Our Mediator

For there is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men—a human, Messiah Yeshua. 1Timothy 2:5

“Mom! He hit me!” As children we often ran to our parents when a disagreement broke out between us. Sometimes our parents would tell us to sort it out ourselves, other times they would step in as a mediator, helping us mend our relationship with one another.

When sin entered the world and the relationship between God and man was broken, man had no one to mediate and mend his relationship with God. Only one who was both deity and human could bridge the gap between man and God. We were stuck, unable to renew our relationship with God.

Aware of our inability to rectify our relationship to Himself, God chose and appointed a Mediator. He sent His Son, Yeshua, to earth, to become our Savior and Mediator and pay the penalty for our sins. When we believe in Him, the Messiah, our relationship with God is healed in our future destination is secured. Through Messiah we can have an intimate relationship with God on earth and throughout eternity.

Yeshua stands between us and God, and for that very reason He stands between us and all other men and things. He is our Mediator. God takes this seriously. Do you?

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Focus on the Future

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he migrated to the land of promise as if it were foreign, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob—fellow heirs of the same promise. For he was waiting for the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10

Sometimes we have heard, “You need to stop dreaming about the future and get a job today!” Some of us can’t stop thinking that our true destination in life is just around the corner. Instead of sowing seeds today, we dream only of the harvest. “The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks sense”. Proverbs 12:11

For many of us the opposite is true. Instead of keeping our eyes focused on the eternal calling, we become focused with “today”. Forgetting that the things of this world are only temporal. “The world is passing away along with its desire, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17

Luke, the writer of Hebrews, singled out Abraham and Moses as examples of those who lived their lives by faith in the future. Abraham might’ve been traveling to Canaan, but he knew he was destined for eternal city. “These all died in faith without receiving the things promised—but they saw them and welcomed them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If indeed they had been thinking about where they had come from, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they yearn for a better land—that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:13 – 16 And Moses didn’t mind giving up the riches of evil because “he looked at the reward” God planned for him in eternity. “He considered the disgrace of Messiah as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt—because he was looking ahead to the reward.” Hebrews 11:26

Both present and the future are important, but only one will last forever. In fact, our present life is to be lived with our eternal life in mind. “For no one can lay any other foundation than what is already laid—which is Yeshua the Messiah. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss—he himself will be saved, but as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11 – 15

Whatever your plans are for today, fulfill them for eternal reasons.

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The Necessity of a Spirit-Filled Life

Whether we live in the 1st century or the 21st, the goal of faith and life in Messiah remains the same, to be born of the Spirit, to be filled with the spirit and to be formed in the spirit.  The “spirit-filled” life is often hijacked by a quick-fix or bless-me centeredness, which has produced confusion about what Spirit-filled, Spirit-formed living is really about.  The filling of the spirit should produce miracles, should produce abundant life, should produce…?  The missing piece could be described as disciplined practices such as, it should…produce a life of prayer, intimacy with God through His Words, a life of awareness in His presences etc.  It is when the power of the spirit in you is connected with your submitted life or disciplined practices that the produce good fruit in your life that can be harvested by those around you.  Abiding in Messiah is about the relationship and the lordship of Yeshua in our lives.  It is about yielding our wants, our desires, or the “whole” of ourselves and becoming a living “Pillar.”

The Revelation 3:12- The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My own new Name.

The living “Pillar” is really a principle that is displayed in the life of Shimon Kefa as a committed follower who continues to grow through his weaknesses.  To be committed requires some action to remain in the state of the commitment.  Being a living “Pillar” is not about human failing but rather about the process of overcoming and remaining committed.  Provision for this is in Yeshua Messiah that lifts us up and enables us to walk in deeper spiritual growth and continued hope.

God’s Pillar Principal begins with faith, which gives the confidence in what Yeshua has done for us.  We need not have any doubt,  “4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. And the victory that has overcome the world is this—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

This is a promise to us in scripture and it begins with our commitment to God through Yeshua.  Our redeeming experience does not begin and end with our commitment; rather our acceptance of a commitment in Messiah is like a seed that gives us the potential to grow into the likeness of Him.  It is this creative power of the Ruach in this seed that reveals the shaping of who we are as a work of God in our lives.  Yet, this is accomplished only when we yield all of our “raw materials” to the infusion of all of His “refined materials” which brings forth the Pillar that stands in the Temple of God, the workmanship of Messiah, the stability within our frailty.

