Blog Scripture Readings for 10-19 Through 10-25-14



Parashat Noach — Genesis 6:9 – 11:32
Haftarah — Numbers 28:9-15; Isaiah 66:1-24 **
Prophets — Joshua 8:1 – 14:15
Writings — Psalms 11:1 – 18:24
Testimony — Matthew 7:1 – 11:30

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day. One each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

**A different haftarah is read on “Special” Sabbaths in Jewish tradition. This sabbath’s haftarah readings is for when Rosh Chodesh coincides with the Sabbath. The standard haftarah that would be read is Isaiah 54:1–55:5.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 10/19 through 10/25/14.


On Labeling GMO Foods As Such

Oct. 22, 2014
The fight to label GMOs does not vary much from state-to-state.  Citizen-based initiatives are established by people who genuinely care and want to know what they are eating and feeding to their families, while opponents – largely massive conglomerates – counter with a LOT of money and baseless statements that scare people into believing things that simply aren’t true.

Many such pamphlets are currently circulating in advance of the election, and we just can’t stand by and not address some of the points being made.

#1- Labeling GMOs will Raise Prices and Cost Taxpayers Money.  Nonsense.  Companies change their labels all the time for their own purposes and for regulatory reasons, and they don’t pass the cost onto consumers.  It’s considered a cost of doing business.   Think about a fairly recent addition to labels that didn’t arise out of citizen initiatives, rather was passed by congress to ensure there would be clearer understanding of ingredients in packaged foods: The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004.  It affected pretty much every manufacturer of packaged foods containing the top 8 allergen ingredients (soy, wheat, nuts, milk, etc.), and there was no public outcry that the extra bit of ink on the label would cost everyone more money.  Furthermore, there wasn’t even outcry about the substantial effort some companies go through to segregate ingredients if they desire to have no allergens in their products. If removing allergens from products is not a determining factor, then they simply let people know what ingredients they used to make the product. There’s no shame in that; it’s public service and good business practice to be open.

It must also be said that GMO labeling laws have been passed in 64 other countries without prices being affected, and, this is the real kicker, American companies shipping products internationally to those countries with such laws do label their products accordingly!  Truly, the same box of processed food containing GMOs that is sold here without indicating labels is shipped overseas with appropriate labels. Same food, different levels of transparency.  It’s not a money issue.  The only ones it will cost will be the massive corporations because with increased awareness and transparency, more people will choose products without GMOs. Demand will drop and prices for GMO foods will too undoubtedly.

#2- It will Hurt Oregon Farmers.  We are farmers here at Azure, and we don’t think so at all. It only stands to hurt huge corporate interests by providing people the knowledge of what they are eating and thereby reducing demand for GMO products.  BUT, what that does is create a stronger niche and platform for small, medium and even large farmers that want to do right by people and the planet and produce GMO-free products.  Listen, Oregon is known to be individualistic and not cow-tow to the will of corporations. It has a reputation around the globe for being clean and high quality. Think about our Pacific Rim trade partners who buy a tremendous amount from Oregon because they respect that standard and don’t want GMOs.  Labeling GMOs won’t ban them, but it will encourage more farmers to choose GMO-free options to grow.

#3- The Measure is Poorly Written.  This is said every time by every opponent of every measure ever put forth- GMO labeling or otherwise. Is this labeling measure all-inclusive? No, but that is not the point. It is a start.  We have to start raising awareness, and that is initially accomplished by information being openly presented.  Honestly, we would prefer that the whole of Oregon follow the path of Jackson County and go GMO-free, period! We’re not there yet, so starting by labeling packaged foods is the first step.  Again, we’ll point to the FALCPA of 2004. It is also not all inclusive by a long shot, and follows similar lines to Measure 92 with regard to which groups are included in the requirements and which are not.  It’s not the end-all be-all, but it’s a start that we fully support.

Truth be told, one of the reasons we feel this labeling measure is so important is because it starts and furthers the conversation about GMOs.  We don’t believe in telling another what they should or shouldn’t eat. But, we do believe in providing information so that people can make educated and informed decisions.  When people begin to see “contains genetically engineered ingredients”, it will cause them to ask “what are those?”, and that is the critical question that will take us to a global shift in awareness about GMOs. People still have the right and liberty to choose as they will, AND they have the right to KNOW what they are choosing.

As you are well aware at this point, the opponents to Measure 92 in Oregon have money on their side. That’s why you are being bombarded by them on television and in your own mailbox with all the “reasons” to not support it.  But, let’s show them in this great state that money does not win elections- votes do.  We encourage you to vote Yes on 92 and ramp up the GMO conversation versus sweep it under the rug, for your health and the health of your future generations!


