Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Psalms 103:13 – July 21, 2019

Psalms 103:1-22

(0) By David:

(1) Bless Adonai, my soul!
Everything in me, bless his holy name!
Bless Adonai, my soul,
and forget none of his benefits!

He forgives all your offenses,
he heals all your diseases,
he redeems your life from the pit,
he surrounds you with grace and compassion,
he contents you with good as long as you live,
so that your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

Adonai brings vindication and justice
to all who are oppressed.
He made his ways known to Moshe,
his mighty deeds to the people of Isra’el.
Adonai is merciful and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in grace.
He will not always accuse,
he will not keep his anger forever.
10 He has not treated us as our sins deserve
or paid us back for our offenses,
11 because his mercy toward those who fear him
is as far above earth as heaven.
12 He has removed our sins from us
as far as the east is from the west.

13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
Adonai has compassion on those who fear him.
14 For he understands how we are made,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 Yes, a human being’s days are like grass,
he sprouts like a flower in the countryside —
16 but when the wind sweeps over, it’s gone;
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the mercy of Adonai on those who fear him
is from eternity past to eternity future,
and his righteousness extends
to his children’s children,
18 provided they keep his covenant
and remember to follow his precepts.

19 Adonai has established his throne in heaven;
his kingly power rules everything.
20 Bless Adonai, you angels of his,
you mighty warriors who obey his word,
who carry out his orders!
21 Bless Adonai, all his troops,
who serve him and do what he wants!
22 Bless Adonai, all his works,
in every place where he rules!
Bless Adonai, my soul!

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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Nostalgia for the Familiar – June 22, 2019

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך | When you set up)
  • Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:15
  • Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:14-21

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.

Portion Outline

  • TORAH
    • Numbers 8:1 | The Seven Lamps
    • Numbers 8:5 | Consecration and Service of the Levites
    • Numbers 9:1 | The Passover at Sinai
    • Numbers 9:15 | The Cloud and the Fire
    • Numbers 10:1 | The Silver Trumpets
    • Numbers 10:11 | Departure from Sinai
    • Numbers 11:1 | Complaining in the Desert
    • Numbers 11:16 | The Seventy Elders
    • Numbers 11:31 | The Quails
    • Numbers 12:1 | Aaron and Miriam Jealous of Moses
  • PROPHETS
    • Zec 2:6 Interlude: | An Appeal to the Exiles
    • Zec 3:1 Fourth Vision: | Joshua and Satan
    • Zec 4:1 Fifth Vision: | The Lampstand and Olive Trees

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Numbers and the thirty-sixth reading from the Torah is called Beha’alotcha (בהעלותך), a word that literally means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which could literally be translated as “When you ascend the lamps” (Numbers 8:2), a reference to the fact that the priest had to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah. This portion is jam-packed, telling the story of the consecration of the Levites, the first Passover in the wilderness, the silver trumpets, the cloud of glory, the departure from Sinai, the grumbling in the wilderness, the first Sanhedrin and the punishment of Miriam.


In Numbers 11:4-9, nostalgia for the food of Egypt sweeps over the camp of Israel. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (Numbers 11:5-6)

The same often happens to us after we take on a life of discipleship. For a while, it is fresh, new and exciting. It is invigorating, and each day is filled with new discovery. But after a period of time, the novelty wears off. We begin to miss the old vices and entertainments. We begin to feel nostalgic for ways of life that we have turned our backs on. When this happens (and it is normal that it does) we must press on all the harder in pursuit of our righteous Savior. It is normal for the heart to yearn for straying, but it is not normal to stray after the heart. We know better. If we will only press on, we will discover further joys, greater depths and new thrills in the pursuit of God.

Believers who begin to keep the commandments of God come from a variety of denominational and religious backgrounds. Typically, when they do, they commit to a life of Torah which they pursue with a proselyte’s zeal.

