Sunday, February 24, 2008

Little About Me

Greetings, readers! I just realized today that you all have no idea who exactly I am. How rude of me not to introduce myself and my blog first so that you knew what you were getting yourself into...heh. =D

Anyway, let's get down to business. My name is Brandon. I'm currently 16 years old. My preferred religious beliefs are Jewish. I firmly believe that it is my job and the job of all my brethren, be they Christian, Messianic, or Jewish, is to bring the world back to Torah. The only way to do this is to live Torah.

Sound like a nice guy so far? Wait before making your judgments, because there is more. A friend once called me an "outspoken Judeo-Christian philosopher" due to the fact that I AM outspoken, I am Judeo-Christian, and I am a lover of philosophy. I say things that people find hard to swallow. For example, I do not believe the trinity. I believe that both Christians and Jews should follow Torah and bring the world to Torah. I believe that Christians and Jews are brothers, whether they like it or not.

That about sums it up, for now. The rest you shall find out in later posts.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Zionism: Good or Bad? Part 2

Before you go bashing Israel and Zionism, allow me to remind you how Israel has single-handedly benefited the world more than any other country. Here is a capsule of information you may not be fully aware of.

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year. Israeli trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security. U.S. officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people - and one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

Per capita, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S.

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.

Outside the US and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups in the world.

24% of Israel's workforce holds university degrees - ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland - and 12% hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day - and saved three victims from the rubble.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship - and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.

Israel's Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, the camera helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in California's Mojave desert.

Had enough, or are you still planning to continue your antisemitic diatribe? If you choose the latter path, just wait for Part 3!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Shma Israel - Lyrics and Translation

When the heart cries
only G-d hears
The pain rises out of the soul
A man falls down before he sinks down
With a little prayer (he) cuts the silence

Shma (Hear) Israel my G-d,
you're the omnipotent
You gave me my life,
you gave me everything

In my eyes a tear,
the heart cries quietly
And when the heart is quiet,
the soul screams

Shma (Hear) Israel my G-d,
now I am alone
Make me strong my G-d;
make it that I won't be afraid

The pain is big,
and there's no where to run away
End it because I can't take it anymore
(make the end of it because I have no more energy left within me)

When the heart cries,
Time stands still
All of a sudden, the man sees his entire life
He doesn't want to go to the unknown
He cries to his G-d right before a big fall

Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Cutting

Imagine you're in a boat, sailing out on the ocean. The wind and the current are on your side, so it's going fairly smooth. Then, suddenly, a storm hits. Your boat is being thrashed around and you don't know what to do. It's all out of control!

That's how life is. Our boat can be sailing on the Sea of Life and everything will be just peachy. But eventually, we'll hit storms. The question is not how to avoid these storms, but how to deal with them. You see, when life seems out of control, the answer is ALWAYS G-d. The answer is NEVER doing something that gives a temporary feeling of control, and later guilt. Things such as this are cutting.

D'varim (Deuteronomy) 13:4
You are to follow Adonai your G-d, fear Him, obey His mitzvot, listen to what He says, serve Him and cling to Him...

Titus 2:11-12
For G-d's grace, which brings deliverance, has appeared to all people. It teaches us to renounce godlessness and worldly pleasures, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives now, in this age...

Colossians 3:2-3
Focus your minds on the things above, not on things here on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in G-d.

As far as cutting goes, there are better and less-painful ways to be happy. G-d cares about you and loves you. He does not want to see any of His Children in pain, and it makes Him sad when we are. As such, G-d does not want us to hurt or damage our bodies, His Temple.

Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:28
Don't cut gashes in your flesh when someone dies or tattoo yourselves; I am Adonai.

Vayikra 20:23
Do not live by the regulations of the nation which I am expelling ahead of you; because they did all these things, which is why I detested them.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or don't you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh who lives inside you, whom you received from G-d? The fact is, you don't belong to yourselves; for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify G-d.

Cutting is a TRAP. It causes you to lose confidence in G-d and give up His blessing.

