Running the race as a winner – day three

Psalm 55:22; Matthew 6:30-33; 11:28-30

We lay aside our burdens, yoke ourselves to Yeshua/Jesus and learn to pull as he pulls. Both of us are carrying the weight.  We only accept cargo that he takes on; we never pick up our own affliction. We pull with him and practice resting in the yoke. He is the author of patience and he is training us to walk with him. When we get out of step, we won’t get frustrated.  Because the answer is simple, we can stay calm; we simply start walking in step again.

We are “living two lives.” We sit with Mashiach/Christ in heavenly places; our seat is there, but our temporary residence is living on earth dwelling in mortality. Our practice – what we do in our earthly dwelling – is a practice toward righteousness (as though we are practicing the right notes to a heavenly song). YESHUA IS OUR DIRECTOR.

The burden of success that equals monetary gain and commercial power will only because heavier because this false perception of success is never satisfied. Every man should eat, drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:13,; it is the gift of God. But we won’t be possessed of labor, worry, and work to get what God has already promised to always supply. We will seek the kingdom of God (His rule in our hearts and lives) above all else.  We practice stepping in tune to the music that motivates Yeshua, our partner in the yoke. Our labor is restful when he walks with us. We work out our salvation (our life in Mashiach/Christ). It is God who works in us to work out our salvation. We are partners in the work that nourishes us.

Prayer: O Lord, my God, you are very great. The heavens and the earth are yours; the world and all its fullness are your creation. By your power I will walk worthy of you under the yoke of your guidance. You help me to practice the right notes and step in time with you, creating harmony. And blessed be the name of the Lord God from this time forth and forevermore.

Running the race as a winner – day two

The first forward thrust of the race is baptism, because it is a picture of redemption – stepping from death into life, your new life in Messiah/Christ. If you were baptized as a baby or young child by your parents, they believed for you and now you are affirming your own choice to believe. You stand before the congregation of the church and tell them your decision to accept your parents’ belief as your own in confirmation.  That act publically identifies you with Messiah.

If you were not baptized as a baby or child you will want to be baptized now as an act of testimony. The mode of baptism, whether it is sprinkling, pouring or immersion, is a symbol of Ruach Kodesh/Holy Spirit baptism that placed you positionally in Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Public identification represents the spiritual relationship.  It is also the picture of the baptism of Ruach Ha Kodesh/ the Holy Spirit. It’s not the signs and wonders we are following after, but a new realm we are living in – the kingdom of the spirit. We will no longer be controlled by the flesh; we are led and nourished by the very Spirit of the Living God.

John told his disciples, “…He will baptize you with Ruach Ha Kodesh and with fire,” Jesus said, “…but you shall receive power after Ruach Ha Kodesh is come upon you.”  Without Ruach Ha Kodesh you would be like a baby who never gets any nourishment. He is the seal of our redemption.  He is our security, guide, and teacher – messiah’s gift to every Christian. The baptism of the Spirit is not something you wait and get later, hope for, pray for, or try for. When the Ephesians heard about Yeshua/Jesus and were baptized as an expression of their faith in his atoning sacrifice, the next immediate step was the baptism of the Spirit. When the apostles heard some in Samaria were saved, they immediately sent Peter and John to lay hands on them so they could obtain the baptism of the Spirit too. We don’t need anyone to lay hands on us because we have the Word of God to show us what we ought to do. We yield to the power of Ruach Ha Kodesh by faith. We will ask believing and act accordingly.

Yeshua/Jesus is God’s gift to the world. Ruach Ha Kodesh is Yeshua’s gift to his body (Christians). A gift is freely offered and it’s an insult to refuse it. The only reason why anyone would not have the baptism of the Spirit is because of unbelief, and unbelief is sin.

As winners in the race, we allow Ruach Ha Kodesh to control our tongues because they are the most untamable members of our bodies (read James 3) and they are the first thing we must yield to the direction of Ruach Ha Kodesh. As we surrender this member others follow. We know when our tongues are disciplined by Ruach Ha Kodesh because they speak the Word of God with boldness; we open our mouths with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on our tongues.

