Recently, Merriam Webster's Word of the Day was circumlocution:

1: the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
2: evasion in speech


Although M-W's definition specifies "the use of an unnecessarily large number of words," there are some situations where it is helpful...or even holy.

23 July 2016

WFT- fatidic

For the longest time I've avoided any expression that includes the word "fate" because I thought the concept of fate was tied to the pagan idea of “the fates”: the three robed women called "moirai" (apportioners) who wove the destiny of everyone.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 8th was a related word, fatidic:

: of or relating to prophecy


Last month, we pondered life and death from a Biblical perspective… but there were some lingering questions about the "neshamah" G-d breathed into Adam.

The Hebrew language has two words (neshamah and nephesh) that are translated as "soul" in English and both of these are distinct from "spirit" (ruach).


24 January 2016

Moedim Dates for 2016

As in years past, we've put together a list of moedim and remembrance dates so you can have them all in one place.  You can also look these up on our Hebrew Calendar.

09 May 2015

153 = I AM G-D?

A friend recently contacted me and asked about some information he had seen on Facebook:

For centuries, people have wondered why the Bible records that 153 fish were caught by the disciples after Jesus told them to throw their nets on the opposite side of the boat in John 21:4-12. As I have mentioned before, EVERYTHING in the Bible is there for a reason. People would have figured out the mystery long ago if they had bothered to learn Hebrew. In Hebrew, every letter has a number attached to it. The Hebrews used their alphabet as a numbering system. The numbers attached to the letters in a Hebrew word could be added together to give a numerical total. The number 153 is the numerical total for the Hebrew words "Ani Elohim"--I AM G-D. When Jesus caused the disciples to catch exactly 153 fish, He was declaring to them that not only was He the Son of G-d, but that He was G-d Himself. Tell your Muslim friends who say that Jesus never claimed to be G-d that yes, He most certainly did!


15 February 2015

Good Friday?

wednesday 300Good Friday? If we look closely, the Bible tells us it was actually Good Wednesday. has created two resources that share our examination of the Gospels and our search for the truth.

Our When Yeshua was Crucified article asks the question "when was Messiah crucified?" and systematically goes through Scripture to uncover the answer.  Step by step and verse by verse, we build the list of Biblically-based requirements for the correct date.

When it was originally published, this article prompted so much discussion among our readers that we created an entirely new interactive website devoted to examining Good Friday, Good Thursday, and Good Wednesday options and see which fit bet with the Word of G-d. is full of colorful insight that reveals the truth of Scripture.

As the time draws near for Passover, may we all draw near to our Lord and Savior who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!



08 February 2015

All Things for the Good

As we wrapped up last month, I said we would take a look at the promise that G-d causes all things to work together for good. Paul wrote about that in his letter to the Romans.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love G-d, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)


Backing up to Romans 8:22, Paul notes that the "the whole creation groans and suffers" and believers also "groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." (v23) He makes the point that such a redemption has not yet occurred, for if it had, we would have seen it and "who hopes for what he already sees"? (v 24)

It is in this context of the unseen-and-still-hoped-for redemption of our bodies that Paul says that G-d causes all things to work together for good to those who love G-d, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Does this mean G-d is going to cause us to have a good life... a happy life?
A great marriage?
A successful career?
Wonderful children?

Kirk Cameron recently shared "Happy Insanity" by author Jay Younts. He begins by referencing that famous definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Every January 1st, most of the world celebrates insanity. Times Square is filled with people who watch a crystal ball descend as midnight approaches. Millions more watch on television. When the ball ends its journey a massive celebration erupts. People are excited about the promise of a new calendar year. They hope the disappointments of the previous year will be replaced by better times in the new year.

But the jubilant celebrations often fade into dismal hangovers, just like last year and the year before that, doing the same thing over and over again. People believe they can make things better by their own effort and will. What promised to be new has become old again… People believe they can make things better by their own effort and will.

12 October 2014

WFT- teleological

It's been a while since there has been a Word of the Day that has really caught my attention and connected with Scripture in a meaningful way but September 24th was just such a day.  The Merriam Webster word for that day was teleological.

: exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature


Along with this definition they provided the following explanation...

Teleological (which comes to us by way of New Latin from the Greek root tele-, telos, meaning "end or purpose") and its close relative teleology both entered English in the 18th century, followed by teleologist in the 19th century. Teleology has the basic meaning of "the study of ends or purposes." A teleologist attempts to understand the purpose of something by looking at its results. A teleological philosopher might argue that we should judge whether an act is good or bad by seeing if it produces a good or bad result, and a teleological explanation of evolutionary changes claims that all such changes occur for a definite purpose.


Did you notice the meaning of the Greek word telos?  It means "end or purpose" as in a goal or objective... not an ending or ceasing.

13 September 2014

Is the Tribulation Near?

A recent World Net Daily article shouts the question, "WILL TRIBULATION BEGIN A YEAR FROM NOW?"

Pastor Mark Biltz authored the article and I view him with great respect for his discovery of the "blood moons" phenomena back in 2008 well before anyone else was speaking about it.  In his tribulation article, Pastor Biltz makes note of several factors suggesting that the end is near and the tribulation is about to begin:

As in years past, we've put together a list of moedim and remembrance dates so you can have them all in one place.  You can also look these up on our Hebrew Calendar.

A friend of mine recently shared an astounding fact. 90% of children who grow up in evangelical homes make a decision to follow Christ but only 22% of that group are still following Christ by age 35.

Before they are 35 years old, 80% of children who grew up in evangelical homes are not following Christ.

EIGHTY percent.

I had to check this out.

The Hebrew word for "atonement" (kippur) literally means "a covering" but in the context of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices it has to do with ritual cleansing.  The root word, kopher, means "a ransom".  The "kippur"/atonement offerings are literally the ransom or price of ritual cleansing... and that ransom involves blood.

In Leviticus 14:52 the blood of a bird is used to cleanse a house with "leprosy":

My precious daughter (a senior attending a local high school) came home one day with tears in her eyes.

"Sweetheart, what’s wrong?", I asked and gave her a hug.

"Nothing," she sniffled.

"Do you want to talk about it?"


"Okay.  I love you and I want to help in any way I can. Just let me know," I said with another brief hug.

I began to turn away but was immediately engulfed in a 30-minute, non-stop, emotionally-charged account of a heated conversation between three of her close friends that resulted in all three of them being mad at her and each other. It all stemmed from a single question one of the girls had asked about someone completely unrelated to their group.

The day of Passover begins tonight at sundown and the seder meal occurs tomorrow evening.  All of the preparations for the moed of Pesach should be complete except for one: the final search for chametz/leaven.

As I've previously written, the question of Messiah's divinity has been asked and answered: yes, Yeshua is G-d's Word in the flesh.  As Scripture itself declares,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:1, 14)


Earlier this week, HarperOne (which is owned by HarperCollins, the parent company of Zondervan) published a 416-page book by Bart Ehrman entitled "How Jesus Became God- The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee".  In his book, Ehrman expands upon many of the same arguments that critics have been exercising for the past century or more:

23 August 2013

How to Forgive

The Biblical principles regarding offense and forgiveness are essential to community life.  If we desire to remain in fellowship with one another then we should commit to follow the Bible's pattern for handling offense and granting forgiveness every time an offense occurs... even a minor one.