2 Corinthians 11:3
...and I fear that somehow your minds be seduced away from simple and pure devotion to the Messiah, just as Havah was deceived by the serpent and his craftiness.

Cutting gives you but a false, temporary peace. It cannot benefit you at all and only hurts you. True peace, on the other hand, is lasting and genuine. It will last you all of eternity.

Yochanan (John) 14:27
What I am leaving you with is shalom -- I am giving you my shalom. I don't give the way the world gives. Don't let yourselves be upset or frightened.

Colossians 3:15-17
...and let the shalom which comes from the Messiah be your heart's decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body. And be thankful - let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to G-d in your hearts. That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to G-d the Father.

Change happens when we choose to think as G-d thinks about cutting.

Galatians 5:24
Moreover, those who belong to the Messiah Yeshua have put their old nature to death on the stake, along with its passions and desires.

Romans 12:2
In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what G-d wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature - sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry)...

Submission to G-d and what He requires is crucial.

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 12:1
So remember your creator while you are young, before the evil days come, and the years approach when you will say, "They no longer give me pleasure"

Kohelet 12:14
For G-d will bring to judgment everything we do, including every secret, whether good or bad. [Here is the final conclusion, now that you have heard everything: fear G-d, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about.]

Ya'akov (James) 4:7
Therefore, submit to G-d. Moreover, take a stand against the Adversary, and he will flee from you.

G-d is greater than anything, including your desire to cut.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and G-d can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.

Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this: that the One who began a good work among you will keep it growing until it is completed on the Day of the Messiah Yeshua.

1 Yochanan 4:4
You, children, are from God and have overcome the false prophets, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

On Broken Hearts

In this message, I plan to present you with four points about broken hearts and how G-d cares. Hearts can be broken many ways. They can be broken by the death of a loved one, be they friend or family. They can be broken by having your feelings hurt. Or for those of you in a relationship or want a relationship with someone, that person doesn't want a relationship with you.

First of all, know that G-d cares about your broken heart. He loves and cares for us all and hates to see us in pain. That is why when we need it, His arms are outstretched and ready to take us in and comfort us. He is our Father, and we are His Children.

Tehillim (Psalms) 56:8
You have kept count of my wanderings; store my tears in your water-skin -aren't they already recorded in your book?

Yesha'yahu (Isaiah) 61:1
The Spirit of Adonai ELOHIM is upon me, because ADONAI has anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim freedom to the captives, to let out into light those bound in the dark...

Yesha'yahu 57:15
For thus says the High, Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy: "I live in the high and holy place but also with the broken and humble, in order to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the hearts of the broken ones.

Messiah has the same heart towards the downtrodden.

Yochanan (John) 11:33-36
When Yeshua saw her crying, and also the Judeans who came with her crying, he was deeply moved and also troubled. He said, Where have you buried him? They said, "Lord, come and see." Yeshua cried; so the Judeans there said, "See how he loved him!"

Secondly, G-d is in charge of everything in our lives. He knows what is best. We just have to trust him in that. We have to put our trust in Him when we are going through troubles, and we must cry out to Him. He is faithful to save us. His arms are outstretched. We have but to reach out and accept His loving embrace.

Mishlei (Proverbs) 19:21
One can devise many plans in one's mind, but ADONAI's plan will prevail.

Yesha'yahu 25:1
ADONAI, you are my G-d. I exalt you, I praise your name. For you have accomplished marvels, [fulfilled] ancient plans faithfully and truly.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 29:11-13
For I know what plans I have in mind for you,' says ADONAI,'plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. When you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly...

Tehillim 33:11
But the counsel of ADONAI stands forever, his heart's plans are for all generations.

Third, G-d will respond to our needs. Relief WILL come. If you call out to Him, He will come running to help you. He will lift up your head and give you reasons to smile and be happy. He can mend your broken heart with more than a temporary band-aid fix. He's got your hear in His hands, and He will work to heal it if you call on His Name.

