Torah Commentary – Pinchas”Phineas” – Zeal In The Camp – SCRIPTURES FOR July 27, 2019

Torah Commentary
Pinchas”Phineas”
Numbers 25:10-30:1
1 Kings 18:46-19:21
2 Timothy 1-4; Titus 1-3; Philemon 1
Zeal In The Camp
Reading about the Hebrews and their journey through the wilderness  has taken on so much meaning in the past few years. With each passing year it becomes more and more special to read about their lives. It is not that the accounts of their lives become more exciting, but as His Day approaches, reading about the lives of the Hebrews causes me to sit back and allow my own thoughts to wander. I think about how different their walk was from ours today, but with the differences come so many striking similarities. Their walk was different because times have changed, but it was so simular because people do not change.
This week we read about people who no matter the blessings of The Almighty in their lives desired the quick passing pleasure of sin rather than the righteousness of their Creator. We read about one man who took the bull by the horns and made a difference. If you look between the lines we also see the masses called the majority who just sat and watched as spectators on a sideline.
The main character in the opening words of this weeks Torah is a man named Pinchas. He came on the scene rather quickly last week and became the hero of the day to stop a plague which was sweeping through the people because of sin in the camp. His heroic efforts cause him to not only take a place in recorded history, but also brings him and his family into a promotion promised not only for the lifetime of Phichas, but forever.
What was it that brought about the blessing Pinchas would walk in? It is boiled down to one word, zeal. But what exactly is zeal?
Webster defines zeal as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Zeal is something which is easy to define, but rather hard to teach. Fact is, I do not think you can teach zeal. You can teach emotions and hype which last about as long as the passing pleasure of sin, but zeal is another matter. I have come to the conclusion after years of teaching that there is no way to teach zeal. Zeal can not be taught, zeal must be caught!
Pinchas did not get his zeal from a book. We are not told where Pinchas got his zeal from. It could have been directly from Moses himself. Or maybe it was Joshua? There is an interesting thought. Maybe there is more to the man Joshua than we know up to this point. So far all we know about him is that he stuck pretty close to Moses most of the time. He was no doubt addicted to the presence of Elohim, for when Moses left the Tabernacle, Joshua would stay behind. What was Joshua doing with his time during a normal day though? Maybe he was passing on a zeal he had not been taught, but rather had caught from his time in the presence of Moses and of course Elohim Himself. If this is so, it sure paid off not only in the life of Pinchas, but in the lives of many Hebrews that infamous day.
This of course brings us to a question. How is our zealousness today? Do we have the kind of zealous pursuit of HaShem that causes others around us to sit up and take notice? Do we have a zealousness that is affecting other people around us? Are we ever zealous enough about Him for people to notice?
A zealous lifestyle will cause you to do things others are not willing to do. Zealousness will cause you to step out of a crowd like Pinchas or a Judas Maccabee. It will cause you to do things others are just not willing to do. Zealousness will cause you to be different from the crowd. Zealousness will cause you to be admired by some, but not accepted by most. Zealousness will cause you to be misunderstood most of the time. Zealousness will cause you to loose many friends, but in the end have the greatest influence on people. Above all, zealousness for Him will cause Him to be zealous over you. Personally I can not think of a better reason to desire to catch this wonderful trait of His the scripture calls zealous. (Click to Source)
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Torah Commentary – Korach (Korah) – The Stand Which Proved The Man – Joined To HaShem – SCRIPTURES FOR July 6, 2019

