How To: Breaking Generational Curses

Have you ever wondered: why do I do things the way I do? Why do I behave the way I do? Why do I want what I want? Why do I hate what I hate? Unbeknownst to you, your family life taught you belief systems that lead to behaviors which define our cycles.

Our family is the context in which we learn how to see the world and ourselves. Our day to day life experiences provide a lens through which we see every situation. This means I believe I have a certain role to play in society and will intuitively behave according to this. This is reinforced in every situation and can explain the source of my perspective.

If my role has been to be the responsible one in every situation, I will require responsibility on my part — whether or not I actually should. This will be the dynamic of one of my cycles.

Ideally, the family ought to cultivate healthy cycles from an identity of wholeness. For example, if a child receives unconditional love, the child grows up with a positive perspective of self and can reflect that in the world through his or her cycles. Your cycles are what define and determine your life.

A child grows into an adult who will behave based on the role or identity they were given. If the child has been trained to see every situation as negative or to see themselves as a victim, then they will behave accordingly. This is crippling. It will almost seem as if they have no choice but to behave as a victim.

Yes. We have free will. However, our free will does not magically supersede behavioral cycles we have not yet challenged. Meaning: a person will always do what they’ve been conditioned to do until they question the validity of the belief system.

We must identify our family’s belief systems. What patterns exist in our families? What identities are cultivated in our families? Are these healthy? Which are destructive? Which, if channeled properly, become productive?

We talk about breaking generational curses without knowing what a curse is or how to break them. Failure in breaking generational curses is due to a hyper-spiritualization of them.

A generational curse is not a spell your family is under. It cannot and is not prayed away. It has to be wrestled with–contended if you will. How does one contend with a curse? What does it mean to be cursed? So glad you asked.

In the Torah, we read YAH laying out laws, commands, and statutes. Many of them begin with, “If you do ______, I will do ______.” “If you do ______, you will be blessed.” “If you do ____, you will be cursed.”

Many of us read these phrases as life’s cheat codes or spells that allows us to get YAH to do what we want. It’s a bit more complicated than that, yet so simple.

YAH created the universe and everything within it and designed it to operate according to laws and principles–from which no one is exempt. The Torah is Him detailing these ideas. If you can observe and apply these principles, you will see the natural product of them (blessing). If you do not observe (obey) and apply these principles, there will be a natural product as well.

Being cursed is a natural restricting when humans behave against the grain of the principles which govern our existence. Picture a plant. If it is not receiving what it needs, it starts to die. It must be pruned. A curse is a like a pruning–necessary when a plant is not receiving what it needs. A curse restricts, isolates–in order that the plant be able to receive what it truly needs.

We’ve made blessings and cursing so mystical, when they are as natural as the oxygen we breathe.

From where I stand, a curse has three parts. It has the cause, effect, and the remedy. Take my family for example

The women in my family have often grown up without strong, present, and loving fathers. This shaped them to be combative, distrusting, and resilient.

The cause would be the lack of strong leadership in the home. The effect would be the qualities the women have exhibited. The remedy would be going through the process of learning the true standard, challenging our identity, and being prepared to be covered.

We treat curses as though they are punishment. Being cursed, from a Hebraic standpoint, is the path you’d have to take toward wholeness. Being cursed does not stop at what went wrong. The restriction moves us toward provision of what we lacked in the first place. This process would be incomplete if it were simply an affliction imposed upon us due to someone’s mistake. Instead, YAH has ensured a way of escape. He’s ensured that, though cursed for a time, there is a way to shalom (salvation, peace, wholeness).

If there is a pattern or characteristic in your family, inquire about it. Find its roots. If the children are being supplied something healthy, they will give out what is good. If the children are being supplied something unhealthy, they will exhibit unhealthy behaviors and characteristics. The trick is being able to identify what YAH sees as healthy and unhealthy.

How do you start the process of determining your family’s generational curses? First, you can observe and examine your own perspectives, behaviors, and qualities. Then, you can observe if these are also present in your family members. Determine why you or others developed these patterns.

One more thing: it can be difficult to identify these things in ourselves and our family. Typically, when there has been a lack for so long, we find ways to make do, to plug holes, to fill up space so that the gaping hole is no longer observable. Therefore, it will require us to slow down and be vulnerable with our family members.

Nine times out of ten, YAH has already attempted to reveal to you or others that something is unhealthy within your family system. We have to be sensitive to these moments. They do not simply come as tension or fights at holiday gatherings. They come when we discover deficiencies within ourselves. When we have discomfort about certain things. When we find ourselves overreacting. They come when we’re at work. They come when we feel incredibly unconfident. They come when we overcompensate.

All of these moments point to something. We just have to be walking slow enough to hear.

Torah Today

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant (without knowing what that means),” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace (without knowing what that means),” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our walk (not religion) will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture. So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “icky law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, or doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31). Messiah is the living WORD (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves).

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah.

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator.

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples,

As יהוה had commanded them,

But mixed with the nations

And learned their works,

And served their idols,

And they became a snare to them.”

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness.

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly previously. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will place an inordinate desire in a child that could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

2. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

If you are reading Scripture without a proper (progressing in understanding) foundation of Torah, then your understanding is shallow.

