In the year of King ‘Uziyahu’s death I saw Adonai sitting on a high, lofty throne! The hem of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1
Over and over again God allows the removal of our friends in order to bring Himself into their place.
My vision of God depends upon the state of my character. Character determines Revelation. Before I can say “I saw Adonai,” there must be something corresponding to God in my character. Until I am born again and begin to see the Kingdom of God, I see along the lines of my prejudices only; I need the surgical operation of external events and an internal purification.
It must be all about God and the Messiah first, all about God and Messiah second, and all about God and Messiah third, until my life is faced steadily with God and no one else of any account whatever. “In all the world there is no one but You, my God, there is no one but You.”
Keep paying the price. Press in. Press on. Press through. Let God see you are willing to live up to a vision of Him. He’s really worth it.
Also, to some who were relying on their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else, he told this parable: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Parush and the other a tax-collector. The Parush stood and prayed to himself, `O God! I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, immoral, or like this tax-collector! I fast twice a week, I pay tithes on my entire income, . . . ‘But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home right with God rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
People who are self-righteous often look down on everyone else. They cannot compare themselves to Yeshua and feel good about themselves; so in order to feel good about themselves, they have to constantly compare themselves to other fallible people. This breeds a critical attitude that exalts themselves by debasing others.
No one can ever be righteous in the sight of God through their own righteousness. “All of us are like someone unclean, all our righteous deeds like menstrual rags; we wither, all of us, like leaves; and our misdeeds blow us away like the wind.” Isaiah 64:6. Our worldly actions might benefit us in relationship with people, but they cannot make us right with God. We must receive His gift of righteousness completely on the basis of faith to what Yeshua did for us. This is the truth that this parable is presenting.
Many people are unaware that there are two kinds of righteousness and only one type of righteousness is acceptable to God. There is our own righteousness, which is based on our own performance; and there is God’s righteousness, which is based on Yeshua’s performance.
God’s righteousness is not something that you do, but something you received as a gift when you put your faith in Messiah Yeshua. Celebrate your right standing with God from this day on.
Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble. Thus you will be generously supplied with everything you need to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah. For this reason, I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you already have. And I consider it right to keep stirring you up with reminders, as long as I am in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:10-13
Peter’s time on earth was limited. This was possibly his last exhortation to the people he loved so much. Yet, instead of imparting one more piece of information, he reminded them of what they already knew. He used the power of their memories to stir them up.
Memory is a powerful thing. One sight, sound, or smell can trigger emotions and actions we may not have experienced in years, all because it causes to remember. Memory is a function of our minds. Peter said, ” Dear friends, I am writing you now this second letter; and in both letters I am trying to arouse you to wholesome thinking by means of reminders;” 2 Peter 3:1. We must take time to think to remember. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.
One of the ways God told us to remember is through setting aside special days to commemorate special events. Consider: “You are to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and ADONAI your God brought you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. ‘Therefore ADONAI your God has ordered you to keep the day of Shabbat.” Deuteronomy 5:15. Or: “You are not to eat any hametz with it; for seven days you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live.” Deuteronomy 16:3. They serve as constant reminders of God’s blessing.
Bless ADONAI, my soul, and forget none of his benefits! Psalms 103:2. The reason God told you not to forget is because remembering His benefits keeps your faith in Him strong and effective. Also, you will forget if you don’t put forth some effort. Take a moment and remember all the goodness of God toward you.
For the love of Messiah has hold of us, because we are convinced that one man died on behalf of all mankind (which implies that all mankind was already dead), 2 Corinthians 5:14
Paul writes that he is overruled, held as in a vice, over mastered, by the love of Messiah. Very few of us know what it means to be held in the grip by the love of G-d. We are often only held by the constraint of our experience only. The one thing that held Paul, until there was nothing else on his horizon, was the love of G-d. “The love of Messiah has hold of us” – when you hear that testimony in a man or woman, you can never mistake it. You know the Spirit of G-d is getting unhindered way in that persons life.