How to Conduct a Baptism for the Remission of Sins Ritual

In 1 Peter 3:18–22, we learn that the story of Noah is also a picture of salvation and water baptism. Noah is a prophetic type of Yeshua. Let’s talk a little about baptism for the remission of sins. 

Baptism 7707910

The Scriptures give us no guidelines how to conduct a baptism service, only that we are commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins. Yeshua instructed his disciples when giving them the great commission to baptize new believers (Matt 28:19–20; Mark 16:16–18).  If you’re a disciple of Yeshua, then you have his authority to baptize someone you have led to Yeshua or have spiritually mentored. As we shall see later, ordained elders are to lay hands on the baptism recipient, anoint them with oil and pray for them to receive the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit (Heb. Ruach HaKodesh).

The following is a suggestion on how to conduct a baptism service:

A Divine Calling — A Divine Choosing

The reason you are being baptized today is not because you chose to do so, but because you are simply responding to a divine call or invitation to follow and serve your Creator — Yehovah Elohim and his Son, Yeshua the Messiah.

[Elohim] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in the Messiah Yeshua before the world began. (1 Tim 1:9)

That ye would walk worthy of Elohim, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. But we are bound to give thanks alway to Elohim for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because Elohim hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (1 Thess 2:12–13)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Prophecy Is Being Fulfilled

This day, the prophetic word of Elohim is being fulfilled upon your life. You are one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel who is returning to the Elohim and the faith of his ancient fathers.

Thus says YHVH: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people — the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words, Nor My Torah, but rejected it. (Jer 6:16–19).

“Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:4–6)

Explanation of the Baptism/Immersion Ritual

Immersion in water is an ancient Hebrew custom signifying spiritual or ritual cleansing. It goes back to the Tabernacle of Moses rituals where YHVH required the Levitical priests to Continue reading


Idaho Pastors Face Jail, Thousands in Fines for Refusing to Officiate Gay Weddings

Idaho Pastors Face Jail, Thousands in Fines for Refusing to Officiate Gay Weddings

Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Monday, October 20, 2014
Two Christian pastors in Idaho have filed a lawsuit and asked the courts to temporarily restrain city officials from making them perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. Donald Knapp and wife, Evelyn, operate Hitching Post Wedding Chapel and have been required by city officials to perform same-sex marriages or else be jailed or fined.
The Christian Post reports that Knapp’s penalty could be up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000 per day that they refuse to officiate the weddings. After one week, that would amount to three years in prison and $7,000 in fines.
The city of Coeur d’Alene says its non-discrimination ordinance requires the couple to perform the wedding ceremonies.
“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement.
“Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here — and it’s happened this quickly,” Tedesco added. “The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”
My response to this?
Stop doing drive-by weddings for money! In our congregation, I have stringent requirements  for anyone that I will marry. Marriage is an institution ordained of YHVH, and we want it to be built on a solid spiritual foundation, so that it will last. We don’t want to be a contributor to the epidemic of divorce statistics.
These are my requirements: You must be in our congregation for one year and attend every Shabbat service and all the feast days. You must go through an entire Torah cycle with us. You must be born again spiritually (including repenting of sin, which is Torahlessness, which includes the sin of homosexuality) with Yeshua as your Savior and Master. You must undergo three months of marriage counseling from a qualified Bible-believing marriage counselor. Boom. That’s it. After that, we’ll perform a nice Hebraic wedding for you with our congregational blessing on it.
Needless to say, I perform very few weddings. 
My word to the folks in Idaho who’ve turned marrying people into a business is the same message I have for pastors who’ve turned running a church into business: Stop your unbiblical, hireling and money-grubbing ways. Repent of your sin!
YHVH is using the State to judge the church for its ungodly ways.

Wish You Were There! Sukkot NW 2014

How can I succinctly and honestly describe Sukkot NW on the Rogue River near Grants Pass, Oregon without resorting to sugary religious hyperbole, cliches and exaggerations that border on bearing false witness? Let me try.

The setting of the gently rolling slopes of the Griffen Park Campground nestled among the oak, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees leading down to a large grassy meadow along the sand and river rock-covered beach interspersed with clumps of willow trees along the banks of the still waters and mirror-like Rogue River set the tone for this year’s Sukkot. It was peaceful and sweet. When you think rogue, you think rough and fiendish, and when you think Rogue River, turbulence and choppy, if not dangerous waters comes to mind. That wasn’t the case here.