Consider the words of Paul in his letter to the believers in Colossae:

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. "
(Colossians 3:12-14)


Learn more about the steps outlined in Scripture for dealing with those who offend us and granting forgiveness.



I saw this amazing video the other day and two things came to mind...



The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. - Psalm 97:6

and this...

The Atlantic ran an incredible 28-photo presentation of the 2013 Powerhouse Fire in California's Angeles National Forest.  The article, entitled The Terrible Beauty of California's Powerhouse Fire, included this image:


Without these powerful reminders from the creation, we can really lose sight of the significance and weight of the words of Scripture that describe the Creator:

While Jesus was on earth, he and his disciples practiced the religion that God gave to the Israelites through Moses. The guidelines they followed were found primarily in the Torah*, which is the first five books of the Old Testament -- the writings of Moses. The Torah contains a variety of information including history, the Ten Commandments, and instructions pertaining to finance, government, family, health, farming, dress, feasts, and worship.

It was at some time after the death of Jesus that Christians stopped observing the Old Testament laws. Exactly when that change occurred is not clear in the Bible. Many people believe the change was made by Jesus himself immediately after the resurrection. However, there is compelling evidence in the book of Acts that the change did not occur until much later.

How much later?  Find out in the full article.


The Messiah's Hebrew name is usually transliterated as either Yeshua or Yahshua. Under normal circumstances I would not bother to write an article about something as trivial as the difference between the vowel sounds "e" and "ah." There is a need to address the subject, though, because some people who use the Yahshua form say untrue things about those who use the Yeshua form. The opponents of the Yeshua form claim that this pronunciation is the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Savior's true name. Those who call the Messiah Yeshua are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy and "denying His name" or "degrading Him" by their use of the Yeshua form. If you have never read or heard these outlandish accusations, you probably will eventually.


Read more of Dr. Botkin's article.


Messiah Yeshua is prophet (Matthew 21:11), priest (Hebrews 3:1), and king (Matthew 2:2).

The book of Hebrews tells us that He served as our great high priest in the order of Melchizedek to "offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins" (Hebrews 5:1).  We know He is a priest because He offered up one sacrifice for sins for all time (Hebrews 10:12) and intercedes with G-d on behalf of humanity (1 Timothy 2:5).  That is the very definition of a priest.

The Gospels (e.g. Matthew 27:11, 27:37) tell us that Messiah is the King of the Jews.  We know He is their King because He laid down His life for them... and for all who belong to Him.  (John 10:11, 15, Matthew 27:11)  When He returns, He will reign over all the world.  Every knee will bow and every tongue confess He is Lord. (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10)

But in what way is Messiah a prophet?

HANDS ON A GLOBE- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisApril 22 is Earth Day.  According to the website, "Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.  Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.  More than a billion people participate in our campaigns every year."   

Sometimes people confuse Earth Day and the environmental movement with tikkun olam [תיקון עולם].  Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world" or "healing the world".  While it can potentially include environmental considerations, Judaism primarily teaches this concept as a shared responsibility to take social action and pursue social justice.

So... Earth Day... Tikkun Olam... social justice...

How should a believer understand these ideas and act on them?  What did Messiah say about these things?  Let's start at the beginning:


iStock 000020977795Small 300Jerry sat staring at his laptop screen in unbelief.

"Fourteen hundred dollars?!? Where am I going to get fourteen hundred dollars?  This stupid software was supposed to make sure you got a big fat refund on your taxes not a giant bill!"

"What if I just... fudged some of the numbers a bit?", he thought out loud.  Jerry glanced around to see if his wife or kids had heard him.  No?  Good.  They usually avoided him while he was doing taxes or paying the bills because he got so irritable.

Hmmm... lower the income levels or raise the taxes paid?  No, too obvious.  The numbers wouldn't match the W-2.  How about his deductions?  Hmmm.  Maybe the wife had dropped some extra money in the collection tray at church when he wasn't looking. Yeah... that would shift things in his favor a bit.

With a few clicks Jerry adjusted various numbers in his return until he was receiving a small refund.  A few more clicks and he was on the "transmit to the IRS" page.

Jerry sat staring at his laptop screen.  He was about to lie on his taxes.  "It's only a few hundred dollars." he thought to himself.  "The Feds will never notice it.  It's not like I'm Bernie Madoff ripping off people for millions."

Jerry sat thinking for another few moments and then reached for the mouse...

As in years past, we've put together a list of moedim dates for 2013 so you can have them all in one place.

Purim- Sunday, February 24th

Pesach- Monday, March 25th

Chag HaMatzot- Tuesday, March 26th (beginning at sundown on the 25th)- Monday, April 1

Second Passover- Wednesday, April 24th (beginning at sundown on the 23rd

Shavuot- Wednesday, May 15th (beginning at sundown on the 14th)

Tish B'Av- Tuesday, July 16th (beginning at sundown on the 15th)

Yom Teruah- Thursday, September 5th (beginning at sundown on the 4th)

Yom Kippur- Saturday, September 14thth (beginning at sundown on the 13th)

Sukkot- Thursday, September 19th- Thursday September 26th. The sabbaths for Sukkot begin Wednesday the 18th and Wednesday the 25th at sundown.

Chanukah- Thursday, November 28th (Thanksgiving Day!) - Thursday, December 5th.


All of the moedim [appointed times] point to Messiah.  As we greatly long for His return, so too, should we eagerly look forward to these, His appointed times, as glimpses of Him until He does return.


Otherwise entitled, "Why Do We Seem to Exchange One Idol for Another?"

Update:The weekend of Jan 10-13, Tim Hegg visited our group in San Antonio. While he was here, he addressed some of the concerns we initially aired in this article. We revised the article and reposted after some clarifications were made.


In the Fall 2012 issue of Messiah Journal from First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ), Boaz Michael makes an impassioned plea to his readers that they reconsider and reject One-Law and Two-House teachings as particularly insidious forms of anti-Semitic replacement theology.

He is right.

Some "One-Law" groups disregard the fact that the Torah itself makes distinctions between different groups.  This is a form of idolatry in which Torah observance becomes the object of desire regardless of what the Torah and the apostles actually say.

"Two-House" theology ignores the fact that that the apostles rejoice at Gentiles (rather than "lost tribe members") coming to salvation.  This is a form of idolatry in which biological heritage in Israel becomes the object of desire regardless of what the Apostolic Writings actually say.


17 December 2012

WFT- hagiography

Today’s Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster is hagiography.

It means (1) a biography of saints or venerated persons; (2) an idealizing or idolizing biography.

Their “Did You Know” section on the word caught my eye:

Like "biography" and "autograph," the word "hagiography" has to do with the written word.  The combining form "-graphy" comes from Greek "graphein," meaning "to write."  "Hagio-" comes from a Greek word that means "saintly" or "holy."  This origin is seen in "Hagiographa," the Greek designation of the Ketuvim, the third division of the Hebrew Bible.  Our English word "hagiography," though it can refer to biography of actual saints, is these days more often applied to biography that treats ordinary human subjects as if they were saints.


