Month: ט״ו בניסן ה׳תשע״ז (April 2017)

There Is A Scripture 06-01-17

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“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too!” Matthew 5:38-39. CJB.

So in jail there are fights. Someone says something someone else doesn’t like or does something to someone else that is an offense. The recipient retaliates things escalate and then there is a fight.

Same in the world outside jail.

Offenses are committed all the time. Bad words spoken, stealing, infidelity, lies, hurtful acts of one upon another.

Are we to ignore these things when they happen to us or return hurt for hurt. Cause that’s what we’re talking about here isn’t it? “I’ll get him back for what he did to me”.

This scripture takes us a little deeper than the worldly approach to things . It doesn’t deny that we can be victimized.

And it doesn’t say to run away.

In fact if you are turning the other cheek, you have to be facing your opposition to do so. You haven’t been defeated or run off. You remain before the attack, a testimony that they are wrong and you have done nothing wrong.

You don’t apologize or change your ways or submit in fear. You remain true.

What we are not supposed to do, to the extent circumstances allow, is return violence for violence (physical, verbal, spiritually), to be judge and exact vengeance, because that would be our attitude. We might say, “That guy deserved it”, and we might be right.

Justice is something we hope for in this life, but is promised and will be achieved in the end, for everyone. And this will be done by the One who can do it perfectly with no chance of undeserved consequence.

Are we not supposed to strive to be like Yeshua?

Is this not a time when the will of God is to heal?

Doesn’t judgment come later?

So when we are wronged, though the flesh cries out for satisfaction shouldn’t we, pause, exercise the fruit of self control, and give good words for bad (and mean it), do a kindness after suffering an offense? Shouldn’t we forgive even when no forgiveness is asked for, when retaliation is actually what is expected?

Shouldn’t our purpose be what Yeshua’s purpose was, not to condemn but be agents of healing?

Turning the other cheek is not falling down and rolling over. It is coming back, standing fast, confronting the opposition, by our refusal to be frightened or subdued and instead, returning good for bad and taking the hit anyway if that’s what ends up happening? In fact we should be prepared, because the hit is going happen.

The task is to do Yahweh’s Good, in spite of what and how often it confronts us in the process.

Father, grow in us a love and fearfulness for our fellow man, Your creation, that enables us to look past the dark in them, the hurt they inflict, to healing and cleaning up, peace and Your favor for them.

Strengthen us to this task, without You which we cannot do.

And may others exercise Your same nature towards us, for indeed we will need it as well.

We trust in You for grace and mercy as well as vindication.

Your Ways are so good, Abba. They are worthy of our commitment.

You are worthy Father.

May we have and live Your character towards one another, in the face of attacks.

May Your love be in us all.

In Yeshua’s name.

Amen.

Elder.

There Is A Scripture 05-26-17

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Do you know what a wooden nickel is? Well in certain thrift stores you can buy one and it allows you to get a discount on any purchase you make from then on. Just show your wooden nickel. My wife has one on her key chain. My grandson has one and probably his mother as well. They all haunt thrift stores. I’m not complaining, just “sayin”. Half my shirts came from thrift stores and they’re all nice. Amazing what people throw away.

Then there are the coupons. My wife and daughter go foraging two or three times a week, depending, I guess, on when sales start in the stores. She has a special bag she puts her coupons in and takes with her when she shops. Those coupons come from off line, local magazines and coupon books. There is a gentleman my wife likes to give grief to who brings her the weekly newspaper ads from his newspaper that she uses as well (he does a fairly good job of returning the grief).

When they come home from one of their forays into the market place the receipts come out and an accounting is made. They are so skilled and deadly in their ability to shave, literally dollars, off the bottom line that I actually feel sympathy for the merchants they deal with. I think to myself, “They can’t keep losing money like this!” often see grocery receipts where the bottom line end up being twenty-five percent of the actual total of over a hundred dollars, price tags from a department store where using double and triple coupons, the price for an article is pennies and not dollars. It’s kind of like Scrabble with its double and triple letter and word points for increasing your score, and my wife is veerrry good at Scrabble.

Why doesn’t everyone shop like this? I think it may be nothing more than a matter of convenience when you get right down to it. Maybe too, it could be image. You know, being a cheap-skate, penny pincher, tight-wad. Where did those images come from? Didn’t they use to be being frugal, thrifty, knowing values and being good stewards of hard earned money?

So where am I going with this? I don’t know, but maybe there is a God lesson to be learned.