In a world increasingly full of turmoil and danger, YHVH chose to set his people down in a campground where the waters of the Rogue River were glassy smooth, though still moving rapidly on their way to the sea. It was as if he was telling us that if we just trust him during the troubled times of the last days, he will lead us to the place of shalom and still waters although the world may be falling apart all around us. This is what we experienced when for eight days during the Feast of Tabernacles we left the Babylon of this world to meet with him where he chose to place his name.

He chose this campground — we didn’t. We intended to rendezvous at another campground down river, but when the wells ran dry there due to a severe regional drought, we were forced at the last minute to relocate to Griffen Park where the drinking water was sweet, pure and plentiful. It’s again as if he was telling us that even in the desert wilderness where the physical and spiritual waters will run dry elsewhere, he will move his people to a place of abundant provision if they will but trust and follow him.

For all of the eight days except the very beginning and end, YHVH’s people had the entire campground to themselves. Before each meeting at the nearby picnic shelter, the sound of the shofar radiated out calling the Israel of Elohim to gather before the Creator to sing his praises, to worship him, and to hear his word expounded by Spirit-led teachers. Thanks to modern technology, the praise and worship music as well as the instructive messages of the Spirit-led teachers was amplified and could literally be heard throughout the entire campground. In my 48 Sukkots, this was the first time that I had experienced anything quite like this. It was a Hebrew encampment with few if any outsiders — a true and unmitigated foretaste of YHVH’s kingdom on earth of which the Feast of Tabernacles is to be a prophetic picture — a time when the glory of YHVH will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and when the Torah-Word of Elohim will go forth over the whole earth from the epicenter of Jerusalem.

Representatives from all three American West Coast states (Washington, Oregon and California) were present to celebrate the feast. One couple came all the way from northern Washington just below the Canadian border and another couple migrated north from southern California to be with us. The rest of us came from various points in between. The folks ranged in age from newborn sucklings to some elders in their mid-70s. It was a constant source of joy to see the youngsters (both teens and preteens) running, playing ball and capture the flag and other games on the grassy meadow overlooking the river.

At night, numerous campfires were lit at various camp sites, and one could walk around the campground and visit folks talking and laughing at the different camps. On several occasions, we had a community campfire and sukkah party. The highlight our annual erev-Shabbat kosher shared-dish meal on picnic tables under the stars was we welcomed in the Shabbat with music, the barachah, liturgy and other festivities.

Mid-week, the warm summer-like temperatures and bright blue sky gave way to some serious rain for a parts of a couple of days. These Israelites rose to the challenge without murmuring and helped each other to baton down the hatches of their tents and all survived heaven’s outpouring warm and dry. Several folks in travel trailers extended their right hand of fellowship by exhibiting the gift of hospitality and sharing their spare beds with those who weren’t accustomed to the rigors of camping in tents. Pretty soon the rain showers cleared out, and by the end of the week we were back to sun and clear skies. We were blessed to be able to put our tents and sukkahs away dry!

Four teaching elders from all three states presented 13 Bible-based messages encouraging YHVH’s people to embrace their Torah heritage as the redeemed Israelite people of YHVH Elohim and to go deeper and higher in their spiritual walk following Yeshua the Messiah. Some of the messages were presented in gentle and quiet tones, while others were spicy and provocative. Several messages were interactive with participation from the congregation.

For several people, this was their first Feast of Tabernacles. For others, this is something they have been doing for years or even decades. For many people, Sukkot is the high point of the year, and they make plans for it all year long. Several folks expressed that they couldn’t wait to get home and tell their friends about it, so they can bring them to the Feast of Tabernacles next year. Several spiritual leaders expressed that this year’s Sukkot encouraged them to go home and become more proactive about reaching out to those around them by establishing local fellowships.

There are probably some things I’m forgetting to mention about this year’s Sukkot in southern Oregon on the Rogue River, but these are the words YHVH’s Spirit as given me to say thus far, and so I will stop for now.

I took a lot of video footage of this year’s Sukkot highlights and will be putting together a montage of those highlights once I get it all edited. So stay tuned  for that.

By the way, several of us went fishing for steelhead in the river flowing next to the camp and caught some nice fish, which we cooked over a wood fire and shared with others.  Below is a picture of my youngest daughter Kaeli and myself. She caught the largest fish — a 19 inch steelhead trout. Mine was only 17 inches —and I’m not the least disappointed with that! Kaili also caught a couple  of 12 inch rainbow trouts. Go Kaeli!

A bunch of us went to the Oregon Caves National Monument. Below, I’ve posted several snapshots from that excursion.

Thanks for reading, and maybe you can join us next year for Sukkot NW 2015!