Torah Commentary
Korach (Korah)
Numbers 16:1-18:32
1Samuel 11:14-12:22
2Timothy 2:8-21
Jude 1-25
The Stand Which Proved The Man
We come to the infamous account of Korach this week. You have to admit that with all that has happened in the camp since Israel left Egypt, events which clearly showed Moshe as the leader, this was a pretty gutsy move made by Korach. Well, maybe gutsy is not the right word to use here. How about just plain dumb?
Imagine the looks on the faces of those who stood in rebellion as the ground under their feet began to shake. Maybe a gentle rumble preceded the earth splitting in two before swallowing the mass group of “position seekers”. This is an incredible display from Yah confirming His seal of leadership on Moshe…As most of you know, I love the quote by John Wayne, “It’s hard to stop stupid!” I wonder if Mr. Wayne might have come up with that quote after reading this week’s Torah portion. Probably not, but it sure fits.
In Chapter 17 we read that it was the very next day after the Korach incident when stupid re-entered the camp. Consider the scene. The ground may have still been separated in the very spot where Korach and his bands had once stood. Even with the evidence of judgment still smoking in front of them, the people rebelled with complaints against Moshe.
What is the theme we are seeing? We find it by reviewing the previous portion where Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe . Rebellion is at the heart of their actions. Pride goes before a fall. We see rebellion against Moshe, the Torah and Yah’s direction for them.
In our walk, we must begin to look at Torah, Yeshua and walking in His principles as a package. It is all or nothing, not multiple choice. Most of us are accustomed to going to a restaurant and ordering from a menu. We find the combination which is close to our desires. If one item isn’t appetizing we ask the server if we can make a few changes like substituting onion rings for the fries. Is this our mindset regarding Kingdom living? In their day it was “Hold the manna, we will take a large order of quail!” What are we trying to substitute?
We read this week of a story of Aharon, Moshe’s brother, that shows he “got it.” In the past, we found Aharon to be a people pleaser. He walked through some rough trials before reaching this portion. He was not known for taking a stand. It appears Aharon learned from his mistakes displaying, in this account, to be the man Yah created him to be.
When the plague permeated the camp Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces to intercede for the people. Moshe gave Aharon specific instructions to “Take your fire pan, put fire from the altar in it, lay incense on it and hurry with it to the assembly”. Scripture records Aharon’s immediate obedience. He took a stand for the community through intercession and action. As a matter of fact, he responded to the instruction and “ran” to their aid. Imagine the scene. Aharon was no spring chicken in age you know, but he ran to take the stand to what Scripture records as “between the living and the dead.”
How did Aharon know the plague would stop? He didn’t. That is the overlooked point. This event was more than giving an account of the people’s rebellion towards Moshe’s leadership. It was about the transformation in Aharon, the man he had become. It was unclear to Aharon the outcome of his obedience. He simply followed directions. He was willing to die trying to save the sheep called Israel.  On this day Aharon proved himself to be a true shepherd.
This act of obedience or rite of passage could have been the catalyst for Aharon to be trusted with the budding rod. His humility and shepherd’s heart led to him being a shadow of the ever budding life of Messiah in the camp!
For a shepherd, the question of giving his life for sheep who may not be very deserving is one which is easy to give a verbal answer “yes” to. It is not until a shepherd is tested that he or she finds if they are truly up to the task.
May we see more people like Aharon raised up in our day.
decolores2bpostrer
Addiction Ends at the Foot of the Cross by True Salvation thru Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ

Torah Commentary – Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf) – The Tourists Connection – SCRIPTURES FOR June 29, 2019

Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf)
Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1-24
Hebrews 3:7-19
The Tourists Connection
If a list were made of the top ten stories the Hebrews are known for during their sojourn in the wilderness, the account of the twelve spies would certainly be found. Many fingers have been pointed at the faithless reports given by the ten spies. Is there a deeper level of understanding regarding the reason behind the difference in the statements shared by the ten versus the two? Could we find another lesson from their experience that can give instruction to us today? Let’s see.
The Hebrew word translated as spies is “tuwr.” It is interesting that the word sounds like our English word “tour”, though it is not the actual root of the word. We can use the comparison to draw a lesson. We can look at these men, not as it describes as “in the Land”, but rather as tourists? At the time, they were travelers, not dwellers. Consider, after all, when they returned to camp they brought back souvenirs of fruit of the land to show off. The fruitful bounty could have been inspiration to take the Land as Yah directed. Yet, it is not what they brought back on their shoulders which truly mattered, instead, it was what was in their hearts.
It is hard to envision the immense feast of produce these men saw or the terror of the massive size of its inhabitants during their “tour.” A few years back a section of the wall of Hevron was found that dates back to the time of Scripture. On one of my trips in Israel I was able to visit that section of unearthed wall. I remember just staring at it. I have always had a connection to Joshua. The haftorah readings for the Torah portion related to my birthday are verses in the first section of Joshua. That day at the wall I just stood and stared as I considered that ancient stone and pondered whether it may have been a spot Joshua had fixed his own eyes upon.
All twelve of the men saw the same sites, ate the same food and walked the same soil, so why the different accounts given upon their return? Most would say it was based on their level of faith which to some measure, I agree with. Going back to our original question whether we have another lesson from the spies experience, let us consider this point of view. I believe we can also reflect on the word “connect”. Joshua and Caleb connected with the Land. They were able to see past the giants inhabiting the area, even the bountiful harvest. It was their King’s Land. He was calling them to possess His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Their heart connection to Yah instilled a deep passionate connection for His Land, their inheritance. It appears the other ten did not make this connection.
My friend and brother Hanoch Young says it best, if you connect with the Land, the Land will connect with you. For Joshua and Caleb, the Land became a part of their very hearts. Sadly it seems for the others it was just another random handful of dirt.
As with Joshua and Caleb, you and I will fight for our heart’s desires and what and who we are connected to. That connection will manifest itself in actions which may in the end be termed faith, but faith begins with the relationship established in our heart.
What did Joshua and Caleb connect to? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 11:12 which reveals to us that the eyes of Yah are continually on that Land. Eyes do not lead your heart, they follow your heart. What your eyes gaze upon is an outward manifestation of where your heart is.
The eyes and hearts of Joshua and Caleb connected with the eyes and heart of the Father Himself. This is why they were allowed to enter the Land and would later give their very lives to possess it.
What caused Joshua and Caleb to connect with the Land and the others did not? I wish I could give you a complete answer. What makes one person go to Israel and weep while another is engrossed in taking pictures and playing on their cell phone? That is a question I cannot answer, but I am certain it involves the heart.
I have taken hundreds of people to Israel through the years. Most everyone will take pictures, bring home souvenirs and have stories to tell friends and family when they return. For the majority the memories will fade and become like the memories of taking the children to an amusement park. For others, life will never be the same. What is the difference? I do not know. What about the person who has never stepped foot in Israel, but yet the mention of the word brings tears to their eyes? I don’t know.
Joshua and Caleb connected to Israel on that day. They joined to the heart of their Father. This connection gave them the faith to see past giants and other obstacles. Their relationship gave them the blessing to cross over Jordan and enter into the Promise Land!
My prayer as I read this Torah portion is, “Father, I desire a heart like Joshua and Caleb, a heart for what is important to you. Give me the heart that brings forth the faith to see past giants so I too may enter your Land, my destiny!” (Click to Source)

 

Shalom, New Moon – May 6, 2019

Shalom,
New Moon
There are no reports of the New Moon being sighted in Israel as of yet due to overcast skies. Mathematically we enter into the second month.
With over 600 rockets launched into Israel this past weekend, spend a few extra moments considering the people who live in The Land and the great sacrifices they endure. 
Look toward the western sky at sundown tonight and celebrate the goodness of HaShem in our lives.

