THIS IS WAR

We spend so much time focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings and wallowing in our self-doubt that we effectively remove ourselves from the fight.  That is exactly what the enemy wants.  Once you realize that Christ has completely eliminated the penalty for your sin

then you are freed and empowered to help others.  Those stuck in works-righteousness can never see the forest for the trees because they still don’t understand that the Gospel has decisively solved the sin problem.  We are free.  And now that we are free we can engage in the broader war and help our brothers and sisters in this bloody fight while we try to snatch more from the fire.

The Scenario

1. The world has collectively chosen to reject God and His rightful rule.

2. The world is presently controlled by the devil and his servants.

3. Those who have rejected God are suppressing the truth and bringing the whole world to annihilation.

4. Mankind is in a spiritual, zombie-like state and headed towards destruction because of sin.

5. When we were completely hopeless and powerless God made the first move by springing a trap that caused the penalty of mankind’s sin to fall on Himself (Acts 20:28) thus setting free those who were enslaved to the devil.  From an individual perspective, men and women break free from the devil’s invisible spiritual prison once they accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and believe in Christ.

6. Mankind is closer than ever to complete physical and spiritual self-destruction and Jesus is returning very soon to put a decisive end to man’s self-rule and the devil’s tyrannical reign, yet He won’t do it until the Church is complete and the Body of Christ is joined to the Head

For this reason we have a very short intervening time to win a more decisive victory over the enemy and to rescue a few more off the battlefield.

The Objectives

1. Hold faithfully to the truth of the Gospel

until we are removed from the battlefield by physical death or the trumpet of God.  That means rejecting all forms of heresy that are creeping into the Church, which twist the Gospel.  Some heresies stem from infiltrators who push liberalized doctrines like universalism, moral deism, New Age syncretism, and the like.  Equally deadly heresies come from those who purport to be the most faithful and religious – those who to their own doom claim that the Cross was not enough (Gal. 5:4).  These modern Pharisees push works-righteousness, a standard that they themselves never meet.  No two Pharisees ever agree on what the list of requirements is, but they demand that you meet their list.  Woe to them!

2. Snatch as many from the fire as possible before the fight is over.  The time we have left to fight is exceedingly short.  This means finding meaningful ways to share your faith and testimony.  Evangelism is often intimidating, but always easier than it seems.  The intimidation is an incessant satanic illusion.  Evangelism is easy.  If in person, just ask a question… “do you have a faith?”  People love questions and will usually open up.  That gives you an instant, non-awkward “in”.  There are even easier ways to evangelize: 1. Write letters to prisoners.  They are a captive audience and love to receive mail.  2. Share Christian and Gospel material on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc.  All it takes is a click or two and you don’t even have to face anyone directly if you tend toward timidity.  3. Start a website or blog and share your faith.  If God has given you more courage then be winsomely vocal.  Hand out tracts.  Give out Bibles.  Find some way to share publicly.  Give big tips to your servers and write “God loves you… John 3:16“.  Strike up conversations.  Let’s go!

3. Hold down your own fort.  That means to do everything in your God-given power to teach your own children and family the truth of God and His Word.  Make faith a normal subject of discussion.  In a family that doesn’t often discuss spiritual things, talking about God can be awkward, but push through.  It might take time, but the goal should be to get to a place where your spouse and children feel loved and comfortable with making God a normal part of discourse.  If you want your family to live out their faith and stay faithful then you can’t relegate Christianity to Sunday at 10:00 AM.  It should be a normal part of life.  Endure all hardships and beatings with grace.  Be kind, forgiving, and authentic with your children and spouse.  Pray for them daily.

4. Fight the political battles, too.  Most people perceive silence as acquiescence, and Christians have become woefully silent.  Political power is often given to the most active and vocal.  We have to speak out on the issues and present a biblical worldview.  Don’t be silent on current events because God has given you so much to say.  Just remember to be kind and winsome – you’re not trying to win an argument, you’re trying to lovingly persuade and plant seeds.  Everyone is yelling, but let’s be those who stand on the side kindly saying, “look, there’s a better way.”  Try to find ways to be physically active in the fight, too.  Hardly a day goes by without a mass prayer, walk for life, or local mission opportunity.  Search on Google or Facebook for local groups and opportunities and participate.

