Trump Reveals Classified Information Druing Russian Meeting

Trump reveals classified information during Russian meeting

The New York Times is reporting that President Trump revealed classified information provided by Israel regarding ISIS to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during their visit to the White House last week.

If The Times report is true, this could have serious implications to national security and even international relationships.

It is unclear at this time exactly what information Trump revealed to the Russians, however.

One claim made by The Times’ report alleges Trump revealed the city where allied spies infiltrated, cultivated a network of intelligence gathering and collected information which prevented attacks on civil aviation.

Compounding Trump’s troubles are statements made by officials within the Trump administration which seem to contradict the president’s statements on the issue.

The National Security Advisor, the Deputy National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State initially denied the claims Trump revealed any classified information and later flipped their rhetoric when Trump tweeted he did reveal some information to Russia in order to aid the fight against ISIS.

While the president is correct that what he revealed was not illegal, the president can choose to declassify any information at any time, there’s no denying what he did was reckless and could have far-reaching consequences.

By revealing in which city this intelligence was gathered, Trump revealed which city has a network of spies that have infiltrated adversarial and terrorist groups. By revealing their location, Trump endangers the network of intelligence gatherers and puts their lives at risk.

Russia is a key ally to Syria, where many of these terrorist networks are rooted. By revealing this information to Russia, Trump put intelligence assets at risk of retaliatory measures from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

This not only compromises our security assets but those of our allies as well.

Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East. Without their support and collaboration we cannot hope to win the fight against terror. But if Israel feels they cannot trust the President of the United States with sensitive information, it could jeopardize our relationship – just as it was strained during the Obama administration.

Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., reaffirmed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel by issuing the following statement yesterday.

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Dermer told The Times.

And the concern is that Israel won’t be the only one to cease sharing or limiting intelligence shared with us.

If countries around the world do not feel confident our president or government officials can properly handle information, they could cease to share or limit the intelligence shared.

While many opponents of Trump are using this to paint him as colluding with Russia, I believe it demonstrates Trump is simply politically incompetent and didn’t understand the implications of his actions.

While I don’t think this excuses his actions, it absolves him of any nefarious intent.

But this has been my complaint about Trump from the very beginning.

I did not think he demonstrated the political savvy I wanted in a president – not just in his attitude and behavior, which is severely lacking in presidential quality – but also in his understanding of the political process.

Trump is a very proud man and has little self-control with regards to his opinions and Twitter account. He frequently spouts off the first thought that comes into his head with little regard for the consequences. Couple this with the fact he has little understanding of diplomacy or political processes and we have the potential for very dangerous situations.

Trump should stay quiet on issues he doesn’t fully understand and allow the subject matter experts in his administration to take the lead on these matters.

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Modern-Day Maccabees: UN Resolution 2334

President Obama has done everything he can to undermine and delegitimize Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past eight years. Obama even went so far as to send an election team to Israel to campaign against Netanyahu in the most recent election.

Now, with three weeks left in office, he’s taking one final shot at the Jewish state.

Refusing to use its veto power, something the U.S. has regularly done when it feels the language is too harsh against Israel, the U.S. helped pass U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last week’s resolution passed 14 votes to 0 with the U.S. casting the sole abstaining vote.

The resolution is one of the harshest the UN has ever passed regarding Israel.

The resolution condemns Israeli “settlement” activity and calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and declares that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The resolution also asserts the Temple Mount and Western Wall are not historic Jewish territory.

Palestinian leaders have already said they will use the resolution to seek International Criminal Court indictments of Israeli leaders, push for a formal probe into whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions and petition foreign governments to ban the import of any products made in Israeli “settlements.”

Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech yesterday defending the U.S. decision to not veto the resolution.

Kerry, no longer attempting to hide the administration’s disdain for Israel, repeatedly referred to Israel as “the occupier,” even going so far as to say that “it is not this resolution that is isolating Israel. It is the permanent policy of [Israeli] settlement construction that risks making peace impossible.”

Kerry went on to say, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both –and it won’t ever really be at peace.”

Not surprisingly, Kerry failed to acknowledge the role terrorist group Hamas plays in the Palestinian government nor of the Palestinian’s singular goal of “wiping Israel off the face of the earth.”

And yet, none of this is new for Israel.

This is not the first time Israel has had to defend itself against a more powerful enemy to ensure her survival. In fact, that spirit of survival is what we celebrate in this season of Hanukkah.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Maccabees, the rebel Jewish army, faced the mighty Greeks in a seven-year struggle to defend their right to exist, to worship in their own way and reclaim their God-given land of Israel. After miraculously defeating the Greek army, the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They cleansed and rededicated the Temple to YHVH and reestablished the Jewish way of life in Israel.

While the names may have changed, the situation has not.

Israel is still fighting for the right to simply exist and there are still those who seek to destroy her. But just as in days gone by, there are also those who choose to fight alongside Israel.

As many of you know, I did not enthusiastically vote for Donald Trump. Voting for Gary Johnson was not an option. Voting for Hillary Clinton was definitely not an option. And so I found myself somewhat backed into Donald Trump’s corner.

But to be honest, from the moment I realized he had beaten Hillary Clinton, I felt hope and excitement for the first time in eight years.

I was excited to see his plans for the economy, to see Obamacare repealed, to see stronger foreign policy and to see less of the debilitating political correctness that defined this administration. But most of all, I felt hopeful regarding policy towards Israel.

Trump has made no secret of his intentions to support and defend Israel, a markedly different approach from his predecessor. In fact, Trump tweeted out the following series of tweets in response to the Obama administration’s decision to not veto the UN resolution,

Trump Tweets UN

“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” the tweets read. “They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

While I’m definitely not trying to promote Donald Trump as the savior for the Jewish people, it is encouraging to know the incoming administration is poised to be a true ally and friend of Israel.

