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Showing posts from June, 2015

Discpleship

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who has been perfected will be LIKE his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 LITV, emphasis mine)

When asked concerning my religious affiliation, I most generally respond that I am a ‘disciple’ of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth.  But what is a disciple? According to Noah Webster, a ‘disciple’ is “a learner; a scholar; one who receives instruction from another; a follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another” (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828).  However, when we study the lives of the first disciples, and the relationship that they enjoyed with Yeshua, we are missing something.  Yes, they had one-on-one fellowship with Him; so do we, for He is IN us.  The difference, I believe, is that after a period of time, they began to copy-cat Him, as an understudy would do the lead actor of a play.  And in reality, is that not what we also are to do?
Letting ‘our light shine before men’ is a commandment from our Master (M…

No Turning Back

“But my servant Caleb—this is a different story. He has a different spirit; HE FOLLOWS ME PASSIONATELY. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it.”  (Numbers 14:24 MB, emphasis mine)

YHWH instructed Moses to send twelve men, each man a leader in his own right, into the land of Canaan, to ‘check things out’ (Numbers 13:2).  After traveling its length and breadth, the twelve returned, bringing with them evidence of the fruitfulness of the land (Numbers 13:26-27).  Ten of the twelve men also returned with a negative report, describing the impossibility of conquering this wonderful land (Numbers 13:28-33), after looking at the inhabitants that were already there, and turning FROM faith TO fear.  We know from the Word of God that this ‘bad report’ cost the Israelites 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  Of the twelve men that spied out the land, the ten who gave the bad report perished, and only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter this ‘land flowi…

Masterpiece

For we are God's masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:10 ISV)

One of my hobbies is quilting; I enjoy taking selections of beautiful fabric and creating quilts of different designs and colors.  I use a variety of blocks and patterns; many of these patterns are centuries old, and I mix and match them to come up with what I like.  There have been times, however, when I have come up against the proverbial ‘brick wall’:  colors won’t match, seams are crooked, the blocks are not coming out to the specified size.  I have to ‘undo’ what has been done, and it seems like I will NEVER get done with a particular project.
The same frustration can hit us in our spiritual growth.  “Lord, am I EVER going to learn, am I EVER going to pass this particular test, am I EVER going to quit going around this particular mountain?”  It is at these times that we must recognize that there are ‘seams’ that we cannot s…

LoShon Hara

“Which of you takes pleasure in living? Who wants a long life to see good things? [If you do,] KEEP YOUR TONGUE FROM EVIL AND YOUR LIPS FROM DECEIVING TALK; turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it!” (Psalms 34:12-14 CJB, emphasis mine)

Jewish Wisdom absolutely prohibits all backbiting and slander; in the Hebrew language it is called ‘LoShon Hora’, and literally translated means ‘evil speech’.  To the Torah-observant Jew, this is the worst sin that can be committed, for it brings death to relationships, and is completely against the teachings of Torah.  ‘LoShon Hora’ includes negative speech and slander, and everything that would degrade, shame, or cause ANY harm to an individual, including the one speaking (oneself).  The basis for ‘LoShon Hora’ is found in Leviticus 19:16-18, which concludes with the admonition to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
An example of the seriousness of this offense is found in Numbers 12:1-15.  Miriam and Aaron began to ‘speak evil’ of Moses and…

Cop-Out

“If you [really] love Me, you will keep (OBEY) My commands.” (John 14:15 Amp, emphasis mine)

While listening to a Messianic Shabbat service some years ago, I recall being  pulled up short by a statement that I heard during the message:  “We [the body of Messiah] have a greater addiction to the LACK of instruction [TORAH] than we do FOR instruction [TORAH] (Ralph Messer, Simchat Torah, Colorado).  You, Sir, have hit the nail on the head.  To re-phrase Mr. Messer’s statement, many born-again believers in Messiah Yeshua would prefer not to have anything to do with TORAH (the Divine instructions in righteous and moral living), or to even admitting that they are relevant for today. Oh, shame, shame.
TORAH means instruction, or direction, or a set of instructions, such as is found in the first five books of the Tanakh, otherwise referred to as the ‘Old Testament’.  Many times ALL of God’s word is referred to as TORAH, for it is ALL His divine instructions, according to 2Timothy 3:16.  When a…