Celebration Tips
Lighting of the Menorah
Reading Psalms
Sounding of the shofar
Celebration dinner
Special time of thanks and blessing.
Prayer for peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6) and regathering of the family of Israel.
(EZ 37)
May HaShem open His floodgates of blessing upon you in this new month.
Chodesh Tov. (Good month)
Be Strong,
Mike Clayton
Joined To HaShem
 
Disclaimer: This email is not intended to set a calendar or appointed time. It is only to announce the sighting of the New Moon in Israel. It is to be a reminder to those in exile that Jerusalem should be the focus and center of all we do.
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Torah Commentary – Va’era (I appeared) – His Promise – SCRIPTURES FOR January 13, 2017

Torah Commentary
Va’era (I appeared)

jesus-jew-2

Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Romans 9:14-17
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
His Promise
It is too easy for us to scan through Torah portions that have become familiar to us. I challenge you to slow down and consider the people who are living these recorded days then bring the words forward to our day and our lives. Take for instance the four “I Wills” of Exodus 6:6-8. These are words we speak of every Passover, but have we really considered them?

Here are the four promises. “I will free you, I will take you as my people, I will bring you into the Land and I will give you your inheritance”. For the Hebrews, they did not listen to those words because they were discouraged due to slavery. Are we not listening to them because we are prosperous? Ouch!

Let’s look at the promises one by one for ourselves. I am going to ask some questions regarding the promises. Pray about what they mean to you and how you might answer them.
“I will free you.” – Free us from what? We are free, aren’t we? Are we?
“I will take you as my people.” – We are already His people, right? Can we truly be His people while living in exile?
“I will bring you into the Land”- How do we define “the Land”? Interesting that for some this is actually a question.
“I will give you your inheritance.” – Do we know what our inheritance is? Hint. Look at Deuteronomy 33:4 for one. Look at “I will” number three for the other.
How is our longing to walk in the “I Wills” or are these words only spoken at Passover with no meaning. Is it similar to saying “Next Year in Jerusalem”?
The balance of this Torah portion will be devoted to the dialogue of Moshe and Aaron with Pharaoh as well as the plagues. What are these plagues about? Are they really judgments on the Egyptians for making the Hebrews into slaves? At one level the answer is yes, but let’s look at it from a different angle. Are the plagues more about the Hebrews seeing what life in Egypt really was? Is the fall of Egypt as the world power more about ripping their love of Egypt away so they could realize Egypt as exile and not home? How does that speak to us? Just how many plagues would it take for you to pack your bags and not “Move to Beverly” or “Head west young man”, but to leave everything behind and head east to home?
One more thing, in Exodus 9:16 Moshe is told to tell Pharaoh that the only reason he has been kept alive is to show forth the power of the Almighty and make His name resound through the earth. As Moshe was heading to the palace to deliver the message, did he stop and think that these words were not only for the Pharaoh, but were for him? Moshe’s parents could have followed the orders of the Pharaoh and put him to death. He could have been eaten by a croc in the Nile River. He could have been put into slavery instead of raised in the palace. He could have been put to death after he killed an Egyptian. He could have died of thirst, starvation or a rattlesnake bite in the desert. Moshe was alive. His life had been spared and protected. Why? For the same reason as Pharaoh, to show forth the power of Yah and make His name resound on the earth.
Any idea where I am going next? Think about it. What about you and me? Through the years I have had the honor of sitting down and getting to know many of you. You have told me about some of your past and I have shared with you some of mine. A theme has arisen many times in conversations when we look back and see how many times our lives were protected and spared by the Almighty. I wonder how many times He spared us and we did not know it? Why were we kept alive? Why were we called to the walk we are on? Is it not for the same reason Pharaoh was kept alive, the same reason Moshe was kept alive? Humbling isn’t it. Guess it just proves one more time that life really is not about us, but it is truly about Him.  (Click to Source)

 

Torah Commentary – Sh’mot (Names) – His Ways – January 6, 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’mot (Names)
9705c-sixth2bseal2brevelation
Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23
Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46
Acts 3:12-15
Hebrew 11:23-26