Let us be encouraged this Hanukkah as we remember what this season represents.

As we light the candles on the menorah, let us remember there is always light to be found in the darkness. Let us remember we can be that light in the midst of darkness if we are willing to stand for truth and righteousness. May we remember the Maccabees of old and be reminded we, too, are modern-day Maccabees who are not alone in the fight for Israel’s right to exist.

And above all, let us remember that the same God who delivered Israel 2,000 years ago is the same God who will defend and protect Israel today.

Am Israel chai! The people of Israel live!

Chag sameach Hanukkah! Happy Hanukkah!

giving-gifts

The Gift of Giving

Thanksgiving is the time of year when family and friends gather together and express their gratitude for all they have. It’s the season for giving to others and a time to put into perspective the things that truly matter.

But why is it so difficult for us to do these things all year round?

I’ve recently noticed how quickly and easily people give up. I’ve shared with friends about some of the struggles I’ve encountered in this season I’m in and I was surprised to find how many were quick to say maybe I wasn’t in the place God wanted me, maybe I should try something else, or maybe I should just quit altogether.

But being in God’s will doesn’t mean a struggle-free existence. Often times, it means walking right into the battle. His plan usually includes sharpening us through tests and trials and refining us through fire.

How much do we miss out on in life when we give up too easily?

Our society has cultivated an attitude of “what’s in it for me?” When we feel we aren’t getting enough out of what we’re doing, we quickly give up and move on. But what if it’s not about us or how we feel? What if we’re gaining skills and training for something down the road? What if His plan is not for you to get something but for you to give something?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph lately. God’s plan for his life involved being kidnapped, sold as a slave and false imprisonment. What if he had given up? What if he had run away or escaped from Egypt? The world at that time, and what would eventually become the nation of Israel, would have been completely destroyed by famine.

We’ve fallen prey to the idea that says if we’re on the right path then we should face very little adversity, and if we do face difficulties they should be overcome very easily. So when we come across adversity, we quickly look for the easiest way to ease the pain.

Joseph, however, didn’t give up. He persevered and continued on the difficult path God had set before him. Joseph never imagined he’d be a slave or a prisoner and, yet, because of his perseverance through these trials and continued to give of himself, he was able to save his family, the entire nation of Egypt, and ensured the survival of YHVH’s chosen people Israel.

How much could we accomplish if only we didn’t give up at the first sign of difficulty?

Like Joseph, God could have us on a path that, while difficult in the present, could be for the benefit of countless others later. But if we’re too quick to give up, we could miss out on being a blessing to others further down the path.

As I’ve walked out this new season with new challenges, I feel YHVH asking me to give of myself in new and difficult ways. As I serve others, I don’t get anything obvious in return. In fact, it often costs me a great deal to serve others in this new capacity, but I know this is where YHVH wants me and that He’s training me for something more.

In these difficult moments of feeling empty after giving of myself to others, YHVH has reminded me that when we give, we should give freely, expecting nothing in return. He’s also reminded me that sometimes we are put into difficult seasons not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those we will cross paths with on this journey.

One of the most powerful ways to serve others is to persevere through the struggles of life and completing the task YHVH has set before you. As you persevere, you just might find others who are also struggling and need to be shown the love of Yeshua. As they watch you rely on YHVH as you walk through difficulties, you just might be shining the light and love of God that they so desperately need.

Giving of ourselves and expecting nothing in return is difficult, draining and tiring to be sure. But if we are faithful to the work He is doing in us, it will be to our benefit and to the benefit of those around us.

Like Joseph, we can never fully grasp why we must walk the paths we are on or why we must endure the trials we go through, but if we can continue to endure and be faithful to give of ourselves – even when it seems we don’t receive anything in return – YHVH will always be faithful to provide for us and help us become stronger through it all.

And that’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

mainstream-media-off-air

Free Thinking: Taking Mainstream Media Off the Air

This election cycle revealed many troubling changes within America. We saw how quickly we as a nation allowed ourselves to become divided, how many on both sides of the aisle are extremely willing to turn a blind eye to the flaws of their candidate and just how fragile the psyche of the American liberal is – which isn’t really breaking news to anyone.

Perhaps one of the biggest things this election cycle revealed, however, is how out of touch with the average American mainstream media has become.

Last night and all day today the mainstream media expressed shock at Trump’s victory. They couldn’t believe that Donald J. Trump had actually won the election for President of the United States of America.

But it couldn’t be that much of a shock, right?

Logically, the election revealed the majority of Americans wanted Donald Trump for their president and, yet, the shock and dismay was clear to see on most of the networks as they reported on each new state won for Trump.

Why?

Because the mainstream media is biased and largely reports what they want Americans to believe, not what is necessarily true.

While the mainstream media is reporting real news taking place and presenting accurate facts in most cases, it’s the way they present these stories and facts that subtly change the way the consumer absorbs the information.

They tell you what they want you to believe in such a way you think they’re presenting unbiased facts when it’s really anything but unbiased. It’s so subtle, you almost believe you came up with the idea yourself!

Had the mainstream media actually been listening to the American people, instead of trying to push their own biased agenda, this election wouldn’t have been such a shock to so many Americans. Most of us were so caught up with the predictions of the polls and skewed samples, we missed what actual Americans were saying.

As a consumer, there are several lessons to take away from this election cycle. First, keep your eyes wide open when consuming information from the media. Don’t just accept what is presented to you as truth; verify what they’ve said is actually true.