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Makes Me Feel Some Type of Way

Feelings are like pathways that show you where you’ve been or where you perceive you’ve been. It’s funny because we’ll often make decisions based off of what we feel or we’ll want someone to make decisions based on what we feel.

What we feel in a situation usually points to an idea we have that we may not even be aware of. Feelings are not enemies. They are not fact or standard necessarily either. But, they’re so beautiful.

We’re often conditioned to only feel a certain way. “You shouldn’t feel like that.” This makes us live dishonest lives with ourselves and others. There are times where I feel I should be feeling happy or what have you, but I don’t. Once I make space for that feeling(s) without judgment, then it can pass and I can see the idea or behavior pattern it’s attached to. Then, God starts to deal with that thing at the root, slowly but surely.

Honor your feelings, but always challenge them. If we can’t heal in our emotions, we’ll unknowingly make decisions that keep us running on the same hamster wheel. The better we can make space for our feelings, the better we can make space for the feelings of others.

When we don’t know how to create space for our emotions, then we often bombard others with our emotions to get THEM to create the space for us. What that does is cause resentment, shutting down, and dependence in some cases. Boundaries are disregarded because there’s such a need to have our emotions validated.

Making space for your feelings is the act of sitting and playing at the feet of God. It’s being a child before Him. It’s being. It’s sitting without guard because you KNOW you’re in a safe space. When we can learn that within ourselves, we restore value and carry the capacity to restore it in others.

This is how the kingdom truly grows. People get vulnerable before YAH and this vulnerability spreads. The longer society refuses to be vulnerable before God and others, the more issues will be exasperated. I believe this affects our health–mentally, physically. Our bodies start to break down because emotionally, we haven’t rested.

When you first start this process it’s painful. You will want to run and hide from what you find. You’ll dabble in doing it yourself and depending on others to do it for you.

An example.

My sister might tell me about a new boundary she’s setting with the family. “I’d prefer that you don’t do fill-in-the-blank anymore.” Something about her saying that triggers an irritation and sadness. So, maybe I assume she’s wrong for telling me that.

But when I’m accustomed to making space for my emotions, I sit with them. Patiently.

What they are connected to will come to light. Maybe I find that her telling me that I can’t do such and such anymore made me feel rejected or like she didn’t like me and I often feel this way with my sister or in general. When I’ve done that, I can validate myself and respect her boundary. This has been a game changer in my life and relationships. Telling myself that I couldn’t feel certain things or to shut up and keep going, ended up making me see myself as less valuable.

As I’ve continued to do this, I see the way YAH sees me—I’m beautiful. So beautiful. I can stand upright in situations because I know who I am.

Your feelings are not facts, but they are probably some of the most valuable tools God gave us.

A pastor used to preach that God didn’t care about your feelings. We used to laugh about it, but now I see. Nothing could be further from the truth. We live with that ideology when we think we have to present ourselves to God a certain way.

Making space for your feelings, being vulnerable before God means that you can stand before any measure of man and not flinch or budge because you know who you are. “Don’t worry about man who can only destroy the body.” “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Brings new light to these verses.

If God has approved me, who can disqualify me? NOBODY. If I don’t have to present myself before God a certain way, then I don’t have to present myself to man according to his standards.

I stand confidently before YAH because I know I’m right in His eyes. How many people can truly say they KNOW they’re right in God’s eyes? I used to feel like I was right in God’s eyes if I was “on the right track” or ticking off all the “saved” boxes. But, from the perspective and experience as His child, I can play before Him without hesitation of my place before Him.

He’s providing for me.

Am I Done Pretending?

I’ve always known I wasn’t the most feminine woman. I had a deeper voice, didn’t like carrying purses, wasn’t the neatest, and didn’t like pink; so, this inevitably meant I just wasn’t fem. I’m cringing thinking about it!

I had a very surface-level idea of what femininity is. With this shallow understanding, I overcompensated by trying to talk softer, seem less alarming, smile, be agreeable (to a fault), and market myself as a highly domesticated woman. This overcompensation is evidence of a few things I’d like to explore in this blog.

Today, my understanding has moved (thankfully) far away from the surface and is increasing as I explore the depths and wonders of this enchanting energy I possess. Truth is, I wasn’t super feminine and overcompensated like a @%!*#, but the why is just as important as the what.

I did not know who I was.

I knew who or what I wanted to be and always found a deep deficit in those spaces. So, I set out to prove I was something I wasn’t. One way of saying I didn’t know who I was is to say I was missing information. Part of a woman being able to live from her feminine energy is having had a father that stood confidently in his masculine. This dynamic provides information that I received in part.

I was protecting myself.

In protecting myself, I subconsciously activated very masculine energy. Masculine energy strives, wrestles, protects. I didn’t want people to see how underdeveloped I was, so I tried to protect it while it was still in development. Because I was striving, I also repelled potential bodies to meet my femininity with masculinity. Additionally, the feminine energy in me could not truly flourish because the masculine had taken over.

I did not know my value.

I craved for someone to see my value. I’d go above and beyond to make my value known. This brought short spurts of validation. This only sent me further down a path of finding quick fixes for realizing my value. It all becomes about keeping up appearances. Living for appearances is incredibly unfulfilling because the standard is always changing.

