Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, November 22, 2019 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Can you it’s already time to write the RR for Friday?  This weekend is very special.  Avishalom Tekel from Ohalei HaRachamim (Tents of Mercy), our sister congregation in Israel (founded by Eitan Shishkoff and Moshe Morrison) will be in Knoxville for the first time.  He will minister Friday night at 6pm (and you’re all invited to dinner, please bring something to share, anything) and the service will follow at 7.   Then again, Saturday morning before flying out on Saturday evening Avishalom will minister again.  

Rabbi’s note: I was blessed to have Shabbat dinner with Avishalom and his wife Hanna last Friday night when we were all in Jacksonville, FL.  We sat together at the invitation of Ron Cantor.  I’m looking forward to introducing Avishalom to you (sadly, Hanna has already returned to Israel).

Meditate on this statement.  “Yeshua is Lord of all.”  Really.  Take a moment before you continue reading.  Rest in that thought.  Yeshua asked the disciples… John 6:67So Yeshua said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to leave also, do you?”  Many had become offended by Yeshua’s teaching on the value of communion.  How vital it is to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

John 6;68a Simon Peter answered Him,… I want to pause here before giving you Peter’s answer.  This is the reason I brought this up.  Peter didn’t answer, “I would never leave You.  You make me feel good.”  He also didn’t answer, “I would never leave You.  You make me prosperous.”  We might turn to Yeshua because He heals us or provides for us, but that’s not why we remain by faith connected to Him.  Peter’s real answer follows… John 6:68b “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!  Thank you, Peter.  You got it right.  In Hebrew we say, “Ein Od,” meaning there is no one (and nothing) else.  

Years later, Paul was writing to the Romans.  Right in the middle of a 3 chapter expose on Messianic Judaism, (In Romans 9, 10, and 11) Paul explains the value of following Yeshua while remaining Jewish and how important the future of Israel is in the coming Kingdom of God.  Paul makes this declaration… Romans 10:9 For if you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

We follow Yeshua because of Who He is, not because of what we want to get out of our relationship with Him.  Seek His face, not His hand.  Job understood this.  The TLV titles this chapter “Job Challenges God.”  Then we read this about Job’s faith… Job 13:15 Even if He slays me, I will wait for Him; I will surely defend my ways before Him. 16 This, too, will be my salvation for no godless (man) can come before Him.  

Every cult adds something to grace.  Paul was describing his “thorn in the flesh” when he said,… 2 Corinthians 12:9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me.  May this be our testimony also.

Week 47
Memory Verse:  Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you received Messiah Yeshua  as Lord, so continue to walk in Him— 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness.

231   11/18    Monday:        Colossians 1-2

232   11/19    Tuesday:       Colossians 3-4 

233   11/20    Wednesday:  Ephesians 1-2

234   11/21    Thursday:      Ephesians 3-4

* 235 11/22    Friday:           Ephesians 5-6

Question of the day:  Hey Rabbi!  After reading these last two chapters of Ephesians, what are you going to write about today?

Answer:  I’m glad you asked.  Here is how the conversation between you and me goes.  

Me: I’m going to write about interpersonal relationships.  

You: Really?  I thought you would write about putting on the whole armor of God.

Me: Nope!  There is plenty already written about the whole armor.  It seems like the larger theme of these two chapters is about relationships.  Husbands and wives, children and parents, Yeshua and His body, and relationships within the body are all included.  So let’s get started.

This is not difficult or complicated.  It goes all the way back to Leviticus 19:18b love your neighbor as yourself.  All ministry starts at home.  It’s easy to love a stranger.  Those closest to us, not so easy.  

Let me put this another way, even simpler.  Just value God’s creation as God would.  We are His ambassadors in every situation and in every relationship.  A dear friend spoke to me recently with these words (although I’m paraphrasing)… The quality of our relationships with other people has nothing to do with them and everything to do with God.

Notice that Leviticus (quoted above) does not say, “Love others as they love you.”  How would we want God to treat us?  That’s how we should treat others.  Like I said, this is not complicated.  

Let me address the men who are reading this for a moment.  Men, if you want to be married to a princess, treat your wife like a princess.  Would it be suspicious and out of character to bring flowers home once in a while?  Well, it shouldn’t be.  There, I’m off my soapbox.

Let’s get this right.  We only have one chance.  Ephesians 5:15 So pay close attention to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise. 16 Make the most of your time because the days are evil. 17 For this reason do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

And this is His will… Deuteronomy 18:13 “You are to be blameless before Adonai your God.”  But we give our text, Ephesians 5 the last word today…. Ephesians 5:8b Walk as children of light… 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them—.