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I am writing to you from JFK airport in New York (10 days ago) as Rosh Hashanah comes to a close. I was supposed to fly to San Diego and give one message and get home to Israel before Rosh Hashanah, but then I was invited to Orlando to promote our new show on God.tv, “Out of Zion.” I really didn’t want to go, but Elana said, “If you go, you can fly through Richmond on the way back and spend Rosh Hashanah with the girls.”

Chabad Richmond

And that is what I did. What a great day it was to be with my parents, my sister and my daughters. We went to the Orthodox Jewish synagogue with my parents. This was not the Conservative synagogue in which I grew up, but the far stricter, “Chabad” stream. And this synagogue has a special place in my heart. The rabbi’s father was the rabbi when I was a kid. After I came to faith in Yeshua, my parents asked me to meet with him, and we did, weekly. His goal was to convince me that Yeshua was not the Messiah and that I should simply become an Orthodox Jew.

Yankl Kranz (in the picture) was a dear, sweet man with good hopes for Richmond. He used to drive a huge ‘bookmobile’ trying to get Jewish kids to read Jewish books. It was a library on wheels. We really enjoyed each other. He died young and his son, Yossel, took over for him. Yossel and I have a bit in common. We are both American Jews, rabbis of sort, and we both married beautiful Israelis. He is a fantastic communicator and unlike in Orthodox Judaism in Israel, he doesn’t put guilt trips on the more secular Jews, but seeks to draw them in at whatever level they are willing to enter.

Theological Divide

However, despite the similarities there is a great theological divide. Though his sermon was well written and quite humorous, his basic point, as we were beginning the High Holy days—days where our sin is highlighted and we seek forgiveness—was not “Repent”. But the opposite. “You are far more righteous than you think. Don’t say I don’t keep kosher, say, I keep kosher most of the time. Don’t say, I don’t keep the Sabbath, but say, I keep the Sabbath most of the day.” He does not see us as sinners.

He characterized Jeremiah as depressed, not understanding that he was broken over the sinful state of the Jewish people as he saw prophetically that they were about to be conquered by the Babylonians and their Temple destroyed (586 BCE).

“If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Orthodox Judaism fails to understand that the Torah is not a set of rules to please God, but that our inability to keep the Torah revealed to us that we are sinners in need for forgiveness (Gal. 3, Rom. 7). While we should strive to keep the Ten Commandments, each time we read them we realize how far we fall short. Isaiah said that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Is. 64:6) To be clear, the analogy is referring to a woman’s monthly cycle.

We have Sinned!

Both Daniel and Isaiah cried out, “We have sinned” but modern Judaism (really post 2nd Temple Judaism created by Yochanan Ben Zakkai [read this about that guy!!] after the 2nd Temple was destroyed) says, we can earn forgiveness through:

  1. Giving
  2. Repentance
  3. Prayer
  4. Good works or mitzvot 

It is during this season however—the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—that we sing Avinu Malkenu, Our Father and King. The very second line is:

Avinu malkeinu chatanu l’faneycha

אבינו מלכנו חתנו לפניך

And no, it does not mean, “Our father in heaven, we tried really hard.” It means, “Our father in heaven, we have sinned before you.” This cry is the cry of the Hebrew prophets. And God answered by sending us a Moshia (Savior) who was qualified to take the punishment we deserve, as Isaiah said, “So the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6)

In the same way that a judge doesn’t reward a murderer for the people he didn’t kill or the thief for how much he didn’t steal, God will not turn a blind eye to our sin just because we do some good things. But Yeshua came, and according to Isaiah, He took our punishment.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Yeshua came to make us holy, not through our keeping most of the Sabbath, but through His death and resurrection. Here is a video I made related to this.

May this be the Yom Kippur season that the we see the words of Zechariah come to pass:

 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Please consider a special gift this Yom Kippur to help us reach Israelis with the message of the Messiah. Thank you!

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I have a question for folks who think Trump is a great candidate. In the 90s when Bill Clinton, another serial cheater, was caught with Monica Lewinsky, there was an argument. Most on the left said, it doesn’t matter how he conducts his personal life as long as he is a good president. Those on the right, including me, said, “Character Counts”. Remember? That was our mantra. We believed that:

  1. Tolerating such behavior would have a trickle down negative moral effect on the nation. (And it did—we now have gay marriage and men in the women’s bathroom!)
  2. If someone cheats on their wife, they will cheat on the country (and look how the Clinton’s have gotten crazy wealthy off America, making $28 million in 2014—as the corrupt Clinton Foundation continues to sell favors to criminals and corrupt nations).

So, if character does count and you were tough on Bill in the 90s, how can you enthusiastically support a man who brags about cheating? Some may say that this behavior was in his past, but he has never expressed regret or asked for forgiveness (his words, not mine). Here are some of his quotes:

“If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller,” —The Art of the Deal

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world [of sleeping around]. It is a dangerous world out there—it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”— on sleeping with women who could have STDs, “The Howard Stern Show”

He criticized a real Vietnam hero for “getting caught” while he compares sleeping around and not getting an STD as his “personal Vietnam”.

