Day: August 1, 2023

Danger of Pride

Danger of Pride

By Eric Carlson in 08_2023-1 on August 1, 2023

Pride is the most significant hindrance to unity and congregational growth that we and most other congregations suffer. Pride is the root cause of rebellion against God, Congregational Splits, self-righteousness, arrogance, and un-forgiveness.

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 “Be careful not to forget ADONAI your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. 12 Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, 13 and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, 14 you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting ADONAI your God – who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves; 15 who led you through the vast and fearsome desert, with its poisonous snakes, scorpions and waterless, thirsty ground; who brought water out of flint rock for you; 16 who fed you in the desert with man, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end – 17 you will think to yourself, ‘My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 No, you are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth, in order to confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as is happening even today.

Pride is an issue that everyone else notices you have but you! A prideful heart lends us to think we do things ourselves and forget about or even worse remove God and His teachings from our Culture, Government, homes, and families. This is where we are at as individuals and as a Nation. We’ve forgotten who got us here and what we’ve been delivered from! Verse 19 is the end result of the Sin of Pride:

Deuteronomy 8:19. If you forget ADONAI your God, follow other gods and serve and worship them, I am warning you in advance today that you will certainly perish.

God hates pride, self-righteousness, and arrogance:

Proverbs 8:13. The fear of ADONAI is hatred of evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil ways and duplicitous speech

Why does God hate this? For the very same reason He mentioned in Deuteronomy 8; pride is a hindrance in seeking Him, pride separates us from the presence of Adonai.

Psalm 10:4. Every scheme of the wicked in his arrogance [says], “There is no God, [so] it won’t be held against me.”

This arrogant and haughty pride is in opposition to the spirit of humility that God seeks. The “Humble” God blesses with salvation, the “Humble” will inherit the Kingdom of God! We are told to be humble, bearing with one another in love. The prideful are so blinded by their arrogance and pride that they believe they have no need of God. God warns us about this pride, His distaste of it and the consequences of Pride:

Proverbs 16:18-19. Pride goes before destruction, and arrogance before failure. 19 Better to be humble among the poor than share the spoil with the proud.

I do believe we are on the cusp of a Major, Sovereign move of God and because so, there is increased scrutiny in the Kingdom right now by Adonai! He’s cleaning His house! We’ve witnessed many moral failures in the greater body recently! Once a person falls, it’s never the same. Ezekiel l9 decrees that judgment begins in the House of the Lord. Many, Many mega church pastors, psalmists, and worship leaders have stepped down, succumbing to moral failures! We are also swarmed by false prophets.

I want to share a few lines from a well written article published January 20th 2021 by “Christianity Today” regarding the false prophecies:

Unfortunately, social media makes it next to impossible to control the national stage, and consumeristic North American Christians tend to gravitate toward what they’re inclined to hear (2 Tim. 4:3–4. I shared from last Shabbat, tickle the ear). It’s not the fault of true prophets and teachers if false ones often get higher view counts. Times when the prophetic voice is silent in the land are desperate times or even times of judgment (1 Sam. 3:1; Ps. 74:9; Isa. 29:10–12), but times when false prophecy dominates are worse (Jer. 37:19; Zech. 13:1–6).

This means that the law of supply and demand can affect religious media. When people do not want true prophecy, they will get what is false.

Jeremiah 5:31. The prophets prophesy lies, the cohanim obey the prophets, and my people love it that way. But what will you do at the end of it all?

If consumers of a particular political or other bent want to hear prophecies that support their desires, prophets who meet those felt needs will become most popular. Recent history suggests that some of them will maintain most of their audiences even when their prophecies fail.

Especially in difficult times, most prophets tell people what they want to hear (Jer. 6:14; 8:11; 14:13), making things all the harder for true prophets (15:10, 15–18; 20:7–18). But God reveals the burden of proof:

Jeremiah 28:8–9. The prophets who were here before me and before you prophesied in times past against many countries and against great kingdoms about war, disaster and plagues. 9 As for a prophet who prophesies peace – when the word of that prophet is fulfilled, it will be evident concerning that prophet that ADONAI indeed did send him.

