Torah Commentary – Mikketz (At the end) – Making of a Man – SCRIPTURES FOR December 8, 2018

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the end)

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Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16Making of a Man

Joseph’s life has been one of incredible twists and turns. In his dark prison cell, he has had a great deal of time to think through his winding and tumultuous journey. His list of, “If I could do that over!” has been etched into his mind, and maybe even the prison wall. He is not the same little boy he was when he had his first dream. He is not the same young man he was when he was sold into slavery. Joseph has matured to the place where he can now be the tool Yah will use to bring forth the next steps in building His family, Israel.

Joseph probably shuttered when he heard Pharaoh had a dream. Up until this time, dreams and Joseph have not turned out too well. The difference in the outcome will be one simple, but complex word: Humility.

Humility is what Joseph has learned because of his time in prison. It is humility, which has prepared him for his time in the palace. Without this trait, he is destined to think he can live his life in charge of his own destiny; but with it, he knows Who is truly in charge. It is a trait we find in all the “Greats” of Scripture.

So what is humility? Webster defines it as, “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” Is this really what humility is? I would like to put my own two shekels into this one.

Biblical humility is knowing you are important in the plans and working of HaShem, and also knowing you, by yourself, have no way of bringing those plans about. Humility is seeing you are fearfully and wonderfully made, are created for and with great potential and purpose, while simultaneously knowing you do not possess the strength on your own to get to where you were born to go.

We are, in a way, like the sleekest and fastest race car ever built. We have been designed with great care, each nut and bolt handmade for purpose, but without gas in our tank we are just a showpiece, which can never leave the starting line.

Joseph was beginning to fully understand an important Truth: His life was not just a hodgepodge of other people’s decisions; but rather, his life from his mother’s womb had been designed for a specific purpose. This caused him to stand in awe of the thoughts and wonders of One far greater than he. He possessed maybe the greatest possession a man or woman can ever possess: Biblical humility.

It was humility, which would allow him to look at his brothers with compassion and love. It was humility, which caused him to look to the heavens and ask for wisdom in how to deal with them. Humility would lead him through the maze called, “Life in Egypt.”

Approximately twenty-five percent of the Book of Genesis is devoted to Joseph. Within the pages of his life is more prophecy than you or I can ever fully comprehend. Possibly the greatest prophecy we can focus on is the one which teaches us that, without humility, we will never be able to fulfill our purpose in life. Without humility we are destined to live in a prison of exile. It is humility, which will unlock the cell door and put us on the road to final redemption. It is humility, which will allow our steps of redemption to be ordered by Yah. It is humility, which will cause us to understand our lives are much more than “all about us.” Humility teaches us The Truth: Our lives are about glorifying Him and serving others. (Click to Source)

Shalom and Be Strong,
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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
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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

jesus-synagogue

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)

 

Torah Commentary -Mikketz (At the end) -Prison to Palace and Back Again -Day 29, Month 9, 5775; 29 December 2016

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the end)
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16
 

yeshuatheMessiah

Prison to Palace and Back Again
 
The life of Joseph is filled with ups and downs; up with favor, down to the pit. This week we read of his final release from prison, the stage being set for Joseph’s dreams to come to pass and the real purpose for his life to unfold.
 
I’m certain Joseph was quite surprised to hear his prison cell door open, not to embark on his daily routine, but because he is summoned by Pharaoh himself. Questioning why Pharaoh would summon him, Joseph wondered if his fate would be that of the baker or the cupbearer. He does not know that the page is being turned in the book of his life and the real reason he was born is about to be revealed. What Joseph does know is prison life has transformed his character. He is not the man who was sold into Mitzraim. He has learned humility preparing him for this very day.
 
We all know the account well. Joseph will interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. Pharaoh will make him second in command over all of Egypt and Joseph will begin to store grain for a famine which is to come. Many would say the story is simply a prophecy for us today that we should focus on earthquakes, storms, FEMA camps and End Times, then with that fear engraved on our hearts we should now exhaust our finances storing resources like beans, bullets and band-aids. Once our checklist is accomplished we should hide out in our isolated fortresses in the Montana forests waiting for Messiah to return. Is that where I am going with this? You know me better than that! (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary -Vayeshev (He Continued Living) -Learning Communication -Day 22, Month 9, 5775; 22 December 2016

Jesus scriptures temple2

Torah Commentary
Genesis 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8
Acts 7:9-16
 
Vayeshev (He Continued Living)
 
Learning Communication
 
The life of Joseph shows us multiple layers of prophetic shadows. We look at the account of his life to begin to see the concept of two messiahs; Messiah ben Joseph, the suffering servant, and Messiah ben David, the conquering king. This concept has been taught in Judaism for centuries. Over the past few decades, those of us who have been studying from a Hebraic mindset have had the opportunity to look at this concept at one level or another. Many people involved in modern day Christianity, may have never heard of the concept of two messiahs. This is not a dig at our Christian brothers and sisters, but rather an observation to help explain why Christians and Jews have difficulty communicating with or understanding one another regarding the messiah. It is very important to educate ourselves in terminologies and beliefs. In doing so, we can better converse with one another respectfully to avoid offense and more clearly to overcome confusion. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Vayigash He Approached

Torah Commentary
Vayigash He Approached
Genesis 44:18-47:27
Ezekiel 37:15-28
Acts 7:9-16

Abhorrent? Why is That?

The moment finally arrives and Joseph can no longer contain himself. I, for one, hope someone has a camera on the faces of the brothers when the words, “I am Yosef” finally sunk in. I think you could have knocked them over with the proverbial feather. The brothers probably felt mixed emotions like joy, relief, anxiety, fear, and a few others all at the same time. When the dust of emotions settled, fear may have been the one closest to the surface.