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” —Esquire, 1991

“She’s really cute, I have to tell you, she’s really bouncy, really cute, She’s about 5-foot-1. Do you like girls that are 5-foot-1? They come up to you know where.” —Trump on Eva Longoria, “The Howard Stern Show”, 2005

And lastly from a 62-year-old Donald Trump, looking back on his ‘amazing’ life…

“Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, ‘Can you believe what I am getting?’” — Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life, 2008.

Now, if you say, “I am voting for him because the other option is Hillary. I will pull the lever and hold my nose.” Okay. I can respect that. But what troubles me is the religious leaders—some who crushed Bill Clinton for his cheating—that are now enthusiastically supporting Trump such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., Robert Jeffress, Pat Robertson and two of America’s leading moral voices, James Dobson and Gary Bauer.

So, my question is this: If you were a “character counts” guy or gal, like I was, in the 90s with Bill Clinton, how can you justify unreservedly supporting Trump as if he a role model? I am honestly eager to hear your answer either below or on Facebook—because I am genuinely dumbfounded.

My position? I love the USA. I think both of our candidates are horribly flawed. I am praying and pleading with God that somehow, someway I will not have to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Obviously I can’t vote for Hillary. But as a father to three girls how can I vote for a sexual predator like Trump?

You say, “to not vote is a vote for Hillary,” Technically it is a half of a vote. If I voted for Hillary, that would be a vote for Hillary. Or maybe, just maybe, there are times when not voting is an act of intercession, asking God to intervene. As a lifetime voter; someone who believes strongly in going to the ballot box, I am not willing to say that the God’s destiny for America depends on electing Donald Trump. God is bigger than that. And maybe for this one time, a non-vote is plea to heaven for God to pour out revival on our country.

But if I do decide to vote Trump, I will need to send Bill Clinton an apology for criticizing his character in the 90s.

==========

Footnote: Often people respond to critics of Trump by quoting Jesus saying “Do not Judge.” First, that it taken out of context. Jesus is referring to hypocritically looking down at people when you have worse sin in your life. Secondly, when you run for President, you are asking people to judge you. That is what an election is. Third, why is no one saying “Don’t judge Hillary?” Is it okay to judge her, but not him?

Another comment I read a lot is “Nobody’s perfect.” It is not about being flawless, but about choosing someone who brags about breaking the 10 commandments.

Some have pointed to the woman caught in adultery to say that we should not be so tough on Trump. First, she was told to “go and sin no more”. Second, she was grateful for Yeshua’s forgiveness. Third, she was no asking me to vote for her to be president.  

photo credit http://www.denysalmaral.com

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Today the NBA, pressured by the LBGT community and liberal elites in corporate America, pulled their All Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C. because North Carolina does not embrace a radical policy that would allow grown men into the bathrooms and locker rooms where girls can be seen dressing.

Last night I saw and amazing commercial.

A man who has always known he was a female, trapped in a male body, fully transitioned to a woman. He was in a café with his friends—male and female. And the hard-faced, bigoted evil shop owner runs her down as she seeks to enter the women’s bathroom making it clear that he belongs with the boys. He (meaning the man dressed as a woman) was horrified and embarrassed. Then an African American woman came to her defense as a white woman exited the bathroom. Oh—but first we get to see the inside of the men’s bathroom. The storeowner opens the door for her to go in and there is a group of young men, who look at the transgender like he is a freak.

As a man, with lots of experience in the men’s bathrooms, groups of men don’t hang out, chatting it up. We take care of business and get out.

Any way… the white woman takes her into the women’s bathroom, shaming the mean storeowner.

This commercial is excellent in presenting a ridiculous scenario that rarely takes place—if ever.

I would like to make another commercial based on a real story. Sean Patrick Smith who goes by Shauna Patricia Smith entered into a target dressing room as a woman. He then videoed or photographed a woman by reaching over the wall with his phone. While we were assured that these things would never happen as a result of allowing transgenders in the dressing rooms, locker rooms and bathrooms, it has… and how many more times where the perp was not caught. What if it was not a grown woman that he photographed, but your young daughter?

If you are uncomfortable with this, then the NBA’s got news for you: You are a mean-spirited, Homophobe! A CBS/NYT poll found that 48% to 41% of Americans think that people should use the bathroom that connects with their biology (meaning if you were born and man, you should go to the men’s bathroom). But the NBA is not about lining up with American values, but changing them. And now, in order to do that, they will have to change cities.

Here is a great alternative. The NBA does more business in China than probably any other nation, save the United States. Why not move the game there? Oh…that’s rights…

  • Sweat shops
  • Religious persecution
  • Massive human rights violations
  • Tibet
  • Force Abortions—(or wait, they probably are for that)

And here lies the hypocrisy of the NBA. They are willing to take a bold stand in Charlotte that will cost them nothing. But Adam Silver and the NBA have nothing to say about the evil abuses that take place in China, there partner in business. I wouldn’t have such a problem with their North Carolina issue, if they had the economic guts to take on China—but they don’t. We call that hypocrisy.

