Devotion 132

THE NEED FOR TRUE LEADERSHIP

But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens (Exodus 18:21)

With these words Yahveh gave Moshe the authority to choose leaders from amongst the people. It is important to note the qualifications He saw as being important.

  • Leadership from the People. A true leader must emerge from amongst the people. S/he must know what ordinary people go through in their lives, the pressures of daily work, the anxiety which comes from lack of finances, home and family issues. Unfortunately, many of our country’s leaders are not from among the people; they have difficulty relating to the average person and the issues with which they deal. Many of our leaders emerge from families of wealth and privilege, which removes them from day-to-day struggles. Scripture shares with us several leaders who were selected from among their people. For example, Yahveh chose Sha’ul, Saul, for Israel’s first king, even though he was not from the tribe of Yehuda/Judah. Sha’ul was ideal, at the time, for the role Yahveh had for him. Then we find David, a Yehudi/Judean, selected to be the next king and the ancestor of our Messiah, Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus. Both these men came from the people; they lived on the land and they knew what it meant to struggle with, as well as benefit from nature. Read with me, please 1 Samuel 16:12 – With ruddy cheeks, red hair and bright eyes, he was a good-looking fellow. Adonai said, “Stand up and anoint him; he’s the one.” 
  • People with Ability.  Leaders are men and women who have the ability to motivate and encourage those who need these traits and who are able to discipline those who have the skills but lack the desire to use them. All-too-often, leaders tend to be bullies, who use fear and intimidation to motivate their employees. When a bully becomes a political leader, s/he often attracts supporters from amongst the bullies of the province, territory or nation. When the power of such a leader is absolute, then dictating through terror becomes the mantra. Moshe was a man with the ability to lead others; however, it required him to spend forty years in the wilderness, in order to gain the humility, which was a major part of his ability.
  • God-fearing.  Perhaps this condition might have come first. Without God in our lives, we are left with the adversary to guide us in our roles. Having Yahveh guiding leaders does not make them weak and impotent; on the contrary, God’s leadership is strong and virile. He is the One who guides us through many potential pitfalls and obstacles which all leaders encounter. He allows and encourages us to face these with courage and strength. The Apostles are men we might aspire to imitate in our lives today, as those who feared Yahveh and followed His commandments fully. Listen to Adonai Yeshua’s choosing Nathaniel, as we read in John 1:47 -Yeshua saw Natan’el coming toward him and remarked about him, “Here’s a true son of Isra’el — nothing false in him!”

Beloved, when you participate in the choosing of a leader, what qualities do you look for? Are they the qualities the world wants or the qualities God wants?

CONDITIONS: Do the leaders of your community, the corporation you work for, your spiritual home, your government meet the three conditions mentioned above? Are you involved in asking the candidates the vital questions to determine their meeting the conditions? This is not political activity; this is God’s activity.

ACTION: I urge you to become involved in God’s work, in questioning candidates about their meeting the three conditions of true leadership. Do not be afraid of being rejected; most of those who do step forward and do His work are rejected by the world.

PRAY: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us an understanding of the conditions of true leadership. Help us, please to speak out in support of those who do back the ones who walk on your path.

B’Shem Adonai Yeshua Mashichainu, Amen.

Beloved, may you be fully and richly blessed by God.

Devotion 132

HIS STRENGTH IS OUR STRENGTH

When morning came, the angels told Lot to hurry. “Get up,” they said, “and take your wife and your two daughters who are here; otherwise you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he dallied, so the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the hands of his two daughters — Adonai was being merciful to him — and led them, leaving them outside the city. (Genesis 19:15,16)

Lot and his family had lived in the city of Sodom for some time, when the angels came to take him and his family to safety, before Yahweh wrought destruction.  During this time, he had become quite wealthy, in comparison to rural life, and he thought of himself as an upstanding member of Sodom society.  However, when he attempted to protect the two angels from mob violence, he was confronted with the reality – This guy came to live here, and now he’s decided to play judge. For that we’ll deal worse with you than with them. (Genesis 19:9)

Even when Lot realized his life and the lives of his family were threatened, he hesitated to leave the only home he knew, in Canaan, as we read in Genesis 19:16 – But he dallied, so the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the hands of his two daughters — Adonai was being merciful to him — and led them, leaving them outside the city.