The Obstacles

1. The Church appears to be overwhelmingly outnumbered on this earthly battlefield and this causes many to lose heart, give in, or give up.  Yet this obstacle is only an illusion, because the truth is that more are with us than are with the enemy (2 Kings 6:16-17, Matt. 26:53, Rev. 12:7-9).  When we choose to fight and engage in the battle we usually win, but we have to fight.

2. The devil has infiltrated our ranks with his own.  They often claim to follow Christ, but they try to steer you away from the Gospel in one way or the other.  Realize that they are usually just confused and ignorant and have simply never known Christ.  They don’t understand the message of the Gospel, which proclaims Christ is the only way and simultaneously that our sin is completely, 100% atoned for.  Whether the ultra-conservative Pharisees or the liberal Sadducees

, if you listen to them they will steal your faith or at the very least, cause you to become unproductive in the fight.

3. Self-doubt.  We’ve been forgiven, freed, and promised eternal life, but so often we remain in our chains, fretting over our past regrets and the seemingly impossible obstacles ahead.  Yet so often the obstacles are purely illusions and the ones that do exist God will trample over if you just step forward in faith.  Regarding your sin and your past, just remember that the darkness is dark.  If you spend all of your time focusing on the darkness then your life will be darkness.  Acknowledge that you are a wretched sinner in need of the Great Savior, but then put the darkness behind you and march forward.  Fix and amend what you can, but accept that Christ’s blood covers you completely and meets your every moral need and then enter the battle so you can help others.

We need not compare ourselves to those we perceive to be more successful in the spiritual fight – the Luthers, Spurgeons, and Grahams.  God gave each of them the opportunities, abilities, and courage to achieve what they achieved and the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t them achieving anything, but the God who they allowed to dwell inside them.  For every Luther or Graham there is a less famous Believer, unknown in the annals of history, who was faithful with what God gave them and because of their faithfulness the Luthers and Grahams came to know the Lord.  They may not be famous on earth, but they are very famous in Heaven.

Some are called to be Pauls who seem to reap a great harvest on earth and others are called to be Stephens who seem unsuccessful in the world’s eyes, but in a single moment of faithfulness achieve a spiritual harvest of equal worth that isn’t revealed until the story further unfolds.  Yet we are all called to fight faithfully, courageously, and with unrelenting fervor.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

– Ephesians 6:12

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

– John 14:12

Allow me the liberty to apply Winston Churchill’s most famous speech to the Church:
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend the Gospel, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.  At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.  That is the resolve of Our Lord’s Government-every man of His.  That is the will of Christ and Heaven.  The Church and the Host of Heaven, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their heavenly land, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.  Even though large tracts of earth and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of Beelzebub and all the odious apparatus of satanic rule, we shall not flag or fail.  We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our homes, we shall fight on the streets and in our schools, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength against the prince of the air, we shall defend the Gospel, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the culture, we shall fight in our churches, we shall fight on land and at sea, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Church or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our brotherhood beyond the seas, armed and guarded by divine power, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, Heaven’s armies, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of us all.

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You Are Worthy Of Your Name

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Worthy Of Your Name
You’re my King
My King
Rumors of the Son of Man
Stories of a Savior
Holiness with human hands
Treasure for the traitor
No ear had heard, no eye had seen
The Image of the Father
Until heaven came to live with me
A rescue like no other
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Jesus
You did not speak, You made no sound
You died for Your accusers
As Your blood fell to the ground
You redefined my future
On the day when You arose
The darkness ran for cover
For the King of kings has claimed His throne
Now until forever
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Jesus
You’re my author, my maker
My ransom, my Savior
My refuge, my hiding place
You’re my helper, my healer
My blessed redeemer
My answer, my saving grace
You’re my hope, in the shadows
My strength, in the battle
My anchor, for all my days
And You stand, by my side
And You stood, in my place
Jesus, no other name
No, only Jesus, no other name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
My Jesus …

