“There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation – oh how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.” (Proverbs 30:11-13)

Sadly, our generation mirrors many of the characteristics of a generation that does not honor and bless its parents. Many of us are indeed “pure in our own eyes,” yet remain rebellious to the very people YHWH specifically told us to honor. How this must grieve our Father’s heart to see our families falling apart.

In recent years, as I became serious about studying YHWH’s Word, my need for instruction in the area of honoring my parents became very evident. I wish to share with you a testimony of the Father’s faithfulness to my family.

The time in my life that I found it most difficult to honor my parents came when they decided to home school me and my three younger brothers. I was twelve years old, and this was also when we, as a family, were making the transition from being perfectly normal Baptist Christians to Torah-honoring, Messianic Israelites. Those were confusing times, and I must admit that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with all the changes we were making. I didn’t truly honor and trust my parents; in fact, I quite honestly believed they simply delighted in aggravating me by making our family as weird as they possibly could!

Fortunately, my parents did not give up on me. Although I’m sure it wasn’t easy, they remained patient and loving while explaining why they believed YHWH had called us to a different walk. It was during this time that I believe the Father instilled in me a great respect for my parents and a desire to seek Him as they did. Eventually, I began to grasp the error of the lifestyle I was clinging to, and began to see the beauty and blessing that is found when we lay our lives before our Creator and allow Him to guide us in the ways of His Kingdom.

As children, I’ve found that we’re placed under the authority and protection of our parents for many reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that they hold a special calling from YHWH to teach us the commandments and provide an example for us to follow. As I write this, I am convicted of the many times I’ve chosen not to take advantage of following my parents’ example and instead went my own way. Yet I’ve found there is hope and renewal in repentance.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Yeshua the Messiah (Phillipians 1:6).

What a wonderful promise that is! We can certainly apply it to the subject of honoring our parents. If we come before YHWH with a repentant heart and a desire to please Him in the future, He is faithful to change us by teaching us how to truly honor our parents. Let’s be a generation that honors and blesses our parents and brings glory to our Father in Heaven!

“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)

Do you honor your parents too?

“Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be lengthened upon the land that Hashem, your God, gives you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Kibud Av Va’em is the Hebrew phrase that encompasses everything that “honor your father and mother” means. As with many Hebrew phrases quoted from the Torah, it means so much more than its face value. It is also a requirement that applies to all of us – no exceptions.

Because it permeates our entire lives, its meaning and specifications change as we mature. When we are young living in our parents’ home, the meaning is somewhat basic: be obedient. The best way to honor our parents is to listen to what they say, and follow their instructions for what we can and cannot do.

When we reach adolescence, the meaning of Kibud Av Va’em changes a bit. While we should still be obedient to what our parents tell us to do, we also have to learn how to interact with them. A new dynamic is introduced in our relationship – we are beginning to approach adulthood and take on the roles and responsibilities that accompany this transition. However, we must temper this changing time with the fact that our parents are still our parents – we do not become their equals just because we begin to mature.

Adulthood brings with it a whole new set of issues. The age difference between twenty and forty-five seems much less significant than the difference between ten and thirty-five. We tend to feel that when we reach adulthood, the relationship that we have with our mother and father should take on more consideration for us. After all, we have reached adulthood, and we desire to be treated as equals. We have begun to live on our own and provide for ourselves. We may have gotten married and begun to raise children. There is now more than ever, so much that we have in common. This tends to be the time when we lose sight of our responsibilities to our parents. Many of us know that we are to provide for our parents when they can no longer provide for themselves – in very much the same way they provided for us when we could not. Many of us fully intend to take on this responsibility when the time comes. However, at the age of forty or fifty, our parents do not seem to need this type of care from us yet. They are self-sufficient – they seem to be very much in the prime of their lives. What could they possibly need from us? What could we as new adults with our own families possibly have to offer them? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with carving out a place for ourselves and our own family?

We still want to have a relationship with them though, but we want to be treated as adults, as parents, as professionals – as equals! We are no longer the kids that took instruction from them, the adolescents that had to follow their rules. We are making our own rules now, and we want them to recognize, and in some cases, be obedient to them. We are ready to trade in the position of honor for one of mutual respect and friendship.