The Ketuvim is labeled Hagiographa in Greek but it also means a biography of saints (or holy ones).

Who knew?

When we consider the whole of Scripture as "The Word" and the Word is G-d (John 1:1) then Scripture is His story: the story of the Messiah, the Word made flesh, and His creation of and interaction with humanity.

All of Scripture is a "biography" of sorts of the truly Holy One.


"Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!"

The famous childrens' song might have another verse: "Pork is yucky this I know, for the Bible tells me so!"

And modern studies are bearing out that fact.  A recent Consumer Reports study found "significant amounts of harmful and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, along with low levels of a growth hormone used to promote growth in pigs..." ran the story in detail.

Check it out.

As usual, the Bible said it first:

The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses.  (Deuteronomy 14:8)


Jesus loves me this I know.  Pork's no good, He told me so!




12 November 2012

WFT- biddable

Jeff let out a shrill whistle and Sarge charged the first obstacle, leaping over it.  He low-crawled under the next barricade and then sprinted on to the next challenge.  Running, jumping, crawling, and balancing his way through the course, the three year old German Shepherd constantly watched his trainer’s hand signals and listened to his voice.  The bond of love between master and dog was plain to see.


George knocked on his neighbor’s door then rang the bell after nobody answered.  Eventually, a disheveled, tired looking man opened the door and grumbled, “Whadda ya want?  I was watching the game.”  George handed the man a rope and replied, “I believe this belongs to you.”  At the end of the rope was a dirty, scruffy looking mutt.  “He got out again?”  “Yes, and this time he tore up two more pillows on our back porch chairs.”  The man jerked the rope, yanking the whimpering dog inside the house.  “This stupid pooch is more trouble than he’s worth.”


30 October 2012

WFT- abide

My daughter’s cry pierced the darkened hallway.

"Daddy, don’t leave!"

I turned back to her room and sat back down on her bed. "What’s wrong, sweetie?"

"I can’t go to sleep if you aren’t here."

Joyful tears well up in my eyes as I remember that moment from a decade ago. It seems like only yesterday. It was the day that the Lord taught me the meaning of the word "abide".

The other day my son texted me after one of his late-afternoon college classes:

Power went out at home.  How do I reconnect Netflix on the TV?

I responded:

Wrapping up at work now.  Will fix it when I get home.  20 minutes.


Traffic was light and I got home quickly.  My wife was running errands and wasn’t home yet but my son’s car was in its normal spot.  As I walked into the house, however, things seemed anything but normal.

The shades were still drawn and the house was dark.  School papers were scattered all over the kitchen.  A cup, rolling slightly on its side, was empty on the counter; its contents dripping onto the tile floor in a syncopated rhythm to the ticking of the kitchen clock.  The appliances in the kitchen mindlessly flashed their repetitive message: 12:42... 12:42... 12:42.

Tick... drip-blink.  Tick-blink... drip.  Blink-tick... drip.

If you ever get into a conversation with an anti-missionary ask them one question after visiting this website: What do the Rabbonim say about Moshiach?


Update: that site is down but the content is contained in this PDF: What the Rabbonim Say About Moshiach.

Have you ever had a day where frustrations were mounting and you said a little prayer along the lines of "oh, Lord, give me patience"?  You may have noticed that G-d often seems to answer those prayers by bringing something (or someone?) into your life that will test your patience... a lot.

Being the sensible guy that I am, I have learned to curb my tongue when it comes to uttering that particular prayer.  I'm like a child at the dinner table when the spinach is being passed around: "Patience?  No, thank you, Lord.  I'm full."

On the other hand, I usually seem to have an appetite for more wisdom.  As it is with desert, my response to wisdom has usually been "May I have more, please?"

A friend of mine named Robert and I recently got together for lunch.  Robert had passed along a link to a article entitled "Bible has some shocking 'family values'” and wanted some help answering the claims that were made in it.  He wanted to provide a good, solid, Biblical response to his brother-in-law who had sent it to him.

Once we had ordered lunch, we got down to business.

"The guy who wrote the article, Michael Coogan, makes three claims that we should discuss", I said.  "Let's start at the top."


G-d is not the author of Scripture

I recently wrote this article for Verse By Verse Ministry where I am a guest author.  I thought I would share it with you as a possible outreach message for any of your friends or family who might be "Christian by default".
- Brady

When I was 26 years old I gave my life to Christ. If you had asked me at any time prior to that point what I was from a religious perspective I would have said I was Christian. I wasn't Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or anything else and my parents were Christian so I figured I was, too.
My parents rooted for the Dallas Cowboys so... I rooted for the Dallas Cowboys.
My parents drove GM cars so I drove GM cars.
My parents ate meatloaf on Thursdays so I ate meatloaf on Thursdays.

In 2008 shock and sadness accompanied the death of 3-year old Caylee Anthony, as indeed it should for the senseless death of any child.   For some individuals that sense of sadness and the desire for justice appears to have turned into bitterness, anger, and the pursuit of vengeance.  The trial of Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, has captured the attention of many Americans and left some believers confused and conflicted.

As always, believers should turn to the Living Word of G-d for guidance, strength, and encouragement in these situations.

My day job has recently taken me into the world of marketing and all of the fascinating concepts involved with it. One marketing approach that recently got me to thinking was "branded merchandise". You know... a baseball cap with the name of your favorite sports team on it; a pen with the name of your insurance company; a coffee mug with the name of your favorite veterinary clinic.

Branded merchandise is everywhere:

Pens, pencils, and erasers, water jugs, coffee mugs, and baby bottles, caps, hats, and umbrellas, t-shirts, sweat pants, and jackets, gym bags, tote bags, and book bags, lions, tigers, and bears... oh, my!


05 February 2011

WFT- conservatism

Previously in the Words For Thought series we examined the word "liberalism".  Now let's take a look at conservatism.  Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about it:


1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party    b : the Conservative party 2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established    b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage) 3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

29 January 2011

WFT- pink

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for September 16th, 2009 was pink.

First: I know... I know.  I'm WAYYY behind if I am pulling up a WotD from 2009. :)

Second: no... this word does not refer to the color.  It's a verb:

1 a : to perforate in an ornamental pattern b : to cut a saw-toothed edge on 2 a : pierce, stab b : to wound by irony, criticism, or ridicule

One of the ideas reiterated throughout this blog has been "words have power". One particular example that I often share with friends and family is the expression "I'm sorry".


I'm Sorry

In a literal sense saying "I'm sorry" means "I am wretched, worthless, poor."

Why would someone say such a thing? Aren't we created in the image of G-d?  (Genesis 1:26)

This "wretched" meaning dates back to the 13th century and a time when people would debase themselves before some nobleman or leader as a result of some offense. They would essentially say "I am wretched, worthless, and poor" and seek the nobleman's mercy and favor.

I came across an article today and as I read it I was grieved in my soul.

