Thursday, March 30, 2006

Living a Prayerful Life

How many of us speak nary a word to God except for a mumbled prayer at bedtime? How long would your marriage last if that's all you spoke to your spouse?

Even if we have a personal prayer life, how many of us make the time to pray with our fellow believers? How long would your marriage last if you refused to relate to your spouse in public?

Prayer is the cornerpiece of a successful spiritual life. It is communion with God. In groups, it's communion through the Spirit with both the Father and each other. It is a powerful weapon: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Eph. 6:17-18, MKJV). If the Word of God is our sword, prayer is our heavy artillery and our radio to receive backup.

Prayer is the incense which fills God's heavenly Temple with a sweet smell (Rev. 5:8). It is the channel through which the Spirit flows. Why then do we wonder why we don't see God moving when we have such anemic prayer lives?

And finally, the prayers of the righteous are powerful (Jas. 5:16), but the prayers of the wicked go unheard (Pro. 15:29). When there is unrepentant sin in our lives, how can we wonder why our prayers go unanswered?

Consider this a challenge, both to my Messianic brethren and to my Sunday Christian brethren as well: The hour is late, the night is growing darker, and we have a job to do. Let's take up the most important tool that God has given us, and make communion with Him the centerpiece of our lives and ministries.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Real Grace

A brother Christian who once said to me, "You know, I've gotten to the point where all I care about is God's grace." He explained that he's in a Bible study with a Messianic Rabbi, and every time he gets tied up in some detail or point, the rabbi "hits me with God's grace again."

I suspect that the rabbi in question is emphasizing ADONAI's grace so much to try to avoid the period of legalism that so many Messianics go through as we discover a zeal for the Torah. Even so, the student in this case has gotten a bit unbalanced on the other side; he even once said to me, "Well, doesn't it say, let's sin all the more so that grace may abound?" No! Just the opposite (see Rom. 6:1-2)!

You know what grace is? Grace is sinning, going to our Father, confessing it, and having Him say to us, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child." And when we stumble again and commit the same sin, and confess it, He says, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child." And when we sin for the 491st time that day in the same way, our Father still says, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child."

Grace is the pardon from sin, not the pardon to sin. Grace is a Father who accepts us as we are, in all of our sin and uncleaness, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. Grace is a Father who disciplines us (and yes, His discipline is often exceedingly painful), but who never rejects us. The Father may take us to the woodshed and take off His belt, but He always welcomes us back into the house with a hug.

That's not an easy grace. It's a very hard grace, sometimes--but it's a transforming grace.

It's very easy for a Messianic to get frustrated with a Sunday Christian. But if we, knowing the requirements of God's Torah, still stumble on the road and even wander astray from it from time to time, have been shown and continue to be shown so great a grace in our Messiah Yeshua, then we need to be just as quick to show that grace to our brethren.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Symbols in Messianic Life


Below is a post from Michael's Blog on Symbols that enhance our walk with G-d. It is very well done.

Living a Symbolic Life

When Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered,
"The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, YHVH our God, YHVH is one. And you shall love YHVH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment."
He is, of course, referring to the Sh'ma in Deu. 6, which continues:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What does it mean to bind God's words on our hands and as frontlets between our eyes?

To read the rest of the article, go to Symbolic Life"

Blessings in Messiah

Another "Jesus"


I had partially quoted a passge in earlier writtings concerning whether some churches were teaching another "Jesus", or Messiah. The question poised was if a church teaches a Jesus who violates Torah, says Jesus did away with Torah and that believers today should not follow Torah, are they preaching "another Jesus" that Jews are commanded not to follow. Here is the entire passage from D'varim (Duet.)

If a prophet rises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder which he foretold to you occurs, saying, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For YHVH your God is testing you to know whether you love YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after YHVH your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which YHVH your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you. (Deu. 12:32-13:5)

So the command in scripture is clear, the false prophet is to be killed. We need to teach a scripturally correct Messiah, one who kept Torah, and commanded His followers to also. If Sha'ul (Paul) taught that the Torah was evil (He did not), then he would have been a false teacher.

Remember, G-d's word is consistant, and we must not pick or choose what we follow. Sha'ul himself said "all scripture is pofitable"; he was speaking of the Tanakh - Torah, Writings & Prophets, not only the "Newer or Renewed Coveneant" books which had yet to be written.

If teachings in the Renewed Covenant seem to contradict the Tanakh, we must not blindly accept them, but search how to understand them because G-d's word will not contradict itself.

Blessings in Messiah

Rabbinic Validation of Yeshua as Messiah


One of my favorite research activities is to study the Talmud & Rabbinic sources for clear validation that Yeshua is Messiah. I do this not only because I enjoy it, but following in the path of Dr. Michael Brown (writer of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus Volumes 1-3), I believe it allows us to show Messiah from Scriptural & Rabbinic sources to our people.

Michael Bugg had this little tidbit on His blog, which I repost with His permission. These are fully verifiable.

Here is the excerpt:

The rabbis were not unfamiliar with exorcism. Their method was to command the demon in the Name of YHVH to give them its name; once they had the spirit's name, they were able to command it out with that name. (We see Yeshua using this method in the case of Legion; Luke 8:30ff.) However, in the case of a demon that kept its victim mute, they could not force it to give its name and therefore could not cast it out.

The amazing thing to them about Yeshua was not simply that He was casting out demons, but that He was doing so without involking the Name of YHVH, demonstrating that He had authority in and of Himself to command them. When He commanded out a demon of muteness, this was further proof that Yeshua is in fact the Messiah.

There were three miracles that had never been done before that the Rabbis expected the Messiah to do: Cast out a mute spirit, heal a man born blind (cf. John 9), and cure an Israelite with leprosy (up to this point, only Namaan the Syrian had been cured of that disease). Thus, the Pharisees could not have helped but know Yeshua was the Messiah, and had to willfully close their eyes by accusing Him of being possessed by the Adversary!

For the full text go to: B'rit Chadasha Blog

So we see that Rabbinic claims that Yeshua is not Messiah do not reflect all Rabbinic thinking, and even ignore some clear proofs in scripture, like the above miracles. We will discuss other proofs as we go along, Adonai willing.

Blessings in Messiah