About seven years ago, I went through a series of situations that nearly destroyed my relationship with my father and mother. Catherine and I were busy raising a very active two year-old and newborn twins. I had a new job with increased responsibility, and I felt it was my time to demonstrate that I was now the father to be honored – in short, it was my turn to be in charge.

It was not that I didn’t love my parents – I did then, and still do today. What brought this change about were my feelings of equality with my mother and father. After all, we were all adults now – I was no longer a child, and did not want to be treated as one. I had left their house and their authority and started my own family. I even had scripture to back up the position I was taking: And the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:23-24).

I had so many responsibilities to my own family that there was little time to think about honoring my “old one.” And even if I had thought about it, what could I have done differently? We still visited my parents, and they visited us. They got to see their grandchildren as often as was feasible, and I felt that we were doing fine relationship-wise. But I did not want to be told how to run my household, or how to raise my children.

Another detail came into the picture that had not existed before. Catherine and I were raised in the Episcopal Church, which practiced infant Baptism by sprinkling. We were not attending that church anymore, and wondered if we should have the twins Baptized. After much prayer on the matter, we decided that the reasons for it were not what we believed, and we decided not to do it. It was not an easy decision to make, as it was the first real break with the established religion that I had known since I was a child.

We decided to tell my parents about our decision, because we did not want them wondering why they had not been invited to the baptism (as they had no reason to suspect that we would not have them baptized).

The news went over a bit less successfully than I had anticipated. I never imagined that my mother and father would take the news so hard. My father even went so far as to insinuate that if anything happened to the twins, they would go to Hell. Both of them were sure I had joined a cult.

We could have gotten through this and maintained our relationship with my parents had the events that followed not taken place. I was sure that we had made the right decision concerning the baptism, but I did not want to be challenged on the matter. I assumed that any correspondence from my parents would seek to challenge my decision, so I chose not to deal with the correspondence. My father called and left messages; I did not call back. My mother wrote letters; I did not write her back. I did what many of us do when we are young and dumb – I chose not to deal with the situation at hand. Perhaps I thought that if I ignored it, that it would go away.

I justified the decision based partly on what I had learned from verses like Matthew 19:28-29: And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.”

I had departed from what I saw as a dead, lifeless religion, set on finding “truth.” The Bible said that this was OK – I could ignore my family in the name of Yeshua. I was finding my way with my new family, trying to walk in the way that YHWH wanted me to walk. However, what I succeeded in doing was alienating myself from people that loved me, and presenting a terrible witness for devotion to Yeshua. I also succeeded in dishonoring my parents, although I did not realize it at the time. The people who had given so much, were repaid by my growing up and turning my back on them.

I am not saying that I should have had the twins baptized – that was a decision that Catherine and I made only after weeks of prayer and serious thought. What I should not have done was ignore my parents. They were confused, perhaps upset, and maybe even a bit angry. But they could not have forced me to do something that I didn’t think was right, and I should have realized this. I made a stand based on a scripture I did not understand. I thought I was free of any responsibility, just because they did not believe as I did. I ran away, when what I should have done was to stand firm in what I believed, and love and honor them as I always had. I had no reason to run away, because I had not done anything wrong. I had merely begun to grow in my understanding of my relationship with Yeshua.

How many Believers have fallen into this same trap when they begin to discover their Hebrew roots, and explore this Messianic lifestyle? It is so easy to take on a feeling of superiority, knowing that we have discovered the truth, and everyone else is walking in sin and darkness. Some of us may even desire to share it with our families, only to find that what we are saying is met with glazed eyes and unbelieving ears. Sometimes there really is a feeling on their part that we have gone terribly wrong. Most times however, they just want to understand what we are talking about.

What do we do then? Having convinced ourselves that this is the only path and all others lead straight to Hell, we isolate ourselves from those who were skeptical of our new-found “faith”. We search for like-minded individuals with which to fellowship, only to find that they are few indeed. Finally, we find ourselves stuck – we have burned the bridge back to our family, and we cannot seem to find any way off this uninhabited island we have created for ourselves.