His Ways

Just a few days ago we entered into the Gregorian year of 2018. The thought of that seems a bit strange. You may even be one who would say you never imagined how this world system could possibly have lasted this long. I can relate.
Truth is, we are here and with the new year a verse keeps being brought to my mind. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” That verse makes more sense to me with each passing day.
The Hebrews in Egypt must have had thoughts concerning this not yet recorded concept. For those who had been keeping up with history, they must have been shaking their heads with unbelief. How could they have gone from the great honor of their recent ancestors to slavery in exile? What happened through these short years?
Maybe a clue to this question is found in Exodus 1:23. In the verse it is recorded that the Hebrews cried out, but it does not say they cried out to HaShem. It just says they were crying. Is it possible they had given up on the promises they had been given through their ancestor Abraham so many years earlier? Is it in the forgetting of the promises they had forgotten who they were and Whom they belonged to? Had they been so long in exile they had given up? Are those words mirroring some of our thoughts today?
Truth is, whether His family is in Egypt or anywhere else called exile His thoughts and ways are not going to line up with ours. His thoughts and ways are to bring forth a greater work than ours would ever accomplish.
Now they may think they are forgotten, but we know they are not, because we have the benefit of being able to read the rest of the story and we know the outcome. With this we can sit back and be experts at telling them what they should have done while all the while dealing with the same faith failures they went through. Think of it this way. What if a book is being written about our exile which others will one day be able to read. They could be experts to!
Now they may have thought they were forgotten, but truth is there were great works being done which were way beyond their thoughts. The first work was being done in them. In Egypt Yah was growing His family to numbers Abraham would probably never imagined. In the growing of the family numerically, it does appear that they forgot to grow spiritually. Not pointing fingers, just a floating thought to ponder. The other work being done was about a shepherd being prepared to lead them. Without that shepherd they would not have even made it to the sea much less into the wilderness and for some the Promise Land.
In the past years there has been much talk and teaching about what is referred to as the Greater Exodus. Verses used for this teaching are in Jeremiah 23. Why have these verses not happened? Why are we still in exile? Why are we not in Israel? Is it possible that not only are we not ready, but the shepherds spoken of in the first of the chapter are still on their own backsides of deserts being prepared for the day.
What should we take away from this Torah portion? Let us not forget who we are. Not forgetting Whom we belong to. We need to remember the verse in Habakkuk 2:3 used to explain that every promise He has made will come to pass and though from our vantage point it may seem the promises are delayed, from His vantage point, they are right on time.
In the end, just as a remnant of Hebrews were able to grasp that His thoughts and ways would bring forth a greater work than their thoughts and ways could ever do, let us pray for and wait patiently in our day.  (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Vayechi (He Lived) – Enjoying the Fruit – SCRIPTURES FOR December 30, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayechi (He Lived)