We live in a huge market place and the products available to us are seemingly endless. They have glitter and appeal and skillful marketing stirs up our “I want it” juices. Someone convinces us or we convince ourselves that we should have whatever it is even if there is no need or usefulness or real satisfaction in having it. And that can happen even knowing that the deal is a bad one, the price one we can’t really afford. We can give undeserved value to some things, some folks, devalue things and folks that are deserving.

The Word warns us that this world and all it offers, though enticing, it is… well, all that glitters is not gold. And that same Word is the ultimate coupon book.

If we are willing we can open it up, and should, with the same eagerness we would in our worldly search, search it out for the coupons that apply to every aspect of our lives, every deal that comes along and enable us to negotiate the market place in such a way that we come Home with valuable, imperishable possessions, crowns to cast at the feet of our Lord, our Father, hope and peace in these times, in return for the gift He gave that we could not pay for no matter how many and what combinations of coupons we collected.

And would that not please the Father, bring a smile to His lips as He says “Well done good and faithful servant. You have been a good and trustworthy steward of what I gave you and now here is more. Well done.”

I like to poke fun at my wife and children over their love of a good deal. But beneath that fun making lies a respect and admiration for that quality in them and their unashamed living it out that I believe is in conformity with the way Abba wants us to be.

Our Father will recognize them one day and following the advise concerning the virtuous wife I will:

“Give her a share in what she produces;

let her works speak her praises at the city gates.

let her know:

“Many women have done wonderful things,

but you surpass them all!”

Father, bless and keep us.

May Your love be in us all.

Elder.

There Is A Scripture 06-09-17

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“I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other. Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other.” John 13:34-35 CJB.

Yeshua commanded that His disciples love one another…keep on… loving each other. One reason for the importance of this command was, is, that their actions towards each other would demonstrate and testify to the world, louder and more convincingly than words, they followed a master who loves His creation, protects us and provides for our well being and happiness both now, whatever the circumstances and in eternity.

That love for one another would also be a motivation for them to be obedient to Yeshua’s other command that they proclaim to and teach those outside their circle about the Good News and make disciples of them of whosoever would.

And to keep things in perspective for them,

“…he rose from the table, removed His outer garments and wrapped a towel around His waist. The He poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the talmidim and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around Him.” John13:4-5 CJB.

Can you picture that? The Master… bent over, kneeling before each individual man, washing and drying his feet, with both His hands, wrapping the towel around the heel of the man’s foot, bringing it forward across the bottom to his toes, up and over the tips of them, and across the top up to his ankle, gripping both sides, firmly pressing with his fingers and thumbs the towel, to minister to the foot and to absorb the water and leave each and every foot clean and dry, an act of servitude performed in love.

The point:

“Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you. Yes, indeed! I tell you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor an emissary greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:14-17 CJB.

To serve and to serve out of love is the point and if that’s the way the Master does it we are to do it the very… same… way….   As a brother of mine reminds me from time to time, “it’s all about the heart.”

If we have the heart of Yeshua, it will manifest itself in the way we act, what we think, what we say and how we say it. And by it we will be known to be His and draw others to Him.

As we live, share and learn from one another the prayer is that we will do so for the purpose of  glorifying God and not ourselves, to bless one another, and that this Way will truly be a blessing and joy for us.

As we disciple may we do so to build up the other.

As we are “discipled” may we be accepting and grateful.

May we do both humbly before the Lord and men.

May God’s love be in us all.

Elder.

Minchah Prayer 04-11-17

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Looking back, the project, started with purpose and energy and a sense that we’re going to get this done.

The end was somewhat the same, the last big push to finish. The product is done, the service provided, energy surges as the finish line is in sight and finally crossed.

But in-between there were times when things slowed down, energy had been expended but nothing, it seemed, to show for it. What needed to come next? Where did those unexpected issues come from? The work load increased but the deadline remained the same. Fatigue. Mind wants to drift.

Father, in those in-between times when the energy and excitement of a fresh start is behind us and we are in the middle of the work and accomplishing what we have started can seem so much farther away than we had first thought… we stop…..

We withdraw from the moment for a moment, or two or three and seek communion with You, seek to speak only to You, to praise You, to remind ourselves and confess to You that we are Your children, that You love us, that we walk together  and for that we are so grateful.

We remind ourselves that all projects are, all living is for, the purpose of praising and glorifying You, every aspect, every activity, every relationship, an opportunity and a means to give You honor before all, to lift You up and put You first.

Father, revive us. Send us back into the work rested and renewed with the strength and will to continue to the finish…please Abba.

And may all we think and say and do, please You, Father.

In Yeshua’s name we pray.

Amen.

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