Perception Moment 21-How Far Am I Willing to Go and For How Long?

Blubrry player!

I mentioned in a previous Perception Moment that I was feeling a heaviness that I’ve not felt before, especially as it relates to everyday life and in reaction to all that is going on in our world. Consequently, with all that is going on worldwide and in our nation and local communities, I feel that my attention is being pulled a million different ways. I don’t know if you are experiencing the same thing. I am confident, however, that the little I do know of what is going on is only skimming the surface as far as how bad it really is and how much worse it will get in the future.

While enjoying one of my daily Torah-readings I was blessed to read Numbers 9:15-23. This most interesting passage documented the presence of the Creator over the tabernacle in the desert during Moses’ time. In the daytime, the presence of the Creator appeared to be a cloud “that covered the tabernacle, that is, the tent of the testimony…” and at night the presence of the Father “appeared to be fire which remained until morning.” (Complete Jewish Bible) When the Creator felt it was time to move the nation, the cloud that marked His presence over the tabernacle was lifted and proceeded and accompanied the nomadic nation until such time “they camped wherever the cloud stopped.” The decision to move the nation was made by the Father and the Father alone. The Children of Israel stayed put when the cloud was stationary and followed the leading of the cloud whenever and wherever it proceeded forth. Length of time for the cloud to remain over the tabernacle or in moving the nation was of absolutely no consideration, for the people did according to the leading and command of Yehovah.

This awesome and fascinating passage has stayed with me for a couple of days now. What has struck me more than the physical reality of this story is the applicable spiritual ramification associated with this story and of being a Messianic Believer. Specifically, I pondered the question “how far and how long am I really willing to follow the Master?” I mean, it’s one thing to say with my mind and sort of believe it in my heart that I will do all that is commanded of me by the Master. But then I have to ask myself if I truly believe that I have the fortitude and wherewithal to follow that inward statement with unwavering actions when the time comes? It’s one thing to pray for someone or some situation when led by the Spirit, but it is an entirely different matter to make a stand for the Truth when confronted about a matter; it’s one thing to preach a message that the Father has given to me, but an entirely different matter to be willing to give up my job if I am required to work on the Sabbath or a Holy Day; it’s one thing to go to prison for my stated beliefs, but an entirely different matter to stay the course and be martyred by the government or some other entity for my stated beliefs.

I have been mightily blessed by the Father ever since coming into the knowledge of the Truth and of the Hebraic Roots of our Faith. Upon realizing and accepting that I must observe the weekly Sabbath (i.e., Saturday), I found myself in somewhat of a quandary. At the time I was a supervising deputy coroner for the County of Orange and I typically worked on Saturdays. Additionally, I was a Naval Reserve Officer stationed out of San Diego and of course one weekend out of every month (and that included Saturdays), I was tasked to report for duty. Well, the Father heard my concerns and miraculously I was promoted to a managerial position over coroner investigations and forensic operations with weekends off! Wow! Thus I no longer was faced with the dilemma of how to deal with my Sabbath-keeping and work conflict. However, I still had the issue of my Naval Reserve duty to deal with, of which I was confident that the U.S. Navy would not make an exception for me and allow me to serve on an alternate day of the week, apart from Saturday. So, I weighed my options and realized that I was at the 21-year mark for my service. I was a commander (O-5) and felt that I could forego my ambition to promote to captain, so I promptly retired from the Naval Reserve.

To me, these were relatively big issues to address as it related to  my Messianic Faith. For one situation, the Father took care of the particulars, while for the other situation, I made a tough decision to walk away from my career as a Naval Reserve Officer. But then what would be the next challenge to my Faith and would I be up to the challenge and not compromise or give in? Of course I would like to believe that I would not compromise nor would I give in. But what if my current job required that I work on Saturdays? Or what if they required me to simply attend a one-time weekend retreat, which happened to my boss last year. How would I react and to what extent would I go if my employer were to insist on my attendance? Would I be willing to put my job and career in jeopardy and not attend? For the record: I do have a mortgage, a spouse, and other financial obligations to attend to, as I surmise that you do as well.

Then there are the bigger probabilities to consider? What happens when our governments ban freedom of religion and we are forced to go underground to worship and fellowship, or even own a Bible for that matter–as was the case in North Korea this past week where believers were martyred simply for possessing a Bible? What if the government starts to round-up violators of such a ban on religious practice? Would I be willing to be imprisoned, beaten, or worse for the sake of the Gospel?