Loving One Another

“A renewed command I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all know that you are My taught ones, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:34-35 ISR, emphasis mine)

Through the years, there have been many definitions surface concerning the word ‘unconditional’; simply put, it means, ‘regardless’.  Regardless of the situation, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of whether you return my love or not, I CHOOSEto love you, I make it an act of my will to love you.
Unconditional love begins first in the home, with our families.  We have a saying here in OUR home, (we borrowed it from some very close friends of ours) “You know I love you more than you love me!”  And, of course, the other person will answer, “Yea, but I love you most-est!”; this is because there is ‘equality’ in our love (to make it clear, neither one of us loves the other more, or less.).  You see, an ‘unconditional lover’ will NEVERthink of themselv…

Fruit of Repentance

“Produce the fruit of perfect repentance.”  (Matthew 3:8 Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard, ©1995)

According to the forces of nature, we know that apples produce apples, corn produces corn, and roses produce thorns, but eventually also roses, and some even produce ‘rose hips’ as well.  Elohim spoke it, decreed it, and every seed produces after its own kind (Genesis 1:11).  ‘Fruit’, according to the dictionary, can also mean the “production, effect or consequence” of an action or event (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828).
Let us therefore look at the ‘action’ of ‘perfect repentance’.  First, repentance is NOT remorse, simply being sorry we got caught doing wrong, with the accompanying fear of discipline and punishment.  Repentance is the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, deep-feeling sorrow that we experience, knowing that we have offended and dishonored someone we love and respect dearly: our Creator and Father.  And WITH this sorrow is the recognition o…

Attitude of Gratitude

“Bless our God, O peoples, give Him grateful thanks and make the voice of His praise be heard …” (Psalm 66:8 Amp)

It is very difficult to maintain, cultivate, and preserve an ‘attitude of gratitude’ while we are standing in the middle of our darkest night of despair.  It is ALMOST impossible to sing praises while we are fighting the worst battle we have ever found ourselves in, and struggling against the worst odds the adversary has ever thrown at us.  How hard it is for us to remember that our Creator, our Father, our MIGHTY God will never leave us or forsake us when it seems like all hope is gone (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Hebrews 13:5), and, like Elijah, we are the only one left to stand for our King (1Kings 19:10). 
However, this is exactly when we MUST remember that “God sits on the throne of the praises of His people” (see Psalm 22:3), and as we begin to praise HIM, to thank Him for WHO He is, this is when our Deliverer WILL show up on the scene.  It is in the Light of His Glory that …

Discipline

“Hold fast to discipline, don't let it go; guard it, for it is your life.(Proverbs 4:13 CJB)
The Hebrew word that has been translated as ‘discipline’ in this verse is the word mûsâr” (Strong’s H4148), a noun closely related to the Hebrew verb, “yâsar” (Strong’s H3256).  Both words carry a meaning of not just discipline, but also of instruction, teaching, correction, and chastening.  In fact, in many translations of this verse in Proverbs, we will find the word ‘instruction’ used, instead of discipline.
There is another interesting find in this verse: it is the Hebrew word that has been translated into the phrase ‘hold fast to’, or ‘take fast hold of’.  This word (“châzaq”, Strong’s #H2388) is also found in Deuteronomy 11:8, where it has been translated as ‘may be strong’:
“Therefore you shall keep all the commandments which I command you today, that you MAY BE STRONG and go in and possess the land which you go across [the Jordan] to possess …” (Amp, emphasis mine)
Châzaq” will…

Protect Yourself

Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the adversary.”  (Ephesians 6:11 CJB)