Aside: This is what I think is the problem with society as a whole. There is no standard. This produces disorder, anxiety, and a wealth of mental health issues. But, that’s a blog for a different day.

I did not know light.

God is light. Light is the standard. It is the only source of truth and power. I thought I knew this truth, but I didn’t.

I grew up aligning myself to Christian beliefs or standards which on the surface seemed to have had a good grasp of the masculine-feminine dynamic; but, they were surface-level, too!

Many Christians are living this way, today. They have created their own “whats” and “whys.” They’ve created “laws,” so to speak, to make simple a deep enriching aspect of life. Men always ____. Woman always ____. On a certain level, it is validating once you’ve mastered these “laws.” It makes you feel like you’re on the right track.

Being on the right track, most often, doesn’t feel like being on the right track. [Insert ironic laugh here*] When we create laws where there are none, it cuts off the opportunity to experience the many facets of life. Many people who have lived like this have merely found satisfaction in the validation that has come from someone else noticing that they’ve perfected these “laws.” What good is perfection when you’ve looked upon the wrong thing as the standard?

This was Yeshua’s issue with the Pharisees. It is not that they followed laws, it’s that they created their own. While they were perfect in their own law, they no longer looked to Light to define what was or was not.

Follow me, for a moment. When we are not presented with the perfect picture (light), we are forced to find things in reach for our best attempt at a perfect picture.

So, we collect our leaves, sew them together, and walk the runway of life. Everyone’s looking on. We put up strobes and spotlights that illuminate the garments we’ve used to keep ourselves hidden.

True light has a way of coming in and challenging the fabric of our garments. If we sit still long enough, Light will slowly and gently singe the fig leaves and we’ll be naked before the One who made us.

In Christianity, I’d never experienced true challenge (having light reflected on me). It’s not a part of the culture. First, a person that truly challenges, does so from vulnerability and the fruit of having already been challenged.

In Christianity, people don’t challenge others because they are afraid of it being returned. They are afraid, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable with the vulnerability that comes with being on the receiving end. So, we don’t challenge.

Instead, I’ll validate your fig leaves and you’ll validate mine and we never get to truly know God. We’ll make gods of ourselves. We’ll designate a select few (pastors, ministers, etc.) who are allowed to examine and challenge but will call the return of that ‘rebellion.’ We create our own laws and standards and congratulate ourselves on our obedience. But what about the true standard?

How healthy are we if our fashion and figures of speech are us pretending? What’s wrong with saying you don’t know the standard? Why make it up? Why create your own traditions? Why create your own definitions for what YAH has already defined?

We pretend because we don’t trust. We don’t trust because our environments have taught us it is unsafe to be vulnerable. Our environments have indirectly taught us conditional love. But, in order to know the standard, we will have to be vulnerable. It becomes a lot easier when we learn that YAH makes Himself vulnerable with us before He ever requires that of us.

So, in my journey the past few years, I’ve been learning to present myself to YAH without fig leaves—no pretending, no protecting. I don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to have it together for Him to be pleased with you. He is pleased when we are vulnerable with Him. I’d ask you to examine your life and discover where you are hiding parts of yourself to the people around you. Where are you performing for those around you? What image are you constantly trying to portray?

The question is am I done pretending? Am I done seeing YAH as someone to protect myself against? Am I done needing the things I’ve used to fill voids? Am I willing to let Him fill those spaces?

Dear Church: I Left And I’m Not Going Back

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.​

Christians don’t know what to do with those who leave the church.

I’ve seen a few typical responses. These are either reactions to or explanations for people leaving. These responses indicate something about the foundation and dynamics operating in the Christian Church.

These will be in no particular order.

  • Indignant. Some are incredibly angry that a person would not agree and align with their idea of the importance of church or traditional Christian ideals.

This indicates there is a foundation of control upon which Christianity is built or the conduit through which it is practiced.

  • Control. Some are frustrated that this person is no longer able to be controlled.

This points to how powerless people in religion feel and their need to cover or compensate for this powerlessness. This is evidenced in various doctrines and traditions.

  • Fear. Some are afraid that you’ll be lost or “the devil’s going to get you.”

This shows how many have been shamed and scared into life with YAH.

  • That’s none of my business. Some don’t feel they are mature enough to relate and converse with someone who may be grappling with their faith and religion. So, they avoid it altogether.

This points to the social system embedded in the Christian church and how people see their roles therein.

  • Longing. In a phrase, “I wish I could do that. I wish I was strong enough to do that.”

This points to the exhaustion of people in religion. Many are tired as they run on the hamster wheel of religion, but it keeps you codependent upon its system. So, you can’t really leave (you can, but you feel like you can’t).

  • Devalue. This is the belief that you are of no value or importance if you are not a part of this belief system anymore.

This points to the incomplete system of validation the Church has set up. People look to pastors, church community, no other Christians to validate themselves. Anyone who does not adhere to this value system immediately and innately loses their value.

Your response to this shouldn’t be to cover up or justify how you or your church normally responds. My encouragement to you if you’ve read this through, is ask. Figure out why people are leaving the Church and Christianity as a whole. Don’t make assumptions.

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.

People are leaving a system they once felt so strongly about. I felt I had to defend this faith. I felt a responsibility and a weight that many feel today.