Second, don’t be afraid to have a different opinion from the mainstream media. They’ve gotten it wrong before and they’ll get it wrong again. All you can do is stand for what you know to be true.

Lastly, take time to unplug from the media once in a while, including social media. Get out in the real world and try to get a pulse on public opinion for yourself – you might be surprised at what you find!

Remember, media corporations are businesses and the business of media can’t turn a profit without a little controversy to help sell stories. If the world was perfect, there would be nothing to report. If there’s nothing to report, they don’t make a profit. Sometimes the media can exaggerate what might indeed be true in order to create more controversy to increase their sales.

Don’t let anyone dictate what you should think, believe or say; exercise your brain and think for yourself!

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A Thought for the Day After the Election

For over a year, we’ve all been waiting for this day. The day that couldn’t come quickly enough to put us out of our misery. The day has finally arrived — tomorrow is Election Day!

We’ve been subjected to endless Facebook posts, the mud-slinging, the lies, the political pitches and the desperation. But now, the circus can finally come to an end! Tomorrow we will elect our next President of the United States of America.

But this past year has left many ready to just get this election over with, and not with excitement and anticipation for a new chapter in our nation’s history. Many, including myself, feel this election is a lose-lose situation for the American people. And in many ways, it is.

One the left side of the aisle, we have a corrupt liar who is under FBI investigation who craves power more than any other person on the planet. On the right side of the aisle, we have a narcissistic dingbat who doesn’t even have enough common sense and self-control to stay off Twitter at 2 a.m. Not to mention all the other scandals this year has brought us: emails, lewd comments, sexual objectification of women, covering up the accounts of sexual assault and rape victims, pay for play, corruption, slush funds and just plain old sheer idiocy.

It’s easy to see why so many Americans feel hopeless and are ready for this whole election cycle to be over.

But it’s important to remind ourselves, not just for this election but for anything we may face in our lives, of this timeless truth: God is in control.

Oftentimes, it’s easy to see the mess we’ve made or the chaos which surrounds us and begin to feel hopeless or scared. But in the midst of chaos, God has a plan. No matter what the results of the election are tomorrow or who our next president will be, none of that will change the eternal truth that God remains in control.

No man or woman can ruin God’s plan. No person is able to destroy the designs of YHVH. God does not need a Republican or a Democrat or in the White House for His purposes to prevail. He is Almighty and is able to triumph no matter who has control of congress, who is appointed to the Supreme Court or who sits in the Oval Office.

Let me clear, I’m not saying your vote doesn’t matter or you shouldn’t get out there and vote. I’m saying that He is unshakable and unchanging. After fulfilling your civic duty and voting, we must leave the election in His hands and trust that man, with all his flaws and shortcomings, will never overturn the eternal plan of the Father.

While we might be surprised, disappointed or even angry about the outcome of tomorrow’s election, He isn’t. He has a plan and a purpose for every twist and turn of life.

So as you get ready to vote, keep this truth in mind.

“A man plans his ways in his heart, but YHVH establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Happy voting!

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Election 2016: We’re Doomed

I have never used the phrase “we’re doomed” more than I have during this election cycle. We already knew Hillary would be the Democrat nominee – I’m pretty sure Bernie would have “mysteriously disappeared” had she not – but I really was holding out hope that we would have a real candidate on the Republican side to vote for this November. Unfortunately, I have learned my lesson: never put your faith in the American people.

I really, truly believed that this was just a phase the American people were going through; that once they got Trump out of their system they, like an unruly teenager, would come to their senses and see reason and take the choosing of the President of the United States of America seriously. Alas, they did not. And now I’ve been bitterly disappointed once again. It’s my fault, really. I should have known better than to expect the American people to demonstrate common sense and good decision making.

So here we find ourselves – between a rock and a hard place – needing a solution to our dilemma.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and already know who you’re voting for. Congratulations! Unless of course you’re voting for Hillary and in which case, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.

But in all seriousness, for many of us who tend to lean to the right side of the aisle, we find ourselves in a tough spot.

If you’re like me I know who I’m NOT, under ANY circumstances voting for, but I haven’t quite figured out who I am voting for.

When it was first announced that Trump would be the nominee, I toyed with the idea of joining the “Never Trump” crowd and vowing that even a rock would make a better candidate for president. But that would mean voting for a third party candidate – and in the absence of a viable third party candidate, I was back to the rock and square one.

The reason I find it so difficult to vote for Trump is because, simply put, he’s an idiot. I believe the more PC way to put it would be “he does not have the political savvy befitting a presidential hopeful.”

Time after time we have seen political debates reduced to nothing more than petty mud-slinging, lying, personal attacks and outright bullying. This is who the American people want representing them to the rest of the world?!

Second, his policies are appallingly similar to any candidate on the wrong left side of the aisle. If you were to write the stance of both Hillary and Trump side-by-side on a piece of paper without attribution, the list would be almost indistinguishable! So it’s almost like voting for Hillary either way…and at that realization a part of my soul just died.

Third, I have no idea how he plans to address any of the problems facing America. Trump is known for saying he’s going to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic and it’s not going to happen. I’ve heard Trump supporters say that Mexico will be convinced to pay for the wall because Trump is going to block all illegal immigrants from sending their welfare checks back to Mexico. The problem with this logic is that Mexico is bringing in more money from the drug cartels crossing the border than any amount of money being sent from entitlement checks, so removing the welfare checks would hardly be enough to make the Mexican government concede to paying for the wall.

Trump also says he’s going to block all Muslims from coming to America. Again, anything is possible in the land of rainbows and unicorns but in the land of reality, I don’t see Trump being able to make that happen either. Congress would have to approve those measures and barring another major, horrific attack, I don’t see that happening. I don’t believe our country wants nor is in a place where we should start banning any specific group from entering our country.