100 Names of Jesus:
Advocate (1 John 2:1)
Almighty (Rev. 1:8Mt. 28:18)
Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:822:13)
Amen (Rev. 3:14)
Apostle of our Profession (Heb. 3:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)
Author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
Blessed and only Ruler (1 Tim. 6:15)
Bread of God (John 6:33)
Bread of Life (John 6:356:48)
Bridegroom (Mt. 9:15)
Capstone (Acts 4:111 Pet. 2:7)
Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
Christ (1 John 2:22)
Creator (John 1:3)
Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
Eternal Life (1 John 1:25:20)
Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11)
Faithful Witness (Rev. 1:5)
Faithful and True Witness (Rev. 3:14)
First and Last (Rev. 1:172:822:13)
Firstborn From the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15)
Gate (John 10:9)
Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
Head of the Church (Eph. 1:224:155:23)
Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)
High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
Holy and True (Rev. 3:7)
Holy One (Acts 3:14)
Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
I Am (John 8:58)
Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4)
Immanuel (Mt. 1:23)
Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
King Eternal (1 Tim. 1:17)
King of Israel (John 1:49)
King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11)
King of kings (1 Tim 6:15Rev. 19:16)
King of the Ages (Rev. 15:3)
Lamb (Rev. 13:8)
Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Lamb Without Blemish (1 Pet. 1:19)
Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
Living One (Rev. 1:18)
Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
Man from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:48)
Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
Offspring of David (Rev. 22:16)
Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:181 John 4:9)
Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
Our Holiness (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Husband (2 Cor. 11:2)
Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
Our Sacrificed Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7)
Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
Prophet (Acts 3:22)
Rabbi (Mt. 26:25)
Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
Righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5)
Righteous One (Acts 7:521 John 2:1)
Root of David (Rev. 5:522:16)
Ruler of God’s Creation (Rev. 3:14)
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Rev. 1:5)
Son of David (Lk. 18:39)
Son of God (John 1:49Heb. 4:14)
Son of Man (Mt. 8:20)
Son of the Most High God (Lk. 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
The One Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
True Bread (John 6:32)
True Light (John 1:9)
True Vine (John 15:1)
Truth (John 1:1414:6)
Way (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
Word (John 1:1)
Word of God (Rev. 19:13)
Do you have praise on your lips?  Are you ready for a praise fest unimaginable?

Psalm 34 (NLT):

A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.


I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
 

He is worthy of His name.  There is none like Him.  None beside Him.
 
Through His unfathomable and unmerited grace and favor I have a new name that has been imputed to me.  Lord knows I need it.


Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.



His name needs no cleansing.  No imputed righteousness.  No redemption.  No justification.  No sanctification.  No adoption.  No separation from sin.  No grace.  No mercy.   No sacrifice.  No atonement.

Our Lord Jesus is indeed worthy of His name and at His name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.


HOLY HOLY HOLY


He is solid, unmoving, unchanging and a friend to sinners.

Hallelujah!!! (Click to Site)

The Metamorphosis

Yeshua’s disciples saw him undergo a metamorphosis before their eyes, but into what did he transfigure and what did it mean?

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As Yeshua prayed, “He was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). The Greek text of Matthew and Mark uses the word metamorfoo from which we derive the English word “metamorphosis.” A metamorphosis is the process of substantially changing (or transfiguring) from one physical state to another. In what manner did Yeshua change from one state to another?

From the description in the Gospels, it appears that he became like a luminous being, clothed in light: “His face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2) and “His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mark 9:3). What’s the significance?

We find a clue in Matthew 16:27. Shortly before the story of the transfiguration, Yeshua told his disciples that some of them would not taste death before they had seen the Son of Man coming “in the glory of his Father” (Matthew 16:27). The Bible often depicts the glory of God as visible light. For example, Isaiah 60:1 compares God’s glory to the light of the sun: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Likewise, when the angels announced the birth of the Messiah, “glory shone around” (Luke 2:9). The mystics called the light of God’s glory “the radiance of the Divine Presence.” (Click to Site)

Israel and the Nations: A Theological Opinion, Part 1

israel-and-the-nations

Often, well-meaning, Israel-loving people will say to me, “I am Jewish now. I am grafted in.” I never, ever say anything close to, “No, you’re not Jewish.” I focus more on how grateful I am that they love God and pray for the Jewish people. However, it is interesting that the Church went from saying, “You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus,” to, “All believers are Jewish.”

