Don't Eat What Causes Someone to Stumble

I will not eat what causes my brother or sister to stumble. - 1 Corinthians 8:13 | Land of Honey

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Paul wrote very plainly that he would not eat something if it caused someone else to stumble in their faith. Are believers today following his example?

"If food causes my brother to stumble, I will not eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." -1 Corinthians 8:13

My friend Christopher wanted to show others that all things are truly possible with YHWH. So he became a vegetarian. People were floored that he was able to give up eating meat, and that he did so joyfully. His choice to forgo meat eating was a powerful example to his friends and family who felt they couldn't give up the thing that was keeping them back from the Messiah. His vegetarian diet was the spark that ignited freedom from drugs, addiction, sinful relationships, and lies in the lives of many people. Does Scripture teach that you have to be a vegetarian? No, many passages make it clear which animals are permissible for eating. But Chris's choice to not eat those animals helped many encounter the truth and love of YHWH.

I don't share this to say that you have to become a vegetarian, because you don't. Scripture gives you the right not to. But as Paul said, "Watch out that this right of yours doesn't become a stumbling block."

Scripture gives us certain instructions regarding what we are to eat. Mainly we are to avoid unclean animals (pigs and shellfish, as well as other creatures like bats, camels, and ostriches). You can see more on this here or in Leviticus 11.

We are not going to get into the debate of if YHWH's word still stands today or not. So regardless of if you are eating clean or unclean animals and foods, let's look at this verse again: I will not eat what causes my brother to stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:13)

When my husband and I started making changes away from the mainstream Christian faith, many people started working very hard to explain why following Scripture's dietary instructions was unnecessary. To this day, we are regularly questioned, teased, or told we are wrong by well-meaning believers. Even if this were true, how is this a good use of anyone's time? I would so much rather they would spend that time and energy to share the Gospel with the masses who desperately need it, than to to try and give me more dinner options.

The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 8 explains that people have different sensitivities when it comes to what they eat. It's worth noting that this is in regards to Biblically clean animals that have been offered to idols, not if unclean animals are acceptable to eat. Many translations use the word 'weak' but sensitive better encompasses the meaning of this passage. This entire chapter of Scripture tells us, "Not everyone is going to agree with you on this, be respectful anyway." You know what is not in this passage? Some sort of clause that says if someone is more sensitive than you are about what they eat, just go ahead and explain why they are wrong. Or belittle them until they agree with you or try to trick them into eating bacon. Be kind to those who are sensitive, their faith is on the line.

Is what you're eating causing someone to stumble? Let's look at who your dietary choices can impact:

-The roughly thirteen million Jewish people in the world who have not accepted the Messiah. One of the major set backs is that Jews see Christians representing the Messiah as someone who did not keep the commandments. Additionally many Jewish people are uncomfortable or unwilling to sit at a table with someone who is eating something that Scripture says not to, which obviously hinders relationship development and a chance to share truth. 

-Those frustrated by the confusion and hypocrisy of the faith. While Christians are used to how they do or don't apply certain passages of Scripture, this is truly confusing for someone new or outside the faith. I've been in churches where before the sermon everyone holds up their Bible and says that it is the inerrant word of God, and then the pastor's sermon explains that well, actually a good chunk of it is out of date. We can all think of people who have left the faith because of hypocrisy in others. 

-People who have decided not to eat meat for ethical reasons. In the mass food system there are many horrible things that happen during the factory production of meat. Many believe that the Messiah would not take part in this system, and therefore they choose not to as well. Does anyone benefit by debating this decision? Why try to convince them that the one whose eye is on the sparrow doesn't care about the welfare of his creatures? 

-Those who need to see a demonstration of love and power. Like Christopher's friends and family, who doesn't want a tangible example to point to of the transformation that happens through the Holy Spirit? Who doesn't need to see that change is possible? Being respectful of someone's dietary choices is a great way to show that person love. It is so meaningful to go to a friend's for dinner knowing that they have gone out of their way to make sure the meal is something I am comfortable with. There are too many believers claiming to love others, but aren't willing to give up any of their own rights to support another's faith.

Pick up any cookbook or flip on any food related show and you will hear how food has an amazing power to connect people of different cultures, ages, nationalities, lifestyles, etc. But the quickest way to break that connection is to be disrespectful of someone's dietary restrictions. Don't let your food choices cause someone else to stumble. Make sure your table is one you can invite them to.