At the other extreme from inflexible defenders of prophecies are those who are tempted to throw out prophecy altogether, neglecting the baby in that bath water.

The humblest prophets who were wrong have apologized. Even when we speak initially, we must remain humble and frame our opinions carefully where we lack certainty.

HaSatan was cast out of heaven because of Pride.

Isaiah 14:12-15. “How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star, son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations? 13 You thought to yourself, ‘I will scale the heavens, I will raise my throne above God’s stars. I will sit on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north. 14 I will rise past the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 “Instead you are brought down to Sh’ol, to the uttermost depths of the pit.

With great arrogance and puffed-up pride HaSatan had the audacity to attempt to make himself equal to God the ruler of the universe. Like HaSatan, those who defiantly rebel against God and rise up against Him will face disaster and death. Yet this same defiant, rebellious, self-righteous pride is not only in the world but is in the body of believers! We see it in those who will not change from their old ways, in those who will not admit wrong doing, and those who will not forgive.

Why is pride so sinful? Because we as individuals receive all the praise glory and honor vice God. God explicitly states that He cannot abide in or leave unpunished those that are prideful because He demands to receive all of the Praise, Honor, and Glory He is due as these references state:

Psalms 101:5. If someone slanders another in secret, I will cut him off. Haughty eyes and proud hearts I cannot abide.

Proverbs 16:5. ADONAI detests all those with proud hearts; be assured that they will not go unpunished.

Isaiah 2:17. The pride of man will be bowed down, the arrogance of men will be humiliated, and when that day comes, ADONAI alone will be exalted.

Ezekiel 28:5. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and it is because of your wealth that you have become so proud.

Malachi 4:1. For the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble; the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says ADONAI-Tzva’ot, “and leave them neither root nor branch

Rulers of Nations are brought down because of Pride, a grave warning to our own leaders today!

Daniel 5:20-21. But when he grew proud and his spirit became hard, he began treating people arrogantly, so he was deposed from his royal throne, and his glory was taken away from him. 21 He was driven from human society, his heart was made like that of an animal, he lived with the wild donkeys, he was fed with grass like an ox, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky; until he learned that the Most High God rules in the human kingdom and sets up over it whomever he pleases.

Pride must be dealt with in order to allow us to prepare as a body for revival and Yeshua’s return.

II Chronicle 7:14. then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.

To be humble is to have an absence of pride. Are you headed for a downfall through pride? Let’s review the manifestations of Pride and if one or more of these apply to you, repent, for your not humble:

  1. Pride makes us feel special and unique. This is not referring to the uniqueness of God creating us in His image. It’s the self-esteem which makes you feel more important than others in the Body of Messiah. Does this relate to you?

  1. Pride leads to concentration on our rights instead of our responsibilities. Are you looking at how your rights have been violated instead of looking at how you can be responsible and accountable to God?

  1. Pride produces hardness of heart. Are you insensitive to the needs of others? The first sign of pride is when we begin to withhold love from others.

  1. Pride produces a lack of forgiveness. “Why should I forgive them? They hurt me!” Have you ever said or thought that?

  1. Pride produces self-pity. Self-pity is a bottomless pit; it’s never satisfied. Many times we fall into self-pity because we violate the scripture that tells us not to compare ourselves with each other.

II Corinthians 10:12. We don’t dare class or compare ourselves with some of the people who advertise themselves. In measuring themselves against each other and comparing themselves with each other, they are simply stupid.

  1. Pride produces fear of man. Are you more concerned with what people think than what God thinks? There are usually two causes; One, we haven’t seen the greatness of God for the situation; Two, our focus is on ourselves rather than God.

  1. Pride produces an un-teachable spirit. How long does it take you to repent when conviction has been brought by the Ruach HaKodesh? If it takes a long time there’s more work the Ruach needs to do in your life concerning pride.

  1. Pride prefers selfish interests over other’s needs. What are your interests or motivations?

  1. Pride will not admit mistakes. Do you say; “I’m always right?” Do you blame others and excuse yourself!

  1. Pride leads us to rely on our own wisdom and understanding. It brings about an inability to see clearly, to think things through, and to hear the Word of the Lord. If pride has a place in your heart you will misunderstand what God is saying. Are you having that problem?