I’ve been hesitant at times to share more about my beliefs before I left because people use that to explain away why I left. They’ll say, “You just weren’t doing it right. You just weren’t serious. I’ve always been certain about _. I’ve always known that! You were just at the wrong church. Not all churches are the same.”

I’ve reached a place now where I’m okay with the conclusions people will draw. I think one of two could happen if people started being curious when people leave.

One. They will start to look at what the Church has been doing for so long and make radical changes.

Two. Others will start to leave — much like an exodus.

This is what I think some pastors or Christians are fearful of. They’re afraid to look within. They’re afraid to question and challenge. What if I find out something I don’t like? What if everything I’ve built my doctrine on falls apart? Where would I go? What would I do?

It’s okay to not have the answers to those questions. So, if you do find yourself in that place, feel free to reach out to me!

He is good.
Everything will be okay!

Would I Ever Go Back To Church?

Below is an entry from my journal. I hope it brings encouragement and provokes thought in you as you are going on your way!

I’ve finally reached a space where I truly believe “Church” has nothing to offer me.

I do believe it is one of those situations where it’s “throw the baby out with the bath water.” I think what keeps people so tethered is fear. Some fear because they are uncertain of another way to secure their relationship with God. Some fear because their identity is contingent upon being validated within that system.

To throw it all out would raise the question: what do we do now? That’s the same question I had when I left the church almost two years ago. What now?

There’s a quieting that took place during that time. I resisted the urge to “know.” I resisted the urge to “know the future.” I resisted the urge to quickly join another church. I resisted the urge to distrust myself because I didn’t have the backing of Christians or Christian leadership. I didn’t give in and I’m so glad I didn’t.

Sometimes, I wish I could say the moment I stepped away from Christianity everything was solidified. But, that’s not what happened. I was angry and still am sometimes. It has often been lonely. I’ve experienced soft rejection from Christians whose faith couldn’t take them where I was at. I’ve been sad and scared. But, I never stopped moving forward.

I’ve learned more in the almost two years leaving the “safety” of religion than I have my entire time there. People don’t often understand why I’ve criticized the church SO MUCH. I think it’s easier to assume it’s church hurt. When that friend that only comes for Easter and Christmas criticizes the church, we think it’s “church hurt,” rebellion, or a lack of commitment on their part. It can be easy to dismiss it from those people. I can imagine what it must be like to hear criticism from a friend who was incredibly and heavily involved in church. I went SO HARD for this stuff man; hence the reason my frustration when realizing this all didn’t do me any good.

My criticism of the church probably sounds vague to most. I think I gave a better explanation of it in a recent blog, “The Church: We Got It All Wrong.” But, I can sum it up like this: the issue with the church is the underlying foundation upon which it’s built and the unwillingness/fear of people to challenge/examine that foundation.

Many hide behind popular verses and church jargon to avoid going through the process of wrestling with what they believe.

Additionally, unfortunately, most Christians do not have the tools to properly challenge the system anyway. So, while they’re in it, they’ll always find a way to stay connected in a way that can be blinding. Plus, the doctrines in place make it difficult to consider much fallibility.

At this point, I believe the so-called church needs to be done away with. People need to go back home and allow the healing process to begin to take place.

It amazes me that my family never experienced true healing while involved in the church system. But now that we’ve all stepped away, it’s given us the space to see ourselves and to develop the perspective YAH has about us.

That’s where I’m at. I’m seeing more clearly. But, getting here is requiring me to be vulnerable about how I do not see clearly and the source of this. So, I’m grateful to YAH for showing me the complete picture and showing me who I am and have always been.

Parables and the Torah, An Introduction

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of.

Have you heard the account of Joseph? In case you haven’t: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers after he’d revealed he’d had a dreamed that he would one day rule over them. This account can be found in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) chapters 37-50. This is a very popular account taught on a many of occasions. It provides encouragement as ministers extract principles and lessons from Joseph’s experience. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “Your setback may be a setup for victory!” “What the devil meant for evil, God means for your good.” “He makes all things work together!” The list goes on.

Another perspective people tend to take when reading Joseph’s story is a very “me-centered” perspective. “Sometimes, you can’t tell everybody your dreams.” “Some of y’all got some haters acting like they’re your friend.” The emphasis quickly becomes Joseph or ‘us’ reading the story. Every other person becomes an extra in the story of Joseph. If we read Scripture this way, we will always walk away with a partial understanding or none at all.

Joseph’s story has little to do with dreams or personal victories. Joseph, like others read about in the Bible, is a small piece in the major scope of Scripture. No one’s story is ever just about them. To some extent, I think we know that — in a very general sense. However, I don’t think we know that within its proper context.

If we continue reading Joseph’s story, we find that his experiences positioned him to help all of Israel. Additionally, he was able to reconcile and be one with his brothers again (which nullifies the me-centered, hater sort of perspective). See, every account, parable, and ‘character’ will always relate back to the grand picture of YAH’s relationship with Israel.

We have to begin reading all of Scripture in this light. Let me demonstrate the importance of this.

Preachers know that Yeshua (name Aramaic and Hebrew people called the Messiah) used parables to deliver deeper truths to the people listening and will use this approach to illustrate ideas they’ve extracted from a text.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with using illustrations to help people understand the deeper truths.