The spirit-formed follower is one who trusts the work of God being performed in their lives and who remains yielded as they are changed from “glory to glory.”  Be encouraged, this process is cyclical and demands a little more yielding and a little more forming in each season just like a lump of clay upon the potter’s wheel.

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The King Eternal

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.1 Timothy 1:17

There are 2 eternities in this Scripture. There is a King who reigns eternally; and there is praise that greets Him forever and ever. His praises everlasting!

One of the reasons God promises us eternal life, is so we can offer Him everlasting praise. The Bible teaches: “Before the mountains were born, or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God!” Psalms 90:2

The picture of the Kedoshim (Holy Ones) in heaven is: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and everything in them, responding, “To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever!”  Revelation 5:13

If we only think in terms of time, our life’s can be miserable. The Bible says that without the reality of the resurrection and the ensuring eternal life, we are the most pitiful of people.   “If we have hoped in Messiah in this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all people.” 1 Corinthians 15:19

Eternity is our inheritance. As we better contemplate the nature of our eternal King, we’ll better cope with attention time. Since we’re going to praise Him forever, why not begin now. Why not start living with eternity in view?

“When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense—which are the prayers of the kedoshim. And they are singing a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals. For You were slain, and by Your blood You redeemed for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them for our God a kingdom and kohanim, and they shall reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders—their number was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands.

They were chanting with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and everything in them, responding, “To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever!” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.”  Revelation 5:8 – 14

 

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Sometimes God Says, “No”

“So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live before you!”

But God said, “On the contrary, Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you must name him Isaac. So I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.   Genesis 17:18 – 19

Abraham asked God for something special. He wanted Ishmael to be “son of promise” through whom the prophecies of redemption would be fulfilled. Abraham knew God had promised multiple descendants in a way to bring salvation to the world. The real meaning of Abraham’s request was that Ishmael would live before God in the fulfillment of all those promises. But God said no. He had a better plan. He was preparing for the birth of Isaac for the establishment of the Jewish nation as the basis of the Messiah.

“For this reason it depends on trust, so that the promise according to grace might be guaranteed to all the offspring—not only to those of the Torah but also to those of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”). He is our father in the sight of God in whom he trusted, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence that which does not exist. In hope beyond hope, he trusted that he would become the father of many nations according to what was spoken—“So shall your descendants be.” And without becoming weak in faith, he considered his own body—as good as dead, since he was already a hundred years old—and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Yet he did not waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God. Rather, he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God has promised, He also is able to do. That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:16 – 22

When God says “no”, there is reason.

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Moving Backwards

A backsliding heart partakes of its ways, and a good man is rewarded for his. Proverbs 14:14

We seldom talk about “Moving Backwards” now, but it’s still in the Bible.  “Return, backsliding children! I will heal your backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to You for You are Adonai Eloheinu.

Jeremiah 3:22.  “So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up.” Hosea 11:7

“Moving backwards” is a visual term that describes someone who, having made progress in his or her life with God, slides back into old patterns. It’s like a man climbing a hill takes a step forward but slides 2 steps backwards. Is that you? Any of us who were not at the present time enjoying Messiah as much as we did in the past day, or living for God as devotedly as we once did, is moving backwards.

But how great is God’s mercy! He speaks to us through the Bible:

“Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry; I struck him; I hid My face; I was angry—but he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him. I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners. Creating the praise of lips: ‘Shalom, shalom to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says Adonai, ‘and I will heal him.’”  Isaiah 57:17 – 19

If you’re sliding backward and some bad habits, change direction. Now is the time to make forward progress in your spiritual life.

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The Jabok River

The Jabok River

By: Rami  Rachamim

(Our Guide in Israel!)

This week’s Torah Portion (“Vayshlach” – “And Jacob sent” – Gen. 32:3-36:43), contains one of the most important stories in Scriptures – Jacob’s experience at the Jabok Pass (Gen. 32:22-32). The story contains the very first the term/name “ISRAEL” is mentioned in the Word.  The story defines the true biblical meaning of ISRAEL and its implications. Lastly, the story provides us with some insights concerning the times we are living in these days.