  1. Pride produces an independent or non-submissive spirit that leads us to adhere to the letter of the law, neglecting the spirit of the law. Are you in this category?

  1. Pride responds with judgment, slander, and criticism – sometimes speaking the truth to someone who doesn’t have a right to or a need to know. Do you do that?

  1. Pride produces discontentment. Are you discontent with where God led you and the people, He has put you with? Are you always wanting to go somewhere else and doing something else? God has led you to where you’re at until you are content with where He’s led you; stop looking somewhere else. God does not authorize spiritual butterflies or spiritual bumblebees.

  1. Pride makes excuses before it begins. If the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) is going to receive the glory in and through your life, don’t make excuses that rob the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) from receiving any glory. Just be quiet and do what you’ve been told to do. Are you making excuses?

  1. Pride produces insecurity and low self-esteem. The way you can become the center of attention is by concentrating on your insecurity and your low self-esteem. You require validation. When we understand who we are in Him it puts our lives in proper perspective and insecurity is removed. Who are you in God?

  1. Pride is envious and jealous. Do you not rejoice with others blessings but rather concentrate on why you weren’t blessed. Pride is the heart of selfishness.

  1. Pride creates disloyalty and undermines authority. It is Absalom meeting people when they come out from David; He hugs and kisses them and says, “Oh, poor David doesn’t understand; If I were king this is how I would have handled your situation.” Have you been guilty of undermining authority because of pride?

  1. Pride is ungrateful. Are things never quite good enough?

  1. Pride concentrates on what has not been done. “I’ve never been invited to their home. They’ve never had me for dinner.” Stop concentrating on yourself. Have you ever invited them for a meal? Have you invited them for thirty meals?

There are no easy ways to stop PRIDE from operating in our lives.  The influence of Pride is in every level of Society, the world thrives on it. A commitment to change and keeping to the commitment is how we begin. 

Habakkuk 2:4. “Look at the proud: he is inwardly not upright; but the righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness 

James 4:6. But the grace he gives is greater, which is why it says, “God opposes the arrogant, but to the humble he gives grace.” 

As we are preparing for the Feast Days next month, I pray that we all look inward to rid ourselves of all sin that we may come before the Lord with cleans hands and a pure heart!  

Blessings, 

Rabbi Eric S Carlson 

Rabbi and Rebbitzen’s Corner August 2023

Rabbi and Rebbitzen’s Corner August 2023

By Eric Carlson in 08_2023-2 on August 1, 2023

Shalom Mishpocha!

August is here already! Half the summer has flown by! It’s a time to relax before the school year starts. The original name of the month of August was originally a Latin word, Sextilis. In the 8th century BC, during the early Medieval period, the month was renamed to August in honor of Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor. August 1st is Airforce Day. The Air Force Day was established on August 1, 1947, by President Truman “in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintained our nation’s air strength.” August 1 was chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment, in 1907, of the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army. The United States Airforce became a separate military service on September 18th, 1947. United States Coast Guard Day is recognized on August 4 to commemorate the founding of the United States Coast Guard as the Revenue Marine on August 4, 1790, by then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. On that date, U.S. Congress, guided by Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of the first ten Revenue Service cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by the U.S. Congress under the U.S. Constitution.

As you read this, we are 45 days from the Fall High Holy Days, the Fall Feasts! We will have a Fall Feast Schedule too you soon! August is also the month of our highly acclaimed “Youth Service” which is Friday, August 11th, 2023, at 7:30PM where the youth run the entire service! Invite your friends and family to this special night that our youth have worked so hard to prepare for!

August is the warmest and most humid month of the year! We are also experiencing above normal, record high ocean temperatures! This is a recipe for numerous and strong hurricanes. Make sure you understand how to interpret local weather forecasts and alerts, and know what to do before, during, and after a storm. Make sure you are prepared before the storms begin! You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. I recommend you have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 30 days (store a longer than 30-day supply of water, if possible). Electricity and water could be out for weeks. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones. If you have a generator, make sure you have plenty of fuel to last the duration of power outages. If you are considering purchasing a generator do so now before hurricanes form, generators quickly become unavailable! And lastly, don’t forget supplies for your pets! If you live in hurricane, flood prone areas make sure you know what your evacuation zone is and have an evacuation plan!