How do we react, when God tells us to leave our old life behind, including our sins, and begin a new life, filled with the promises of Elohim’s salvation?  Have you ever led someone to the door of hope, only to have them pull back for fear of losing the only life they have known thus far?  Has that happened to you?  Unlike the angels of God, we cannot take them by the hand and pull them through the door; this action must be voluntary on their part, based on a heart-felt desire for repentance of their past and current sinfulness conjoined with a conviction to walk a different path, one moving towards righteousness.

CONSIDER: What are your emotions, when someone you love refuses to walk forward with you to receive God’s forgiveness of sin?  We realize we cannot own another’s decisions; however, often our emotions are irrational, touching deep-seated beliefs about our own power and strength.

Act:  Before sharing the Good News of the salvific sacrifice of our Messiah, Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, spend time in prayer, asking for His strength, His power to guide and lead you.

Pray:  Abba B’Shamayim, Beloved Father, I do not have the strength on my own to convince someone to accept your free gift of Salvation.  Please fill me with Your strength, share with me Your power and provide me with Your wisdom to know how far I may go.  In Your beloved Name I pray.

May you be fully and richly blessed by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Art: Debra Brewer

Devotion 130

Sacrifice is Powerful

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for yourselves; for it is the blood that makes atonement because of the life.’ Leviticus 17:11

I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you.

Romans 12:1

Hello, Friends. I do hope you are keeping safe and I pray you are well. The two pieces of Scripture, above, provide us with just a small variety of the reasons why Yahveh, our Holy God, has required sacrifices from His Children. I use the present tense, because that requirement has not been cancelled but is suspended, until the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.

In the first passage, from Leviticus 17, we are told that only through the shedding of blood, will atonement be given for one’s sins. Once again, we know this from Scripture, as our Messiah, Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, shed His blood for us as atonement for our sins (Isaiah 53, the Gospels, the Epistles of John, Paul and Peter.)

As we see in Rav Sha’ul’s writing, in Romans 12:1, we all are to offer ourselves, our hearts, our souls, our might, as sacrifices to God. Paul explains this clearly, by our living for Yahveh, following His Life Instructions and setting ourselves apart from the world and for God. But the question is still relevant: Where is the power in sacrifice?

As I shared with you earlier, a sacrifice’s power comes in the value of what is being sacrificed. The greater the value, the greater the power. A clear example of the power of sacrifice may be found in 2 Kings 3:26,27 – When the king of Mo’av saw that the fighting was too much for him, he took with him 700 men armed with swords and tried to break through to the king of Edom; but they couldn’t do it. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to have succeeded him as king, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. Following this, such great anger came upon Isra’el that they left him and went back to their own land. I imagine the results would have been different, had the pagan king of Mo’av had sacrificed a lamb or a goat kid.

All believers today are believers because of the power of Adonai Yeshua’s sacrifice. The power of His sacrifice enabled each of us to die to our sins and be spiritually resurrected into His Kingdom. For this we should be eternally grateful and continually bless Him.

CONSIDER: Have you made the commitment of your body, heart, mind and soul, as a living sacrifice to our Living, Loving God? Are you walking on His path, following His Life Instructions, as outlined in Torah? Have you taken to heart Adonai Yeshua’s words, as recorded in John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commands?

ACT: If you have not, as yet, made the commitment to follow Him, on His narrow path, I urge you to do so today. Not only will you accept Him into your heart, you will also offer your bodies as living sacrifices to Him, our Holy God.

PRAY: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, I pray you help us commit ourselves to you fully, completely. May our bodies constitute our natural sacrifice to you. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua, Amein. In the Name of our Messiah, the Lord Jesus, Amen.