How do your food choices impact the faith of others - and what Scripture says about it. | Land of Honey

Praying Scripture: Luke 8:48

Praying Luke 8:48 - Take courage, daughter. Your faith has healed you. | Land of Honey
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It's been a while since our last praying Scripture post, but I think this one is too good not to share!

The story of the woman with the issue of blood is so encouraging. Twelve years of struggle, countless visits to doctors, spending her life savings to try and find a solution, nothing that helped, no beneficial remedy, so much frustration...and it's fixed as soon as she comes in contact with the Messiah.

Who doesn't need to be reminded of this story? Maybe what you need healing for isn't an issue with blood, or even a physical ailment. Maybe you've struggled with depression or anxiety. Perhaps there is addiction or an ongoing battle with a specific sin in your life. Have you been plagued by doubt or fear? Is there a family history of heart disease that worries you? No matter how resigned you may be feeling to whatever struggle you have, contact with the Messiah can bring healing and transformation to you!

I wonder about the rest of this woman's story. We know she was desperate for healing, to the point where she had spent everything she had trying to get help from doctors. Did the people in her life realize her desperation? When they learned of her plan to touch Yahusha, were they supportive or did they think it was yet another waste of time? Maybe they even tried to talk her out of going to see him that day. Did they tell her she just needed to accept this issue and get used to it? I'm sure they had a long list of reasons why the Messiah wouldn't help her. Nevertheless she persisted. And Yahusha healed her that day.

And he said to her, "Take courage, daughter. Your belief has healed you. Go in peace." -Luke 8:48

There can't be a lot of sentences more beautiful than that. When the Messiah calls you daughter and tells you that you can have peace and that you're healed...there's not a lot more you could ask. I find myself wanting that kind of faith, the kinds that heals. We all need that.

A prayer from Luke 8:48 (along with other Scripture):

YHWH, thank you for the incredible honor and gift of being called your child! Help me to live out of the courage that comes from knowing I belong to you. I ask that you would transform my mind by changing the way I think, so that I might have the kind of faith and beliefs that are healing - not only to myself but to those in my life as well. Thank you that all things are possible with you, and that just a touch from you is healing. Help me to be persistent in getting to you, no matter what anyone else says. Your word says that your garment fills the Temple. Thank you that it is plenty wide enough for each of us to grab onto for healing. Let your peace rule my heart and help me to live in the wholeness you have for me.

Things I Love About the Sabbath

Five Things I Love About the Sabbath | Land of Honey

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When I share with someone that I keep the Sabbath (honor YHWH's set apart day by resting on the seventh day of the week), they usually feel sorry for me. It's crazy, but many people treat the day of rest like it is some sort of huge burden. If you might be feeling that way yourself, let me tell you: it is anything but a burden. You know when you're feeling overloaded and say, "I need a vacation!" or wonder when you're next day off is? For me, that is never more than six days away. Isaiah 58:13 calls the Sabbath a delight, and once you've made it your lifestyle, it is so easy to do that. While there are many difficulties and heavy loads to carry in life, having a day to rest is not one of them.

A few things I love about the Sabbath:

1. It's a break. One of my favorite things about the Sabbath is always having an upcoming break from it all. No matter how busy things are with work, family commitments, seeing friends, home improvement projects, and whatever else I'm juggling I get to look forward to taking a step back to refresh. Before I started honoring Shabbat my calendar would often become overfilled and it would be overwhelming not to have a day off in site. No worries about that now as there is time to rest each week. That is such a gift to look forward to during busy times.

2. There's time to spend in the Word. Of course I make it a point to spend time reading Scripture, listening to teaching, and praying throughout the week but sometimes that's not as much as I would like. Honoring the Sabbath means no matter what the rest of the week was like, I have a set time for spiritual refreshment. And studying on Shabbat is so nice because you don't have that rush to finish your reading on your lunch break or in the carpool line.

3. Getting to see family. Even if my husband and I are both very busy we know for sure we will get to spend time together come the Sabbath day. We have also made a tradition of lunch with my parents and grandparents, and extended family on Shabbat so we are always able to have quality time as a family and to catch up during seasons that would otherwise be too busy.

4. No money is spent. While some might view not shopping on the Sabbath as an inconvenience, our bank account appreciates having a no-spend day each week. Honoring the Sabbath means we don't go out for a meal or go shopping or make an online purchase or buy coffee. That's a financial difference that adds up. Before you say that the same amount of money gets spent on the other days of the week let me give an example of the financial savings of the Sabbath. It's not unusual for us to think of something on Friday or Shabbat that we need or would like to have, but since we aren't able to purchase it right away we often find that the desire for that item fades or an opportunity to borrow what's needed or otherwise get it for less presents itself. Patience can save you a lot!