However, it quickly becomes an issue when the message, Scripture, and illustrations are filtered through our culture that is already counter-Scripture. I came across a post on Facebook once that shows the juxtaposition of Hebrew thought and Western (Greco-Roman) thought. Here are a few examples:

  • Man-centered universe (W) vs. God/tribe/family-centered universe (H)
  • Freedom orientation (W) vs. Security orientation (H)
  • Life analyzed in precise categories (W) vs. Everything blurs into everything else (H)
  • Rugged Individualism (W) vs. Importance of being part of group (H)
  • Worth of person based on money/material possessions/power (W) vs. Worth derived from family relationships (H)

My desire in writing these blogs about the Torah is to strike curiosity in your mind about Scripture. This is enough to bring someone closer to truth. I walked very devotedly in Christianity for 20+ years of my life. So, I know the ins and outs of the objections of some of the things I may present via my blog. This is to say, I understand. My blogs are never to shame readers who may still consider themselves Christians. Instead, it is to challenge your perspective and encourage you toward deeper truths. For something is only as strong as it is challenged.

Some will say knowing the culture of the Hebrew people is unnecessary. “We’re not meant to be Jews.”

First, we need a better understanding of the concept of culture, especially as it relates to Scripture. Mostly, we understand culture to be the traditions, foods, music, holidays a group of people hold to. While we can certainly identify those things in Hebrew culture, what we observe of Israel and their interaction with YAH recorded in Scripture is not simply “their culture” — especially not in the same way we understand culture today.

So, what’s the difference?

The Torah (first five books of the Bible) contains a way of life. Even more — it is THE WAY of life. It is literally how life/nature operates. It reveals the character and nature of YAH. Hebrew culture is built on, recorded, and encompassed in the Torah.

When Yeshua said, “I am THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life,” He was making Himself equivalent to the Torah. He was saying I am the Torah — the written ideas of YAH — made flesh

“Aleph Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of יהוה (Ps. 119:1)!”

“Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth (Ps. 119:142).”

“For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life (Prov. 6:23).”

Many of us have heard the verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” Many of us have been taught the Bible is the Word of God. But, Scripture says that Yeshua is the Word. But, what is the Word?

In the Greek, the word for ‘Word’ is logos. Logos means ‘divine utterance’ or ‘expressed idea.’

We’ve been taught it means Yeshua is the ‘’expressed idea God had.’’ This is true, but incomplete. What is Yeshua the expressed idea of? What idea did God have? The Torah! So, to understand Him apart from the Torah, within the context of our culture, is to barely understand Him at all.

So, how can we expect to understand what He taught if we are unwilling to study the very ideas from which He taught? 

Second, the culture we are engulfed in today is a syncretism of various ideologies that make YAH pluralistic, dualistic, and watered down. A lot of the traditions — if not most — observed in Christianity are due to a mixing. They have been observed due to many concessions and manipulations made by the early church (when it linked with Rome’s government) in order to “tame” the pagans of their time. (Read more about it here: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/). So, the very theology many of us defend was not originally ours to begin with.

The messages many of us extract from Scripture is counter-Torah or are incomplete applications of Scripture.

When Yeshua told parables, they were always directly related to the Torah. It created a picture that derived from the foundation. If those that heard were not truly connected to the foundation, the root, then “they did not have ears to hear.”

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. This is not really our fault. We’ve passed down information gained by those with a genuine desire to know YAH and commune with Him. Regardless, the problem in Christianity is we’ve assumed there is little relevance to what Yeshua taught (Torah) because “it was just their culture.” Nah. It wasn’t just culture as we understand it — it was the way of life! Their whole culture is built on the Torah. The Torah is the foundation of Hebrew thought.

Problematically, the Church has divorced itself from anything Hebrew and has lost proper interpretation and foundation of Scripture. How do you know?

  • Unless we learn the Torah, we will read the account of the woman caught in adultery and think its central message was about not judging or the grace of God. 
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will read about the Pharisees and think that Messiah’s opposition to them was because He was doing away with “the Law.” 
  • Unless we learn Torah, we will read Joseph’s ascent into governmental authority and think the story is about accomplishing your dreams.
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will continue to think that Messiah did away with the Torah rather than the law. (There is a distinction; ‘under the law’ doesn’t mean what you may think it means).

It is time for us to truly understand and apply Scripture. 

Many have found themselves drawn to study the whole Bible without knowing why. Many have felt the need to start over. There is a reason for this. YAH is providing foundation for His people. YAH is providing healing for His people. Healing will come from a proper application of Torah. Guaranteed. 

The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of. As long as we keep applying society’s idea of religion to our lives and study of Scripture, we will never walk in the fullness of intimate communion with Him.

That is all.

Be sensible. Be fools.

Over and out.

You Can’t Escape It!

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

The world is changing, so people say. I don’t think that it is. Life has a cyclical nature. I.e. history repeats itself. People are no more evil or good today than any other time. I used to think we were better off now. I see advantages and disadvantages for any moment in time. So, while we’ve seen development, increase in access, extensive knowledge, different uses of resources, the nature of man has not changed. Thankfully, the nature of YAH hasn’t either.

I used to have a particular childlike reverence for Christianity and maybe it was never that. I believed we were the only ones who knew truth and had access to it.