May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you fully and richly.

L’Enseignement 48

À PROPOS DU DOUTE

Première partie

 

Adonaï Yéchoua leur dit: “Pourquoi êtes-vous troublés? Pourquoi avez-vous ces doutes dans vos coeurs?” (Luc 24:38)

Pourquoi les doutes montent en nous? Quelle question intrigante! Cela représente pour moi un défi, car la réponse traverse les frontières – le spirituel, l’émotionnel, le psychologique. Examinons d’abord le psychologique.

Je souhaiterais explorer deux aspects de notre esprit qui ont un impact sur le phénomène du doute. La première est l’attente. L’attente est la forte croyance qu’il se passe quelque chose. Elle repose sur la certitude absolue que lorsque ce qui est attendu (un événement, une action) ne se produit pas, notre croyance est ébranlée et ainsi, le doute s’installe. La cause la plus fréquente de conflits entre les gens, en particulier les couples, est l’attente non satisfaite. En effet, il y a un lien important entre l’attente et le conflit si bien que les Écritures en parlent. Par exemple, au chapitre 10 du livre des Proverbes, verset 28, nous lisons: L’espérance des justes est joie; pour les méchants, tout espoir est perdu. Pourquoi l’attente est-elle liée au mal?

Quand nous nous “attendons ” à ce que quelque chose se produise ou que l’autre réponde à notre attente, cela nous amène à projeter nos croyances vers eux. C’est exiger des autres, y compris Dieu, qu’ils soient à la hauteur de la situation dans le but de nous satisfaire. Si ce n’est pas le cas, nous pouvons ressentir toute une gamme d’émotions, allant de la déception au désespoir. Je vois aussi cela se produire souvent, en ce qui concerne les attentes des gens à l’égard de Dieu. Chaque fois qu’un désastre frappe, qu’il soit naturel ou créé par l’homme, beaucoup de gens blâment Dieu en premier et, s’ils surmontent cette douleur, peut-être blâmeront-ils les comportements des autres. J’ai souvent entendu le cri douloureux d’un coeur dire: “Comment un Dieu d’amour peut-il permettre qu’une telle chose se produise?” C’est le résultat de l’attente – mettre Dieu en boîte et croire qu’Il est là pour nous et non nous pour Lui. C’est souvent le point tournant lorsque d’ardents croyants deviennent soudainement éloignés de l’Amant de leurs âmes. Adonaï Yéchoua, le Seigneur Jésus, en parla ainsi lorsqu’Il enseigna la parabole du semeur, comme il est rapporté dans Luc 8:14: “Ce qui est tombé parmi les épines, ce sont ceux qui, ayant entendu la parole, s’en vont, et la laissent étouffer par les soucis, les richesses et les plaisirs de la vie, et ils ne portent point de fruit qui vienne à maturité.”

 

Quelle est donc la différence entre espoir et attente?

Considérant que l’attente est une croyance fermement ancrée en quelque chose qui se produit, l’espoir peut être défini comme un désir de quelque chose qui se produira. Remarquez-vous la nuance? La différence entre un désir et une croyance fortement ancrée est exponentielle, ce qui signifie que l’écart entre les deux est astronomique. Par exemple, si “je m’attends” à ce que ma femme bien-aimée prépare mon dîner ce soir et qu’elle m’appelle pour m’expliquer qu’elle aura une longue réunion et ne sera pas à la maison pour le préparer, il y aura un risque de conflit. Cependant, si “j’ai le désir” que ma femme prépare le dîner, à cause de son habileté à cuisiner, et qu’elle est incapable de le faire, le risque de conflit sera grandement réduit car les désirs sont intrinsèquement plus flexibles que les attentes.