Everything changes. Your calendar, your holidays, your day of worship, your friends, your rhythm of life, the places you go, your style of worship, the entertainment you watch—everything is different—even the food you eat. It is normal to, at a certain point, long for some of the old things you have left behind. Believers in the Torah movement often feel bewildered by the strangeness of the new world they have entered. They reflect back on the simpler days when a Sunday morning worship service was nearly the full extent of their expression of faith. They long for the simplicity they once knew. “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic…” (Numbers 11:5) But the manna on which we now feed is the one who has descended from heaven. He is the bread of life, and He beckons us to eat of Him alone, and to follow Him alone. This is the way to life. (Click to Source)

Before the Father’s Throne

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)April 10, 2019

 

God’s servants must come into his presence fully persuaded that he will answer. It is a good thing to bring the promises of God into prayer with you — to stand on as you remind him of them. Certainly, he does not have a loss of memory, but the Lord loves for us to bring his promises before him.

Peter was given a vision and he wondered what it could mean. As he pondered it, God told him, “Three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19). This passage of Scripture tells us that when God declares something to be true, we are to believe and stand on it, without consulting our flesh. We simply cannot measure the reliability of God’s Word by examining our situation or our own worthiness. If we do, we will end up only seeing that we are unworthy. Then we may end up talking ourselves out of claiming his Word and appropriating it.

The Bible says we are petitioners at God’s throne and Christ is there as our intercessor or advocate. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “He always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25). “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

By the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, the door to the Father’s throne is open for us and we have access to personally bring our requests to God. We also have the Holy Spirit, who is our “paraclete,” one who stands as our advisor, advocate, comforter, mediator and intercessor. He reminds us of the eternal decrees and divine constitution that make up God’s Word — so we have these incredible promises.

It is reassuring to know that God is truly pleased when you approach his throne with boldness, binding him to his own Word. And he will make sure you know that he is pleased with you. (Click to Source)

 

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – John 3:17 – April 6, 2019

John 3:1-36

There was a man among the P’rushim, named Nakdimon, who was a ruler of the Judeans. This man came to Yeshua by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know it is from God that you have come as a teacher; for no one can do these miracles you perform unless God is with him.” “Yes, indeed,” Yeshua answered him, “I tell you that unless a person is born again from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Nakdimon said to him, “How can a grown man be ‘born’? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?” Yeshua answered, “Yes, indeed, I tell you that unless a person is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What is born from the flesh is flesh, and what is born from the Spirit is spirit. Stop being amazed at my telling you that you must be born again from above! The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going. That’s how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit.”

Nakdimon replied, “How can this happen?” 10 Yeshua answered him, “You hold the office of teacher in Isra’el, and you don’t know this? 11 Yes, indeed! I tell you that what we speak about, we know; and what we give evidence of, we have seen; but you people don’t accept our evidence! 12 If you people don’t believe me when I tell you about the things of the world, how will you believe me when I tell you about the things of heaven? 13 No one has gone up into heaven; there is only the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. 18 Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son.

19 “Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked. 20 For everyone who does evil things hates the light and avoids it, so that his actions won’t be exposed. 21 But everyone who does what is true comes to the light, so that all may see that his actions are accomplished through God.”

22 After this, Yeshua and his talmidim went out into the countryside of Y’hudah, where he stayed awhile with them and immersed people. 23 Yochanan too was immersing at Einayim, near Shalem, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to be immersed. 24 (This was before Yochanan’s imprisonment.)

25 A discussion arose between some of Yochanan’s talmidim and a Judean about ceremonial washing; 26 and they came to Yochanan and said to him, “Rabbi, you know the man who was with you on the other side of the Yarden, the one you spoke about? Well, here he is, immersing; and everyone is going to him!” 27 Yochanan answered, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from Heaven. 28 You yourselves can confirm that I did not say I was the Messiah, but that I have been sent ahead of him. 29 The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom’s friend, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must become more important, while I become less important.

31 “He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth is from the earth and talks from an earthly point of view; he who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies about what he has actually seen and heard, yet no one accepts what he says! 33 Whoever does accept what he says puts his seal on the fact that God is true, 34 because the one whom God sent speaks God’s words. For God does not give him the Spirit in limited degree — 35 the Father loves the Son and has put everything in his hands. 36 Whoever trusts in the Son has eternal life. But whoever disobeys the Son will not see that life but remains subject to God’s wrath.”

