Addicted to Stress

For God is not a God of confusion, but shalom. As in all the communities of the kedoshim. 1st Corinthians: 14:33

According to report by NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health, more than 63% of Americans are battling stress, and a significant number describes the stress as “great.” The report suggested that some of us have been addicted to stress. We become so conditioned to stress we don’t know what to do with ourselves for not being insanely busy. The Study suggested our busyness may be a way of distracting ourselves of how unsatisfied we inwardly deal with life.

That’s not how God wants us to live. Yeshua said, “Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) Paul also talked about “the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Romans 8:6 says, “For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Ruach is life and shalom.”

Peace with God is obtainable through faith in Messiah Yeshua. He promised to give you peace like a river. “For thus says ADONAI: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream. You will be nursed, carried on the hip, and bounced on her knees.” (Isaiah 66:12). Claim God’s peace and let Him bestow the inward satisfaction you seek. God is not a God of confusion, but of shalom!

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KEDOSHIM = HOLY ONES

To all those in Rome, loved by God, called to be kedoshim: Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Romans 1:7

I often hear people give this testimony: “I am a sinner saved by grace.” Technically, that’s true. But the greater reality would be to say: “I was a sinner, but now I am Kadosh = Holy, saved by grace. “Like obedient children, do not be shaped by the cravings you had formerly in your ignorance. Instead, just like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in everything you do. For it is written, “Kedoshim you shall be, for I am kadosh Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7.” (Peter’s 1st Letter: 1:14-16) Because Messiah is holy, and we are in Messiah, we share in His holiness as kedoshim before God. “Therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? But you yourselves do wrong and cheat—and against your brothers and sisters at that! Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you were—but you were washed, you were made holy, you were set right in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and by the Ruach of our God. (1st Corinthians 6:7 – 11) Notice the life of a sinner is to be a past tense matter for us. As “holy ones” before God, we now live a life of holiness that mirrors our holy, positional life in Messiah Yeshua.

So, “holiness,” is something we are, as well as something we do. Let your standing in Messiah reflect your conduct in Messiah today.

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God’s Good Purpose

In Him we also were chosen cf. Deut. 9:29; 32:8-9., predestined according to His plan. He keeps working out all things according to the purpose of His will. Ephesians 1:11

Heads of state and many large corporations or other organizations have a “Chief of Staff.” Regardless of best efforts, gaffes occur. No human can prevent 100% of missteps or misstatements in a large organization.

It seems that “gaffes” occur in the running of this world: tragedies, disasters, crimes, sickness, and wars. And God usually gets the blame. But the Bible gives testimony that everything proceeds “according to the purpose of His will.” We are told that God’s purposes are good and that He works everything together according to His will. His purpose for us is to conform us to the image of Messiah. “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For thoLit. brothers (in Messiah’s community). se whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:28-29). If Yeshua endured difficulties: “Though He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8), then this should not surprise us when we do, too.

We walk by faith in God’s good promises and perfect will. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2nd Corinthians: 5:7) Trust Him today for what is happening in your life.

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Abiding in G-d

My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I wither away like grass. But You, ADONAI, sit enthroned forever. Your renown is from generation to generation. Psalms 102:12-13

When you see a butterfly with its beautiful wings fluttering around, you might wonder about its longevity. It has a one-month lifespan. Here in Florida, alligators live about 50 years. There are whales swimming in the oceans that have been around for 200 years. A giant tortoise can celebrate 250 birthdays. The Antarctic Sponge has a lifespan of 1500 years. And there is a species of jellyfish said to be virtually immortal. When it grows old, it has the ability to cycle back to an immature stage and start all over again!

Yet time passes, everything decays, and except for the reality of God, the entire universe will one day burn out, die out, or fade to blackness.

Except, as I said, the reality of God. “But You, ADONAI, sit enthroned forever.” (Psalm 102:13) G-d is our constant in a changing world. He is our stability in unstable times. You can anchor your life on Him, the Rock that abides forever. He died to give us eternal life, and He lives to prepare our eternal home. You can forever abide in Him.

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Have Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Most have heard this saying: “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to see (or hear) it, does it make a sound?” This is like one of the situations we face every day. We haven’t actually seen the physical appearance of God.

People who don’t believe often need to see before they believe. Believers don’t need to see it. We rely on the Words of God in the Bible. Faith treats things that are hoped for as reality. Faith is the solid, unshakable confidence in God which is built upon assurance that He is faithful to His promises. “Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

Who wouldn’t want a reward from the Creator of the universe and Creator of all things? The path to the reward is rather easy – we just need to have faith in God! Faith is a reality and it reaches out to facts that are more real, more solid, more substantial, and more eternal than anything registered by our physical senses. Have faith!

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Family

Better is dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1

Everyone knows that each family understands what it’s like to experience some type of disruption. The commotion may be caused by one person in the family, or by a number of inadvertent actions that affected everyone in the household. These are things in everyday life, but there are ways to bring order back into the home so that it is a place of stability for everyone living there. Someone is having a hard day – listen. Be supportive and ask how you can help. Make sure that you remain positive; find time to pray so that your words and actions are filled with love and not anger. Don’t allow bitterness to enter into your conversation. It could be that you had hard times at work recently. Have you come home with a short fuse and irritable demeanor? Become a peacemaker!