So again, given the fairytale solutions to our real life problems, we’re back to square one. That rock is looking pretty good, isn’t it?

I’ve considered voting for a third-party candidate. There’s always Gary Johnson running on the Libertarian ticket. But after this stunt he pulled (which would have been hilarious had we not been talking about a presidential nominee) and watching this video (WARNING: some people are morons and do things that are stupid, gross and inappropriate and then put it on the internet) I decided I couldn’t bring myself to vote for anyone from this party. I also couldn’t bring myself to vote for Gary Johnson (even though he’s a New Mexican) after he didn’t know what/where Aleppo was and couldn’t name a world leader he admired. <insert major eye rolling and sighs of despair here>

But I also know that voting for a third-party candidate can be dangerous because we know they’re not going to win so why “waste” the vote. Now, I don’t actually believe that any vote cast after thoughtful consideration is ever a waste, but I do believe it can be strategically useless.

If you vote for a third-party candidate you know is going to lose and you don’t strongly believe in them anyway, you’re practically giving a vote to the candidate you don’t want to elect because you’re not ensuring their opponent wins.

Once I realized I wasn’t going to find a candidate I wanted to vote for, I decided I needed to shift my way of thinking. I’m used to thinking of voting in terms of who I want to see in office (which is how it should be) but under these circumstances, I’ve decided I need to shift my way of thinking. Instead, I need to focus on who I don’t want to see in office.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not want to see Hillary Clinton become president. So now I need to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. What’s the best way to ensure Hillary is not elected? As much as it physically pains me to say it: vote for Donald Trump.

I was completely ready to do this until the last few weeks.

Watching Trump self-destruct during the debates and listening to him try to construct a coherent stance on issues has been painful beyond belief. I cringe every time I hear him speak. He doesn’t know how to control himself. He doesn’t know how to remain calm and level-headed. He doesn’t know how not to defend himself against every, single accusation. He doesn’t know how to stay off Twitter at 2 a.m.

To be honest, I’m not as disturbed by the accusations of sexual assault or the crude “locker room talk.” Not because I think it’s ok but because the same people who are exploding over the accusations against Trump are the same people who dismiss actual rape and assault charges against Bill Clinton and ignore Hillary’s bullying of the female victims.

For the first time since I’ve been able to vote, I have seriously considered not voting for either of the candidates this election – and that pains me.

It’s a tough decision for people like myself who know we will never vote for Hillary, yet find Donald Trump unpalatable and ridiculous. He’s not conservative. He’s Republican only in name. He was a Democrat until about five minutes ago and his stance on many issues hasn’t had time to catch up yet. I know many conservatives, particularly among evangelical voters, fully support Trump because he says he is pro-life and will appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. But I have serious doubts about his intentions to actually do this.

He’s terrible. She’s a criminal. We’re doomed. How is anyone supposed to make a real decision?!

Ultimately, the main thing he has going for him, in my opinion, is the fact he’s not Hillary Clinton. That has been Trump’s saving grace this entire election. She has bullied her husband’s victims of rape and abuse and she led the charge on covering up her husband’s infidelity, rape and abuse. Through the FBI’s investigation we learned that Hillary was guilty of “gross negligence,” which is a conscious decision to disregard the need to use reasonable care.

Wikileaks revealed in the Podesta emails Hillary has “begun to hate everyday Americans,” there was concern from Chelsea Clinton about “compromised” technology during visits to China and information revealing her campaign had paid protestors to stir up trouble and violence at Trump rallies.

As Secretary of State, she claims she didn’t know what the “C” indicating “Classified” meant. She ignored requests for help that resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including an American ambassador. She set up a private email server on which she did official Secretary of State business. She has been paid obscene amounts of money by foreign countries through the Clinton Foundation to grant favors in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

Even through this past weekend we learned the FBI was reopening the investigation into Hillary’s emails because of a connection found in the Weiner investigation. One can only imagine what raunchy mess they found there.

I’m still on the fence on if I’ll vote for Donald Trump or not. There’s a 99.9% chance I’ll be voting for him but I’m still holding out hope on the .1% chance there will be some political savior who will fall from the sky, riding a white horse that will save me from voting for Donald Trump.

But I know that’s probably not going to be the case.

So how will you be voting this year? Hillary? Trump? Will you be voting your conscience? Will you be voting for the lesser of two evils? Will you not be voting at all this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Halloween

Halloween: Trick or Treat?

So let’s talk Halloween. I’m sure you can guess from my previous posts how I feel about it. But you might be surprised to find out that my biggest problem with Halloween is not the candy, costumes or themes of evil and death…although I could go on for hours about these. My biggest problem with Halloween is the church adopting this pagan holiday and trying to make it into something good.

I have seen pictures and messages all over social media advertising church parties and gatherings for Halloween. To be really honest, those disturb me more than seeing non-believers in gruesome face masks, gory makeup, hyper-sexualized or even devil costumes. Why?

Because we are supposed to be set apart for God.

While it’s true the Bible doesn’t speak directly about Halloween, or most modern Christian holidays for that matter, which should really make you pause and wonder why, the Bible is very clear about the separation between good and evil, right and wrong, the holy and the profane.

When you come into the land which YHVH your Elohim is giving you, do not learn to do according to the abominations of those gentiles. Be perfect before YHVH your Elohim, for these nations whom you are possessing do listen to those using magic and to diviners. But as for you, YHVH your Elohim has not appointed such for you. Deuteronomy 18:9, 13-14

And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the desire of YHVH is. Ephesians 5:11,17

Beloved ones, do not imitate the evil, but the good. The one who is doing good is of Elohim, but he who is doing evil has not seen Elohim. 3 John 1:11

Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? And what agreement has Messiah with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Now let me be clear. I am not saying celebrating Halloween in any way makes you a bad person or you’ll go to hell or will be punished.