Due to misinterpretations, mistranslations, political interference, and other forces, truth has been distorted into Christianity as we know it today. Let me be crystal clear: Christianity was never a good thing at any point in history. I mention this because the argument I hear to refute criticism of the Church or Christianity is usually something along the lines of, “That’s just modern Christianity. Ancient Christianity wasn’t like this! This is just post-modernism. We need to return to the work of the first-century church!”

(Disclaimer: Granted, by saying Christianity has never been a good thing, I am not criticizing directly the people).

Many desire for the church to go back to what the first-century church was doing — the New Testament Christianity. However, “New Testament Christianity” wasn’t really Christianity at all. It didn’t look the way we think it did. In fact, it looked like what Hebrews were already doing in the “old testament.” The root was different. The fruit was different.

We’ve bought into this idea that what (we think) is old and outdated (Torah) is done away with and it has cost us greatly!

Firstly, the Torah is not old or outdated; instead, it is everlasting. If you were to reflect on the love of God, would you describe it as old or outdated simply because you’ve known of its existence in ancient times? No. We understand the love of God is so intimately Him and is everlasting–meaning: it was, is, and will be.

The Torah is the same.

The Torah was, is, and will be. As a Christian, I imagine this thought would sound terrifyingly heretical. It would sound as if I’m saying we should worship the Torah. And yes, we should; but, not as we currently understand worship.

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

Given that humans are behavioral (in that they behave from the belief systems they’ve learned), your behavior, conscious and subconscious, indicates your belief system. This belief system could be control, manipulation, rest, etc. Regardless, you will always behave in accordance with your belief system whether it is healthy or not. Behavior indicates foundation. Foundation is where our loyalty, commitment, and duty lies. We are loyal and committed to it until and unless that foundation is challenged.

So, when I mention that we ought to worship Torah, I mean it must be our foundation. We must live it. We cannot live it if we have not challenged our current foundation or system. As long as our foundation is allowed to stay in place, we will always behave from that place.

John 1:1-14 describes the intimate relationship between YAH and the Torah. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Torah is the Word and the Word is YAH. YAH has revealed Himself in His Torah.

This may be a hard pill to swallow. I imagine upon accepting or at least exploring this at truth, some of us would become particularly religious and committed to reading this text. And we ought to read it! However, Torah extends far beyond the text itself.

Torah is life. Life is Torah. It is the parameters within which we experience life. This is to say, whether or not you believe Torah, life is happening around in accordance to it. That sounds a bit grand, I’m sure! But, it’s true!

As we live, we have the choice to go with the grain of Torah or work against it. This may be the operation of free will. Many of the institutions, systems, and ideals permeating in society operate from a foundation that goes against the grain.

Participants in these systems bear weight, incessantly attempt to validate themselves, are independent, unwilling/unable to be vulnerable, and do not trust. This is the cost of doing away with Torah.

The Church was built on a culture that goes against the grain of the flow of YAH, of life — of the Torah. Its culture is labor. When we invest our resources (energy, intellectualism, finances, etc.) into validating ourselves to others, we are laboring.

What is the benefit of learning Torah?

The Torah teaches rest. The Torah speaks heavily about Sabbath. Christians don’t often know what to do with that. If I were to suggest that we should keep Sabbath, the response from many would be, “Jesus is my Sabbath.” Most times, they don’t really know what that means. These are just pre-recorded responses for anything that hasn’t been searched out.

I do believe we ought to keep Sabbath, but my understanding of Sabbath is deepening. Sabbath is more than a day. Sabbath is a constant. It is a cycle by which we experience healing and can determine where we are truly resting. Rest signifies confidence. Rest signifies trust. When I learn to rest, it means I am confident in YAH, have trust with others, and am confident in myself. Rest signifies understanding your place in the world and seeing YAH for who He is — the Provider/Source.

The Torah teaches vulnerability. The culture of religion leaves no room for real vulnerability. The culture of religion fosters a need to cover deficiencies, immaturity, or lack of knowledge. We have this idea that we need to be at a certain place by now and this “certain place” is often manufactured by people. This creates an unsafe space to be exactly where you are and identifying exactly where you are is the starting point for healing. Because the Torah offers a different perspective on sin, life, God, family, prayer, baptism, etc. than those pervading Christian circles, those that know it learn to live lives of vulnerability before YAH. They understand the way YAH sees them and there is no fear in approaching Him. So, doing away with the Torah (though it can never be done away with) keeps vulnerability away. As long as we stay unsure about how God sees us, we’ll never come boldly to the throne.

The Torah teaches trust. An underlying precept in what the Torah reveals is that nothing exists in isolation of anything else. Everything is connected. Nothing can provide for itself. To allow myself to be provided for, I must trust. To continue the cycle of healing, I must trust. For the family to be whole, I must trust. Trust is a beautiful picture that is displayed in all things. We often talk about trust in two main areas: romantic relationships and spiritual matters. It’s so much deeper than that. Trust is the foundation of the worlds. This is why it is imperative that we learn trust. When we learn trust, we operate with YAH and not against Him. It breeds rest. It elevates us to peace!

The Torah teaches YAH. Have you ever said these words: “I just want to know You” or “I just want to be like You”? The Torah is the answer for that! You see, YAH is light. Light is a picture of knowledge. Knowledge is light. Light is standard. YAH is standard. YAH is truth. To obtain knowledge is to obtain YAH — to know Him, to know truth, to know peace. That’s all knowledge is. It’s Him. How can you know Him if you do not know His Torah? His Torah reveals His heart, His ideas, His nature.