About a year later I found out that I was to be transferred to Colorado. I did not want to move halfway across the country without making amends for my actions. I had cut them off, shut them out of our lives. I knew that I had hurt them, and I needed to ask for forgiveness. I visited my parents before we left. The visit was brief, and rather cold. They said they forgave me, but I could tell that they had not forgotten what I had done.

While we were in Colorado, I called my parents on their birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I could tell each time that the miles were not the only distance between us. After a year in Colorado, I decided to leave the Army. We moved home to South Carolina, and I got a job in Columbia as a software developer. I had hoped that during my absence, my parents would have softened to what had happened two years earlier. However, I found this not to be the case. I could tell that they had not forgotten what I had done.

At first I thought that they still harbored resentment about the baptism. It was not until about three years ago, when I was at a Torah study in Columbia that I really began to understand the whole picture, and become aware of exactly what I had done. We were discussing the topic of honoring parents. I had always seen the fact that Abraham had left his home to follow YHWH as similar to my own situation. God had called Abraham out of his home and away from his family, just as I believed that He had done with me. We were talking about this when someone said, “But Abraham never severed ties with his parents.” The moment these words were spoken, I felt as if YHWH was speaking directly to me – Abraham never severed ties with his parents! This was true – they worshipped false gods, but he still considered them his parents. In fact, he sent his servant Eliezer to his father’s house to get a bride for Isaac. I realized that I had gone terribly wrong in my relationship with my parents. I also realized that I had no idea what it meant to honor my father and mother!

I immediately called my parents and invited them to my house – they refused my invitation. I invited them a second time and they said they would think about it, but then declined. I made trips to their house with the children, trying to demonstrate to them that I wanted them to be a part of our lives. And while this was going on, I was dealing with the fact that honoring our parents might be a command for life, and that I had somehow gotten very confused over its meaning.

What I discovered through this whole process is that the relationship we have with YHWH should mirror the relationship we have with our parents. I am not saying that we need to elevate our parents to the status of deity – what I am saying is that we learn how to interact with YHWH by interacting with our parents. And if, along the way, we build a lasting, personal relationship with YHWH, then at the very minimum, we owe our parents our lives, for showing us our Salvation.

When we are young, our relationship with our parents is one of dependence – we need them for everything. As we grow older, we transition to a relationship of obedience – we need them to teach us. Finally, when we are grown and no longer seem to need them, our relationship becomes one of gratitude – they have given so much, and in most cases, made tremendous sacrifices, to get us to where we are now. We owe them everything! How can we – how could I – turn away from them as if we don’t need them anymore?

I am not saying that my parents were or are perfect. They made plenty of mistakes in my life and during the past several years, but this was not license to terminate the relationship I had with them – especially if I wanted them to accept my apology for the mistakes I had made.

Honoring your kids is the best thing you can do for a healthy parent-child relationship.

Honoring our parents is our way of showing them that we appreciate the things they have done for us. Many things that our parents have done can never be repaid – even in monetary terms. We can not assign a price to the nights they sat up with us when we were sick or the kindness and understanding they showed us when no one would play with us at school. We did not have to beg for meals, and we always had a place to sleep and a roof over our heads. Our parents provided all of our physical needs, in the same way that YHWH provides all of our spiritual needs. It also serves to remind us that no matter how old we get, we will never be our parents’ equal. We will never be the same age, and we will probably never call them by their first names. Their position is set apart with regard to us – we are not on the same level with them.

When we begin a new family – when we leave and cleave – this is not license to stop honoring our parents. Just because we start a new family does not mean that we should forget all that they did for us to prepare us for this time. The command to honor our father and mother is also the only commandment that has a condition attached to it – …so that your days may be lengthened upon the land that Hashem, your God, gives you. Our children learn how to honor us by watching us honor our parents. If we do not honor our parents in the sight of our children, what are we teaching them? We are teaching them that parents are only useful when they are young; when they grow up, they will have no need for us. Failing to honor our parents does not necessarily mean that we will die at an early age (i.e., not live long in the land YHWH gives us) – it also means that we will be forgotten by our children when they do not honor us, just as we have forgotten our parents by not honoring them.