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Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
Enjoying the Fruit
Ya’akov is 130 years old when he arrives in Egypt. The following 17 years will be a gift in which he will be able to enjoy the fruit of his life, his family. During this time he will watch his boys mature, marry and bring forth children. Possibly the most joy he will have is spending time with the sons of Yosef. His appreciation and thanksgiving for them had to be very special.
Ya’akov knows his days are numbered and begins one of the greatest honors a father can give, blessing his children. He begins not with his sons, but rather his two grandsons, Efrayim and M’nasheh. It makes me wonder if these two, now young adults, were concerned about what would become of them after Ya’akov died. Had they been told the story of how Yosef was treated and wondered if they would be fully accepted after his death? Any doubts as to their place in the family were laid to rest as Ya’akov changed their family status from grandsons to sons. Efrayim and M’nasheh were not to feel like second class citizens in the family of Israel. May we receive this message in our day.
The teaching of the blessings is so rich, not only for them, but for us as the first words of the blessings tell us he was speaking more to a family living at the end of time than in their time. For those who would like to dig further into these blessings there are four messages I recorded some years ago called “The Twelve Tribes.” The mp3 downloads are available at http://www.joinedtohashem.org/audio-series.html.
When Ya’akov finishes the blessings the verse says he breathed his last and was gathered to his people. I find these words rich. For Ya’akov, death was as natural as life. In fact, most of his life had been a struggle; his death was one of the easiest steps he took. What a contrast to most people’s lives today. Ya’akov may have taught his family as much in his death as he did in his life. This is a great lesson to ponder.
The last request of Ya’akov was regarding his burial. He did not leave his wishes to chance or for his family to discuss. He made sure his wishes were known. This is another good lesson to ponder. For Ya’akov, his last words proved that for him, you may take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can never take Israel out of the man of covenant.
A couple more points. First is concerning the sons and their suspicion of Yosef. Though the 17 years Yaakov was alive, the sons of Yaakov never really accepted that Yosef had fully forgiven them, it is evident through their last recorded words prior to the death of Yosef that this had been a topic of conversation.  Just how many sons were still alive to bring forth these words? Yosef was one of the youngest. Had the suspicions of possible retribution been passed to their sons? We do not know the details, but there is something for us to consider.
Yosef is again a type and shadow of Messiah son of Yosef. Let me ask you this, “When it comes to your life and trusting our sins to be forgiven, do we fully trust or have doubts?” Is there a haunting thought in the back of your mind that there was that one thing you are just not sure has been forgiven?  Take a look at Psalm 103:12. Notice the verse does not say north and south. Why? For if he removed sins from north to south they could be found again. Think of it regarding the sphere of the earth. From south you can only go so far north till you find it and vice versa. East and west never meet. Allowing His forgiveness of ALL THINGS is a very freeing day. The story of Yosef allows us to walk in that forgiveness.
The end of the days of Yosef approach as we come to the end of Genesis. What are his last instructions? Don’t leave my bones in Egypt! Though his life has been one of great honor and prosperity in Egypt, he learned and walked in the example of his father, “You can take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the man of covenant”.
Let us live that lesson well! (Click to Source)

 

Torah Commentary – Vayigash (He approached) – The Day! – SCRIPTURES FOR December 23, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayigash (He approached) 
Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28
Acts 7:9-16
9705c-sixth2bseal2brevelation
The Day!
This Torah portion may well be my favorite of all! To consider the prophetic shadows within these words is overwhelming to me. I have no idea how many times I have tried to imagine the scene we are reading. Yosef is standing in front of his brothers. They have no idea who this man is standing in front of them. Yosef has an Egyptian name; he looks like an Egyptian, dresses like an Egyptian. Not in their wildest of dreams would they have thought of Yosef.
Now consider the Egyptians in the room. Who do they think Yosef is? Some may remember being told he was a Hebrew, but does it really matter to them? They see him as now being one of their own culture.
Then there is Yosef, the only person in the room that knows who he really is. The desire to reveal himself not only to his brothers, but to all present is burning inside of him, but he can’t. Not yet. The testing of the sons of Israel is not quite finished.
Last week, Binyamin is brought to the forefront of the story. He is the one used by Yosef to look deep into the inward souls of his ten brothers. Yosef does not know how this will turn out. As far as he knows they are going to leave Binyamin the same way they left him. He rolled the dice and has not seen how they land.
In the end it will be Y’hudah who will step up to defend his half-brother. Just imagine how difficult it is for Yosef to stand and hear his half-brother come to the rescue of his full brother. It is more than Yosef can bear. Can you imagine what began to go through the boys minds when Yosef cleared the room of all the Egyptians? The brothers are not seeing this turn out very well!
Yosef turns back to his brothers with tears and a huge lump in his throat to utter some of the most beautiful words in Scripture, “Ani Yoseph” (I am Joseph).
Why do I refer to “Ani Yosef” as beautiful words? These words are the shadow of a future event in which Messiah stands before His family to reveal Himself. That day we all may be a bit undone when His true nature is revealed before us. I pray that my whole being will scream with desire for that day to be soon and in my lifetime.
Here is a twist though. Have you ever thought about how much He desires to be revealed?
Think again about Yosef. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him to speak the words of revelation, but he had to remain silent. Would the boys sell out Binyamin like they had done him so many years earlier or would they stand for each other no matter the personal consequences?
So what is holding Messiah back from being revealed in our day? Is it because His desire is not there? I think not. Is it possibly because world events are not quite in place? After all, Yah can make world events happen transpire quickly if needed. What if the answer is that we have not yet passed the test whether we will sell each other out or defend each other no matter the cost?
 At some point in time the shadows of this story will be the substance of reality. If there really is a part we can do to bring it to pass sooner rather than later, how about we get with it. Let’s start today to treat others like the family which will one day be changed from the most dysfunctional to ever live to the one which will be the model of righteousness and love for the entire world to see.  (Click to Source)