While we are running the race as winners we continue to identify ourselves with the goal – not in water baptism, but in our behavior, words, and in the community of believers taking the Lord’s Supper.

Prayer: Lord, as I run the race my identification with you will become more credible every day, each step of the way. I will allow your Holy Spirit to control my lips. I will open my mouth to allow you to speak through me. I will practice submitting my tongue to you. I will yield my eyes to you and see with eyes of compassion. I will submit my ears to you to hear the cry of the needy soul and respond with my hands and heart. I will yield my feet to you so you can lead me where you want me to go. I will no longer make it a habit to go and do as I please; but will publically identify with you in all that I do in the flesh.

The Sermons of Moses

The Sermons of Moses

A Conversation on the Revelation of Yahweh to His People preached through Moses on the plains of Moab

The writings of David Guzik and, David J. Zucker have been a good source of information. I appreciate Chabad.org and Rashi’s Commentary for their insights into what the traditional thoughts are on the Torah. I am especially thankful to Zola Levitt for the love he spread through his T.V. program and writings. He made me fall deeper in love with my God and that is what I am trying to do with these conversations – I want my readers to fall deeper in love with our God, Yahweh, with every reading – as I am doing with every writing.

Preface

This book is the fifth book in the Torah[1] – the books of Moses. The Hebrew word Devarim means words, matters, or things. It is a reaffirmation and review of the covenant between Israel and their God, Yahweh. It is an establishment and examination of Israel’s human experience. It is personal and reproduces to the ancient Israelites – and us today – the events and words as a single event to be experienced in this current moment. “The complete range of human experience is brought to life and salvation by the full revelation of God: Live this! Now!”[2] The emphasis is on teaching and learning. It presents Yahweh as the one and only God[3] and instructs his chosen people to unwaveringly hold fast to him. It establishes Yahweh as spiritually connected to his chosen people with no physical presence, but a dwelling place for his name[4]. It reiterates the fact that Yahweh’s relationship with his chosen people entails specific obligations that were mutually agreed upon and have consequences. Yahweh created his chosen people, redeemed us from bondage and guides us safely through the wilderness of sin. He created Israel, redeemed her from slavery in Egypt, guided her through the wilderness, and brought her safely to the Promised Land. Like Israel, we have an obligation to cooperate with Yahweh so we won’t be “plucked off the land” – the path that he is leading us on – and be scattered “from one end of the earth to the other” – get lost in the confusion of worldly wisdom. As you read this book consider it spoken directly to you. Look deeply into the heart of your God, Yahweh. Inspect your own heart – your actions and motives – judge yourself and be careful not to judge others. Judging others is Yahweh’s job and he doesn’t need our help.


Things to think about

  1. What do you see as the object of this book of teachings? Do you see it as a means to get better acquainted with our God, Yahweh?
  2. Is it important who wrote it or when it was written?
  3. How can you and I today relate to a book written so long ago?
  4. How can this book help us to walk in the light?[5]

[1] Torah means many things, but especially in this context it means teaching – not law.

[2] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message, NAVPress, 2005, introduction to Deuteronomy, page 223

[3] Deuteronomy 6:4

[4] A name is a term used for identification. Yahweh’s name identifies him as the one who is who and what he is and will be what and who he will be – not a being that can be manipulated.

[5] I John 1:7

From Slaves to Soldiers

Chapter 36

This part of Numbers is a diary where Moses recorded events as they happened.

The leaders of the tribes of Israel had summit meetings – direct personal negotiations between the heads of the tribes. The regulation that authorized daughters without brothers to inherit was mandated when the daughters of Zelophehad brought the problem to the attention of Moses earlier. The problem recorded in this chapter was brought to Moses by the heads of the tribe to which Zelophehad belonged about the possible loss of property by one tribe to another. The question came up at some time after the inheritance problem of daughters without brothers. Sufficient time had elapsed to permit the discussion and crystallization of public opinion about what the result would be if the women married men from another tribe. The elders of the clan of Gilead approached Moses and the other tribal leader with their concern about what would happen if Zelophehad’s daughters married men from another Israelite tribe. They said that the property that the daughters inherited would become the property of the husband’s tribe and would be lost from the tribe of Manasseh. When the land was to be restored to each tribe in the year of Jubilee the land wouldn’t be restored to the rightful tribe – the purpose of the woman inheriting in the first place would be defeated.

