My husband Victor and I moved to Costa Rica from Phoenix Arizona almost 4 years ago. It wasn’t planned, but through a visit with friends it all just fell into place so here we are. After buying land over 5 years ago we started the construction of our home, while still in the states. After the house was built, we continued to prolong our permanent move blaming the busyness of life until one day Victor said, “We are setting a date.”
Our goal was two months, and we had a lot to do in that time. We had 5 garage sales to sell the small things, then opened up our home for walk-throughs. Everything had a price tag on it, from furniture to tools, décor on the walls and even our car outside. Thankfully almost everything sold… anything left we gave to charity. After finally making the move down south, our house in Phoenix sold within two months of leaving.
That is our “move story” in a nutshell. I could really write a book about all of what we experienced but for this blog a two paragraph “cliff notes” should suffice. Maybe I will write a book in the future to help those who also desire to move here. Since transitioning our lives to Costa Rica, we have enjoyed the peace and tranquility that comes with our surroundings.
One of our goals after relocating to Costa Rica was to acquire our residency. We would continue to be US Citizens but obtaining residency has its perks when traveling. For instance, during the crazy lockdowns they had closed the borders here, but only to tourists. So being tourists we could leave but we could not return until the closure was lifted. We had no idea when that would be, so we stayed. Not a bad place to be locked down, I might add.
Applying for residency has been a journey. We have learned a lot and continue to do so. However, one thing is perfectly clear – we must do what is required to be accepted.
Just like any other country on this planet, there are requirements to be met before being approved. All countries do not just accept anyone and everyone. They do not want the “wrong” people to join their country and inhabit their land, thus the purpose of the approval process.
One of the first documents that is required is a person’s background check. For US Citizens our fingerprints are done at a local police station and we then send them off to the FBI with the necessary forms. Within a couple weeks we receive the document needed to prove that we do not have a criminal background. This is a pretty logical request. If I owned a country, I’d want to know a person’s past which would help determine if I open the doors, wouldn’t you?
Imagine what our background check would look like according to our Father in heaven. I admit that mine was filled with iniquities and shortcomings as I worked my way through this life until I found His Way. In fact, everyone will have a list. Some longer than others, some might be considered more serious offenses than others, but the fact is that we all have a list and most of us are not proud of it.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the esteem of Elohim…” Romans 3:23
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to YHWH, who has compassion on him, and to our Elohim, for He pardons much.” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 55:7
These are two very powerful verses. Isaiah proclaims that humans can be wicked and unrighteous while the letter to the Romans declares that all have sinned and fallen short. Ever since the fall in the garden YHWH has chosen select individuals to shine as a light and to lead people back to YHWH’s righteousness. That is where the good news comes in.
We have a Redeemer to wipe that background check clean. Through the blood of our Passover Lamb, Yahushua, YHWH can see a clean background check and let us pass over. Recall that Yahushua our Messiah states “I am the door. Whoever enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and shall go out and find pasture.” John (Yohanan) 10:9 We are granted access through the covering of His blood. Yahushua was sent to pardon us from our past transgressions. Those transgressions or offenses to YHWH’s law kept us from obtaining citizenship into His coming Kingdom. Thankfully, we are given a clean slate – a clear background check to start over.
The word “pardon” which is used in the English translation in Isaiah 55:7 (above) comes from the Hebrew word salach which means to pardon, forgive to spare. The English word pardon is defined as a release from penalty of an offense, forgiveness of a serious offense of offender.
This is where it is quite a profound thing to grasp. No one on earth can earn their way to clearing that background check. We can’t grab a bottle of white-out and think we can cover previous offenses against YHWH.
"But YHWH proves His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us. Much more then, having been declared right by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Romans 5:8,9
It is only through Yahushua, Son of Elohim that we can start again, to be born again and to be “declared right.” This new life and clean slate begins our journey toward the Father and this journey involves action.
“He who believes in the Son possesses everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.” John (Yohanan) 3:36
Don’t show up empty handed
Applying for residency and/or citizenship comes with a price. The cost differs per country but none of them are free. Meaning, an applicant must either pay a large sum of money to go toward the development of the country or if the applicant does not have the amount of funds necessary, they can choose to prove their monthly income. This proves that they will be contributing to the country’s society rather than depleting it. Through the documentation of bank statements and either 1099’s or W2’s, it verifies that they have something to bring to the table. Their presence will not be a hindrance to the community but rather as a supporter and contributor.
Yahushua seems to make this same point very clear regarding bearing fruit for the Kingdom. We cannot show up without the evidence of repentance, our fruit.
“By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicket fruit. A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 7:16-19
“The axe is already laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, then, which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew (Mattithyah) 3:10
“Stay in Me, and I in you. As the branch is unable to bear fruit of itself, unless it stays in the vine, so neither you, unless you stay in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who stays in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without Me you are able to do naught! If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John (Yohanan) 15:4-6
Some might wonder what constitutes good fruit and what does it mean to stay in Him? Is belief alone sufficient? Can we show up on that day with the desire to enter His Kingdom presenting only the documentation of belief?
The answer is quite clear as Yahushua elaborates in John 15 what it means to stay in Him.