It’s also time to prepare for our children’s return to school in a few short weeks as families begin shopping for school clothes and supplies! Enjoy these last days of summer! I hope and pray you embrace the beauty and blessings of this new month of August! Enjoy time with friends and family! Be safe and stay cool!

Love and Blessings 

 Rabbi and Rebbitzen!

Elul – 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Elul – 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting

By Eric Carlson in 08_2023-3 on August 1, 2023

The biblical month of Elul begins Thursday evening, August 17th at sunset. The 1st of Elul begins a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days! It marks 30 days until Yom Teruah and 40 days till Yom Kippur. Elul is seen as a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement when the Sefer HaChaim, the Book of Life is opened on Yom Kippur, The Day of purging. The month of Elul is likened to a king visiting his subjects in the field before returning to his palace.

Elul is an Akkadian word for “harvest”. The Jewish names of months came from our captivity in Babylon. Scripture refers to the months by their numerical order except for the first month of the new year, Aviv. Elul is a time to search one’s heart to draw closer to Adonai. It is customary to recite Psalm 27 every day during this 40-day period of seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. The 27th Psalm is one of trust, the psalmist has no fear of enemies while in the Lord’s protection. This Psalm is extremely relevant in our day today:

Psalm 27. By David: ADONAI is my light (Ori) and salvation (Yeshua); whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. 4 Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple. 5 For he will conceal me in his shelter (Sukkah) on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock. 6 Then my head will be lifted up above my surrounding foes, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, sing praises to ADONAI. 7 Listen, ADONAI, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me. 8 “My heart said of you, ‘Seek my face.’ “Your face, ADONAI, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, don’t turn your servant away in anger. You are my help; don’t abandon me; don’t leave me, God my savior. 10 Even though my father and mother have left me, ADONAI will care for me. 11 Teach me your way, ADONAI; lead me on a level path because of my enemies 12 don’t give me up to the whims of my foes; for false witnesses have risen against me, also those who are breathing violence. 13 If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living, 14 Put your hope in ADONAI, be strong, and let your heart take courage! Yes, put your hope in ADONAI!

The reason this Psalm is fundamental to this period of T’Shuvah (repentance) is that it contains references to all three fall feasts: “my light,” ori in Hebrew refers to Yom Teruah as the shofar announces the arrival of Adonai, the “or”, the light! My Salvation, Yeshua refers to the atonement He gave us for Yom Kippur. Then David states Adonai would hide him in his sukkah in the times of trouble, referring to the holiday of Sukkot in verse 5.

Psalm 27:13 also contains a textual oddity: “If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living.” The phrase “If I hadn’t” in Hebrew is lule which when read backwards spells Elul. Salvation comes from devoted trust in Adonai’s mercy, goodness, and salvation. These 40 days are an awakening from the apathy and slumber induced by sin. The Fall Feasts are Moedim, Divine Appointments that God established, specific times that He’d be among His people! Its critical to prepare for these appointed times.

Isaiah 55:6-7. Seek ADONAI while he is available, call on him while he is still nearby. 7 Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; let him return to ADONAI, and he will have mercy on him; let him return to our God, for he will freely forgive.

The services in these 40 days of Elul are referred to as Selichot Services from:

Psalm 130:4. But with you there is forgiveness (selichah: forgiveness, pardon), so that you will be feared.

This word exclusively refers to God’s mercy to grant forgiveness, to pardon the sins of those who repent. Selichah is found only three times in the Tanach, once in Psalm 130:4 the other two are in profound prayers of repentance. The first in Nehemiah where he recalled our rebellion and Adonai’s compassion toward us:

Nehemiah 9:16-17. “‘But they and our ancestors were arrogant; they stiffened their necks and ignored your mitzvot; 17 they refused to listen and paid no attention to the wonders you had done among them. No, they stiffened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a leader to return them to their slavery. But because you are a God of forgiveness (selichah), merciful, full of compassion, slow to grow angry and full of grace, you did not abandon them.