Le deuxième facteur psychologique au sujet du doute est la perspective, conduisant aussi beaucoup au conflit. La perspective est l’aspect sous lequel on envisage quelque chose – la façon dont nous voyons le monde qui nous entoure. Sommes-nous rigides dans notre compréhension du monde et de la façon dont les choses fonctionnent ou sommes-nous souples dans notre perception du fonctionnement des choses? Si nous pensons en termes de bien et de mal, en noir et blanc, alors nous créons immédiatement des attentes. Malheureusement, la plupart des gens ne comprennent pas consciemment leurs propres perspectives du monde, telles qu’elles existent dans leur subconscient. Ainsi, lorsqu’ils sont confrontés à un comportement qui questionne leur vision rigide du monde, la réponse typique est le déni. Ce n’est que par une profonde introspection, souvent facilitée par un guide, que les négateurs peuvent réussir à découvrir la réalité de leurs perspectives.

Dans la deuxième partie sur l’enseignement du doute, je rassemblerai les impacts de l’attente et de la perspective sur la création du doute, à la fois le doute de soi et le doute de Dieu.

CONSIDÉREZ: Avez-vous des attentes à l’égard de Dieu et de Sa relation avec vous? Est-ce que votre vision du monde est flexible ou rigide? Dans quelle mesure êtes-vous prêt à changer vos suppositions au sujet de Dieu et des comportements des autres?

AGISSEZ : J’exhorte chacun d’entre nous à s’engager dans une réflexion critique avec un confident qui nous aidera, avec amour, ouverture et attention, à explorer les attentes que nous avons envers Dieu et le monde.

PRIEZ: Abba B’Shamayim, Père céleste, je Te demande humblement de me montrer mes vraies croyances, pas seulement ce que je pense croire. Aide-moi à les affronter; envoie quelqu’un sur mon chemin qui, avec amour, m’aidera à explorer et à venir à Toi à travers des prières de supplication (voir Philippiens 4:6).

En Ton Nom bien-aimé, je prie.

Que le Dieu d’Avraham, d’Isaac et de Jacob vous bénisse abondamment.

L’enseignement 46

Y a-t-il un but au mal?

La crainte d’Adonaï, c’est la haine du mal. Je hais l’orgueil, l’arrogance, le chemin du mal et la bouche perverse. ( Proverbes 8:13)

J’ai parlé de la source du mal avec plusieurs personnes. Quand on leur pose cette question, la plupart répondent “la source du mal est le diable”.  Bien que je puisse comprendre cette réponse, je ne suis pas d’accord. Les Écritures nous font savoir que la source du mal se retrouve dans nos propres désirs. Par exemple, dans la lettre du rabbin Sha’ul à Timothée (1 Timothée 6:10), nous lisons: Car la racine de tous les maux, c’est l’amour de l’argent. Pour s’y être attachés, certains se sont égarés loin de la foi et se sont infligé à eux-mêmes des tourments sans nombre.  Cependant, en réalité, chaque fois que nous laissons nos désirs néfastes et égocentriques dominer nos comportements, ils finissent par revenir nous hanter. C’est l’un des principes de justice de Yahvé, comme nous le lisons dans Jérémie 2: Ta méchanceté te châtiera, et ton infidélité te punira. Tu sauras et tu verras que c’est une chose mauvaise et amère d’abandonner Adonaï, ton Dieu, et de n’avoir de Moi aucune crainte, dit Adonaï ELOHIM-Tzva’ot.

Un exemple clair peut être trouvé dans l’histoire de Y’hudah (Juda).  Comme nous lisons dans Genèse 37:26, 27, Y’hudah dit à ses frères: A quoi nous servira de tuer notre frère et de cacher son sang? Venez, et vendons-le aux Ismaélites, et que notre main ne soit point sur lui; car il est notre frère, notre chair. Et ses frères lui obéirent. Y’hudah trompa son père en amenant ses frères à vendre Yosef (Joseph) à une caravane d’Ismaélites. Puis, dans la Genèse, au chapitre 38, nous découvrons les interactions de Y’hudah avec Tamar, sa belle-fille. Avant de poursuivre votre lecture, si vous n’êtes pas familier avec cet épisode, je vous invite à lire Genèse 38 maintenant.