I do, however, believe what the Scripture says…that we should discern what is pleasing to our God and strive to be perfect as He is perfect. The Word of God is clear that YHVH desires us to be set apart and to not mimic the practices of the peoples around us. That means that we cannot take any part of the things that keep us separated or divided from God.

This is how the enemy does trick-or-treating.

He gets his treats from tricking us into believing we can change the meaning of Halloween into something acceptable to God.

This is my concern with the Church celebrating pagan holidays, including Halloween. We take something that was never meant to be part of the ways of YHVH and make it into something that allows us to take part with the nations around us. We ease our conscience by giving it a new name, of course, but it’s still the same. “A rose by any other name” as Shakespeare put it.

But these “Harvest Festivals” and “Trunk or Treating” and “Harvest Carnivals” are still Halloween. The enemy of God doesn’t care what you call it, just as long as you celebrate it. That’s because taking part of the unclean makes us unclean. If we are unclean, we are separated from God.

I once heard the story of a man who wanted to teach his daughters a lesson in righteous living when they asked to see a movie that was ungodly. When he pointed out the inappropriate content in the movie, his daughters replied, “but it’s only a little bit.” To illustrate the dangers of allowing even a little bit of ungodliness in our lives, he baked some brownies and added a tiny bit of dog poop in the batch. When they refuse to eat the the dog-poop brownies, he gives them the same response they gave him about the movie, “but it’s only a little bit.”

The point is, no matter how much we try to change the original intent of Halloween and dress it up and give it a “church message,” there will always be some amount of poop that remains.

I recently saw a post on social media inviting people to a church on Halloween with the words “Hell Night” written in bloody letters across the top. I’ve seen young children on their way to church events with their faces plastered with gory, slasher-movie make up to make them look like zombies or monsters. The disturbing part are the crosses hanging prominently in the background of these families’ homes.

We are not to mix the holy and the profane. We shouldn’t be teaching our children that we can live in both the heavenly and the worldly realm. We CANNOT be like the world. No matter how much we try to change the common things, we will never be able to make them holy.

If we truly want to celebrate the harvest season, YHVH appointed the seasons of Sukkot — the Feast of Tabernacles — and First Fruits for this purpose. Both are feasts of the LORD and allow us to celebrate the seasons of life. But if we can’t bring ourselves to line up with YHVH’s instruction, then perhaps we need to reassess the motives of our hearts.

What is most important to us? Fitting in with the world or fitting in with our Father?

If we intend to live in the Father’s house, then we will never look like the rest of the world. That has to be ok with us; it can’t just be words that come out of our mouths. We have to be totally committed to living a set apart life and not fitting in with the rest of the world.

So this Halloween, don’t be fooled by the tricks or treats of the enemy.

Watchman New Moon

Yom Teruach: The Feast of Trumpets

Many people know this day (incorrectly) as Rosh Hashanah or literally the Head of the New Year. However, Biblically, this day was known as Yom Teruach or the Day of Trumpets. According to YHVH’s Word, the new year is actually to begin in the spring time at Passover.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to YHVH. Leviticus 23:5

YHVH called the month in which Passover occurs the first month. This month, the seventh Biblical month, is not the new year but, rather, the month containing 3 of the 7 feasts of YHVH.

Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you have a rest, a remembrance of blowing of trumpets, a set-apart gathering. You do no servile work, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH.’

And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before YHVH your Elohim. For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath.”

And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to YHVH. On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. For seven days you bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. On the eighth day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. It is a closing festival, you do no servile work. These are the appointed times of YHVH which you proclaim as set-apart gatherings, to bring an offering made by fire to YHVH, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a slaughtering and drink offerings, as commanded for every day – besides the Sabbaths of YHVH, and besides your gifts, and besides all your vows, and besides all your voluntary offerings which you give to YHVH. Leviticus 23: 24-48

So how did this change occur? Daniel 7:25 tells us that the spirit of the anti-Christ is to change the appointed times of YHVH. By changing YHVH’s appointed times, or getting rid of them altogether, the enemy keeps us oblivious to the season we are in. If we don’t know the season or times we are in, we can’t properly prepare. If we don’t properly prepare, we risk being caught unaware when the Bridegroom comes for His Bride.

and it [the beast] speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.

In 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea. The result of this council was a new religion that blended the Nazarene faith (the belief in Torah and Yeshua the Messiah) with Mithraism (paganism) and created what we now know as Catholicism. This council is where modern Christianity got it beginnings. Constantine and his council took the true faith and gospel of Yeshua that the disciples had preached (which never parted from Torah) and mixed it with their pagan religion to create a new form of sun/son worship. This new religion changed the holy days of YHVH to the holy days of sun worship…hence Sunday being the new holy day/Sabbath.

As we read in Leviticus 23, YHVH had already established His timetable and His Holy days. The Feast Days of YHVH, or moedim in Hebrew, are the timetable YHVH uses. Significant events in His story always coincide with the Feasts. Yeshua admonishes the Pharisees and Sadducees for understanding the signs of the weather but not understanding the signs of the times. Let this not be the case for us. May we humble ourselves and seek after YHVH’s times and not our own.