Jacob – The third forefather of the nation of Israel, pays much more than double for his past sins against his brother Esau. Far away from his homeland (Canaan, Israel, the place where he was born in, the place where he really belonged to), he has to work for 20 long years for Laban; in long and cold nights and hot days in the fields and, while being 10 times cheated in his wages (Gen. 31:38-41).

In God’s timing, Jacob is called to go back and possess what was legally his – God’s Promised Land. There, on his way back to that legal possession, being in great fear from his brother Esau, Jacob has a unique experience with the God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham…

Just before dawn, still in the dark of the night, completely alone down in a dry riverbed, with no warning and no time to prepare, “a man wrestled with him ’till dawn” (Gen. 32:24).

What I would like to concentrate on in this teaching, is the new name and nature that “man” gave to Jacob that night: “Israel” comes from two Hebrew words: “Sara” (“Struggled”/“Quarreled”/“Wrestled”) and, “El” (“God”).

In the Bible “Sar” is mostly translated as “Prince” (Singular) or, “Sarim” (“Princes,” Plural), but sometimes also as “a commander” and “a captain” (Gen. 21:22 – Phicol was Abimelech’s “commander”, Hebrew, “Sar.” See also Gen. 37:36). In Modern Hebrew, “Sar” (Masculine) or “Sara” (Feminine) is a governmental ‘minister.’

We can see that the biblical meaning of “an Israelite” has to do with one who “Struggles”/“Wrestles” as well as “Ministering”/being “a Prince” with and for God.

Was this the first time Jacob/Israel “struggled” in his life? Was it the last time he did? The answer is a clear no! Jacob struggled with the very idea of collaborating with his mother’s idea to take the first-born blessings from his brother Esau (Gen. 27:11-13). As said above, he struggled for 20 years in Laban’s house; he struggled also while being back in his own land (see the following Torah Portions, which deal with the “loss” of his son Joseph and the great agony this brought upon him).  Yes, most of Jacob/Israel’s life was not comfortable, calm or joyful, to say the least. One can see this towards the end of his life, and in his own words to Pharaoh (Gen. 47:9)!

The parallels and similarities between Jacob/Israel’s life to the life of his decedents, the nation of Israel, are many. The history of the nation of Israel is filled with many struggles:

They struggled as slaves in Egypt. They struggled in the wilderness for 40 long years. They struggled while in their Promised Land, to survive and keep possessing it. They struggled in Babylonia, to which they were exiled; they struggled while coming back from that 70 years exile and attempting to rebuild their land. They again struggled to keep possessing the land. They struggled to survive in yet another exile; this time a long one, of almost 2000 years amongst all the nations of the world. They struggled and are still struggling since over 100 years now, to build and possess their land once again… all of this while being through many trials, hardships, wars, tragedies, loss and so on!

Beloved family, what is going on in Israel these days, is nothing but the continuation of this very same story of struggle! Jews all over the world, especially in their God’s given Land, are struggling for their very existence as an entity, as a nation, and as GOD’S FIRST BORN SON (see Ex. 4:22)!

Yes, ONLY IN AND THROUGH STRUGGLES, will they eventually be where God wants them to be: His MINISTERS, His very representatives and the ones ruling together with Him over all the Earth!   Moreover, Scripture show clearly that we – believers and followers of their Messiah Redeemer – are as well called to be ISRAELITES! We are all called to STRUGGLE in order to get in to our very calling, which is to rule and minister with Him over everything that He has created!

Some of us are still “at the Jabok River”. Some of us feel they are still “in exile”, some of us feel they are struggling even to keep their own God given possession (I.e., the very faith itself)! I personally am also, for many years in that “dry riverbed…” Yes, I need to strive and believe that I also am “just before dawn” and that the sun will indeed once again rise over me (Gen. 32:31); and until it does, I must continue the fight; I must continue the struggle until He gives me that “new name” and His blessing!