Honoring our parents does not mean that we have to accept their advice on all matters. It does mean that we should remember that there is probably experience behind the advice, and even if we decline it, we should do so with gratitude and respect.

We are commanded to honor our parents in the same manner that we are to recognize the existence of YHWH as our Creator. How we treat our parents will ultimately reflect what kind of relationship we have with YHWH – are we grateful to Him for our Salvation? Do we call on Him only when we need something, or do we have a daily interaction with Him? Will we eventually put away our relationship with YHWH because we don’t need Him anymore?

One of the hardest things for an adult to do, as I have witnessed, is to recognize that he owes his life to another person or people. But that is exactly the case with our parents. We owe them our lives; in the independence of adulthood, we must remain humble and remember this fact. We must honor them – we must show our gratitude for all that they have done, and remember that one day we will be in the same position with our own children. What will we teach them, and how will they treat us?

Let me begin by saying it is a privilege to write again for Messianic Home. My family has experienced so much of YHWH’s grace over the last four years. At times it has been difficult for us to know the direction He was leading us and we still seek to know His will. I am very thankful for the grace and patience Scott, Jane, their family, and all of our friends at Lamb Fellowship have extended to us. You have blessed us more than you will ever know.

I am also very thankful for the patience shown to me by my father and mother. They have struggled from the beginning with this “Messianic” direction we have taken and looking back it is no wonder…

Mom, Dad, my brother, and I grew up attending Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN. As those that live in this area can attest – the name was a description of the land and not an indication of the spiritual condition. Our lives centered around the church and the activities that took place there. I don’t recall my family having any close friends outside of our church. Many times after church on Sunday we gathered with those friends for a large meal and then while the adults discussed the issues of the day, church and otherwise, we participated in a big game of tackle football in the front yard, rain or shine, hot or cold. Dad always allowed us to keep playing, even though the game had a terrible effect on our yard.

I remember when I was nine years old going to church and listening to a woman testify of how she was saved. I don’t remember her name, but her testimony jolted me and I saw myself for the first time. I knew then that I needed what she had. The next Sunday, during the invitation, I went forward and confessed before my pastor and the congregation that I was a sinner and needed to be saved. YHWH, I believe through His Son Yeshua, whom I knew as Jesus, saved me on that first day of spring 1970. Yeshua made Himself real to me and just like Paul, I could not deny the experience I had with the Messiah that day.

Mom and Dad stood with me in my decision to follow Christ. They were still supportive several years afterwards when in high school I made friends with and began to fellowship with some charismatic brothers and sisters and to experience and see things I had never seen before.

After Sherri and I married, we began attending an Assembly of God Church in Bowling Green, KY. On occasion my parents would visit, although they never quite felt comfortable with all the excitement that was generated in those services, but they still supported us. I truly believe they were just glad to see us active in a church, although different from their own, still a church.

After many years away, we were able to move back to Lebanon and live on a small farm next to my parents. We now had 6 children and we wanted a church where we could all worship and study together. After searching awhile we finally began a home fellowship with another family. Again it was not what my parents would have chosen. They would have liked us to fellowship with them, but they got used to the idea and supported us.

Please understand that it has always been important to me to respect and honor my parents. When I thought that my father or mother would disapprove of something we were doing I would be in turmoil until I could prove to them that what we were doing was okay.

Looking back it probably began at Passover. As we studied in our home fellowship we began to realize that the religious holidays we observed were not biblical and we decided to observe Passover. So we found a Seder to attend and did it. Our first biblical feast was wonderful. But, still having no real conviction against Easter we also participated in the family egg hunt that year. All was still well with the family, however it was too late – a seed had been planted.

YHWH began to reveal many things to us in Scripture, and we began to have questions. I don’t believe it was coincidence that a family – with the last name Diffenderfer – moved to Lebanon from Florida and joined us in our home fellowship. I’ll never forget the first meeting they attended – we served pork hotdogs. I didn’t realize until later why they weren’t very hungry that evening.