Tehillim 34:18
ADONAI is near those with broken hearts; he saves those whose spirit is crushed.

Tehillim 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:11
He has made everything suited to its time; also, he has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can't fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things G-d does.

Yochanan (John) 14:1, 27
Don't let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in G-d and trust in me...What I am leaving with you is shalom -- I am giving you my shalom. I don't give the way the world gives. Don't let yourselves be upset or frightened.

Finally, when we are hurting, G-d can use that pain and the comfort He gives us to help others who are in pain. And He may use YOU to bring that comfort to others in pain. For G-d comforts us all in our troubles, He mends our broken hearts, He has compassion on us when we are sad, and He equips us with the ability to do the same to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6
Grace to you and shalom from G-d our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. I thank my G-d always for you because of G-d's love and kindness given to you through the Messiah Yeshua, in that you have been enriched by him in so many ways, particularly in power of speech and depth of knowledge.

On Dating

In biblical times, the selection of a mate involved arranged marriages. For younger readers, an arranged marriage is when your parents and you mate's parents decide that you will get married. You could be a 14 year old girl and end up marrying a 42-year old man. It was life.

Today, most Western cultures are very different. This time, YOU choose who you are going to marry, parental approval or not. However, when searching for a mate, you MUST follow five steps. These steps are completely Scriptural and VERY wise.

First, you MUST make sure that G-d is guiding you in your search. This is perhaps the MOST CRUCIAL part of the whole process. If G-d is NOT in it, it will NOT turn out well.

Tehillim (Psalm) 37:3-4
Trust in ADONAI, and do good; settle in the land, and feed on faithfulness. Then you will delight yourself in ADONAI, and he will give you your heart's desire.

If you put your trust in G-d, you will NOT fail. If He is guiding your steps, you will NOT trip.

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 12:1
So remember your creator while you are young, before the evil days come, and the years approach when you will say, "They no longer give me pleasure"...

My personal method for dating is to pray constantly to G-d. Whenever I have feelings for a girl, the first thing I do is pray and ask G-d if she is the one. If He says no, I never have those feelings again for that girl. Eventually, G-d will either say, "You will remain single in order to do My Work." or "Yes, My Child, she is the one." Follow this method and you will NEVER go wrong.

Step Two: Make sure your parents are supportive of your decision.

Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:20-24
My son, obey your father's command, and don't abandon your mother's teaching. Bind them always on your heart, tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you wake up, they will talk with you. For the mitzvah is a lamp, Torah is light, and reproofs that discipline are the way to life. They keep you from an evil woman, from a loose woman's seductive tongue.

You're probably thinking something along the lines of the fact that you're parents won't let you do anything. But if you sit down with them and talk, staying calm and respectful no matter WHAT they say, you'll eventually win them over. With G-d's help, of course. But you MUST have parental involvement. G-d is your first guide, your parents are your second.

Ephesians 6:2-3
"Honor your father and mother" - this is the first commandment that embodies a promise - "so that it may go well with you, and you may live long in the Land."

Step Three: Marriage should ONLY be with another believer.

This one is a bit more lenient. For example, I could see myself marrying a Christian girl despite the fact that I am not a Christian. Likewise, I could see a Christian marrying a Jew. But that is as far as it should go.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15
Do not yoke yourselves together in a team with unbelievers. For how can righteousness and lawlessness be partners? What fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony can there be between the Messiah and B'liya'al? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Step Four: Intermarriage was a VERY serious problem in the Tanakh and is an excellent example of what to avoid today.

While today interracial marriage is perfectly alright and acceptable, interfaith marriage can be a bad thing. As I said, Jew-Christian or Christian-Jew marriages are perfectly acceptable. The only difference between the two is that one believes Messiah has come and is coming again, the other believes that Messiah hasn't come.

Shof'tim (Judges) 3:6-7
So the people of Isra'el lived among the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi; taking their daughters as their wives, giving their own daughters to their sons and serving their gods. Thus the people of Isra'el did what was evil from ADONAI's perspective, forgot ADONAI their G-d, and served the ba'alim and asherim.