I’m reminded of an awesome song by Chris Tomlin, the message of which is so appropriate to this topic. The lyrics are as such:

“I Will Follow”

Where you go, I’ll go Where you stay, I’ll stay When you move, I’ll move I will follow…
All your ways are good All your ways are sure I will trust in you alone Higher than my sight High above my life I will trust in you alone (trust in you alone)
Where you go, I’ll go Where you stay, I’ll stay When you move, I’ll move I will follow you Who you love, I’ll love How you serve I’ll serve If this life I lose, I will follow you, yeah I will follow you, yeah
Light unto the world Light unto my life I will live for you alone You’re the one I seek Knowing I will find All I need in you alone, in you alone
Where you go, I’ll go Where you stay, I’ll stay When you move, I’ll move I will follow you Who you love, I’ll love How you serve, I’ll serve If this life I lose, I will follow you I will follow you, yeah
In you there’s life everlasting In you there’s freedom for my soul In you there’s joy, unending joy And I will follow
Where you go, I’ll go Where you stay, I’ll stay When you move, I’ll move I will follow Who you love, I’ll love How you serve, I’ll serve If this life I lose, I will follow
Where you go, I’ll go Where you stay, I’ll stay When you move, I’ll move I will follow you Who you love, I’ll love How you serve, I’ll serve If this life I lose, I will follow you, yeah I will follow you, yeah I will follow you, yeah I will follow you, yeah
If you’re not familiar with this song, I would highly encourage you to go to youtube.com and pull up this song and you will be greatly blessed by the message contained therein. Certainly, if I can measure up to each stanza of this song, I believe I can be considered one of His true Disciples, willing to lay down my life for the sake of the Gospel.
I realize it all comes down to forsaking all and following my Master. Nothing else truly matters. When all is said and done, everything in life fades to nothing and ultimately ends up in the trash heap of history and memory. One psalmist wrote, “…only what you do for Christ will last.” Those words ring so true and so inspiring, however, I must constantly ask myself: do I truly believe those words? Are these words forever ingrained in my heart and mind to such a degree that I am able to let go of life’s petty issues, my ego, my ambitions, my desires, the expectations of secular people of me,  and on and on. The Master said:

“…One thing lackest thou: go, sell whatever thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.” (Mar 10:21 DBY) And then CJB John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me…” (Joh 10:27 CJB) Here in these two passages, the Master simply asked that we follow Him; without excuse; without question; without fear; and with pleasure and great anticipation. I perceive that It is not until I accept fully the fact that I am not my own and that I’ve been “…bought at a price…and to “…not become slaves of other human beings.” (1Co 7:23 CJB)

It would seem that life would be so much easier if and once I accept these simple truths. When I consider that the Children of Israel, wandering in the desert for 40-years, moved according to the desire and leading of Yehovah-blindly and without hesitation-I begin to ask myself: who am I to resist and question what direction, how far, and how long the Creator wishes me to go?

Clearly, my perceptions about my responsibilities as a disciple of Messiah have undergone a drastic change over the last few years. I no longer rely upon the “greasy grace doctrine” (phrase coined by Michael Rood) that I once did–that is the belief that all that is required of me for eternal life is to say the sinners’ prayer and the rest is up to Jesus. I now hold fast to the belief that eternal life will only be granted to a precious few at the time of the Great Tribulation. Those granted a changed body from flesh to spirit will be those “…that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus…”  [Rev 14:12 KJV] And I perceive that part and parcel of my “faith of Jesus” is following Him through “thick and thin,” without compromise, without doubt, and with zeal and courage [2Ti 1:7 KJV] 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

How do you perceive all of this? Do you hold to the belief that we are compelled to follow the Master without compromise and with a clear conscience through the keeping of His commandments? Do you believe in the traditional concept of grace that is taught and upheld in fundamental churchianity? I’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line of commentary and feedback using the comments box below. If you are so led, support this ministry financially. Follow us on twitter and Facebook simply by clicking the icons at the top of this page, to the right of this post. Subscribe to this feed simply by clicking on the “subscribe” icon just above the twitter and Facebook icons.

Music by Dan O. This Perception Moment is brought to you by Qumran Family Church.

Be most blessed fellow Saints in Training.

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