A spiritual earthquake was about to take place in our lives and the aftershock would be felt for miles – well at least over the hill.

Needless to say my parents were concerned. Within a short period of time we embraced what was to them a very strange, foreign doctrine. Sacred titles and names were changed. Christmas and Easter were gone. Pesach, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Succoth were the new holidays. No more pepperoni pizza, pork barbeque, shrimp, catfish, or crab legs. In Tennessee the question is, can you eat breakfast without sausage, bacon, or country ham? To them the prohibited food list was endless. I can still see the look on my mother’s face when she tried to serve the children jello…

“Cult” – that was the word used many times to describe our small group. Our belief was so radically different. We acted and sometimes looked Jewish, but we believed in the Messiah. A very odd combination looking through the eyes of my parents steeped in a rich southern Baptist tradition.

Through all this my parents still loved me. They have shown me time and time again what love is. All through Scripture I see things we can argue about and disagree on but we cannot disagree on the subject of love. I confess that in my zeal to walk this walk I have been guilty of not loving others as I should and sometimes that included my parents. One of my greatest times was when I was able to sit down with my dad and share with Him what I believed. He was so relieved that in all the changes we had made that I had not abandoned the fundamentals of the faith. I still believed in the deity of Yeshua, and only through Him could I be saved.

The most important fundamental element of our faith is love. I am eternally thankful to my parents for leaving a legacy of that kind of love for me and my children.

I want to encourage you as you walk this walk and begin to understand YHWH’s word to remember what James tells us, that if we offend in one point we are guilty of all. The 5th commandment is not conditional or optional; Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which YHWH thy Elohim giveth thee.

Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity (love), I am nothing.

For more details go to https://www.biblegateway.com/

Dear Mom,

Even though it happened over a year ago, I remember your words as if you just spoke them. I had just told you that we were leaving Virginia and moving to Lebanon, Tennessee to join LAMB Fellowship. “I’m just afraid that you might be joining a cult”, were your words. I was surprised, but not shocked, for you were not the first nor the last to use the “cult” word. “Sabbatarian”, “Judaizer”, and “Legalistic”, were some of the other labels that were hurled at us by Christian “friends”. I am sure that you did not realize that LAMB Fellowship was made up of a handful of local families who live across town from each other, along with the other regional families who travel a couple of hours to join us for our meetings. I explained to you that we were not moving into a commune where everyone shared their deodorant, toothbrush, wife, etc. Even though I was trying to reassure you that YHWH was leading us to be part of His body here, you needed a different kind of reassurance. You then asked the standard question that is the accepted litmus test of whether someone is involved in a cult or not: “Who do you say Jesus is?” “Wow”, I thought… “my mother actually thinks that we have joined a cult.” I answered with my understanding on what I was taught and/or led to believe in church about who the Christian Jesus was. I then explained to you how I came to realize that there were a lot of things that did not line up between the Christian Jesus and my Israelite Messiah, Yahshua. I wondered if they could possibly be the same being. I told you that I believe in YHWH Almighty as the creator and my Heavenly Father. I believe that He sent His son Yahshua to show us how to live, how to obey our Father YHWH, and then to die an atoning, sacrificial death for those who accept, believe, obey, and endure to the end. I believe that YHWH sends His Spirit to dwell in those true disciples who obey Him to empower us to live an obedient life, sometimes even seeing miraculous, supernatural gifts exhibited. I do not know if this satisfies your desire of belief that I must acknowledge “the trinity” in order to be saved, but this is what I believe the Scripture teaches.