When we are born again of the Spirit of G-d, the note of testimony is on what G-d has done for us and rightly so. But the immersion of the Holy Spirit obliterates that for ever and we began to realize that Yeshua meant what he said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8. Not witnesses to what Yeshua can do, but “witnesses to Me“. We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation. No one can stand like that for Messiah Yeshua who is not constrained by the Majesty of His Personal power. It is the only thing that matters and the strange thing is that is often the last thing realized by us. Paul says he is gripped by the love of Messiah, that is why he acts the way he does. Men may call him crazy or sober, he does not care; there is only one thing that he is living for and that is to persuade men of the judgment seat of G-d and of the love of Messiah. This abandonment to the love of Messiah is the one thing that bears fruit in life and it will always leave the impression of holiness and of the power of G-d.
“Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury. At his gate had been laid a beggar named El`azar who was covered with sores. He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table; but instead, even the dogs would come and lick his sores. In time the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham’s side; the rich man also died and was buried. “In Sh’ol, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El`azar at his side. Luke 16:19-23
This story clearly teaches that there is life after death. It shows there is no “soul sleep” where our souls are awaiting the resurrection of our bodies, but we go into a conscious eternity immediately. It also shows that there are only two possible destinations after death. Either we go to a place of torment for the wicked or we go to the place of blessing for the righteous. There is no “limbo” or “purgatory” and there is no second chance. This story illustrates the finality of our eternal destiny once we die.
The place of Avraham is a symbolic term for an actual place where those who believed under the Mosaic Covenant, but had not yet been born again went after they died physically. It is located in the same region as hell, which is where those who never gave their lives to G-d go. The rich man’s body was in the grave, and yet the Scripture speaks of him lifting up his eyes and seeing El`azar in Avraham’s place. This demonstrates that our spirit mirrors our physical shape so closely that we are recognizable after we die.
Part of this man’s torment was his separation from G-d. He was also tormented by the thought of his loved ones on earth having the same eternal destiny he was experiencing. Surely his desperation to warn them would make his misery worse. Also, the fact that he could see El`azar and Avraham in a place of G-d’s blessing and comfort would keep him from ever adjusting to the situation.
In light of Yeshua’s words, we can see the hell will be much more than just a place of physical torment. Those who are consigned to that place will be tormented with the thoughts of what could have been if they had trusted Yeshua, and how they influenced others to follow them into hell. Knowing this, your heart should go out to anyone who does not know Messiah today. Don’t ignore any opportunity to share salvation with them.
“How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3
Be careful of placing Messiah as a Teacher first and foremost. If Yeshua is only a Teacher, then all that will happen is I will be tantalized by a standard I cannot attain. What is the use of presenting me with an ideal I cannot possibly achieve? I must know Yeshua as my Messiah and Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of an ideal that leads to my failure. When I am born again of the Spirit of G-d, I know that Messiah Yeshua did not come to teach only, He came to make me what He teaches I should be. Redemption means that Yeshua can put into us His character, that same character that governed His own life. All the standards and expectations that come from G-d are based on this character of Yeshua the Messiah.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mountain produces despair in the heart of natural man. I believe this was Yeshua’s intention. As long as we have a self righteous, conceited notion that we can carry out our Messiah’s teaching, G-d will allow us to go until we break our ignorance in stumbling over some obstacle. Then perhaps we will be willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. Blessed are the poor in spirit! That is the first principle in the Kingdom of G-d. The foundation of Yeshua’s Kingdom is poverty, not possessions. It is a sense of absolute futility, I cannot begin to do it. That is the entrance, the starting point. I cannot do anything but accept the gift of Salvation. But moving forward, henceforth and always, I still cannot do anything except through and by His Spirit. He must increase, while I must decrease. After all, I have nothing to bring, I am poor.
For we are of G-d’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by G-d for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Consider this, the Promised Land was already created and waiting for the Israelites. They only had to walk into it and it would be theirs. Many of them failed to realize, however, that the future was already created. They were waiting for G-d to do something about the giants who lived in the land. The truth is that these “giants” were terrified of the children of Israel, having heard the stories of the Exodus from Egypt and of the many miracles related to our trek through the wilderness. All the Israelites had to do was obey G-d and walk into the land and the battle would have been easily won. Instead, we waited another 40 years, remaining in the past, and most of that generation never made it into the land. When Yeshua told Peter to catch fish, even though he tried all night and caught nothing, the fish were already there waiting to be caught. Peter simply had to walk out what already been prepared.