 

Torah Commentary – Mikketz (At the End) – Though It Lingers, Never Give Up – SCRIPTURES FOR December 16, 2017

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the End)jesus-in-the-synagogue
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16
Though It Lingers, Never Give Up  
I often consider the life of Yosef as I feel it has much to say to my own life. His life was one of twists and turns that no one could have foreseen. His was also a life of promises which seemed to be out of his grasp. Can you relate?
Our Torah portion begins with the words, “At the end of two years.” It does not say anything about these two years, just states they happened. Think back over your last two years since the first part of December 2015! Have you had anything happen since then? How much has happened? Have you experienced successes, failures or should we say “learning experiences”? What about betrayals or the twists and turns of life?
Consider Yosef’s two years. He was in a prison cell. Probably not much was happening outside of staring at walls. How might his life relate to ours? Glad you asked. Yosef was waiting; waiting for the promise of a dream to be fulfilled. I believe it was the dream that kept him going on a daily basis. He had to ask himself many times if the dream was real or not. When he did, something deep within answered with a resounding “yes”. The dream remained alive and in fact may have kept him alive to the end of those long two years.
The prophet Habakkuk may have thought of Yosef when he received a prophecy now recorded as a book of Scripture for us. Habakkuk was given a promise and wondered when it would happen. In chapter two of his book he is told that though the promise may seem to linger from his standpoint, from the view of the Heavenly realm, it will come to pass right on time. Too bad Yosef did not have the book of Habakkak to read.
Where am I going with this?
Do you have promises you believe Father has given you? Are there dreams in your life becoming pretty distant in your memories? Do you wonder if those things were truly promises or the result of too much pizza the night before? Here in the midst of the Feast of Hanukah would be a good time to bring those things to mind again. Submit them to the Father and listen for a renewal of those promises. Allow Him to sort out what was from Him and what was not.
I wonder if it was a day like I am asking of you which Yosef was going through in his prison cell. Could it have been a day which he was at the end of his rope so to say? He had thought about the dreams over and over and was just about to give up, for the “Linger Time” was just more than he could stand. Could he have been thinking “If nothing happens tomorrow, I am done with those dreams?” Little did he know while he was staring toward the heavens, Pharaoh was having dreams which would bring his promise to pass.
Here is a question for you. What if Yosef had given up just one day earlier? Was the fulfillment of the promise tied to him remaining faithful to it? We cannot say, but what if?
What if the fulfillment of the promises given to us is tied to our remaining faithful to them? Are you willing to chance the answer on this?
Let’s look at it from a different angle. After Yosef is summoned to Pharaoh he interprets his dreams. He then makes a great statement of faith in Genesis 41:32 which states, “The matter has been established by Elohim.” Did those words resound in Yosef as he realized all he had been through in his own life had also been established by Elohim? Did he now see his own faithfulness had been a gift to keep him from giving up?
I am asking many questions this week. The purpose is to cause each of us to think back over promises to possibly cause us to renew our grasp on them. It would be a shame to think if our faithfulness does play a part in His work that we gave up just before a knock on the door. That knock by the way may have sounded like the knock of a prison guard to Yosef, but what was it really? It was the knock of Elohim summoning Yosef into a promise given years earlier.
A last thought concerning Yosef. As the events of his life are happening, Yah is causing a famine in the land of his family, a famine which would cause his brothers to seek food, but find Yosef. What an interesting turn of events as what put him in prison to begin with was him seeking for his brothers. What a great twist!
My ending words are adapted from Churchill, Never, Never, Never give up on the promises He has spoken to you! (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Vayeshev (He Continued Living) – Now That is Dysfunction – SCRIPTURES FOR December 9, 2017