The article, entitled "Go Ahead and Follow Your Heart. God Wants You To", was on the blog site named

Upon reading the title a handful of verses immediately came to mind.  Chief among them was this:

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick;Who can understand it?"  (Jeremiah 17:9)

Since this is true, why oh why would G-d want us to follow our hearts?

The author, Joe Plemon, includes this definition of heart in his article:

Pastor Rick Warren defines it thusly, “the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams and affections that you have."

04 July 2010

WFT- archetype

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 16th was archetype [AHR-kih-type].

the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : prototype; also : a perfect example

A few years ago someone put together an excellent set of visuals to aid in wrapping our finite minds around the vastness of G-d's creation. I came across these the other day and wanted to share. I don't know who to attribute these to but will acknowledge they aren't mine. Thank you, Lord, for whoever you led to create them.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9)
27 March 2010

WFT- prescience

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 15th was prescience.

Here is their definition:

: foreknowledge of events:  a : divine omniscience  b : human anticipation of the course of events : foresight

27 March 2010

WFT- tare

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 17th was tare.
Here is the definition they provided:
1 : a deduction from the gross weight of a substance and its container made in allowance for the weight of the container; also : the weight of the container 2 : counterweight
M-W provided the following example sentence:
Before charging us for the blueberries we'd picked, the attendant at Annie's Fields deducted the tare from the weight of the filled buckets.

Hi, folks.  Just a quick note.

I came across this article about the days being minutely shorter as a result of the Chile quake:

From the article:

The massive earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday may have shifted Earth's axis and created shorter days, scientists at NASA say.

30 January 2010

WFT- sternutation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for September 15th was sternutation.  MW defined the word as such:

the act, fact, or noise of sneezing

Here is the information they provided regarding the origin of the word:

"Sternutation" comes from Latin and is a descendant of the verb "sternuere," meaning "to sneeze." One of the earliest known English uses occurred in a 16th-century edition of a book on midwifery, in a passage about infants suffering from frequent "sternutation and sneesynge." The term has long been used in serious medical contexts, but also on occasion for humorous effect. In 1850, for example, author Grace Greenwood observed that U.S. senators from opposing political parties would often come together to share snuff: "And all three forget their sectional differences in a delightful concert of sternutation. No business is too grave, no speaker too eloquent, to be 'sneezed at.'"


You may be thinking something like "OK, let's see this guy pull something out of Scripture about sneezing."  Well, actually, Scripture does have a very specific reference to sneezing.  It is found in 2 Kings in the story of Elisha and the Shunnamite woman's son.

18 January 2010

WFT- noetic

With the launch of the site in mid-December, holidays, travelling to visit family, and getting back into the swing of work I have been slow to catch up on my "Words For Thought" articles.  Monday, January 18th had a rather interesting word so I decided to write on it before catching up on the other 50+ words in the queue.  So here is the MW word of the day:

noetic (noh ET ik)

of, relating to, or based on the intellect

15 December 2009

WFT- philosophy

One of the earliest words that I was considering for a "Words For Thought" article was philosophy.

Rather than using Merriam Webster I had searched for this word on the Online Etymology Dictionary and found this:

philosophy from O.Fr. filosofie (12c.), from L. philosophia, from Gk. philosophia "love of knowledge, wisdom," from philo- "loving" + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned."

Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771. Philosophize is attested from 1594.

18 October 2009

WFT- munificent

The M-W Word of the Day for September 14th was munificent.  They defined the word as follows:

1 : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish 2 : characterized by great liberality or generosity

29 August 2009

WFT- ingratiate

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for August 13th was ingratiate.

to gain favor or favorable acceptance for by deliberate effort — usually used with "with"

M-W provided this information about the word:
29 August 2009

WFT- demean

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 6th was demean.

Meaning : to conduct or behave (oneself) usually in a proper manner

Example Sentence Sylvia was proud of the polite way her young children demeaned themselves in front of the dinner guests.

29 August 2009

WFT- empyreal

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 25th was empyreal (em-pye-REE-ul).

1 : of or relating to the firmament : celestial 2 : sublime

29 August 2009

WFT- tantivity

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 4th was tantivity.  Their definition:

in a headlong dash : at a gallop

29 August 2009

WFT- levigate

On August 3rd the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was levigate.  They provided this definition:

1 : polish, smooth 2 a : to grind to a fine smooth powder while in moist condition  b : to separate (fine powder) from coarser material by suspending in a liquid

They also provided this background information on the word:

29 August 2009

WFT- contemn

On August 20th, the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was contemn.

to view or treat with contempt : scorn

29 August 2009

WFT- abstemious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 16th was abstemious.

marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol; also : reflecting such restraint

M-W provided the following additional information about the word:

"Abstemious" and "abstain" look alike, and both have meanings involving self-restraint or self-denial. So they must both come from the same root, right? Yes and no. Both get their start from the Latin prefix "abs-," meaning "from" or "away," but "abstain" traces to "abs-" plus the Latin verb "ten?re" (meaning "to hold"), while "abstemious" gets its "-temious" from a suffix akin to the Latin noun "temetum," meaning "intoxicating drink."

In regards to abstaining from food a few passages come to mind.

11 August 2009

Colossians 2:16-17

The Psalm team was recently asked about Colossians 2:16-17 after the following comment was shared with one of the authors:

Regarding Col 2:16, some hold that Paul was merely teaching that believers have a choice as to which day of the week they observe the Sabbath, while others believe Paul meant that our liberty extends to the choice of whether to observe a Sabbath at all.  Under either interpretation, however, the Christian is not be bound to a Saturday observance.

Here is our response:

08 August 2009

WFT- tribulation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 31st was tribulation.

distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; also : a trying experience

There are a number of passages regarding tribulation mentioned in Scripture.

Messiah gives us words of warning...

08 August 2009

WFT- con amore

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 29th was con amore (pronounced kahn uh MOR ee).

1 : with love, devotion, or zest 2 : in a tender manner — used as a direction in music

This was the etymology they provided:

I found this excellent analysis of Matthew 5 that included this observation:

“Fulfill” in Matthew

The verb “fulfill” is used 16 times in Matthew. Of the 13 times where the word is used in the passive voice, 12 are used in expressing the ‘fulfillment’ of prophecy, and one relates to a boat being filled with fish (13:48). Prophecy is viewed as being fulfilled (passive) by the active hand of God in the events of history.

02 August 2009

WFT- hyperbole

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was hyperbole [hye PER buh lee] which they defined as:

extravagant exaggeration

02 August 2009

WFT- quaff

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was quaff.

to drink deeply

In addition to the definition they provided this:

Nowadays, "quaff" has an old-fashioned, literary sound to it. For more contemporary words that suggest drinking a lot of something, especially in big gulps and in large quantity, you might try "drain," "pound," or "slug." If you are a daintier drinker, you might say that you prefer to "sip," "imbibe" or "partake in" the beverage of your choice. "Quaff" is by no means the oldest of these terms — earliest evidence of it in use is from the early 1500s, whereas "sip" dates to the 14th century — but it is the only one with the mysterious "origin unknown" etymology.