My beloved family in Yeshua, it seems to me that we – exactly like our forefather Jacob – were born to struggle. Yes, it seems to me that it is only through and by these very struggles that we are to grow “from glory to glory” in our relationship with “that man”, who is the only ONE who can truly make us pass successfully through the waters and fires of this life!

 

Life is not easy, and it will not be until He comes to redeem us from the mess this world is in these days. In fact, scripture clearly states that it will not be better, but worse, before His Glorious return! Until then, let us keep each other in prayers; let us help each other with whatever He has blessed us with! Let us not forsake our fellowship with one another, as we truly will need each other in the hard times ahead!

In His Love & Mercies!

Yosef Rachamim (Rami).

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The Judge of All the Earth

After these things, I heard something like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, shouting: “Halleluyah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.  For His judgments are true and just. Revelation 19:1-2a

Abraham asked the question that puts things in perspective: “Far be it from You to do such a thing—to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked share the same fate! Far be it from You! Shall the Judge of the whole world not exercise justice?”  Genesis 18:25. As humans, we often recoil from the concept of judgment. We question why God would condemn the world. We wonder about those who have never heard the message of the Messiah. We can’t fully understand the presence of evil in the universe or the suffering that fills our world. Sometimes we’re uncomfortable with the Biblical concepts of God’s wrath, vengeance and judgment.

“We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, as is appropriate, because your faithfulness grows wonderfully, and the love of each one of you for one another continually increases. Therefore, we ourselves boast of you among the communities of God—about your perseverance and faithfulness through all the persecutions and troubles that you endure. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all, it is right in the sight of God to pay back trouble to those who trouble you, and relief to you who suffer trouble along with us. At the revelation of the Lord Yeshua from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, He will command judgment on those who do not know God and do not heed the Good News of our Lord Yeshua. They will pay the price of eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power — on that Day when He comes to be glorified among His kedoshim and marveled at by all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”  2 Thessalonians 1:3 – 10

In the end, we will have to come to Abraham’s conclusion in Genesis. “The Judge of the whole Earth will exercise justice!”

Without the judgment of God, sin and suffering would be unhindered, unfettered, and unending, God’s judgment is certain, but it’s wise in this application and crucial for our happiness. We can praise God for His judgments, for “The Judge of the earth will exercise justice!” He is – and always will be – true and righteous.

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Meeting Messiah

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he (Saul) is a choice instrument to carry My name before nations and kings and Bnei-Yisrael. Acts 9:15

When someone meets Messiah later in life, their eyes are certainly opened to “the things of the Spirit”, “Now a natural man does not accept the things of the Ruach Elohim, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. Many have wasted years, settling for religion, rather than developing a relationship with God through the Messiah.

This is a great problem today. God does not postpone anyone’s salvation until they are “ready.” “”Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I set you apart— I appointed you prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5. There are parallel truths exemplified by Saul of Tarsus, who would become the Apostle Paul. Saul met the Messiah after many years of study in the Bible. God used Paul’s past as a scholar to make him Yeshua’s chief Apostle – no one had theological training equal to Paul’s.

“I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, trained strictly according to the Torah of our fathers, being zealous for God just as all of you are today. Acts 22:3

Regardless of when you truly meet the Messiah, ask God to show you how your knowledge, skills and talents can be used for Messiah’s sake. Don’t settle for less. He is your Lord and Messiah!

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Deeper

Be to me a sheltering rock where I may always go. Give the command to save me— for You are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3

When our lives progress according to our plans, we feel confident and secure. We value our independence and sense of control. This sense of security dissipates when we face trials, difficulty, or loss. Instead of feeling secure, we become acutely aware of our vulnerability. As our plans unravel, we realize the limitation of our control and power. As followers of Messiah, we may wish for an exemption from suffering, but this was never promised to us. In the midst of our insecurity, we have a choice.

“You made me see many troubles and evils —You will revive me again— from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness, and comfort me once again.” Psalm 71:20 – 21

We can be like trees whose roots grow deep into the ground to withstand the winds shaking them, or we can allow the circumstances to separate us from God, our strength and foundation.

God is the only one who can provide the power and peace we need to survive trials. The security offered by other sources is temporary. God alone is steadfast and constant. That is why it’s all about God and the Messiah!

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