Do you realize that the crucifixion was a future event that Yeshua simply needed to walk through? When Scripture says: “…the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded.” Revelation 13:8. He was slaughtered before the creation of the world. The future was already prepared for Yeshua, long before man fell in the Garden. When Yeshua came to earth, it was to walk into what had already been prepared for Him. With God, time is different. Past, present, and future are not the same in His eyes as in ours. He sees them all at once and has control over all of them. Time is His servant.
G-d has great plans for you, for your future. Do you think He’s just guessing? G-d is prepared for your future. Are you? Trust and follow Him into your future.
‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord. Leviticus 23:15-17
On the same day, you are to call a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. Leviticus 23:21
The tradition of counting 50 days to the day after a Sabbath is divided into two different traditions. The mainline tradition today comes from the Pharisees who believe the counting should begin on the 16th of Nissan. They do this because they consider the day of Passover on the 15th is the Sabbath. The other tradition believes that the Sabbath in this instruction concerns to the weekly Sabbath. Beth Messiah uses this second tradition which puts us in a minority of those who bother to count as instructed. I want you to understand why we do it this way.
Very simply, if we always start counting on the 16th of Nissan, then Shavuot would always fall on the 6th of Sivan. All of the other appointed times have a specific date in the Bible. If God wanted it to fall on a specific date, why would we have to count 50 days? Tradition says we count because He told us to. However if you look at your calendar you will see that it falls on a Wednesday this year. I have a problem with that because the instruction clearly says: “ Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath”. If we count from the weekly Sabbath, Shavuot would fall on the first day of the week, which we call Sunday. I believe that fits better in the instruction given to us. However, it does put us in a small minority. If any of you disagree with the tradition we hold, it does not offend me. Feel free to choose which tradition you want to follow. I do not believe we need to agree and do everything the same way. But I wanted to share why we do it as a Synagogue differently than most others in our Jewish Community. I hope this helps you out. Be blessed, I look forward to seeing you at our Community Seder.
“‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI. On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah; for seven days you are to eat matzah. On the first day you are to have a holy convocation; don’t do any kind of ordinary work. Bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work.’” Leviticus 23:5-8
Passover is coming.
Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. 8 So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth.1 Corinthians 5:7-8
I am really excited about our upcoming Seder at Michael’s on East in Sarasota, FL. This is really going to be a very special time for us. We will be celebrating our freedom once again. Messiah came to be sacrificed for us and indeed death will pass over us. There will be two very special things happening at our Seder this year. First of all, Marty Goetz will be joining with us. He will be handling some of the liturgy and also sharing worship with us throughout our Seder. Also, we will be introducing a new Haggadah that I have written with the help of some of our people.
All of us were slaves of the Pharaoh in Egypt. The redemptive story of Passover touches each of us personally as well as corporately. It is so important that we gather together to celebrate this is a family. I hope you are planning to be with us at this very special Seder. You must have your reservations in by March 18.
A woman from Shomron came to draw some water; and Yeshua said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His talmidim had gone into town to buy food.) The woman from Shomron said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for water from me, a woman of Shomron?” (For Jews don’t associate with people from Shomron.) Yeshua answered her, “If you knew G-d’s gift, that is, who it is saying to you, `Give me a drink of water,’ then you would have asked him; and he would have given you living water.” She said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket, and the well is deep; so where do you get this `living water’? John 4:7-11
“The well is deep” indeed, and a great deal deeper than this woman knew. Think of the depths of human nature, of human life, think of the depths of the “wells” in you. Have you been impoverishing the Ministry of Yeshua so that He cannot do anything? Suppose there is a well of fathomless trouble inside your heart and Yeshua comes and says – “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” You shrug your shoulders and say, “But Yeshua, the well is deep; you cannot draw quietness and comfort out of it.” No, He will bring it down from above. Yeshua does not bring anything up from the wells of human nature. We limit the Messiah by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past and by saying, “Of course I cannot expect G-d to do this thing.” The thing that we may think will be difficult for the Almighty is the very thing which we as Disciples of Yeshua ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Yeshua as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but will we come to Him as Almighty?
The reason some of us are in such poor shape is because we do not have an Almighty Messiah. We have Messianic attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Messiah Yeshua. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying – “Of course He cannot do anything” and we struggle down into the depths and try to get the water for ourselves. Beware of the satisfaction of sinking back and saying, “It cannot be done”; you know it can be done if you look to Yeshua. The well of your incompleteness is deep, but take the effort to look to Him. He’s waiting for you.