02 August 2009

WFT- verbatim

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was verbatim. This is their definition:

in the exact words : word for word

This was the additional information they provided on the word:

Latin has a phrase for "exactly as written": "verbatim ac litteratim," which literally means "word for word and letter for letter." Like the "verbatim" in that Latin phrase, the English "verbatim" means "word for word." As you may have noticed, there's a "verb" in "verbatim" — and that's no mere coincidence. Both "verb" and "verbatim" are derived from the Latin word for "word," which is "verbum." Other common English words that share this root include "adverb," "proverb," and "verbose." Even the word "word" itself is related. "Verbatim" can also be an adjective meaning "being in or following the exact words" (as in "a verbatim report") and a rarer noun referring to an account, translation, or report that follows the original word for word.

An interesting anecdote came to mind when I saw this word.

02 August 2009

WFT- nyctalopia

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 21st was nyctalopia. Though it might seem so, this word isn't weird compared to the previous word for thought.

M-W provided this definition:

reduced visual capacity in faint light (as at night) : night blindness

This was the additional information they provided in the "Did you know?" section:

"Nyctalopia" comes to us from the Latin word "nyctalops," which means "suffering from night blindness." It is ultimately derived from the Greek word "nyktalops," which was formed by combining the word for "night" ("nyx") with the words for "blind" and "eye" ("alaos" and "?ps," respectively). English speakers have been using "nyctalopia" to refer to reduced vision in faint light or at night since the 17th century. We added the somewhat more pedestrian "night blindness" to the lexicon in the 18th century.
02 August 2009

WFT- weird

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 13th was weird.

1 : of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural 2 : of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic

They provided this insightful etymological information:

You may know today’s word as a generalized term describing something unusual, but "weird" also has older meanings that are more specific. "Weird" derives from the Old English noun "wyrd," essentially meaning "fate." By the 8th century, the plural "wyrde" had begun to appear in texts as a gloss for "Parcae," the Latin name for the Fates — three goddesses who spun, measured, and cut the thread of life. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Scots authors employed "werd" or "weird" in the phrase "weird sisters" to refer to the Fates. William Shakespeare adopted this usage in Macbeth, in which the "weird sisters" are depicted as three witches. Subsequent adjectival use of "weird" grew out of a reinterpretation of the "weird" used by Shakespeare.
01 August 2009

The Deceiver

Recently the men of my congregation met and discussed several matters regarding our community. One of the matters discussed was the increase in email traffic which focused on the activities of the current U.S. administration and the concern it was generating among some of our families.

News and rumors regarding violations of the constitution, health care rationing, socialism, geriatric euthanasia, government funded abortion, and other serious matters abound. Some emails have alleged government conspiracy. The prophet Isaiah had a few words to share about that:

"You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. (Isaiah 8:12-13)

These echo the very words of the Messiah:

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

I recently saw this video on You Tube entitled DID JESUS GIVE US THE NAME OF THE ANTICHRIST? The author of the video proposes that Messiah Yeshua gave us a warning regarding the name of the antichrist in Luke 10:18. He suggests that a Hebrew translation of the passage would essentially read "I beheld Satan as lightning from heaven [Hebrew: barak obamah]". After watching the video I became curious and decided to investigate the matter for myself.

27 July 2009

WFT- usufruct

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 13th was usufruct (YOO zuh frukt).

Here is the definition they provided:

1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another 2 : the right to use or enjoy something

27 July 2009

WFT- diurnal

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 7th was diurnal.

Here is the definition:

1 : recurring every day 2 : of, relating to, or occurring in the daytime

Here are a few passages that come to mind:

Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. - Proverbs 27:1

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34

27 July 2009

WFT- abject

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 2nd was abject.  M-W provided this definition:

1 : sunk to or existing in a low state or condition 2 : very low in spirit or hope : wretched 3 : expressing or offered in a humble and often ingratiating spirit

20 July 2009

WFT- grudging

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for July 14th was grudging.   M-W provided this definition:

1 : unwilling, reluctant 2 : done, given, or allowed unwillingly, reluctantly, or sparingly

19 July 2009

WFT- desolate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 25th was desolate.

1 : devoid of inhabitants and visitors : deserted 2 : joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful through or as if  through separation from a loved one 3 a : showing the effects of abandonment and neglect :  dilapidated  *b : barren, lifeless  c : devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope :  gloomy


19 July 2009

WFT- cavalcade

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 24th was cavalcade.

1 (a) : a procession of riders or carriages (b) : a procession of vehicles or ships 2 : a dramatic sequence or procession : series

Modern American presidents often travel in a cavalcade of Chevy Suburbans.

Messiah was in a cavalcade... twice.  No presidents or Suburbans were present, of course. :)

19 July 2009

WFT- preeminent

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 17th was preeminent.  They provided this definition:

having paramount rank, dignity, or importance : outstanding, supreme

G-d is supreme (Revelation 5:13).  All believers would agree upon this... but who among believers is preeminent?  The Catholic church says Peter is preeminent.  Others say Paul since he wrote much of the New Testament.  The disciples had this same question:

My wonderful bride, Amy, and I recently traveled to Oregon and Washington. What a beautiful land G-d has made!

As we traveled around Oregon we visited a number of waterfalls. The experiences there were very moving for both of us. When we returned home Amy mentioned some passages that came to mind when we were at the falls.

Here are some photos and the passages she related:

19 July 2009

WFT- effrontery

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for June 15th was effrontery.

shameless boldness : insolence

Interestingly we find Romans mentioned in the history of the word:

18 July 2009

WFT- obnubilate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 26th was obnubilate.

If you would like you can subscribe to the Word of the Day.

Pronounced \ahb-NOO-buh-layt\ the word is a verb that means "to becloud, obscure".

18 July 2009

WFT- genius

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 17th, 2008 was genius.  (Yes, I am a bit behind schedule in my writing. :) )

1 : a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude 2 : extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity 3 : a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high IQ

18 July 2009

WFT- metathesis

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 9, 2008 was metathesis.

a change of place or condition: as a: transposition of two phonemes in a word b: a chemical reaction in which different kinds of molecules exchange parts to  form other kinds of molecules

13 July 2009

WFT- inexorable

Merriam Webster's Word of the Day for Thursday, July 9th was inexorable.

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped : relentless

As always, they provided interesting etymological insight into the word:

11 July 2009

Proverbs 19:16

My wonderful bride, Amy, was reading Proverbs and came across this little nugget:

He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die.  (Proverbs 19:16)

When she related that passage I immediately asked the question: Does "keep" mean "retain possession of" or does it mean "guard"?  I examined the Hebrew and found this:

Shamar mitzvah shamar nepheshu botzah derekiv yevamot (transliterated from the Hebrew).

Young's Literal translates it this way:

24 June 2009

WFT- corvine

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 23rd was corvine:

of or relating to the crows : resembling a crow

14 June 2009

WFT- spurious

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 31st was spurious (pronounced SPYUR-ee-us).  M-W provided this definition:

1 : of illegitimate birth 2 : not genuine : false

14 June 2009

WFT- tenebrous

The Merrriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 1st was tenebrous.