5. The stability of this compounds. Maybe the perks of financial savings or taking a break from it all doesn't sound life changing, but being able to look forward to the Sabbath each week compounds in an amazing way! The first time I observed the Sabbath I didn't feel much different, but now I can see what a huge impact this has had on my life. I am less stressed, and much less easily overwhelmed. Managing my life around keeping this commandment has brought incredible peace and contentment to my life.

There are many more benefits and joys that come with Sabbath keeping. If this is a new idea to you, which one of these things could you use the most in your life right now? If you keep Shabbat, what is your favorite part?

Want to learn more about the Sabbath? Here are fifteen things Scripture says about it and five things the Messiah taught the Sabbath.

Hebrew School: The Northern and Southern Kingdoms

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Understanding the distinction between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms is paramount in the Hebrew faith. If we don't have correct understanding of these separate entities, much of Scripture isn't going to make sense, and we will misunderstand our own identity.

Let's start off by looking at the Biblical term for YHWH's people: Israel. This term that means "overcoming with YHWH" or "YHWH overcomes" is first given to Jacob in Genesis 32:28. The term is then passed on to his family, including anyone not biologically related who chooses to serve YHWH and to overcome with him. The twelve tribes of Israel come from Jacob's sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph (which is subsequently given to his own sons - Ephraim and Manasseh), and Benjamin. While in Egypt their families grew into a great nation. The people of Israel were united through the Exodus, the years in the wilderness, the time of Joshua and Judges, and through the reigns of Kings Saul, David, and Solomon.

Shortly after the death of King Solomon, there was a dispute between the people their new king, Rehoboam. The people wanted him to lift the heavy burden of forced labor and taxation from the rule of Solomon but he he refused and the majority of Israel's tribes decided to stop honoring Rehoboam as their leader. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and at least part of Levi stuck with Rehoboam in the Southern Kingdom, while the majority of the tribes united as the Northern Kingdom. As the name of Israel was legally passed to Ephraim in Genesis 48:12-20, Ephraim and the other tribes in the North were collectively still known as Israel. Meanwhile the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah.

Why does this distinction matter? 

-The restoration of Israel is one of the main themes of Scripture. Scholars say that you're going to misunderstand 7/8 of the Bible if you don't make this distinction. If you don't differentiate the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, good luck trying to understand Kings as anything beyond legendary stories. You'll miss much of the Messiah's work, and many prophecies won't make sense at all. The terms are different because they mean different things. Lumping Israel and Judah together after 1 Kings 12 is going to cause confusion.

-Many have erroneously taught that only Jewish people (those descending from the tribe of Judah) are the chosen people of YHWH. Scripture does not teach this. What Scripture does teach is that Yahusha came for the lost tribes of Israel (Matthew 15:24). The Messiah came for all the tribes. Whether the tribe of Judah or Issachar or Ephraim or Gad, all are important to YHWH. When we realize that his people include all the tribes, we see the family growing by millions and millions. Most people with ancestry in ancient Israel are not Jews and do not come from Jews. Of course Scripture teaches that anyone covered by the blood of the Messiah is part of the people of Israel, regardless of if they have any blood connection to any of the twelve tribes.

-Believe that you are a gentile, and you will likely end up living like a gentile. There are many who sincerely desire to be part of YHWH's people, but live in ways that are totally against what he instructs...largely because they don't realize they are part of Israel! Again, this has nothing to do with your bloodline. It is your choice to join YHWH's people or not. Understanding that you are part of this is a wake up call that YHWH wants you to live differently than the rest of the world.

Have you ever considered that your ancestors could have seen the Dead Sea parted or lived in the Promised Land? That is such an amazing thought! It's very possible that your family could come from the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Lots of books and research suggest the migration of the Northern Kingdom tribes all over the world, so no matter what your nationality or ethnicity is, you could physically be from the house of Israel. While knowing for sure you are from a tribe of Israel may be lost to us, it is certainly not lost from YHWH. If we don't make the distinction between the North and South Kingdoms it's easy to miss Scripture's promise that YHWH will restore the lost tribes.

Interested in learning more? See our other Hebrew School lessons.
What is a Hebrew?
An Introduction to the Set Apart Times of YHWH
What is Sin?
Keeping the Law: Ten Commandments as Marriage Vows
What is a No-Work Day?