De la duperie de Tamar, nous sommes témoins que Y’hudah comprend le message. Allons lire la Genèse 38:26 – Juda les reconnut, et dit: “Elle est moins coupable que moi, puisque je ne l’ai pas donnée à Schéla, mon fils.” Et il ne la connut plus. Ainsi, le mal fait à Ya’akov (Jacob) par Yosef a été rendu à Y’hudah par sa belle-fille Tamar.  (Yahvé a-t-il jamais dit qu’il y avait des degrés de mal?)

Bien-aimés, la crainte (l’admiration/le respect) de Yahvé est le commencement de la sagesse. Sans la sagesse et sa soeur, le discernement, nous sommes à la merci de nos propres impulsions et désirs. Sans l’exercice de la sagesse et du discernement, nos propres impulsions et désirs se tournent vers le mal; notre nature humaine est naturellement inclinée vers l’égocentrisme et l’égoïsme.  Sachez que tout acte nuisible émanant de nos pulsions et désirs naturels nous reviendra, car Yahvé laisse les conséquences de nos actes nous envahir, comme l’a écrit Jérémie: Ta méchanceté te châtiera, et ton infidélité te punira.

CONSIDÉREZ : Dans quelle mesure êtes-vous conscient de la source de vos décisions et de vos actions? Proviennent-elles principalement de vos désirs et impulsions égocentriques ou d’un désir d’obéir et de plaire à Yahvé, notre Dieu éternel?

AGISSEZ : L’autoréflexion est le processus d’introspection profonde qui nous aidera à découvrir les motivations de nos comportements et de nos décisions.  Invitez le Saint-Esprit du Dieu vivant à vous guider dans ce processus de découverte.

PRIEZ: Abba B’Shamayim, Père céleste, aide-moi, s’il- Te- plaît, à découvrir la source de mes comportements et de mes décisions; s’ils sont basés sur des désirs et des impulsions égoïstes, je m’en repens et Te demande d’éliminer ces fausses motivations et de les remplacer par Ta vérité.  En Ton Nom bien-aimé, je prie.

Que le Dieu d’Avraham, d’Isaac et de Jacob vous bénisse abondamment.

Devotion 84

Loving Others

The two highest commands in Torah are: Love Yahveh with all your heart, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6) and Love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19). It is no coincidence Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, cited these, when asked about the greatest commands, as we read in Matthew 22. How easy is it for us to obey these?

Loving Yahveh appears to be the command more easily obeyed but is it really? In response to the question, Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important, Adonai Yeshua gave the scribe, what we read in Matthew 22. We know these commands come from Torah and, therefore, knowing this we also should know that failure to obey His commandments from Torah constitute disobedience. Yet how many of His followers have taken the position that His commands in Torah have been nullified by Adonai Yeshua’s death and resurrection?

Then we arrive at the second greatest command, loving our neighbours. This command is also difficult for many of us to obey. There are several reasons for this.  Well, our relationships with our neighbours tends to be up close and personal; unless we are hermits, our relationships do not exist at a distance. Let’s examine some of the impediments to loving our neighbours as ourselves.

A primary reason is, of course, our DNA. We human beings are born with a built-in need to survive. Thus, whenever we feel our security is in jeopardy, there is conflict. A child is hungry – he cries. A child is in physical distress – she wails. This is true of adults also; however, our crying and wailing becomes more subtle and often more devious, as we ‘mature’. In Deuteronomy 29:9-11, we are given a rationale for loving our neighbours – Today you are standing, all of you, before Adonai your God — your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers — all the men of Isra’el,  along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water. We, who form a community, either structured or unstructured, are not the same. Some of us have more education than others; some have more life experience; some have more physical dexterity, etc. In other words, we are different from each other and, yet, we are together.

Human nature has an element of competition that is so very difficult to over-come, even among believers in the One True God. If you doubt this, just read the all-too-frequent Facebook posts focused on politics, the Names of God, the deity of Adonai Yeshua, and the list goes on. Those in positions of leadership (Pastors, Deacons, Rabbis, Shamashim, Teachers) often assume a hierarchical stance on the interrelational ladder, rather than an egalitarian position. Why is this?