The definition is as follows:

1 : shut off from the light : dark, murky 2 : hard to understand : obscure 3 : causing gloom

14 June 2009

WFT- repudiate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 16th was repudiate and they provided this definition:

1 : to refuse to have anything to do with : disown 2 : to refuse to acknowledge, accept, or pay

14 June 2009

WFT- domiciliary

The Merriam-Webster Word of the day for May 17th was domiciliary.  Their definition was the following:

of, relating to, or constituting a domicile: as a : provided or taking place in  the home b : providing care and living space (as for disabled veterans)

Aaron Eby relates an interesting video from Joel Osteen's church where Osteen tells his congregation to avoid eating pork or shellfish in order to promote healthy living.  Is Osteen promoting kosher?

Not really.

05 June 2009

WFT- deterge

Merriam Webster's Word of the day for June 4th was deterge.

If you are thinking that sounds a lot like detergent then you're right!  M-W provided this definition

to wash off : to cleanse

04 June 2009

WFT- pompadour

Merriam Webster's word of the day for June 3rd was pompadour-

1 a : a man's style of hairdressing in which the hair is combed into a high mound in front  b : a woman's style of hairdressing in which the hair is brushed into a loose full roll around the face 2 : hair dressed in a pompadour

02 June 2009

WFT- malinger

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for June 1st was malinger.   M-W defined it this way:

to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or  work)

Many individuals and families who are beginning to walk in Torah commandments are interested in keeping "Biblically kosher", that is, eating according to the commandments of G-d.  The commandments regarding food are primarily given in Leviticus 11 and in Deuteronomy 14.  Kosher is a Hebrew word that means "proper".  Although the word kosher is never used in Scripture to describe the food that is fit for consumption according to G-d's commandments, it is the word that has been commonly used for millennia to describe that food.

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 26th was Philadelphia lawyer.

The word means "a lawyer knowledgeable in the most minute aspects of the law".  M-W provided the following background:

26 May 2009

WFT- manumit

This week has provided an abundance of words for thought.  Merriam-Webster's word of the day for May 26th was manumit.

M-W defined the word as "to release from slavery" and provided the following information:

26 May 2009

WFT- deasil

The Merriam-Webster Word of the day for May 20th was deasil.  Note that it is deasil and not diesel (the fuel).

Deasil means clockwise.  M-W says...

According to an old custom, you can bring someone good fortune by walking around  the person clockwise three times while carrying a torch or candle. In Scottish  Gaelic, the word "deiseil" is used for the direction one walks in such a  luck-bringing ritual. English speakers modified the spelling to "deasil," and  have used the word to describe clockwise motion in a variety of rituals.

25 May 2009

WFT- destitute

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 24th was destitute.

1 : lacking something needed or desirable 2 : lacking possessions and resources; especially : suffering extreme poverty

24 May 2009

WFT- carrefour

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Friday May 22nd was carrefour.  They provided this definition:

1 : crossroads 2 : square, plaza

If we were to be transported back in time to the first century and were to study "Moses and the Prophets" as Jesus, the disciples, and the two men on the road to Emmaus did (Luke 24:27), what would we learn? What portraits of the Messiah would we find? Come… join our band of believers and study Scripture in the footsteps and pattern of our Lord and Savior.

The foundation of first-century Bible study included an annual reading of the Torah: the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy.  The Scripture that is studied this time of year (mid May) is Numbers chapters 1-4.  The chapter and verse numbers that we use today to identify passages of Scripture did not exist in the days of the Master.  Instead, they identified the weekly passages, known as a parashah (”portion”) by the first word or two of that passage.  This week’s parashah is known as B'midbar (pronounced buh MID bar).  This Hebrew word means “in the wilderness”.  B'midbar is also the Hebrew name for the book of Numbers.  It is known as the book of "In the Wilderness" as it is written in the beginning of this portion:

17 May 2009

WFT- scrupulous

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Friday, May 15th was scrupulous.

1 : having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper 2 : punctiliously exact : painstaking

14 May 2009

Tefillin knots

Recently I replaced my son's bar mitzvah tefillin with a better quality set.  The head tefillin was tied for a small head size and needed to be expanded to fit my son (he's quite a large young man now!).  As I was gently trying to adjust the dalet knot this morning without losing the knot completely... SPROING!  It all came apart.  Imagine my concern about having to tie the knot back together.  This is not a simple knot.

I found this wonderful video on You Tube showing how to tie the dalet knot on the head tefillin and though I would share: . I pray it will be as much a blessing to you as it was to me! :)

13 May 2009

WFT- whinge

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Monday, May 11th was whinge.

to complain fretfully : whine

In their "Did you know?" section, M-W provided the following:

"Whinge" isn't just a spelling variant of "whine." "Whinge" and "whine" are actually entirely different words with separate histories. "Whine" traces to an Old English verb, "hwinan," which means "to make a humming or whirring sound." When "hwinan" became "whinen"in Middle English, it meant "to wail distressfully"; "whine" didn't acquire its "complain" sense until the 16th century. "Whinge," on the other hand, comes from a different Old English verb, "hwinsian," which means "to wail or moan discontentedly." "Whinge" retains that original sense today, though nowadays it puts less emphasis on the sound of the complaining and more on the discontentment behind the complaint.

This brings to mind an admonition from Scripture:

11 May 2009

WFT- fidelity

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for Sunday, May 10th was fidelity.

1 : the quality or state of being faithful

2 : accuracy


This was the etymological information they provided for the word:

"The Program on Public Values" at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn recently published a study that indicated an increasing number of Americans are claiming no religion.  A recent article about the study revealed some interesting points:

1990- 8.2% of Americans claim they have no religion 2001- 14.2% of Americans claim they have no religion 2008- 15.0% of Americans claim they have no religion

Based upon this information we can see that Americans are becoming increasing secular.

Consider our society (not science, medicine, technology... but our culture, our society) in 1990 as compared to today.

Which is better in your estimation?

01 March 2009

WFT- exorbitant

The Merriam-Webster's word of the day for February 23rd was exorbitant.  M-W defined the word as follows:

1 : not coming within the scope of the law
2 : exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity,  quality, amount, or size
While the second definition is the most common usage the first is what brings some Scripture to mind.
24 February 2009

WFT- onerous

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for February 24th 2009 is onerous.

1 : involving, imposing, or constituting a burden : troublesome
2 : having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages
This reminded me of the words of Yochanan:
09 February 2009

WFT- cognate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 was cognate.

1 : of the same or similar nature 2 : related; especially : related by descent from the same ancestral language

This brings to mind one of the very first word studies I ever did.  I was using Vine's Expository Dictionary [ed- the paper version... not online.  I don't think there was an "online" back then. :) ]

09 February 2009

WFT- indubitable

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Thursday, January 29th was indubitable.

This takes me back to childhood memories of the Three Stooges (who were Jewish!) and their statements using "indubitably". :)

M-W provides this definition:

too evident to be doubted : unquestionable

09 February 2009

WFT- primogeniture

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Wednesday, January 28th was primogeniture.