Torah Commentary

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Vayeshev (He Continued Living)
Genesis 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8
Acts 7:9-16
Now That is Dysfunction
The trials of Esau, Laban and the ordeal at Sh’khem and the death of Rachel are now behind Jacob. He even has a new name. I’m sure he thought it would be time to take life easy to enjoy his family, right? Not so fast. Now the trials take on a whole new level. The star at center stage of these new trails is Yosef, the favored son. With Yosef, the fruit of the dysfunction of this family will ripen to full maturity.
Many of us would say we come from families that were or are dysfunctional at some level. Some may be minor dysfunction; others would be over the top. The family of the one now called the “Prince of El” will live like anything but their name. Consider your family. Most of us may have thought about selling a family member, but really going through with it, probably not. We also see the constant underlying attitude of jealousy. It almost comes to the harshest consequence, murder. This family gets the trophy for dysfunctional family of all times.
As we are a part of this family called Israel now, here is a question in the midst of this Torah portion. “Are we doing any better than they were a few thousand years ago?” I don’t really think I even need to offer an answer on that one as it is way too obvious.
Over the next few weeks we will read of the life of Yosef. It is interesting that almost 25 percent of the book of Genesis is devoted to this man’s life. We will read of how he rose to power to only to be thrown in a prison. He will then be betrayed by new friends and left to stare once again at prison walls. Life will take a real turn and he will rise to a position of power which will in the end provide for the uniting of his family. This relocation and unification should give harmony and peace for generations of the family of Israel. Well, maybe not. The sad truth is that though the family of Israel was brought together, the idea of living happily ever after is still something that is out of our grasp.
It is true that the family of Israel is just as dysfunctional as it has ever been. We have taken dysfunction to a new level in many ways. Today we have people who are part of the family that don’t even know they are part of the family. There are those who believe the family is done away with and replaced by a new family. Regarding the rules of the family, well that is another matter all together. Today, the family of Israel is full of realms, backbiting, anger and a host of other things. What is the answer? What can we do to affect change? Can we affect change? I believe so. In fact if I did not believe that I sure would not be doing what I am doing.
How can we affect change in this family of Israel? Here are some ideas.
First of all, quit arguing! Yes, it is that simple. I know people who thrive on Facebook arguments. What a waste of time. Think about it. In the end, how many people have you won over to your way of thinking through these arguments? If this is your purpose you are arguing for your own self satisfaction and worth anyway. Wrong motivation! It is true that it takes two to tango. Want to affect change? Quit the tango.
Next idea would be to celebrate blessings within the family instead of being jealous when someone is blessed. This idea alone would have made a difference in the life of Yosef and his brothers.
How about actually seeking to esteem others in the family better than ourselves instead of just reading those words of Paul? Being a servant to the family will change the atmosphere positively. There is a novel idea.
Of course, my list could go on and on. It would be my list though, not yours. What each of us needs to do as we read, especially this Torah portion is to look at our own lives, compile our own lists of attitudes, habits, beliefs and other things that are adding to the dysfunction instead of unity in Him.
In the end, this family known as Israel, the most dysfunctional family to ever live will be the world’s model for what a family of Yah is to look like. This family will walk in unity and blessing like no other family has ever walked. We are not there yet. May we not be satisfied to just continue like we are, waiting for Messiah’s return, thinking that at that time He is just going to zap us into perfection! Are we willing to learn from those we read about this week and make a decision to quit walking in their footsteps and begin to walk in His? In the end it really is our choice. Let us choose life! (Click to Source)