Important inheritance rules were being established so Moses took the question before the highest government official – the King of kings himself, Yahweh – and brought the answer back to the leaders of the tribes. The assessment of the leaders of the sons of Joseph was confirmed correct. The land was to stay in the tribe. The women who were heirs because there were no sons were to marry within their ancestral clan so that the tribal inheritance would always be kept in the family. The inherited land of the chosen people was not to be passed around from tribe to tribe and every Israelite was responsible for the tribes holding tight to its own land. There was to be no land-grabbing marriages of convenience.

According to the institute in basic life principles Yahweh designed marriage to fulfill six important and vital functions. Companionship, which grows out of a oneness of spirit. Next is enjoyment, a principle that is grounded in self-control. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed should be kept undefiled. Yahweh designed Eve to complete that which was lacking in Adam’s life. Yahweh’s first command in Scripture is “…Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth.” A husband is to protect his wife by laying down his life for her. A wife is to protect the interests of her home. Marriage is to be a human object lesson of the divine relationship between Yahweh and believers. The chosen people of Yahweh were not to use marriage as a means to amass riches or get influence.

The daughters of Zelophehad did just as Yahweh commanded Moses and all married within the families of Manasseh son of Joseph and their inheritance-lands stayed in their father’s family.

The narrator recorded the names of the woman so that their faithful obedience and courage wouldn’t be forgotten. He finished the book with the information that these were the commands and regulations decreed by Yahweh – through the authority of Moses – and given to the People of Israel on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.

 

Summary of chapter 36

There are two emphases in this last chapter. The first is on the question of the certainty of the inheritance of each tribe being maintained. The second was the example that the daughters of Zelophehad were to the whole of Israel that those who behaved rightly towards Yahweh would come out triumphantly as possessors of the land – or those who behave positively toward Yahweh will triumph as possessors of the peace that passes all understanding[1].

The book ended with the importance of ensuring that the divisions of the land as established by Yahweh for His people should remain unaltered. The land was to be their permanent possession, given to them by Yahweh. It lay at the very heart of the covenant. This reveals both the deep concern of the people about possessing land, and the faithfulness of their God in safeguarding it as a permanent possession. It was the fulfilment of all that they had come to Canaan to obtain. Its permanence would be a huge incentive to going forward.

The people of Yahweh today have the certainty that we will enter into and inherit an everlasting kingdom that will never diminish. It is because of that confidence that we have the courage to go constantly forward in the face of all difficulties.

The situation that brought this matter to the forefront was the matter of families with no male heir, whose fathers had died on their journey while remaining faithful to Yahweh, with the result that their family, instead of joining in the fulfilment of the promises to the fathers, would lose everything that mattered through no fault of their own. They would no longer have their share in the land. However, if they did receive land and the women heiresses married outside the tribe, they would take the land that had been given to that tribe with them. The solution was that the women heiresses could inherit, but must marry within the tribe. The book ended with the description of the obedience to Yahweh of the daughters of Zelophehad which resulted in satisfaction for all. The lesson being that anyone who walks in obedience to Yahweh will be blessed.[2]

 

Prayer: God of all blessings, source of all life, giver of all grace: I thank you for the gift of life: for the breath that sustains life, for the food of this earth that nurtures life, for the love of family and friends without which there would be no life. I thank you for the mystery of creation: for the beauty that my eye can see, for the joy that my ear may hear, for the unknown that I cannot behold filling the universe with wonder, for the expanse of space that draws me beyond the definitions of myself. I thank you for setting me in community I live in. Thank you for my family who nurtured my becoming, for friends who love me by choice, for companions who share my burdens and daily tasks. Thank you for strangers who welcome me into their midst, for people from other lands who call me to grow in understanding, for children who lighten the moments of my life with delight, and for the unborn who offer hope for the future. I thank you for this day and for life and one more day to love. I thank you for opportunity and one more day to work for justice and peace, for neighbors and one more person to love and by whom to be loved, for your grace and one more experience of your presence, for your promise to be with me, to be my God, and for your salvation. For these and all blessings, I give you thanks, eternal, loving God. [3]