M-W provided the following definition:

1 : the state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents 2 : an exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son


This brings to mind a passage from Colossians:

"I sought him, but I found him not." — Song 3:1

Tell me where you lost the company of Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find Him. Have you lost Christ in the closet by restraining prayer? Then it is there you must seek and find Him. Did you lose Christ by sin? You will find Christ in no other way but by the giving up of the sin, and seeking by the Holy Spirit to mortify the member in which the lust doth dwell. Did you lose Christ by neglecting the Scriptures? You must find Christ in the Scriptures.

27 January 2009

WFT- cynosure

Unless you are already familiar with the term you might be upset if you heard someone use Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 24th to describe Messiah.

The word is cynosure and M-W provides the following definition:

1 : the northern constellation Ursa Minor; also : North Star
2 : one that serves to direct or guide
3 : a center of attraction or attention
27 January 2009

WFT- engender

Merriam Webster's Word of the Day for Monday, January 26th was engender.

They provided the following definitions:
1 : beget, procreate
2 : to cause to exist or to develop : produce
3 : to assume form : originate
The following etymology was also provided and very insightful:
22 January 2009

WFT- reconcile

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for January 22nd was reconcile.  Here is the definition:

1 a : to restore to friendship or harmony b : settle, resolve 2 : to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant 3 a : to check (a financial account) against another for accuracy b : to account for

Some very obvious references can be made with Scripture.  Here is the etymology:

22 January 2009

WFT- palatable

After a long break from words that brought anything Scriptural to mind...

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for January 21st was "palatable".  These meanings were given:

1 : agreeable to the palate or taste
2 : agreeable or acceptable to the mind
Long time readers of WFT articles will likely see what is coming. :)

If we were to be transported back in time to the first century and were to study “Moses and the Prophets” as Jesus, the disciples, and the two men on the road to Emmaus did (Luke 24:27), what would we learn? What portraits of the Messiah would we find? Come… join our band of believers and study Scripture in the footsteps and pattern of our Lord and Savior.

If we were to be transported back in time to the first century and were to study “Moses and the Prophets” as Jesus, the disciples, and the two men on the road to Emmaus did (Luke 24:27), what would we learn? What portraits of the Messiah would we find? Come… join our band of believers and study Scripture in the footsteps and pattern of our Lord and Savior.

The bedrock foundation of first-century studies included an annual reading of the Torah: Genesis through Deuteronomy. The passages that are studied this time of year are found in the book of Genesis chapters 37:1-40:23. The chapter and verse numbers that we use to identify passages of Scripture today did not exist in the days of the Master. Instead, they identified the weekly passages, known as a parashah (”portion”) by the first word or two of that passage. This week’s parashah is known as Vayeshev (pronounced vye yeh SHEV). This Hebrew word means “and he lived” as it is written in the beginning of our portion:

If we were to be transported back in time to the first century and were to study "Moses and the Prophets" as Jesus, the disciples, and the two men on the road to Emmaus did (Luke 24:27), what would we learn? What portraits of the Messiah would we find? Come… join our band of believers and study Scripture in the footsteps and pattern of our Lord and Savior.

The bedrock foundation of first-century studies included an annual reading of the Torah: Genesis through Deuteronomy. The passages that are studied this time of year are found in the book of Genesis chapters 32:3-36-43. The chapter and verse numbers that we use to identify passages of Scripture today did not exist in the days of the Master. Instead, they identified the weekly passages, known as a parashah (”portion”) by the first word or two of that passage. This week’s parashah is known as Vayishlach (pronounced vye eesh LOCK). This Hebrew word means “and he sent” as it is written in the beginning of our portion:

“Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.” - Genesis 32:3 (NASB)

The first article of this series provided some reasons for observing Torah.  First and foremost among them was the reason that Messiah Yeshua was Torah-observant and as his disciples we, too, should follow Torah.

This second article (and subsequent articles) in the series intends to address the myths  and misinterpretations of Scripture that might confuse believers seeking the Truth of G-d's Word.  Yeshua is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6) so when we seek the Truth, we seek Him... in all His Torah-observant glory and holiness.

Myth #1: Paul tells believers to disregard the Sabbath.

This post begins a short series of blog entries entitled "In Support of Torah Observance".

In these articles I would like to address reasons why believers in Yeshua [Jesus] should be obedient to Torah and refute a number of misinterpretations of Scripture used against those who seek to obey Torah.

1) Yeshua did it.

In John chapter 15, Yeshua paints a wonderful picture of our relationship to Him and to the Father.
He begins with this:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. - John 15:1-2

There is a pattern of studying Scripture that has existed since the time of Nehemiah, Ezra, and the men of the Great Assembly. It is this pattern that existed in the time of Messiah and it is within this pattern that He revealed himself through the words of Scripture to the men on the road to Emmaus.

"Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." - Luke 24:27 (NASB).

23 November 2008

Image of G-d

Genesis 1:27 tells us that G-d made man in His image:

G-d created man in His own image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 9:6 reiterates this:

Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of G-d He made man.

Who or what, then, is this "image"? 

22 November 2008

Faithful and True

In Revelation 3:14 it is written:

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

In Revelation 19:11 it is written:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

18 October 2008

The Sabbath

The Sabbath day began at the end of the first week of creation (Genesis 2:2).  The Word of G-d tells us that He blessed the seventh day and separated it as a holy day (Genesis 2:3).  If the Sabbath was given before Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's time and was created for them for them to observe was it also not created for us?  If we are to be doers and hearers of the Word, shouldn’t we observe the Sabbath just as our Lord and Savior did?

15 October 2008

WFT- facetious

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for October 14th was "facetious":

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish 2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious

15 October 2008

WFT- indagate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 9th was indagate which means "to search into; investigate".

Although slightly different in meaning it brought to mind this passage in 1Thes 5:21-

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

30 September 2008

WFT- prodigy

The Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Friday 9/26/2008 was "prodigy":

1. something extraordinary : wonder 2 : a highly talented child

30 September 2008

WFT- exonerate

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Monday, September 29th was exonerate:

1 : to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship 2 : to clear from accusation or blame

18 September 2008

WFT- eponymous

Merriam- Webster's word of the day for Sunday, September 14th, 2008 was "eponymous":

of, relating to, or being one for whom or which something is or is believed to  be named

14 September 2008

Talmud or not to Talmud?

That is the question.  But what is the answer?

Yes, that was a riff on Shakespeare's famous "to be or not to be... " line from Hamlet. Let me be fair and clarify the question:

The question I am trying to answer is whether or not the Talmud should serve as a guide regarding Torah observance.  One group in my congregation says "yes!"... another group in my congregation says "no!".  I wanted to jot down my thoughts about both sides of the issue.  I don't know if I will come to an answer any time soon (likely not!) but it's cathartic nonetheless.