Though I have a tiny small voice, and I can’t even imagine that any NBA player will read this, I still will issue a challenge to any NBA player who loves children and wants to protect them, to boycott the All-Star game if it is not played in Charlotte. Steph Curry, are you listening?

 

Dear Friends, I truly don’t mean to offend those of you who are Trump supporters. I get it. You are ticked off at the establishment and he is voicing your anger. Personally, I have been inspired by some of Donald’s blunt speeches. However, the more time that passes, the more I have a deep foreboding in my spirit that he would be a disaster as President.

However, it is what he said just a few days ago that reveals how horribly flawed and  deeply insecure he is, with a clinical  need for the approval of others.

In a speech given to college kids last week he decided to go off script and give these youngins some advice from his success. Let me just say it may be the worst advice anyone has ever given to college kids, and that it was coming from someone who wants to be president made it a 1000x worse!

“When I saw all this youth, this great-looking, young people, I said I’m going to talk for a few minutes about success. Should I do that?

“And you’ll find that when you become very successful, the people that you will like best are the people that are less successful than you, because when you go to a table you can tell them all of these wonderful stories, and they’ll sit back and listen.

“Does that make sense to you? OK? Always be around unsuccessful people because everybody will respect you. Do you understand that?”

Does that make sense, he asked. No!!! A 1,000x no! That only makes sense if you are narcissist. And what is worse,  if you listen to his tone, he is sharing from his heart. And this makes sense to him!

The would-be president is admitting that he surrounds himself with adoring fools, so he can tell his stories. It seems his greatest desire in life is not to make America great again, but to have people adore, respect and even fear him.

The People with whom I Surround Myself

From the time I became a believer, I have sought to surround myself with smart, godly people. I pursued my youth leader Bob Smith and picked his brain constantly when I was eighteen. I went to Bible School where I met Dr. Michael Brown, one of the smartest men I know. Does it hurt my self-esteem that he is smarter than me? Absolutely not! Because I know who I am—who God created me to be. A godly man does not live to be respected. He lives to pursue God.

I have spent countless hours with Eitan Shishkoff, the embodiment of an Ephesians 4:11 Pastor. Does it bother me that Eitan is a better pastor than me? No, I want to learn from him. Same with my other mentors, Dr. Daniel Juster and Asher Intrater.

I am not here to sing my own praises, but even after achieving some level of success, it has never entered my mind to now surround myself with people less successful than I am for the express purpose of gaining respect and telling my stories. When I hear Trump speak that way, the picture that comes to mind is not of David, but Saul, an ungodly, evil leader.

Don’t Judge Trump!

I have written quite a bit seeking to warn people against being seduced by Trump. I can’t tell you how many times—and I am sure I will hear it from this piece—people have asked, who are you to judge him. Do folks understand how this is such a silly question? He is asking me and you to help him be the leader of the free world. He is not asking to be dog catcher. You better believe I am going to judge him. That is what an election is! When you run for office, you are asking voters to judge your worthiness. Voters make a judgement based on the qualifications of the candidate.

The other thing I hear is, “David sinned.” David also repented! David didn’t eat for seven days!

David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. (2 Samuel 12:16-18)

Trump is no David.

Question: Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?

Trump: I am not sure I have.

You can watch the viceo here:

The Scariest Part of All

But here is the scariest part. Trump, who says once you are successful, surround yourself with sycophants who will sing your praises and respect you, IS GOING TO SELECT A CABINET!  A president needs to surround himself, not with yes-men, but the smartest leaders in the country, who are not afraid to disagree with you. His butler was afraid to tell him that his golfing prowess was not so special.

“Tony, how far is that?” Mr. Trump would ask.

“It’s like 275 yards,” Mr. Senecal would respond, though he said the actual distance was 225 yards. (source)

Trump, when asked who he will consult on foreign affairs answered the question with the verbal nonsense that only Trump can get away with.

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”

Friends, not only is that an arrogant, nonreassuring comment, it makes no sense!

  • I’m speaking with myself.
  • I have a good brain.
  • I’ve said a lot of things.

What does any of that even mean?

That’s what you sound like when you surround yourself with idiots, fans, and hanger-ons who adore you. Just imagine what a Trump cabinet would look like! A house of cards.

PS. Sometimes, people respond to my concerns about Trump by saying, “What, do you prefer Hillary.” Of course not, but the Republican primary is not over. I am very hopeful that Ted Cruz will win the nomination.

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In 1983 I had a supernatural experience and ended up upside down in a totaled automobile in the middle of North Carolina. My friend and I knock on the door of a precious couple that helped me see that Yeshua is the Messiah. I am trying to find them. Can you help?  Send any thoughts or ideas to ron@roncan.net.

 

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