Mom, this is the most difficult letter I have ever written and it hurts to write it. I remember some of the letters you wrote to me when I was a wild worldly young man (although I was a member in good standing at church… when I felt like going). You wrote letters because I would not listen to your words. They made me very uncomfortable so I only let you get so close while carrying on a somewhat pleasant, but shallow relationship. Please forgive me for not honoring you in the past. Although it may not seem like it, I am trying to honor you now. I am walking a path that is difficult; and I have not had the older men around to help lead me through. It is a path that I pray my children will not have to struggle with. It is very difficult, and almost ironic, to teach them to obey me and trust me and follow in my footsteps, when I am not following in the footsteps of my parents. I want to be honest while still compassionate, and that is sometimes difficult for me. But Mom, we now believe things quite a bit differently; and I am afraid for you. You are afraid that I am involved in a cult, while I am convinced that you are practicing a Christianity that teaches false doctrines. Can we believe things that are opposed to each other and both still be right?

Can you please tell me what do you mean by the word “cult”? Does it mean that I am simply believing some things in error? Or is it so serious that my damnable doctrines ensure that I will not inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of YHWH? If I am only in error about some things, I wish someone would point it out. If my beliefs are damnable, I really wish someone would point it out. You asked if I had talked to a Presbyterian Minister about my beliefs. Mom, I spent a good part of my life as a Presbyterian. But I did ask you to set up a meeting with my brothers or any minister or anybody. I welcome it, because I do want to be Scripturally correct. I am still waiting for that meeting… but you better hurry. As your other three sons are looking all over the continent for some place to try and live to survive Y2K, it may become more difficult to get together.

Have you ever looked up the definition of cult? Webster’s says: “a group or system of religious worship”. Great… thanks alot… we are all a cult! So I went to Walter Martin’s book, Kingdom of the Cults, to see how he defined it. He uses Dr. Charles Braden’s definition: “A cult, as I define it, is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture”. Mr. Martin then adds to this that “…a cult might also be defined as a group of people gathered about a specific person or person’s mis-interpretation of the Bible”. Do you see what power these Christian leaders have? Whatever differs from what they consider normal religion can be labeled as a cult. It seems if you do things a little different from the masses (no Catholic cult pun intended), you can be labeled as a cult. Once a person or group is labeled as a cult, they are discredited and there is no reason to even listen to or consider what they believe or why they believe it. According to the Mr. Martin’s first definition, I guess I am in a cult. But I believe I am in good company because my Messiah was accused of not practicing the normal religion of His day. When a false teacher considers me cultic, should I take that as a compliment?

According to the second part of his definition, Christianity is a cult because they follow in the Catholic churches misinterpretations. No, I am not saying that everything Walter Martin or Christianity has taught is false. But not everything the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses teach is false either. Where do we draw the line? Who decides how much we have to believe correctly to inherit eternal life? I believe YHWH does. Whose doctrine are we to follow? Mom, please consider John 7:16-19: Yahshua answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man wills do to His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of Elohim, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?’ The Messiah said that His doctrine was from His Father YHWH; which is written for us in what is called the Old Testament. Yahshua showed us how to obey His Father’s commandments; not how to get away with disobeying them. True doctrine equals obedience. Mom, I am thankful that you introduced me to the Scriptures, for it is in them that I have come to believe what I believe. Sure I read other material and listen to other men teach. But how do I know if they are true, or deceitful? Isaiah had a word of warning and exhortation for us: To the law (Torah) and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20). Is anything I am saying making any sense? I desire so much for us to be able to walk this walk together. I want you to search the Scriptures and see if what we were taught is correct. How do I humbly say that I have walked the Christian walk that the Church teaches and I saw the error, so now I am walking in the truth? I have such a long way to go, but I would never get there in a Christian Church. I must work out my salvation with fear and trembling; worshipping in spirit and truth.

I am not sure at what point we crossed over the line in your eyes. You would sometimes attend services with us at the Messianic Jewish Synagogue when we first started walking this walk. You even joined us for a couple of Passover Seder meals. What was the turning point that caused us not to be able to discuss the Scriptures? Was it the Sabbath and Feasts… rejecting christmas and easter and the other pagan holidays… Annie being convicted to wear a covering and more modest attire… keeping a Scriptural diet… or was it that the newness and excitement had worn off and you saw that these were convictions, not just beliefs? Could it have been my zeal or did I antagonistically cause you to retreat in silence? If this is the case, then please forgive me. I had no right to do that.