And then in Daniels powerful prayer of repentance upon reading in Jeremiah that Israel’s 70 years of captivity and exile in Babylon/Persia was complete. Daniel immediately began repenting for Israel’s sins that had resulted in our exile:

Daniel 9:8-10. Yes, ADONAI, shame falls on us, our kings, our leaders and our ancestors; because we sinned against you. 9 It is for Adonai our God to show compassion and forgiveness (selichah), because we rebelled against him. 10 We didn’t listen to the voice of ADONAI our God, so that we could live by his laws, which he presented to us through his servants the prophets.

The prophet Jeremiah is a holy Set Up for this time of Elul prayer and repentance! Things were as bleak in Jeremiah’s’ time as they are for us today! What we learn from Jeremiah is that it didn’t have to be the way it ended! I want to read two excerpts from Jeremiah 23 though I’m tempted to paste the entire chapter:

Jeremiah 23:1-4. “Oh no! The shepherds are destroying and scattering the sheep in my pasture!” says ADONAI. 2 Therefore this is what ADONAI, the God of Isra’el, says against the shepherds who shepherd my people: “You have scattered my flock, driven them away and not taken care of them. So I will ‘take care of’ you because of your evil deeds,” says ADONAI. 3 “I myself will gather what remains of my flock from all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their homes, and they will be fruitful and increase their numbers. 4 I will appoint shepherds over them who will shepherd them; then they will no longer be afraid or disgraced; and none will be missing,” says ADONAI.

We are in the great apostasy-much of the greater body looks like the world! Then he states:

Jeremiah 23:16-18. ADONAI-Tzva’ot says: “Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are making you act foolishly, telling you visions from their own minds and not from the mouth of ADONAI. 17 They keep reassuring those who despise me, ‘ADONAI says you will be safe and secure,’ and saying to all living by their own stubborn hearts, ‘Nothing bad will happen to you.’ 18 But which of them has been present at the council of ADONAI to see and hear his word? Who has paid attention to his word enough to hear it?”

These verses accurately reveal our own situation today!! Our own shepherds have scattered the sheep with lying spirits and doctrines of demons! Manmade religion that espouses and even accepts the immoral culture they live in! Almost every denomination has split over the LGBQT false narrative, same sex marriage, BLM, and wokeism. The greater body is overwhelmed with false prophets who are not hearing or speaking the voice of Adonai! They speak their own words and proclaim dreams that aren’t from Adonai and don’t come to pass! The greater body is in apostasy like Judah was back in Jeremiah’s day.

It’s such a sad story that didn’t have to be!! Judah was given a choice to serve and obey Adonai and His Torah or not! Their negative answer of course resulted in their demise and destruction! They tried to kill Jeremiah for speaking truth and just as they tried to kill Yeshua for speaking truth! The cancel culture today is doing everything in its power to silence the voice of truth, the word of Adonai! An evil and wicked generation hates the light and rejects all truth! We are at a similar crossroads! We too have a choice! Will we intercede, repent, and pray for this nation to turn back to Adonai? Or remain apathetic and complacent until our nation is judged and destroyed!

To date, as a nation, we still haven’t repented! Instead, we’ve catered to prophecies that tickle our ear to hear what we want to hear. Our sins are no less great than Israel’s; our pride is a clenched fist in the face of God, our arrogance an act of self-centeredness, and our defiance is willful disobedience to the God of heaven and earth; creator and sustainer of families, governments, even life itself. The more we defy Adonai as a nation the worse our situation becomes. Our sexual immorality, passing our children through the fires of Molech (abortion) even live birth abortion, idolatry, insolence, and disobedience to our founding covenants with Him as our nation was birthed.

God is shaking the very foundations of the Earth and the Body of Messiah. As I’ve been sharing for several years now, we’re in the last days! What we are experiencing today is recorded throughout the word! Soon the Shofar will sound, and the Messianic Reign of God will be established upon this earth and Yeshua will return to rule as King over all the earth! Until then let us not relent in sharing the Good News and calling upon all to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Blessings,

Rabbi Eric S Carlson!