The first order of business in Joseph’s mind is to get his father to Egypt. You have to wonder if it ever occurred to Joseph if instead of Yaakov coming to him, he should have left Egypt and gone to Yaakov. I doubt the words Yah had spoken to his Grandfather regarding the family going to a foreign land ever came to his mind. Just as today, prophecy happens whether we perceive it or not.

Yosef sends the boys back with more material goods than they have seen for some time. He also sends them with one instruction, “Don’t quarrel among yourselves as you’re traveling.” Did he know his brothers or what? He may have been away from them for a number of years, but he had already seen that some things in their lives had not changed. Could it also be that The One who is prophesied in the life of Joseph was also sending a message which was to be taken to heart by a bunch of brothers in the future who are still known to do a bit of quarreling?

So this brings us to an interesting question. Just how do we put an end to quarreling? Stop quarreling! That was easy! Just as it takes two to tango, it also takes two to quarrel. A quarrel in which only one person shows up and is quarreling with themselves is basically a man or woman yelling at nothing. Who gets lead off in the funny white coat in that one?

The next instruction Yosef gives is regarding their meeting with Pharaoh. He tells the family to tell him they are shepherds. His motive in this is to keep some distance between his family and the life of Egypt he has had to deal with. In this, we see some great insights.

First it shows us that though Yosef may have looked like, talked like, and maybe even acted like an Egyptian on the outside, inside he was pure Hebrew through and through. He had not allowed the culture of Egypt to corrupt him. What an incredible pattern of Messiah we have here.

The question has to be asked of just why shepherds were abhorrent to the Egyptians. After all, it was a shepherd that had made them the most prosperous and powerful nation on the earth in their day. The answer lies in the heart of a shepherd and how that heart is diametrically opposed to Egypt. A shepherd never thinks about himself first. His first thoughts are always the safety and comfort of the sheep in his care.Through thick and thin, his first priority is the sheep. He is even willing to give his life if need be to protect his sheep. Egypt on the other hand is all about self and self preservation. It is a ‘me’ culture which is convicted to the very root just by the sight of the heart of a shepherd.

Today our culture is waging the same war. It is the Egyptian/Roman/European/American/Western ‘me’ culture. The very thought that someone should put someone else first in our modern society is treated like a plague.

What should our response be to this Torah portion? First of all, don’t quarrel on our journey back home. Second, let us imitate The Shepherd who gave Himself as a ransom for many and if people think that is strange and want to put us in quarantine somewhere, so be it. We choose to live for Him and for others, and not for ourselves. (Click to Article)

A Salute to those Who Saw Victory – Vayeshev “And he dwelt”

Vayeshev “And he dwelt”

Genesis 37:1-40:23

Amos 2:6-3:8

Acts 7:9-16, Hebrews 11

A Salute to those Who Saw Victory

A few weeks ago Americans observed a day known as Veterans Day. On this day we honor the men and women who have given of their service and even their lives to fight for both this country, and for the cause of freedom overseas. Many of these men and women in recent years had their lives changed forever when they came home, not to crowds of admirers who stood with appreciation for a job well done, but rather crowds of people who spit upon them, yelled obscenities at them and held signs of hate and slander.

What does the above paragraph have to do with this week’s or for that matter any week’s Torah portion? I believe it has everything to do with it.

In a few days we will observe the Feast of Hanukkah. To me, Hanukkah and Veterans Day go hand in hand. The similarities are amazing.

In the Torah as well as the balance of scripture we read about men and women who went forth and performed deeds far beyond their natural abilities. Some of them even gave their very lives for the causes they fought for. Like Joseph this week, many of them were known to their families as heretics or worse. But no matter what life would throw at them, they held fast to the course they felt God had called them to. In the end, some would see the rewards of their labors. However for many it would not be until after their deaths that their work would be appreciated and honored. Just think back to the prophets for a moment as an example of this. Even today, some who gave their all have not been fully honored. Consider One we know as Messiah, or even the disciples who followed Him. Consider the people of Hebrews 11.

Just as many veterans returned to America to unfriendly and down-right mean crowds, most of Christianity has repeated history regarding the men and women of faith who lived before the time of Yeshua. Yes, they may be used for a Bible story now and then, but have these people truly been honored as they should? I think not. I have even heard people say that though these people lived a life of faith, because they did not live to know who Yeshua was that they are forever separated from God and will burn in torment. I have heard some who thought that Joseph was not living by faith when he stored the grain, but was missing God by doing this. Of course you and I are appalled by thoughts like this, but nevertheless there are people who think this way.

I, for one believe it is time for these great people of scripture to be honored for the battles they fought and won so that we today may enjoy a freedom in Messiah unparalleled through the centuries.

As we look at Hanukkah this year, let us take our eyes off replacement commercialization that has been attached to this time. Let us not be so caught up in the lights, oil and food that we forget the reason for this season. Let us take time to talk about and teach our children about the great men and women who have gone before us. Let us remember that it is because of their lives and sacrifices that we have the scripture today. Let us remember that if it were not for a band of brothers called the Maccabees that there would not have been a Jewish virgin alive in a small town called Nazareth to give birth to the One we call upon for our redemption.

December is a month of challenges to many of us who follow the Torah. It is a month that we are called to make choices and to take a stand for truth. Maybe with Hanukkah being observed at the first of the month, far separate from other holidays with pagan roots it will give us a clear time to reflect on the price many have paid for truth in the past. We will be able to gain strength and renewed conviction from their lives. In the end, who knows, maybe many of us will one day join their ranks as the people who took a chance at being a heretic, so they could one day be an humble hero!

Have a blessed Hanukkah.

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