Better is dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance with the brothers. A crucible is for silver and a furnace is for gold, but ADONAI tests the heart. An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar listens to a malicious tongue. Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker. Whoever rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly and the glory of children is their parents.” Proverbs 17:1-6

Summertime is a great time to make things right. When school is out, give special attention to the family. It is a great chance to renew family relationships. Have fun as a family! Play and pray together!

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Defining God

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God (Some mss. read the only wise God.), be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1st Timothy 1:17

What would you tell someone who asks you for a definition of God? One person might reply: “God is the One who exists beyond all definition.”

Another person, the well-known theologian Charles Hodge, suggested the best definition of God that was ever penned was: “God is a Spirit, independent, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

Another way of defining God is by looking at Messiah, for Yeshua said, “If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father”?  John: 14:7-9 Yeshua is God personified, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”

When we hear Messiah’s wisdom, we’re listening to God. When we see Messiah’s power, were witnessing omnipotence. When we feel Messiah’s love, we know the love of God lavishes upon us. Yeshua is worthy of our praise because of who He is, and we should praise Him always.

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Our Seeker

Or which woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, Lit. drachma, a Greek coin. 1 drachma = 1 denarius = 1 day’s wage, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:8-10
Yeshua came into our world: seeking and finding. It makes no sense that the Messiah Yeshua would come into the world to seek those who are lost and not find them.

Yeshua was criticized by our Religious Leaders for socializing and sharing meals with “sinners”, “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2). Earlier, Yeshua answered their objections in a word: “I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinful to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) “Sinners” were those needed to be found – those He came seeking. To amplify the point, He told 3 stories about “finding.” A single sheep was lost and found, the coin was lost and found, and the son was lost and found (Luke 15:3 – 32). He clarified that He associated with sinners – and found them – because they knew they were lost; they knew they needed finding, unlike the Religious Leaders. If you have been found by Yeshua, it is because He came seeking you. It is only as God seeks us that we can be found of Him. God’s is a seeker rather than sought.

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How Important is it to Pray, “Your Will Be Done”?

Yeshua not only taught his disciples how to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), but He modeled those very words in His own life and ministry. Which teaches us to pray with “your will be done”.

To pray “your will be done” is to recognize the sovereignty of God over every aspect of our daily lives. In fact, His way of us saying, “Thank God this world is under His control, not mine!” We would be in deep trouble if God gave us everything which we asked for. The fact is we don’t know what’s best for us. We only see the “now” of our lives – while God sees our eternal existence. Plus, His perspective is far superior to ours.

Furthermore, to pray “your will be done” is a daily recognition that our wills must be submitted to His will. The most comforting thoughts that can penetrate the human mind yielded to the will of God is that He who created us also knows what’s best for us. Plus, we walk according to His will rather than trying to command Him according to our own will, we will indeed have, as He has promised, not just comfort, but peace in the midst of the storm. And in your life there is great peace in knowing the one who taught us to pray “your will be done” has every detail of our lives under His control. Not only is God the object of our faith, He is also the originator of our faith. Indeed, He is the originator of our salvation and, yes, even the originator of our prayers. Plus whatever we pray for, whether it’s for healing or a house, when our will is in harmony with His will we’ll receive our request 100% of the time. However as Messiah prayed, “nevertheless, not my will but your will be done,” we can rest assured that even in sickness and tragedy, “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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Do You Have Too Much?

But ADONAI said to Gideon, “Too many are the people who are with you, for Me to give the Midianites into their hand. Otherwise Israel would glorify itself against Me saying, ‘My own hand has delivered mecf. 2Cor. 4:7. .’ Judges 7:2

Gideon was struggling with some unbelief. That’s why he put a fleece before the Lord. Now the Lord was telling him he had too many people in his army. Although they were already terribly outnumbered, the Lord instructed him to thin the ranks. So Gideon told all who were afraid to leave. 22,000 men went home! That left 10,000, but the Lord said they were still too many. He directed Gideon to separate the men according to how they drank from the brook, and he chose 300 because they knelt down on one knee to drink by cupping their hands and bring water up to their mouths.

Why did the Lord cut down Gideon’s already small army? Because He didn’t want anyone else to take credit for the victory. He wanted the number of men to be so small that there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the victory was a miracle of the Lord. He specifically put them in an impossible situation so His people would come to know just how awesome He was.

Think about this: the Lord didn’t bring the Midianites against His people or cause the problem. But when the problem appeared, He specifically led Gideon in such a way that only His supernatural power would deliver them. He wants to do the same for you and me today. He may lead us to do things that look crazy or dangerous to our natural mind just so He can reveal Himself to us in a miraculous way. He often spurns conventional wisdom so that we will know that our deliverance is totally from Him. Give Him that chance.

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