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. And He answering, said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘Fair weather, for the heaven is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Stormy weather today, for the heaven is red and overcast.’ You know how to discern the face of the heaven, but you are unable to discern the signs of the times! A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4

So what exactly is Yom Teruach? Like I said earlier, Yom Teruach is the Day of Trumpets. When you see the word “trumpet” in the Bible, it is almost always referring to a shofar or a ram’s horn. The sounding of a shofar signifies a  significant event is about to take place. A shofar was blown to gather all the tribes of Israel together for a meeting with YHVH, religious ceremony, or battle. It was used in battle to direct soldiers. It is also frequently used to wake those who slumber from their sleep. On Yom Teruach, the shofar is blown 100 times and is blown every morning during the month of Elul in preparation. It is truly a wakeup call to those who have ears to hear.

Yeshua warned us of a future Yom Teruach.

And immediately after the distress of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Adam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Adam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem. And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. And learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near. So you also, when you see all these, know that He is near, at the doors. Truly, I say to you, this generation shall by no means pass away until all this takes place. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away.

But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only. And as the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be. For as they were in the days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be. Then two shall be in the field, the one is taken and the one is left. Two shall be grinding at the mill, one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Master is coming. And know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Because of this, be ready too, for the Son of Adam is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Who then is a trustworthy and wise servant, whom his master set over his household, to give them food in season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, having come, shall find so doing. Truly, I say to you that he shall set him over all his possessions. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant shall come on a day when he does not expect it, and at an hour he does not know, and shall cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:29- 51

Ok…so let’s dissect a few key parts of this scripture. Many people who do not have an understanding of Torah attempt to explain what Yeshua was telling His disciples. This is why it is imperative that we understand and live Torah. It is the basis for everything we say we believe. It is YHVH’s timetable and compass that will point us to our Messiah.

The “day and the hour which no man knows” was a Hebrew idiom or nickname for Yom Teruach. Why? Yom Teruach is the only feast that begins on the first day of it’s month. In order to know when the new month begins, one must first spot the new moon in the sky. In Biblical days, a watchman would stand outside every night in his watchman’s tower and look for the sliver of the moon that indicates the new month had begun. Even today with our fancy NASA calendars and technology it’s still impossible to know exactly what day the new moon will appear. This explains the nickname the day and the hour which no man knows.

When Yeshua said this, it would have been no mystery to the disciples or anyone obeying Torah to understand what He meant. They would have immediately known He was referring to Yom Teruach.

In Biblical days, once the watchman spotted the new moon, he would then blow the shofar and word would spread across Israel that the feast of Yom Teruach had begun. Because it is a holy day and treated as a Sabbath, all work wouldWatchman New Moon immediately cease. Therefore, when Yeshua said that two would be in the field and one would be taken and the other left, He was saying that one would leave His work and head to the Temple and the other would ignore the shofar and stay in the field. Most Christians are sadly taught that this is referring to the rapture. Again, without understanding Torah and YHVH’s timetable, it’s near impossible to truly understand prophecy, the words of Yeshua, or decipher the times and seasons we are living in.

Yom Teruach also marks the beginning of the fall feasts. As we read in Leviticus 23, we celebrate Yom Teruach on the first day of the month, then on the 10th day of the month we celebrate Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and the 15th day Sukkot (Tabernacles) is celebrated.

The 10 day period between Yom Teruach and Yom Kippur is called the 10 Days of Awe. This is YHVH’s mercy to His Bride as she prepares to come before Him on Judgment Day. As I’ve mentioned in other posts about Elul, the month of Elul is a month to resolve issues and deal with your junk. If, for whatever reason, you still haven’t finished this process, YHVH gives you 10 more days before Judgment Day to make things right.

After Yom Kippur, Sukkot is celebrated. Sukkot is known as the Wedding Feast and is a weeklong celebration. It is an extremely joyous time!

So, now that Yom Teruach is upon us, rejoice, celebrate, give thanks to YHVH for His loving-faithfulness and goodness. But don’t forget to continue doing the hard work and take advantage of these last 10 days before Yom Kippur. Be blessed!

Chag Sameach! Happy Feast Days!

president-bush-ground-zero

September 11: Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years have passed since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Fifteen years have gone by since our nation, and the world, stood by helplessly and watched as planes hit the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the fourth plane, destined for the White House, crashed in a Pennsylvanian field.

Our world has changed since that moment in time. None of us were ever the same after that day. The world as we knew it was gone forever, never to return.

This year is the first time since the events on 9/11 that high school students will learn about the attacks as a historical event they were not alive to witness. These children have no idea what life was like before the attacks; no idea how much has changed and how much has been lost. A post-9/11 world is all they know.

And what do they see?

Athletes sitting for the national anthem. College students demanding “safe spaces.” Gender neutral language so as not to offend anyone. Protestors in the streets, burning down businesses and destroying cities all in the name of “Black Lives Matter.” People in the streets burning the American flag and disrespecting those who give their lives for our freedom.

What has become of our nation? What has become of our people?

Every year on the anniversary of September 11, I take the time to re-watch the documentaries and listen to the stories all over again. I believe it’s an important part to never forgetting. This year, as I watched “15 Septembers Later,” I saw a clip of President Bush visiting Ground Zero. As he stood on top of the wreckage of a fire truck and rallied the spirits of first responders and rescue crews, he bellowed into his bullhorn, “I hear you! And the people who did this will soon hear all of us!”

As he said this, the people at Ground Zero erupted into thunderous chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”

In the days following 9/11, people all around the nation were proud to be American. I remember that an unquenchable spirit of patriotism swept the nation. I even remember french fries being called “patriot fries” for a time. Everywhere you looked our rallying cry was “God bless America” and we were proud to be American.

But I fear those days have passed.