Which is it? What does the Bible actually say? I will make six statements and then seek to back each one up with Scripture, one blog post at a time:

  1. Jews who receive Yeshua remain Jews, just as a females remains female or a male remains a male, after coming to faith.
  2. Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish, but continues to be a member of his or her nation.
  3. However, Jewish and Gentile believers are equal in the sight of God. Jews are neither favored above Gentiles nor discriminated against, in regards to non-Jews.
  4. Salvation is free, but rewards in the kingdom are based on merit, not ethnicity. Intimacy with God is based on the desire and passion of the individual believer, not whether they are Jew or non-Jew, male or female, etc.
  5. Jewish and non-Jewish believers make up the One New Man—a mystery that was hidden in times past. Paul calls this the household of God. In this household, the Gentile believers become joint-heirs withJewish believers—without losing their own ethnicity and without replacing the Jewish people.
  6. Ethnicity is important to God, which is why non-Jewish believers do not become Jews or Israelis (Israelites) after coming to faith. They are called to stand in the gap for their nation.

Blog One: Jewish believers are still Jews

The early believers clearly had zero issues with the idea of being Jewish and believing in the Jewish Messiah. The question with which they wrestled was, “Can a Gentile believe in Jesus, without converting to Judaism?” The apostles, through their lives and teaching, give no hint of leaving Judaism. In fact, rumors were being spread about Paul teaching Jewish believers “to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:21). Paul, upon the advice of the Jerusalem apostles, went to the Temple to make a sacrifice so that, “everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” (Acts 21:24)

Church Fathers turn against Jews

However, the Church Fathers in the second century began to teach that once a Jew comes to faith, he is no longer a Jew. Many were vicious in their accusations against the Jewish people. Peter the Venerable wondered about the humanity of Jews: Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human.

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity.

They lined up to accuse the entire Jewish nation of killing Yeshua (forgetting that He laid down his life by His own free will for them.) Another, Justin Martyr taught that Christians were the true “Israelite race” and that the Hebrew Scriptures now belonged to the church exclusively. He did not believe you could be both Christian and Jewish. He also taught that circumcision was for judgement (as opposed to being there mark of the covenant of Abraham).

The purpose of [circumcision] was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. (Click to Site)

Israel and the Nations: A Theological Opinion, Part 2

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Continuing with our series on Israel and the nations, I want to move to our second statement.

Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish. He continues to be a member of his or her nation, but has complete access to all the heavenly benefits found in Yeshua.

What is the ecclesia?

I have heard many believers say that now that they believe in Yeshua, they are Jewish. However, I do not think that this is what Scripture teaches. This is the beautiful mystery of the New Testament Ecclesia (often translated church). I don’t like to use the word church for two reasons:

  1. The English translation of the Greek Ecclesia is not church, but assembly. It is simply a mistranslation. (see video on the subject here)
  2. In our modern culture, the word church tends to speak of something completely non-Jewish (with steeples, etc.), while the one new man (Eph. 2:15) is made up of both Jews and the nations.

It is important to note that when Paul uses the term ecclesia, it is not anecclesia, but the ecclesia. Ecclesia was a common word in his culture, but he ‘branded’ it for something specific. For example, in Richmond where I grew up, we have the Coliseum. In Rome, there was the ancient Colosseum. However, the word coliseum simply means “a large theatre or stadium,” from the word ‘colossal.’ Both in Rome and in Richmond, they took a common noun and made it a proper noun. If I have tickets to a concert in Richmond, I say, “I am going to the Coliseum,” not “I am going to a coliseum.”

One New Man

So Paul is saying there is a new thing, called The Assembly or Gathering. And this Gathering is different in so many ways. It is unique in that it is NEW and it is a UNITED assembly of Jews and Gentiles.

In Ephesians 3, Paul uses the word mystery four times to describe God’s marvelous plan for the nations. He says that this revelation, that has now been revealed to God’s holy apostles and prophets, was a secret in times past.

“The mystery is that, through the Gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua.  Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Messiah, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”  (Eph. 3:6, 8-9)

First, we see that non-Jewish believers become heirs with Israel, not in place of Israel. Second, despite our unique callings, we are one body. Third, Gentiles share in the promise in Messiah—there is equal access to “the boundless riches of Messiah.” (Click to Site)

Torah Commentary – Va’etchanan “And I besought” – The Call to Return – SCRIPTURES FOR August 5, 2017

Torah Commentary
Va’etchanan “And I besought”
Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Isaiah 40:1-26
1 Kings 19-22
Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 3:27-31
James 2:14-26

.