“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love. If you guard My Commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s Commands and stay in His love.” John (Yohanan) 15:9,10
The emphases of staying in Messiah is stressed by John in one of his epistles. He elaborates on what it means to have fellowship with Yahushua, to know and stay in Him and that this word is nothing new, being that Yahushua is the Word (Torah) in the flesh. Let’s read these important statements from John.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and are not doing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another , and the blood of Yahushua ha’Mashiach His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” 1 John (Yohanan)1:6,10
I’d like to pause here and highlight a few things. Notice the word “if” throughout these verses. That critical word will continue in John’s letter which we will discuss further. Notice, John is emphasizing our previous subject that everyone has sinned. We cannot show up thinking we do not need the blood of Yahushua to wipe our slate clean and try to gain access on our own accord. We need Him, this is a critical prerequisite – without Yahushua, there is no door. Now let’s continue with his letter to examine moving forward with our clean slate.
“And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His Commands. The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His Commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John (Yohanan) 2:3-6
The above 4 verses are quite profound and deserve another pause. John is emphasizing what Yahushua stated in the gospels. In order to stay in Him we must guard His instructions, His Commands. The one who says they know Him and who proclaims belief that He is the Son of Elohim yet does not guard His Commands is a liar. By their actions we shall know them and by their actions they will produce fruit. This fruit is nothing new and it is not a new command as John states, it is His Word from the beginning.
“Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old Command which you have had from the beginning. The old Command is the Word which you heard from the beginning.” 1 John (Yohanan) 2:7
John goes on to say that it is a “fresh” command meaning it is not a new one that is replacing the old, it is renewed – made perfect and complete by the blood of our Messiah. Through Him we can do all things (Philippians 4:13) including living the righteous instructions of our Father.
Yahushua states many times “follow Me.” He would not tell us to follow Him if it was impossible for us to follow Him. He lived a sinless life and was our unblemished Lamb for the atoning of our sins. Knowing we have all fallen short, chose to repent and have received our updated clean “background check” – would it then make any sense to intentionally continue in sin and “trample the blood of the Son of Elohim underfoot?” (Hebrews 10:29)
Bearing fruit is the evidence of our salvation, we become “born again” and should no longer be the person we were before. This new person should act differently and live differently and by their fruit, the world will know them – but most importantly, YHWH will know them. Bearing fruit is what we are able to bring to the table, thus not being empty handed.
“Bear, therefore, fruits worthy of repentance…” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 3:8
“Therefore, Sovereign Agrippas, I was not disobedient of the vision of the heavens, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and in all the country of Judea, and to the gentiles, that they should repent and turn to Elohim, and do works worthy of repentance.” Acts 26:19,20
The English word “worthy” is translated from the Greek axios. This means someone with great merit and character. It is the moral and ethical quality of a person’s features and traits. Merit is defined as something that deserves or justifies a reward.
Axios is also mentioned in Revelation 5:4:
“And I wept much, because no one was found axios (worthy) to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.”
This is quite interesting as we read Yahushua proclaiming that we should bear fruit worthy of repentance. He also instructed the disciples “whatever city or village you enter, ask who is axios (worthy) in it, and stay there until you leave. And as you enter into a house, greet it. And if the house is axios (worthy), let your peace come upon it. But if it is not axios (worthy), let your peace return to you.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 10:11-13
Also note the emphases of being worthy, when Yahushua answered a Sadducees’ question regarding the resurrection:
“And Yahushua answering, said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are counted worthy (kataxioo) of attaining that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are they given in marriage, for neither is it possible for them to die any more, because they are like messengers and are sons of Elohim, being sons of the resurrection’.” Luke 20:34-36
From this verse the word “worthy” is kataxioo and means to deem entirely deserving.
So, which is it? According to Revelation, no one is worthy to open the scroll. Yet, Yahushua clearly describes those who are counted worthy will receive everlasting citizenship and become sons of Elohim.
Well, the answer is quite clear if we embrace the view of “belief without works is dead.” In other words, we rely on the pure blood of Yahushua (the only One sinless and worthy to atone for our sins) and through this covering, we now can live according to the instructions of our Elohim, the very instructions that lead us back to eternity with Him.
“My brothers, what use is it for anyone to say he has belief but does not have works? This belief is unable to save him” James (Ya’aqob) 2:14
“So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead. But someone might say, ‘You have belief, and I have works.’ Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works. You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder! But do you want to know, Oh foolish man, that the belief without works is dead?” James (Ya’aqob) 2:17-20
I believe a statement by Peter (Kepha) in the book of Acts sums it up quite nicely:
“Truly I see that Elohim shows no partiality, but in every nation, he who reveres Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Acts 10:34,35
Simply put, if we want to become a resident or citizen of another country, we cannot lean solely on belief that that country exists. Admitting with our mouths that we believe in the existence of that country does not qualify for obtaining citizenship. It is following the required “works” that shows that particular country we want admittance. We want to be accepted through the proper channels.