Young people today are growing more and more apathetic towards our nation; towards anything that doesn’t directly involve them. They don’t know or don’t remember what it was like on that day — when the world went from being a safe place of innocence to one where terrorism is daily threat.

They don’t want to vote. They don’t want to be informed about our nation or the world. Or they only want to vote to get free stuff and get a free ride from the government. Many of them don’t even identify themselves as Americans; they don’t want to be American anymore.

We, as a nation, have lost sight of how incredibly blessed we are to be American. To have the freedoms we have and to live in a nation where you can be anything you want to be. And as we lost sight of and began to take our freedoms and blessings for granted, we lost sight of our Creator who gave us these blessings. And in turn, we taught our children that mindset. That is what we have made our legacy.

If there’s anything the attacks on September 11, 2001, showed us, its that life is precious. Today, as we reflect on the sacrifice and horrors of that day, take time to reflect on your own life. What is your legacy? What will you be remembered for? What will you do to make the world a better place? What will you pass on to the next generation? What will your message to the world be?

We can’t do a disservice to all who gave their lives that day and in the days that followed by giving up our freedoms. By not protecting and defending the rights we have. By becoming apathetic or embarrassed to be American, we allow all those who wish to destroy and eradicate freedom around the world the upper hand. We make it easy for them because we destroy our own freedoms ourselves.

We vowed on that day to never forget. I pray we never do.

I Support Our Officers

Let’s Talk Police Shootings

Let’s talk police shootings and racial discrimination. It is unfortunate we have to have this discussion but in this day and age it’s becoming the norm.

I want to make something perfectly clear upfront: I support our police officers. They, like our military, take an oath to uphold, defend and protect our freedoms by putting their very own lives on the line. That’s a huge commitment and a burden that shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed.

Is every, single officer in America perfect? No. Is every, single officer in America good? No. Is every, single officer in America above reproach? No.

But let us remember that neither are we.

I do believe the vast majority of officers are trying to do the right thing and are motivated by their desire to protect and defend. I can’t imagine being in life-and-death situations where you have an instant to make a decision that could mean your life. When an instant could mean the difference between your kids growing up without you; an instant where you simply no longer are.

But that’s what our officers face every, single day on the job. They put their lives, and by default their family’s lives, on the line every time they put on the uniform.

Once again our nation is thrown into the fire of dissention as we dissect and judge the decisions of our defenders.

Alton Sterling was shot by police on Wednesday outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I watched the two videos that have surfaced of this incident (the original one has the camera turning away at key moments while the second one has a very clear view of the incident from a different angle) and it’s very clear to see that he did have a gun.

But the mistake most people are making in their judgments of these situations is asking “what if that were me?” They are assuming that these men, like themselves, are law-abiding citizens. That these men did nothing wrong, as they would have been doing if it were them caught in this situation with police. They think, “I have a gun. Would I get the same treatment simply because I have a gun?”

The problem with this type of thinking is that you’re assuming the men involved in this situations were actually doing nothing wrong or that they complied with police once approached.

You would have complied but that doesn’t mean they did.

Some people are even saying that the mistakes of his past shouldn’t dictate who he is today

Even if you don’t want to take his criminal background into account, the fact of this situation was that police were called to the scene because it was reported he had a gun — so the police were indeed on high alert. Then, when he resisted them, it became clear to police he did in fact have a gun and was reaching for it with his free hand. Even though the police had tackled him, they were only attempting to neutralize him because he was resisting them. If he had complied and cooperated and was truly doing nothing wrong, the story might have turned out different.

It’s easy for us to say police should have handled it differently but I don’t know what I’d do in a life or death, split second-decision moment.

The media is largely liberal and left-leaning so I’m not surprised we have heard a lot about racial discrimination in the wake of this shooting. But it’s up to us to discern the facts from the propaganda.

Many are saying this police violence is happening “way too often,” but I wonder if it really is happening way too often or if it only appears that way. Psychology describes the Social Impact Theory of how people can be the sources or targets of social influence — basically how people can be manipulated. It describes the three things needed to have a social impact. A strong source of impact (strong emotional reaction), immediacy of the event (the democrat’s “never let a good crisis go to waste”) and many “sources” all making the same point.

We see this all the time with these types of racial discrimination stories. Ironically though, these same black lives matter people never want to discuss the dozens of black-on-black crimes that occur in areas like Chicago on a daily basis. It’s like it only matters if it’s a white man killing a black man. That seems questionable to me and makes it hard for me to believe there isn’t some hidden agenda behind these claims.

I also wonder why the Black Lives Matter leaders and protestors don’t ever call for peaceful means of protest? When they condone and celebrate and feel justified in the murder of whites and police officers, doesn’t it just make them the very thing they hate? Racial discriminators?

Our nation has seen much injustice this week.

Hillary Clinton will not be formally charged even though she was found to have committed wrong doing and acted with “gross negligence.”

The officer shootings in Dallas that took place in response to Sterling.

Our nation is at a critical crossroads. We can either divide or unite.

If we divide, we risk tearing apart our nation. But if we unite, there’s no stopping us.

We celebrated Independence Day a mere four days ago. In 1777, at the height of the Revolutionary War, the fledging United States faced a similar situation. Within their own ranks, they were a divided army. There were some top brass who felt they were entitled to more than they were getting. They had hidden agendas that betrayed the Americans to the British. But rather than letting them be divided, Washington turned his attention to uniting the newly independent states and it was the difference between victory and failure.

I believe that for all of us, the current circumstances should make us appreciate the difficult situations our police officers and military members are placed in every time they put on their uniform. While I do believe that government and law enforcement shouldn’t be unquestioned and not held above the law, I do believe we should not be so quick to judge the decisions of those who protect us. It does us no good if our nation is torn apart by the manipulative agenda of a few. Instead, we should focus, not on divisive judgments but on uniting together in the search for truth and justice.