Computers are amazing pieces of equipment.  It would be difficult for you to read this “Mailbag” were it not for the computer that it was written upon, together with the computer device now displaying it for you.  We are able to communicate with each other (distance is not an issue) with this modern technology, and the capabilities of computers, of so many different types and sizes, are almost limitless.
But they are also VERY vulnerable.  Enter the world of ‘hackers’, ‘viruses’, ‘spy-ware’, ‘mal-ware’, ‘glitches’, and MUCH more that I do not even know anything about.  If we do not take the time, and the expense, to protect our investments, they can be severely damaged, and even destroyed, by the outside attacks that come against them.  As good stewards, WE are responsible to stand guard and protect – yes, even an inanimate item as a…

Overflow

“… that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly FILLED AND FLOODED with God himself]!”  (Ephesians 3:19 Amp, emphasis mine)

When we place an empty pitcher under a faucet to fill it with water, and then neglect to turn the faucet off, the result is, most generally, an overflow.  The pitcher overflows, and starts running out, with the excess water flowing down the drain.  However, this is somewhat of a picture of what our Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, desires to do in our lives:  fill us to overflowing with HIM.  OUR overflow would then pour out to the world around us, saturating everyone and everything that we came into contact with …
Unfortunately, a pitcher that is half-full of pebbles, rocks and dirt cannot contain a full measure of ‘pure’ water.  Neither are we able to be totally filled with the presence of the ‘Ruach HaKodesh’ (HOLY Spirit of YHWH), when we…

Humility

{Love} … is not conceited (arrogant and INFLATED WITH PRIDE); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.” (1Corinthians 13:5 Amp, emphasis and insert mine)

Some years ago, there was a meeting of hot air balloon enthusiasts in Southwestern Wyoming; it was breath-taking to watch the vivid and colorful display of these majestic balloons as they moved across the horizon.  ABBA Father used this opportunity, and the images of the hot air balloons, to teach me about being ‘inflated with pride’.  When we are ‘full of hot air’, we are very much like one of these big balloons, rising with self importance, and being carried along with the wind of pride.  And in a similar fashion, pride can also be ill mannered, with little or no consideration for others, and like these big balloons when the wind begins to get rough, there is virtually no controlling it.
On the flip side of the coin, humility is the opposite of all arrogance, pride and conceit, and basically means a freedom from al…

In HIS Presence

Where can I go to escape YOUR Spirit? Where can I flee from YOUR presence? If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I lie down in Sh'ol, YOU ARE THERE. If I fly away with the wings of the dawn and land beyond the sea, even there your hand would lead me, your right hand would hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10 CJB, emphasis mine)

The definition of ‘omnipresent’ is “being present in all places at the same time”; this is an attribute found ONLY with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828).  For many people, this idea of being omnipresent is a sense of a gloom and doom, or ‘out to get you’ type of God, when in reality, it is a loving Father, tenderly watching over His children for good, and not for evil. 
The presence of the Lord is a precious thing, and should be cultivated, tended to, guarded and protected, and treasured.  When we dwell – habitually – in the presence of ABBA Father, it is THE safest place that we can be.  …

Come OUT

And you shall remember that יהוה your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, PROVE you, to know what is in your heart, whether you guard His commands or not.  (Deuteronomy 8:2 ISR, emphasis mine
“You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons: you cannot be joint-partakers both in the table of the Lord and in the table of demons.” (1Corinthians 10:21 MSNT)

Most of us are familiar with who Daniel is, and the story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den is well known.  There is, however, another ‘showdown’ found in the book of Daniel that is not as often spoken of, yet also of great importance.  Found in chapter two of the book of Daniel, this story begins with King Nebuchadnezzar suffering repeatedly from a bad dream, and having finally reached the place where he wanted to know what this dream meant.  Calling together all of his magicians and astrologers, the king promised great riches and honor to the one who could not only tell him w…