Sometimes, interfaith marriages can bring you down. Do NOT let that happen! The WORST thing a person can do is turn their back on G-d. Take for example Rivkah in B'resheet (Genesis) 24. Avraham told his servant to find a wife for his son Yitz'chak NOT from the people of Kena'an, the land they were living in, but from his OWN land and his OWN people. Also take a look at Rivkah's character. She was a kind girl, very loving and caring. Avraham's servant wanted a drink, and she gave it to him. No questions asked.

Step Five: Make sure you set high standards and guidelines for your relationship.

You must set very high standards and guidelines for your relationship. Make sure you both go into it knowing each other's boundaries. Personally, since I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy, I don't think you should go any farther than holding hands and a kiss. Then after you know each other for a while, you can get into other stuff. But if you feel aroused, BACK UP!

Iyov (Job) 31:1
I made a covenant with my eyes not to let them lust after any girl.

2 Timothy 2:22
So, flee the passions of youth; and, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart, pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love and peace.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
What G-d wants is that you be holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner, without giving in to lustful desires, like the pagans who don't know G-d.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Salvation is by faith!

…or, is it?

I’m sure we’re all familiar with that famous quote from one of Paul’s writings that states we are saved by faith and NOT by works. While I agree with brother Paul TO AN EXTENT, I believe he was missing a vital part, a part I will attempt to show you by using both Scripture and non-Scripture.

First of all, are we saved by faith? Absolutely! Paul was not wrong there. Salvation comes by faith in Messiah and his death on the execution stake for our transgressions. As it is written:

Ephesians 2:1-2
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

While yes, we are saved by faith…is that all there is to it? Do we merely have to put our faith and trust in Messiah and instantly have our names written in the Book of Life? Or is there ANOTHER step?

There is. While we are saved by faith, works DO play a VERY big part in our salvation. Basically, we’re saved by faith but without works your faith is dead, and so are you. Ya’akov says it best:

Ya’akov (James) 2:14
What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such "faith" able to save him?

Ya’akov 2:17
Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.

Faith is worthless if not followed by actions. Our actions are to be those which please G-d. What actions please G-d? Messiah, who speaks on behalf of G-d, said this:

Yochanan (John) 14:15
If you love me, you will keep my commands…

What are Messiah’s commands?

Mark 12:29-31
Yeshua answered, The most important is, `Sh'ma Yisra'el, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, O Isra'el, the L-RD our G-d, the L-RD is one], and you are to love ADONAI your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.' The second is this: `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other mitzvah greater than these.

Love G-d with everything. Likewise, love your neighbor the same as you love yourself. Now, this is where conflict arises. Many believe that these two commands replace Torah, but this is not the case. Scripture supports this:

Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-18
Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah -- not until everything that must happen has happened.

He didn't come to take away Torah. He DID come to strengthen it. Later on, in verses 19-20, Messiah clearly tells us to strive to continue in Torah observance, but to observe it the way he said: with all love for G-d, and with all love for our neighbors. He didn't replace Torah with those two laws, he just added to it.

You see, the Pharisees of the time observed Torah the wrong way. They paid full attention to the words of Torah, but the spirit of Torah was lost on them. So when Messiah came and gave those new commandments, he wasn't trying to replace Torah but EXPLAIN it. See, Torah is absolute law given from G-d Himself. Thus Messiah, being the Son of G-d and acting on G-d's behalf, would never replace it because even HE said that we wasn't replacing anything, and that Torah would endure until the end of time.

So the "new commandments" aren't really new at all. They were established when G-d gave Torah to Moshe. Messiah was just bringing them back into focus.

Torah is still just as valid today as it was when G-d gave it to Moshe, and it is valid to both Jew and Goy. TORAH is the “actions” that Ya’akov (James). TORAH is the commands that Messiah said we were to follow if we love him. TORAH is absolute Law from G-d, and without it, I would seriously pray that G-d has mercy on you.