Often, we humans over-evaluate our own positions, knowledge, contributions, and under-evaluate those of others. Even believers have a great difficulty in being non-competitive.

Also, even though we do have a greater level of education, experience or whatever than others, this does not mean that others excel in domains different from ours. However, the trend seems to be the one area where we do excel is generalized into all areas of our life, giving us a superior edge.

Finally, and most importantly, there is a distinction between us and our Creator. This is not a small distinction but an infinite one. Compared to the Almighty, we are puny, insignificant, and yet, He desires a relationship with each and every one of us, through His Son Adonai Yeshua.

Beloved, focusing on our relationship with the Ruler of the Universe and the Lover of our Souls, will often bring us back to the reality – He loves us because He is Love. There is nothing in or of us that attracts Him! He loves us because He is Love! How do you interpret that reality into your relationships with others?

CONSIDER: It is often difficult to love others, particularly those whose qualities and characteristics do not match our standards. Look closely into your own heart and identify what is blocking you from loving those around you. If you look to them first, then you have already identified the problem – pride.

ACT: During Yom Teruah, or Rosh Hashanah, if you prefer, we take this opportunity to repair relationships with those that have been broken. I urge you to step forward, be the mature one and reach out to that person. Offer her/him the hand of reconciliation. Doing so, shares the love of Yahveh/Adonai Yeshua.

PRAYER: Abba B’Shamayim, Father in Heaven, I come to you this day seeking your leadership, your guidance, your wisdom. Please be with me as I step forward and reach out to someone with whom there is a strained relationship (name). I sincerely request the Blessed Holy Spirit of the Living God to guide me. In Your Beloved Name I pray.

Michael’s Story

Welcome to my story in blog-form. Over the next few months, I will be sharing portions of my life story; this is not for self-aggrandizement or up-lifting but to encourage and help others who are on their own journey and have similar experiences.  I do pray these will encourage you.

Spiritualism – November 19, 2017

Devotion 29

Where are we Standing?

As any student of literature will acknowledge, human analogies often fail, as they do not encapsulate every possible contingency.  To my understanding there is only one whose analogies have stood the test of time – Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus.  Well, having made this statement, I now venture into the realm of analogy, with my question – Where are we Standing?

To what may the Kingdom of God be compared?  It may be compared to an enormous cruise ship.  Imagine this ship having many, many levels, with nooks and crannies within each level.  Now, imagine believers inhabiting the cruise ship, as we navigate our way through life.

For some believers, they have placed themselves into a stateroom, with only a porthole providing light.  Looking through the porthole provides the only window into the Yahweh’s world and, simultaneously, the world around us.

Other believers only position themselves on the bow of the ship, continuously looking forward, without any idea of what is behind them or of their port of departure.  Still others stand at the stern, looking back from whence they came but unable or unwilling to look forward.

Then there are believers who position themselves in the entertainment section of the ship, focused only on the good feelings they have through the activities they engage.  Others find themselves in the engine room, ensuring everything is running smoothly but not allowing themselves the refreshment of the upper decks or the entertainment sections, considering them to be frivolous.

A number of believers are stationed in the bridge and, from here, they can observe both where they are going and where they have been.  They stand close to the Captain and listen for His voice, as He guides them in the workings of the ship and their roles.

Beloved, does the analogy work for you, at some level?  Do you envision its application to your spiritual life in His Kingdom today?  I urge you to read Revelation 1 through 3, as Adonai Yeshua speaks directly to the seven groups of believers, who consider themselves within the Kingdom of God.

Thank you, Abba, for Your Word, for Your perfect directions for our lives, as our only Captain.  We pray for wisdom, discernment and guidance.  Help us navigate Your compass heading with joy, contentment and certainty.  In Your beloved Name we pray.

May Yahweh bless you richly.