift of Grace is all about!

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R. Turner, October 2019 and January 2020

*Please note these conclusions are my own and don’t necessarily represent the beliefs of Messianic Judaism, Hebrew Roots, or mainstream Christianity.