 

 

Things to think about

  1. What do you see as the main purpose of the book of Numbers – or Bəmiḏbar, which is Hebrew for wilderness/desert?
  2. Why were there two censures for the chosen people while they were in the desert?
  3. What do you think was the purpose of the way the tribes were camped and the order in which they marched?
  4. What do you think made the tribe of Levi different from the others?
  5. Why do you think it was important for the jobs of the priests and Levites and their authority to be respected?
  6. What was the significance of the snake on a pole?
  7. For what is Balaam famous?
  8. Why was it important for the land to stay with the tribe in which it was given?

8 What lessons did you learn from the story of the ashes of the “red heifer”?

  1. What did the description of the area described on page 188 – chapter 20 – tell you about living in this earthly dwelling? What do we have to do to face the trials of this life with victory?

 

[1] Philippians 4:7

[2] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/numbers-36.html These files are public domain.

[3] http://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/christian/gratitude/prayer-of-thanksgiving.aspx#wSxjfgahhsLaHBsl.99

Running the Race as a Winner for 2017

Day One

Doesn’t everyone want to be a winner – to be a success? God wants you to be a winner in the game of life. In Hebrews 12:11 Paul equates the Christian with the Roman athletes who live to win the race. These men wouldn’t have thought much of the attitude that says, “It isn’t whether you win or lose that counts, its how you play the game.” The athletes of Rome would have said, “If you play the game right, you will win.”  The runner, now and then, has his eye on only one thing – the goal.

A runner never carries anything with him. He/she even looks for light weight clothes that won’t restrict movement. The contender Paul was talking about was either training or running – he had no divided loyalties.

We live in a world where we learn from the cradle that we must succeed and success equals money and power. Our preoccupation with money weighs us down. We struggle with sin. We are tempted to take on new sin. We constantly remind ourselves of our old sins, and we trip over someone else’s sin. No one could run with such encumbrances.

If we are going to run the race of life that Paul talked about, the first step is to enter, and for that there is only one condition. The one and only standard is faith in the One who already ran and won, paving the way for us.

If you have not chosen to believe Messiah (Christ) is your Savior, now is the time to do it. Then, and only then, you will be ready to run the race as a winner. As Paul explained to the Romans, (Romans 3:10, 23) The Torah tells us that no one is righteous because everyone falls short of God’s glory (perfection). Imperfection results in death (separation from God) as Paul said in Romans 6:23. When we choose to agree with God that we are sinners (imperfect before our Creator) and that sin’s result is death; we are ready to find a remedy. We want to be reconciled to our Creator God. Paul explains how in Romans 8:2-4. As Eugene Peterson puts it:

“A new power is in operation. The spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”

When we make the choice to believe that Jesus paid the price of sin and death and say so (as Paul told the Romans in 10:9, 10, and 13) we have life in Messiah through eternity. Praise his blessed name. We are in the race.

Prayer: Lord, you are the foundation of my salvation. The Mighty One, and you are very great. You are opening the eyes of my understanding and giving me wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. I have tasted of your goodness and I am hungry and thirsty to know more. You are my refuge and my strength. I make a conscious commitment to know what the greatness of your power is toward me and you have promised to demonstrate your power in my life. And blessed be the name of the Lord God from this time forth and forevermore.

Indian Schools 1893

This is something that we need to think about seriously so we don’t repeat our mistakes. That’s why history is so important – if we use it as a learning tool for the future instead of just forcing the repetition of “facts” down our children’s throats without discussing the rights and wrongs and how we can do better.

Source: Indian Schools 1893