14 September 2008

WFT- circumlocution

Merriam Webster's word of the day for Tuesday, September 9th was circumlocution:

1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea 2 : evasion in speech

13 September 2008

Consider This…

Here are some passages from Scripture to consider in regards to Torah. I will update this blog entry from time to time with other passages as I find them:

"I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Torot [plural of Torah]." - Genesis 26:4-5

Bind up the testimony, seal the Torah among my disciples. - Isaiah 8:16

"The same Torah shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you." - Exodus 12:49

03 September 2008


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Saturday, August 30th was exasperate:

1 : to excite the anger of : enrage 2 : to cause irritation or annoyance to

This immediately brought to mind the admonition of Paul to the believers in Colossae:
26 August 2008

WFT- sophistry

Merriam-Webster's word of the day for Tuesday 8/26/2008 is sophistry:

1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation 2 : an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; especially : such an argument used to deceive

"An argument used to deceive. "  Hmmm... that got me to thinking of the words of the serpent in the Garden:

"Hath God said...?"

Fox reported Monday that a scientific study presented evidence that "a sensory cell can process an alternative sensation".  They differentiated this process from the already previously known condition named synesthesia where some people are able to feel, hear, and taste colors.   In essence the study has found that our auditory nervous system can send auditory signals to the image processing centers of the brain for faster tracking of sounds.

"Where is this found in Scripture" you might ask?

14 August 2008

WFT- anathema

Merriam-Webster's Word for the Day on Monday, August 11th was anathema.  I read the WOTD email and thought "Wow.  That's a word I haven't heard used outside of Scripture."

Here is how M-W defined it:

1 a : one that is cursed by ecclesiastical authority b: someone or something intensely disliked or loathed 2 a : a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication b : a vigorous denunciation : curse

10 August 2008

WFT- steadfast

Merriam-Webster's word of the day for Tuesday August 5th was "steadfast" which they defined as such:

1 a : firmly fixed in place : immovable   b : not subject to change 2 : firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal

This brought to mind James 1:17.

07 August 2008

WFT- plausible

Words for thought. It's been a rather interesting week for words.  Merriam-Webster's word of the day for August 7th was plausible which they defined as such:

1 : seemingly fair, reasonable, or valuable but often not  so
2 : superficially pleasing or persuasive
3 : appearing worthy of belief
03 August 2008

WFT- epigone

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Monday, July 21st was epigone.  M-W defined the word as:

follower, disciple; also: an inferior imitator

America's founders apparently did not intend for there to be a separation of  God and state... at least in the sense it is being pursued by some today. This is shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions.

Alabama (1901), Preamble: We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ...

Alaska (1956), Preamble: We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ...

Arizona (1911), Preamble: We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

About a month ago I met with a group of men with whom I regularly study Scripture.  We were studying Romans 7:7-12

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.  (NASB)

We discussed the word for "sin" in Hebrew (chata) and that it means to "miss the mark".  Initially the discussion centered around an archery target with a bulls eye in the center and how we shoot and hit all around the bulls eye but never quite hit it dead-center.

There was a moment of revelation in our discussion when I realized there is another way to look at "missing the mark" is to "fall short". 

Fox News reports that satellite data has confirmed a theory that solar radiation colliding with the Earth's magnetic field generates a series of "chirps and whistles".  The story briefly explains the science behind the discovery and closes with the observation

Our planet is also known to hum, a mysterious low-frequency sound thought to be caused by the churning ocean or the roiling atmosphere.

I put together this brief list of ten reasons I keep Torah:

10. My prayer would not be heard and would be a sin (Proverbs 28:9, Jeremiah 7:8-16).  

9. When Messiah returns those who follow him will be obeying Torah and keeping the festivals (Ezekiel 45:16, Zechariah 14:16, Jeremiah 33:14-18).  

8. There are over 1,089 commands from the Torah in the "New Testament".  

7. If you obey one part of the Torah (such as "love your neighbor as yourself" or "Love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind") you are required to keep the entire Torah (Galatians 5:3).

22 June 2008

WFT- obeisance

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Monday, June 16th was obeisance.  They defined it as such:

1 : a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission : bow 2 : acknowledgment of another’s superiority or importance : homage

02 June 2008

WFT- impeccable

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Saturday, May 31st was "impeccable" a word defined thusly:

  1. not capable of sinning or liable to sin
  2. free from fault or  blame : flawless

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Saturday, May 17th was "incandescent" a noun which M-W defined as such:

  • a : white, glowing, or luminous with intense heat  b : marked by brilliance  especially of expression  c : characterized by glowing zeal : ardent
  • a  : of, relating to, or being light produced by incandescence b : producing light  by incandescence
17 May 2008

WFT- iconoclast

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Monday, May 12th was iconoclast, a noun which M-W defined as:

1 : a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration 2 : a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for Tuesday, May 13th was "attitudinize", a verb meaning to assume a certain posture. Here is what M-W had to say about it:

The English word "attitude" was first used in the 17th century to describe the posture of a sculptured or painted figure. The word was borrowed from French and formed from the Italian word "attitudine", meaning "aptitude" or "natural tendency". By the early 18th century, "attitude" was also being used for the posture a person assumed for a specific purpose. And by mid-century, "attitudinarians," people who study and practice attitudes, were being talked about. The verb "attitudinize" followed in 1784.

As we draw into the final week before the moed of Pesach/Chag HaMatzot we should give heed to the instruction found in the Torah:

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

-Exodus 12:15

As always, the physical commandment provides us with a picture of the spiritual truth.  Both should be obeyed.  We should clean the leaven from our homes both physically and spiritually.

Some time ago I was trying to explain to my children how our deeds have greater value after we are redeemed than before we are redeemed.

The analogy of a coupon came to mind:


The inherent value of the coupon is only 1/100 of a cent. You would have to gather up 100 coupons to get a single penny! That is like our deeds before we are redeemed:

...And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...

- Isaiah 64:6

Front time to time I receive messages from a dear brother in Messiah, Kevin Smithson.  He travels extensively with his bride, Heather, and shares amazing stories of faith.  Here is his latest:

I have desired to get information out to you all about some awesome things GOD is doing and our many travels since getting back to TX.  However, I have not made the time to get it done.  When I saw this I definitely wanted to get this great story to you.   So, even though it is nearly a month since he sent it, here it is.

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our  iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we  are healed."- Isaiah 53:5

I was thinking of this passage this morning as I was wrapping tefillin.  For  those of you who aren't familiar with tefillin they look like this:

During a men's study today an interesting analogy I have been using was further fleshed out by a friend of mine, Jon Coll.  The analogy is one involving football and faith.

By coming to faith in Yeshua we have "joined His team" so to speak.  We are each called to "play in the game" we are assigned.  We are also called to play by the rules: to act honorably (Hebrew 13:18) and to stop sinning (1 Corinthians 15:34) .  The basic rules that apply to every player are the "rules" found in Torah: the traditionally counted 613 commandments.  Everyone has the same "out of bounds", the same rules regarding fouls, etc.  Even though every person plays by the same rules the "Coach" gives each person individual assignments and tasks to carry out.

Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Shishi, 17 Cheshvan, 5780

Friday, November 15, 2019


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