The Call to Return
This Torah portion is so rich that it is difficult to not write pages and pages of commentary. Instead I will focus on a great work which is happening in our day, a work based upon just one verse. In Deuteronomy 6:4 we find the Shema, “Hear oh Israel YH VH our God, YH VH is One”. For many people this is the first verse in Scripture they learn to say in Hebrew! The importance of this verse for the Jewish and Messianic communities is likened to John 3:16 in the Christian church. These verses are foundational in faith.
It was the mid 2000’s when the Shema took on fuller meaning for me. It was then I learned the verse in English and Hebrew. Later on, while I was at a speaking engagement in Lucerne Valley, California a dear friend and brother brought this verse to life for me. He, his wife and congregation had the alarms on their cell phones set to ring at 9am and 3pm. When the alarm went off they would stop whatever they were doing to recite the Shema. I liked the idea and set my alarm also. For a year or so I followed the tradition. In time the alarm and recitation lost interest in my daily life, subsequently the alarms were deleted. I found it was never a heart’s desire to do this, but more an interest in joining in with my friends.
I am not sure what prompted me, but a couple of years ago a change of heart occurred. I decided to set my alarm again. In meetings, conferences and daily life I have encouraged others to do the same. It is quite the experience to be in a meeting and hear alarms going off all over the room at 9am or 3pm so we can join together as one to give honor to the One that brought us together in the first place! Even more exciting is being on a tour to Israel with a busload of folks, or even just a few people in a restaurant, rise, turn toward the Temple Mount and begin to recite the Shema. Rather interesting conversations and events have happened around this as you may imagine.
Why the Shema and why now?
The Shema is not a prayer, but rather a call and declaration. As we honor Elohim, it is a call to those who turned away from Him. It is our voices being used to call out to the “Lost sheep of Israel” to make teshuvah (repentance and return) unto the Elohim of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov through the covenant of Messiah. When you and I recite the Shema our voices are going to the far reaches of the earth to call our brothers and sisters to nasa (lift up their heads) and return unto Him. It is a declaration of the revelation that the Elohim we serve is Echad, (One).
The words of the Shema are few, but filled with great meaning. Here is an amplified version by Barry Phillips of Remnant of Yisrael.
“So hear, grasp and comprehend, Yisrael, You covenant people chosen by YHWH, full of colors, nations, and tribes, YHWH, He Who is Mercy and Lovingkindness is our very own Elohim, our personal Creator and Judge Who will repay. This YHWH, the second mentioning, the revealing of the first mentioned, Y’shuah, is a mystical and wondrous unity of One; The first and the last together.” (Click to Site)

 

Balak – Destroyer – “Self-Inflicted Curses” – 2 July, 2017

“Self-Inflicted Curses”

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by Mark Huey
mark@outreachisrael.net

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, chronologically finds the Ancient Israelites further down the trail on their arduous and circuitous march to Canaan, the Promised Land, but without the able counsel of Aaron to co-administer with the aging Moses. Following the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:24-29), the indigenous populations of the desert areas begin an incessant military attack on the migrating Israelites. A brief engagement with the Canaanites is described in Numbers 21, as Israel must turn to the Holy One for guidance and deliverance to secure victory.

Israel’s journeys take a turn to avoid the conflict with the Edomites, who earlier had refused passage through their territory (Numbers 20:18-21). At this point, the complaints of Israel once again centered around their perceived lack of bread and water (Numbers 21:5). To chastise the Israelite grumblers, God sent snakes into the camp with a deadly venomous bite (Numbers 21:6). This judgment created an opportunity for Israel to gaze, by faith, upon the brazen serpent fashioned by Moses in order to receive physical healing (Numbers 21:7-9). The lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, is intended to parallel the lifting up of Yeshua the Messiah on the cross:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Rather than elaborate on the significance of this to our faith, I would like to instead focus on how the Torah goes on to record the continuing sojourn of the Israelite survivors in the wilderness. The journey continues as a series of encampments are detailed from Oboth to Moab to Zared, to beyond the Aram at the border between the Moabites and the Amorites (Numbers 21:10-14). Apparently, more specific details of these different encampments and the conflicts that ensued were contained in another text called “the Book of the Wars of the LORD” (Numbers 21:14), that today is no longer extant.[1] Some additional locations are cited as the sojourn proceeds “from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland” (Numbers 21:19-20).

Many Bible scholars have attempted to trace the exact locations of these wanderings, and Biblical archaeologists are often very interested as to where they might have been located in the Ancient Near East. Time does not permit us the luxury of researching these specific places, but most assuredly, we know that God gave His people more instruction and admonition at each stop. (Click to Article)