Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, September 19, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Special Announcement:  This Friday night, September 20th at 6pm we are having our monthly Erev Shabbat dinner and service.  The theme for this month is “picnic.”  Please bring something you would eat at a picnic.  If you bring baked beans, please be sure they do not have pork or bacon added.  (That goes for everything else too.  It seems like an obsession in East TN that everything is better with bacon on it.  That’s problematic for those of us who honor God by obeying His diet.)

After our picnic dinner at 6pm we will bench (code word for saying the grace after meals) and move to the sanctuary for a one hour service, that will conclude with the Shulchan Adonai (code word for the table of the Lord = communion.)

Hope to see you all Erev Shabbat.  End SA.

Today I want to write a few sentences on the importance of belonging to a community where there is opportunity for discipleship.  Some might call it “congregational membership.”  

Every believer has a calling to obey God.  Would you agree with that sentence?  Obeying God begins by following His commandments.  And His first commandment is that we love Him and His second commandment is that we love one another.  

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the Torah.

But Rabbi, why do I need a congregation to love others?  Where else are you going to find people who need to be loved; who are looking for love; who are hurting and broken?  Anyone can love someone for a few minutes or hours.  The test is a test of time.  Can we love long term?

Not convinced yet?  There are several Scriptures that command we bring our offerings to the door of the Tent of Meeting.  In many ways the modern synagogue or church has taken the place of the ancient Beit HaMikadash.

Still in doubt?  The entire Bible is filled with prohibitions against idol worship.  Whatever we do for God should give Him glory.  We must not bring strange fire before the Lord, especially in a place He did not choose.   A community that lifts us the name of Yeshua can be such a place.

Rabbi Trail:  What is so hard.  (WAYMISH – Why Are You Making It So Hard.  I used to subscribe to the WAYMISH news letter.  It is no longer available.  End RT.

Loving God and loving each other is only truly possible in a God-fearing community.  Congregational life is the only place we can find out how difficult it is to love some people and keep on loving them anyway, thus brining glory to God. 

Week 38
Memory Verse: Acts 4:31 When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. And they were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

186   9/16  Monday:       Acts 2-3

187   9/17  Tuesday:      Acts 4-5

188   9/18  Wednesday: Acts 6

* 189 9/19  Thursday:     Acts 7

190   9/20  Friday:          Acts 8-9

Question of the day:  In Acts 7, Stephen gives the history of the Jewish people, from Abraham to Yeshua.  What was it that he said that enraged his audience?

Answer:  Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers— 53 you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!”

Being called “betrayers, murderers and law breakers” didn’t sit well with the crowd gathers around the Kohen Gadol.  

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him.

But even this tragic story of the first to be martyred as a follower of Yeshua has a great ending.  The last thing Stephen saw on this earth is Yeshua.

Acts 7:56 And he (Stephen) said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

But wait, I thought Yeshua was seated at the right hand of God.  Mark 16:19 Then the Lord Yeshua, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

But Stephen saw Yeshua giving him a standing ovation for his faultless testimony.  One day, may Yeshua do the same for you and me.