Mom, you know me about as well as anyone and you know that I want to be right. But in the past, I wanted to be right so I could say I was right. Now, the stakes are much higher. I want my life to line up with Scripture so that I can teach my children to walk in His ways. Please tell me what we are doing wrong? What is it that keeps you from walking with us? We love His Sabbath and Feasts because they are a gift. Just as King David said: Oh, how I love Your law (Torah), we love His law. If David was a man after YHWH’s own heart why would I not want to learn from his example of loving YHWH’s law? If the Messiah obeyed the law perfectly and He is to be our example, how can we say we love Him and not obey Him? If Paul said: Be imitators of me as I am an imitator of the Messiah, how can people twist Paul’s words and teach that Paul showed us that we need not obey? It just doesn’t make sense. Who can improve on YHWH’s commandments? Has anyone come up with a better plan? How can Sunday church, lunch at a restaurant, shopping, and then watching T.V… how can it compare to a Sabbath dinner at home where we break bread and partake of the fruit of the vine while the children are all saying what they are thankful for… never forgetting to say “And you don’t have to go to work tomorrow”? How can it compare to a restful day at home, reading, singing, praying, taking naps, then getting together in the home of one of the families where we sing, read, share, teach, pray for each other, eat together, and enjoy real fellowship? We pleaded with you to stay with us, to experience it with us. It hurt when you went back home on Friday. But Mom, I am hurting more for you. Many years ago you wrote to me: “Tom, I know things are not right – I can see it in your eyes, I can hear it in your voice. It is very difficult to talk to you at times like this but we must talk”. You also gave me a card that said “It’s been bothering me lately when… I didn’t talk about things with you as I should have… and as you so surely deserved. It’s not that I didn’t want to… it’s just that I sometimes get confused about what’s going on; and the more confused I get, the more silent I get and the more I retreat within to feel safe and secure”. Mom, I know things are not right. I can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice. At times like this it is very difficult to talk to you, but this is no time to be confused, or silent, or to retreat to a false sense of safety and security in your church. Mom, we must talk. If my child was to join something to which I was not part of, you better believe that I would be right there next to him finding out what was going on.

You know that I am not very sentimental, but this is very difficult. I’m sure I could say more but maybe I have used too many of my own words and not prayed for His Spirit to lead you to His own words. Please pray about these Scriptures; I believe YHWH is leading me to share these with you. YHWH is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Thy word is truth (John 17:17). Thy law (Torah) is the truth, and, All thy commandments are truth (Psalm 119:142, 151). Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore, I hate every false way (Psalm 119:104). He that turns away his ear from hearing the law (Torah), even his prayer shall be an abomination (Proverbs 28:9). For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words? (John 5:46, 47). We use to sing the song Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHWH (Deut. 8:3 and Matthew 4:4). The remnant or saints as described in Revelation are those that keep the commandments of YHWH and have the testimony, or faith of Yahshua (Revelation 12:17, 14:12). But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHWH: I will put my law (Torah) in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people (Jer 31:33). Not everyone who calls me, Master, Master, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, did we not prophesy by your Name, and by your name cast out demons, and by your Name do many mighty works? And then I will profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23). The law of YHWH is perfect (Psalm 19:7). Perfection can not be improved upon. The improvement comes when we follow Yahshua’s example of obedience.

Mom, please realize that I do not stand in judgement of your heart. Only YHWH can do that. I see the warnings of Scripture and it concerns me greatly. If you are walking in the truth, then there is nothing I could say or do to cause you to stumble. But if you are walking in the truth, I am not… I wish someone would love me enough to show me the error of my ways. I appreciate everything you did for me growing up; and even after. I know it was not easy raising us four boys by yourself after Dad died. I do not wish that on anyone. I always knew you loved me and for that I am grateful. Could it be though, that somehow you have pointed me towards this narrow path… but you are unwilling to join me? Please Mom, say it ain’t so. My tears are going to make this difficult to read so I better close. I love you, I wouldn’t have taken the time if I didn’t.

Shalom,