(John 3:1-36) Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

What Happens When We Fail to Warn

MICHAEL BROWN

rob-bell-everything-is-spiritual

Rob Bell at his “Everything Is Spiritual” tour. (Rob Bell/facebook)

I heard a tragic story recently, some of the very bad fruit coming from Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. (This was Bell’s hell-denying book in which he effectively announced his apostasy from evangelical faith.) In light of a growing epidemic of deception in the church today, a deception that is making people deaf to divine warnings, it seemed that now was a good time to share the story.

Earlier this year, a university student was responding to my lecture on God’s love for the LGBT community during a time of Q&A. He tried to undermine the authority of the Scriptures and accused me of using violent language To him, any form of justice or judgment was inherently violent, and he would have none of it as a professed atheist.

I subsequently learned that, just a few years earlier, he was planning to go into the ministry. He was an avid reader of the Bible. Then he read Love Wins, and it was downhill ever since. (This was according to a report from his roommate at that time.)

It would have been far better (and far more biblically accurate) if Bell had written a book titled Love Warns. That would have been in greater harmony with the truth. (Click here for my 2015 article titled “Love Warns.”)

But we don’t want to hear warnings today. We only want positive words. Words that make us feel better about ourselves. Words that increase our self-esteem and enhance our self-image. Anything negative will be rejected out of hand.

Don’t tell me I’m on the wrong path. Don’t tell me there’s danger ahead. By all means, do not warn!

Everybody has to win these days. There can be no losers.

Every path is valid, and every perception has truth.

Correction is a micro-aggression. Reproof is for our grandparents’ generation. Rebuke is tantamount to assault.

Yes, that’s the world we live in today. And I don’t just mean in the secular, non-religious society. I mean in the church. Preachers, do not warn!

On a daily (sometimes hourly basis, sometimes by the minute), we receive angry comments to our video “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” (Apparently, it continues to circulate on LGBT social media outlets, getting new viewers all the time who are furious with the biblical content.)

One viewer wrote, “Reported this as a hate video,” which is the expected response these days. Telling the truth, even with love and grace, is branded “hate.” Truth has become toxic.

This reminds me of a quote from the Christian musician and singer Keith Green (who died in 1982). He said, “I’d rather have people hate me with the knowledge that I tried to save them.” Do we have any excuse for not trying?

Others viewers of our video were outraged that I would have the temerity to state that the Bible was God’s Word and that it was still relevant.

Still others were shocked to hear me say that there is a right way and a wrong way. That we were created and designed by God with specific, moral intent. How dare I speak such things!

But it’s not just here, in this controversial area of LGBT issues, that we find resistance. For years now, right within the church, there’s been a growing tide of no-judgment preaching.

We’re only allowed to say nice things, to encourage. We’re not allowed to plead with tears, to warn of coming danger, to urge our listeners to flee from impending judgment, be it in this world or the world to come.

Not a chance. Such preaching is dubbed “Old Testament” (as if the New Testament wasn’t filled with warnings). Such preaching is called legalism and going back under the law (as if grace didn’t plead and admonish). Such preaching is deemed out of style, inappropriate for our enlightened age.

As a result of this growing trend, rather than the flock being awakened, the congregants go like fattened sheep to the slaughter. Who will sound the alarm?

By all means, we should encourage. By all means, we should lift up. We should preach with love, preach compassion, preach mercy, preach longsuffering.

But we should warn our hearers and viewers of the consequences of rejecting that love and compassion and mercy and longsuffering. We should, in Paul’s words, present (and consider) both the kindness and the severity of God (Rom. 11:22). Both are essential to our right understanding of the nature and character of our Lord.

Decades ago, George Orwell famously wrote, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Today, more than ever, we need to engage in this revolutionary act of telling the truth. If we who claim to know the Lord don’t do it, who will? (Click to Source)

 
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