I must reiterate however that we cannot obtain eternal citizenship ONLY through our righteous or set-apart living. Yes, following the Torah “road map” is required however it is only through the blood of our Savior, Yahushua that we are granted access. He clearly instructs “follow Me” – and follow is a verb. It means to come after in sequence, to move behind in the same direction. That direction is the Torah, the very instructions that Yahushua lived as a perfect example to show us the Way back to life through Him.
Sadly, many have believed the false notion that “He lived a perfect life, so we don’t have to.” The last part “so we don’t have to” is in direct opposition to every Word in Scripture. Many use that excuse because they think they can’t. However, to put it bluntly, it isn’t that they can’t, it’s that they won’t.
I want eternal citizenship with my heavenly Father. Thankfully I can apply for it through the blood of my Savior and Messiah, Yahushua. I “apply” works daily, which YHWH defines as worthy of repentance – physical acts (bearing fruit) as evidence of salvation.
Immigration appointments are important. It is your time to present yourself to those permitting citizenship. This is a set date and time, and it is critical that the applicant shows up. Failure to attend could result in prolonging citizenship or even denial. It would be silly to go through all the paperwork necessary and then miss the immigration appointment – the very appointment that determines the right of entry.
YHWH also has set appointments which in Hebrew are called Moadim. These annual and weekly Moadim (Appointed Times) are specific dates set throughout the year where those who revere YHWH are instructed to “show up”. We show up by honoring these special appointed days as instructed in His Word.
Some are somber reminders and appreciation for all He has done while others are known as feasts and are wonderful celebrations of remembrance and future promises. They are a time to assemble with others and celebrate the joy we have in our Savior and Father and how we yearn for our future redemption and eternal citizenship.
One of the Appointments is weekly, the seventh day Sabbath. The others are annual, known as the Appointed Times, Feasts and/or High Sabbaths. They are as follows: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippurim, Sukkot and the Eighth Day. I discuss these in more detail in several of my blogs and in my upcoming book, The Transitional Period. Additionally, I do believe a wonderfully detailed book called “The Appointed Times” by Todd D Bennett gives precise historical background and understanding of each, through Scripture.
One thing that must be noted is that the culmination of the end times is intimately connected with these Moadim, so it is quite critical that we understand their meaning and when they are, so that we “show up” for the appointment. The Torah Calendar also gives wonderful direction as to when they take place.
The parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) is a prime example of being ready and showing up for our appointments. Belief was not a factor as they all believed, but rather being ready and prepared (doers of the Word) for the Bridegroom’s arrival. The wise virgins were granted access and entry into the wedding feast, while the foolish and unprepared were not.
Proof of Citizenship
“Passporte por favor” is what we are always asked when coming back to Costa Rica. Being we are still in the process of obtaining residency thus lacking our residency card, we are required to show proof of a citizenship. I, nor anyone else, can enter any country without showing proof of citizenship for what country we “belong” to.
As we all know, this proof is a physical document where agents can verify our nationality just by looking at it. It can be likened to a sign (something seen) or mark (indicator) to a specific country.
Thankfully, YHWH created a specific sign or mark for those that belong to Him. It is also physical outward proof of our citizenship.
“My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, YHWH qadosh (separate) you.” Exodus (Shemoth) 31:13
“And I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, to know that I am YHWH who makes them qadosh (set-apart).” Ezekiel 20:12
“And qadosh (set-apart) My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, to know that I am YHWH your Elohim.” Ezekiel 20:20
If you are new to the instructions of honoring Sabbath and/or have questions whether it applies to you or whether it’s been “nailed to the cross” then I suggest my blog “And you shall call the Sabbath a delight”. We examine how false doctrine regarding the Sabbath has crept into religion and study what His Word truly reveals.
We need to ask ourselves if we want to be “marked” and “sealed” as His?
“Do not harm the earth, or the sea, nor the trees until we have sealed the servants of our Elohim upon their foreheads.” Revelation 7:3
I want to be sealed with YHWH’s mark, don’t you? I want to be separated from the rest and I want to be on the “right” side of the line.
“Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to YHWH, to serve Him, and to love the Name of YHWH, to be His servants, all who guard the Sabbath, and not profane it, and hold fast to My Covenant – them I shall bring to My qodesh (set-apart) mountain, and let them rejoice in My house of prayer.” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 56:6,7
According to His Word, we can only acquire eternal citizenship into the Kingdom of YHWH through His Son, Yahushua. We then need to “follow Him” by our works, our actions. This is “documentation” of our new citizenship by how we live. These outward signs prove our repentance – to turn from one direction onto another path, His path. Without this proof, how will anyone know a change has been made?
What “documentation” do you show (by how you live) that determines where you belong?
“Blessed are those doing His Commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates of the city.” Revelation 22:14
“And become doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing.” James (Ya’aqob) 1:22-25
“For not the hearers of the Torah (instructions) are righteous in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the Torah shall be declared right.” Romans 2:13
“Blessed rather are those hearing the Word of YHWH and keeping it!” Luke 11:28
Additional Studies on the Sabbath
"And you shall call the Sabbath a Delight" by Carrie Forman
"A review on John MacArthur's Message on Sabbath and "The Lord's Day" by Stacey Fitzgerald