The Torah is the answer for all calamity in the world. The very topics that Christians debate about, doctrinal differences, sin’s rampant run in society, etc. can all be healed through Torah. But, we have to be willing to challenge the things we say we believe. Whether we submit to it or not, the Torah is happening around us every day. You can’t escape it! It’s happening in our lives, daily, weekly, yearly. Will you wake up and know it? Will you perceive it?

Who Is God?

Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. So, who or what is He by definition?

There is perhaps no other verse quite as significant as the one that records the conversation between Mosheh (Moses) and YAH (God).

“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)

At first glance, I’ve always found this declaration significant. But, my perception paled in comparison to the depth of significance of such a statement — of such a reality! It would be difficult to understand the magnitude of this declaration if I simply read it within the context of this one story. As I read and live Torah, the significance of this statement takes shape.

Any being that would introduce themselves this way would spark great curiosity. I’ve always believed we should always be curious about YAH. If we can completely figure God out, or think we can, it’s probably that we never had Him figured out in the first place. Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” “He’s the God that sees.” But, we rarely ever truly define Him. There is a difference between description and definition. (But that’s a blog for another day). Who or what is He by definition?

  1. God is not A being. He IS being.

We often say, “God is the most powerful being.” This is faulty. To put Him in a realm with other beings is to say he can be matched. It is to say there are others like Him or there are others other than Him. “I am יהוה, and there is none else – there is no Elohim besides Me.” (Isaiah 45:5). This sounds good; but, what does it really mean? It does not mean there is a being that is beneath Him or He is greater. It means, He is all there is. If He were a being, then He would derive His identity and being from another. He would exist through emulation or comparison. But, because He is being (existence itself), He is complete within Himself and does not need to inquire to gain insight as to who He is.

2. God is omnipotent.

He does not go to another to tell Him who He is or what He can or cannot do. For there is no other to go to. This speaks to the power He has. A lot of us would love to not have to answer to anyone. But, “with great power, comes great responsibility (shout out to Stan Lee).” He does not have to request permission to be or to create. Wow! He can create? Cool! This makes God sound like He has superpowers. Let’s take a closer look. It is not to say that He has ‘more powers’ than another. It is to say, He literally has all of it. He is the only one with it. Whatever is ever given power or life must be sustained through Him. Nothing can exist on its own. He is never caught in the act of existing, He is existence. In this way, He is omnipotent.

3. We have existence. God does not.

God is not given existence. Who would give it to Him? What can He interact with outside of Himself to authorize Him to exist? He is existence. “I AM THAT I AM”: I was being. I am being. I will always be. He gives us existence for as long as He desires — even what/who may dare to oppose Him must be given existence from and through Him.

4. God is omnipresent.

All things don’t merely exist because he gives existence externally. An image comes to mind of humans being handed rations of existence. It is to say humans can go away from Him and handle their existence as they will. This is inaccurate. Nothing exists outside of Him and never leaves His presence. The psalmist David speaks to this truth. 7 Where would I go from Your Spirit? Or where would I flee from Your face? 8 If I go up into the heavens, You are there; If I make my bed in She’ol, see, You are there. 9 I take the wings of the morning, I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 There, too, Your hand would lead me, And Your right hand hold me. 11 If I say, “Darkness shall cover me,” Then night would be light to me; 12 Even darkness is not dark for You, But night shines as the day – As is darkness, so is light (Psalm 139:7-12).

I used to think this set of verses was pointing to the compassion of God. Sure. That may be true; but, it is incomplete. David, having been raised knowing the Torah, understood this complex truth.

All things exist within Him. The universe is in Him. We are in Him (John 1). In this way, He is omnipresent. There is no space in the universe where the presence of God does not exist. For all things have their existence through (INSIDE) Him. “In Him, we live move and have our being.” If we can grasp this truth, it will be revolutionary.

5. God is truth.

He is not truth because there is right or wrong. There is simply Him. He is the basis for reality — therefore, what is truth. He is the context within which all things exist. His essence provides the principles by which this life/reality is governed.

6. He is knowledge Himself.

God does not learn. What is there that He does not know? He is complete within Himself and can do what He wills. What can He teach Himself? In this way, He is omniscient. He knows all, because He is all. We acquire knowledge by going through the process of challenging what is about us and come to the conclusion of truth — Him. When we acquire knowledge, we acquire Him. When we acquire knowledge, we learn to exist as He does — complete, lacking nothing. Ponder these verses:

The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge;”

(Proverbs 1:7 TS2009)


“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

Colossians 1:9

“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:3

7. He is one.

“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one” (Deut. 6:4 TS2009)!

Much of the perspectives that pervade society align with the idea of a dualistic world. One dualistic perspective indicates there are two (potentially equal) forces in the world that exists in every being — good and evil. Sometimes, unknowingly, we subscribe to this belief that God is dualistic. It is problematic to apply this filter to Him.