Brexit

Brexit: Lessons on Liberty


In a historic move, the United Kingdom voted last week to leave the European Union. The outcome of the vote on the referendum of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union nicknamed “Brexit,” a play on “Britain” and “exit,” is a sign that global politics is shifting – with many lessons for the American people.

The only areas of Britain that voted to remain in the EU were London, which has a disproportionate share of wealth and power, and Scotland. Virtually every other area of Great Britain, including Wales, said enough is enough.

Under the European Union, more than fifty-five percent of the laws in Britain originate with unelected officials and judges in Brussels (EU capital) with no ties to Britain. The people of Britain were voting to remove themselves from under the thumb of the foreign elite who have become disconnected from the average citizen.

The vote represents a rejection of globalism and a rebirth of nationalism as the UK has decided to put Britain first. One of the biggest factors driving the Brexit vote was an increased concern over unlimited immigration into the UK. With no rules in place limiting immigration into the UK and the growing concern over global terror, the British want the freedom to implement laws and regulations to protect their borders and implement their own anti-terror policies.

Brexit is also an absolute rejection of the economic and intellectual elites who have profited from the existing system while remaining massively disconnected from the middle class that has seen their income shrink. By voting to leave the EU, Britain voted for a future in which the power of unelected elites is diminished and the power of everyday individuals is enhanced – I wonder where they got that idea!

Amplifying the rejection of foreign powers meddling with Britain’s politics, the vote also demonstrates a defiance of President Obama’s threat that Britain would be last on our priority list for a trade deal. Back in April, Obama said that despite the histories of America and Britain being intertwined, if Britain were successful in leaving the EU they would have to go to the “back of the queue” in regards to future trade deals with the United States. Way to treat our allies who simply want the same sovereignty we take for granted enjoy!

There are several implications of this historic vote for us across the pond. Let’s take a look at some of the possible implications the Brexit vote could have on the United States.

Economy
As of 2am ET on Friday, June 24, mere hours after the results of the Brexit vote were finalized, the Dow was already down 700 points and the European market was down 11% at the opening bell — this is the largest single drop in its history.

The UK is the world’s fifth-largest economy and one of the United States’ largest trading partners, so there is concern that any economic pains felt in the UK might make their way here as well. To avoid disruption to their business in the EU, many big companies and banks might move staff to Germany or France. There’s also legitimate concern that increased unemployment coupled with the growing economic uncertainty could lead to a recession in the UK, which could trickle into the US economy as well.

Global Stability
Far-right politicians in the Netherlands and France have expressed interest for “Brexit” referendums in their countries as well. If enough countries decide they want out of the EU, there is a very real possibility that the EU could collapse. While the collapse of the EU may not be the most terrible thing in the world (the EU has been increasingly critical of Israel and is essentially the proto-type for a global, socialist government), there would be dramatic, far-reaching effects that would be felt around the world. There would certainly be economic collapse, political and social chaos, not to mention the unintended consequences on global security. If governments around the world are thrown into chaos, it would be the perfect distraction for terrorist groups to make a move.

Additionally, Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, is almost certain to once again push for its independence in order to join the EU as a sovereign nation. Leaders in Northern Ireland may push to reunite with Ireland – the fight for which has rarely been a peaceful one. All of this could leave the US and the world to face a volatile and unstable Europe.

Similarly, with the UK part of the EU, the US is currently able to exercise a certain degree of influence on the EU through its relationship with the UK. With the UK leaving the EU, the US will have to begin cultivating better political and economic relationships with other European countries in order to ensure we don’t lose any influence we might have within the EU.

Election 2016
The rally cry of Brits wanting to leave the EU this year have been slogans such as “make Britain Great again,” “let’s take back control” and “believe in Britain.” Sound familiar? These are the same slogans we are hearing in America in regards to the upcoming presidential election. No doubt presidential hopefuls will take a cue from the Brexit vote and vamp up their messages. Many of the concerns driving the Brexit vote are the same concerns facing Americans heading to the polls this November – immigration, global terrorism, the economy and international policy just to name a few.

Fears surrounding immigration, in particular, was a major factor in the decision of the thousands of Brits who voted to leave the EU. Expect both sides of the aisle to pay special attention to these points in the months leading up to the election.

Trump, in particular, who was showing signs of tempering down his positions somewhat, is expected to continue full steam ahead with his ideas on immigration, including building a wall along the Mexican border and his proposed Muslim ban.

But while Hillary may be behind the power curve with her stance on these issues, don’t be surprised if you see a sudden (slight) shift to the right on these issues. She is would be an utterly incompetent politician if she didn’t recognize the temperature in Europe (which is typically quicker to adopt a more liberal position than America) as a sign of what is coming in America.

Though the Brexit movement involves issues of politics, immigration, economic concerns and global terror, at the heart of the movement, Brexit was a vote for personal freedom, national autonomy and a rejection of rule by a self-appointed oligarchy. Our founding fathers taught the world that lesson in 1776. Since then, we have taken our freedom and sovereignty for granted; but we can no longer afford to do so.

If we have learned anything from Brexit and the UK it should be that we have a duty to protect and defend our freedom and sovereignty before its too late; before we allow our laziness, disguised as liberal and tolerant thinking, to give way to corrupt and deceitful leaders quietly stealing away our liberties.

One of the many ways to keep this from happening is to thoughtfully vote. Don’t simply follow popular opinion; find out the facts and make your own decision based on them. I pray we never find ourselves in Britain’s position of having to vote for our own sovereignty.