God does not consist of parts or contradicting forces. He is not confused, wrestling with whether or not He’ll be evil or good today. He is who He is. “I AM that I AM.” He is existence itself. Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. He does not need to subscribe to our small ideas about what it means to be good. Truthfully, the reason he is good is because we know exactly what we can expect of Him — to be one. He is one. He is whole and complete. I can always examine the work of His hand and it will produce and reveal oneness.

“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)

YAH sent Mosheh to tell His people that I AM is with you. In other words, “Existence itself has come to rescue you.” Taking into account everything written in this blog, this is to say that YAH has decided to give existence to the people of Israel and therefore, absolutely nothing can oppose them! YAH would have to give existence to the opposition in order for it to prosper.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall prove wrong. This is the inheritance of the servants of יהוה, and their righteousness from Me,” declares יהוה.

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 54:17 TS 2009

“Who can stand against?” “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” These commonly known verses speak to this truth and how Hebrews understand the power of YAH.

YAH is power. He is not merely powerful. He is power. So, you can trust that the force at work in your life is Him and you can trust Him.

“For thus said יהוה, ‘When seventy years are completed, at Baḇel I shall visit you and establish My good word toward you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares יהוה, ‘plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and an expectancy” (Jeremiah 29:10-11).

The Church: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

This dependence upon the church system is very subtle and marketed as commitment and duty. The Church will not see true change until it untethers itself from its erroneous ideas of “the church house” and return to the actual house — the family.

The society in which we live, in the United States, can trace its roots to Greco-Roman culture–our government, religion, education, hierarchical ideals, architecture, economy, philosophy, sports, etc. Today: This is the source of much of the Church’s ideals, Church doctrine, structure, participation in government, and various practices.

  • It can explain why congregations have typically met in buildings of a particular architectural structure and leadership organization.
  • It can explain the leadership structure and power dynamic between minister and church-goer.
  • It can explain the relationship between churches and the government.
  • It is seen in the growth of mega-churches.

The evidence of Greco-Roman influence is still readily seen in the Christian Church today. But, where did it come from?

Yesterday

In the 4th century, Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor, legitimized and legalized the practices of early disciples of Messiah, which came to be known as Christianity and condemned to death those that wouldn’t follow it. He and other Roman emperors of that time harnessed control of the people through religion. He influenced the way in which believers walked out their faith. Interestingly enough, the religion he legitimized (as we knew it then and today) is not the way of life believers were walking during Jesus’ time or a couple hundred years after.

Essentially, Constantine made it legal to be Christian. Many theologians and Christians praise him for this. However, this praise may be given too swiftly. Emperor Constantine and other leaders helped propel the Church in a direction she is still reeling toward. He and others before and after him are responsible for:

  • Sunday being the preferred day of worship. There is significant evidence that for the first couple hundred years following the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah followers of Yeshua still kept the Sabbath and met on the Sabbath.
  • Christianity became a Roman-rooted religion and divorced itself from anything remotely Jewish or Hebrew (Even the Messiah took a hit with that one).
  • The legitimization of the Trinity doctrine.
  • Celebration of holidays that were originally in no way connected to the faith of the followers of Yeshua (Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc.) The first-century apostles were still keeping feasts and festivals of YAH (Leviticus 23). Check out Zachery Bauer’s video about this subject.
  • Belief that the Torah (first five books of the Bible) and law were done away with in Jesus.
  • Jewish observances (such as the Feast Days) and religious practices were banned and replaced.

Today

Christians and Christian churches have long been protected and “legitimized” in this country–similar to Rome. It is only a matter of time before the government attempts and succeeds at dictating what the Church and Christians can and cannot do to a far greater extent. From whom you are given freedom, with them lies the power to determine the extent to which you experience that freedom.

This is why the current model of the Church is ineffective. They operate tethered to society but desire to effect change in society. The Christian Church has been neutralized.

Interestingly, the power and authority of their walk lies in the protection from their government. This means, Christians are legally allowed to exercise their faith in the United States and find a security in this.

The Church system has created a “law” of “going to church” for Christians. Christians find Scripture they believe support this practice in the way it’s been taught. This “law” is fostering a dependence upon a system. This dependence is very subtle and marketed as commitment and duty.

Take a look at the Catholic Church. The Pope told parishioners not to worry about coming to confessional amid pandemic — go directly to God. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, if there is no priest available (during moments of grave), a Catholic is to confess their sins to God directly and ask for a pardon from Him.

This emphasis on church has crippled the actual Body of Messiah.

What happens when you can’t assemble in a building as a government-protected assembly?

What happens to your faith when you don’t have a pastor elevated in a pulpit bringing the Word?

What happens if the government removes the 501c-3 status of churches and requires they pay a tax? Are you going to call it persecution?

What happens when the government dictates how you will apply your faith?

What happens when the government enacts legislation that is in conflict with your doctrinal belief? What happens when they enforce it?

Tomorrow

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged Christians to consider their connection to church, government, and society. Many, in beautiful vulnerability, described a feeling of being displaced, confused, strange, and the like without having the regular practice of church-going.

Many have spoken up and expressed how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to reconnect with God and family in a fresh way. This is key!

Prior to the church becoming the center of discipline and life, it was the family. This is still God’s elected system. The Church will not see true change until it untethers itself from its erroneous ideas of “the church house” and return to the actual house — the family.

Some resources to review after reading this post:

How the Church Divorced Itself From Its Hebrew Roots: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/