Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, December 17, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,  

Announcement #1

I just received this request… (3:28AM on Monday).  Please pray for Dr. Frank Susler who is an associate shileach with Tikkun America based in Milwaukee and has ministered effectively among us at Shomair on many occasions.  He is having heart by-pass surgery early this week.  

Let’s pray together now …

  Avinu Melkeynu, our Father and our King, we lift Frank Susler before

You and pray for Your total supervision and over-ruling in this

surgery.  May it be on schedule, quick and easy; may the surgeons

operate with skill and dexterity; may the recovery be pain-free and

miraculous as You heal his body, restore his circulation and give

him energy for serving You.  You are the Great Healer and we look

to You for Your mercy and grace for Frank and his family at this

time.  B’Shem Yeshua …

Announcement #2

This coming Friday night we have our last monthly Erev Shabbat dinner and service of 2019.  Let’s gather for dinner (please bring something to share) at 6 and the service at 7.  We would have more, but we ran out of months.  Also, this will be the last one for a few months as we believe we have heard from the Lord to take a break for the first few months of 2020.  We will announce the details when we restart our community Erev Shabbat celebrations.  In the meantime, please take advantage of every opportunity to welcome each other with hospitality and continue to gather in homes to welcome the Shabbat.

Let me ask you a defining question.  Seriously, how do you resolve discord?  Asked another way, life is defined by the tension of disagreements.  How we fight says a lot about our character and consequently determines our future.  

There is much in Scripture urging us to respond to adversity in a way that builds the kingdom of God.  Unfortunately, mankind has a very poor track record in this regard.  True, we cannot abide (nor should we coddle) sin.  

Rabbi Trail:  I remember the old “Visine” eye drop commercial, “Get the ‘red’ out!”  Let’s change it to, “Let’s get the ‘sin’ out.” End RT.

We have a command to “speak the truth in love.”  That “in love” part is the challenge.  Anyone can speak truth.  The Word of God is truth.  But to speak the truth in love requires the infusion of the Holy Spirit who always encourages and builds up.  Satan’s counterfeit sounds similar but tears down.

1 Thessalonians 5:11a Therefore encourage one another and build each other up—

Ephesians 4:29 Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it.

And finally, this verse… (There are so many good concluding options for this, it’s a shame I can only have one ending.) Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day by day—as long as it is called “Today”—so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Alright, one last last word, how can we ever do that unless we have are part of a community?  I’m just asking.  This is why we have community, so we can build each other up through our disagreements.  You know that whole “iron sharpens iron” thing. (Proverbs 27:17)

Week 51
Memory Verse:  1 John 4:10 This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins. 11 Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

251   12/16     Monday:       1 Peter 3-4

* 252 12/17    Tuesday:       1 Peter 5; 1 John 1

253   12/18    Wednesday:  1 John 2-3

254   12/19    Thursday:      1 John 4-5 

255   12/20    Friday:           Revelation 1

Question of the day:  What is the “message” John is writing to us?

Answer:  1 John 1:5a “Now this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you…”  Are you ready?  Here it comes…  1 John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in the darkness, we are lying and do not practice the truth.

Why would John write this if we did not need this warning?  Is there anything wasted in the Bible?  Anything unnecessary?  We leave sin behind when we love God more than we love our sin.  Who can look upon Yeshua, suffering on the cross and say to himself/herself, “Not impressed.”

Of course we are impressed by God’s love for us.  (Don’t make me quote John 3:16.  You do it from memory, or look it up.)  Yeshua’s sacrificial death was intended to shock us out of our sinful ways and into the righteousness of God.  

Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you participate in her sins and receive her plagues!

Who is “she,” whom we are called out of?  In Rev 18:2 she is called “Babylon the great.”   We are a people who have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9, but now I’m working backward as we had that verse last week.). 

Who is she?  In Rev 17:5 she is called the “mother of all harlots.”  A harlot works for love and gets paid to love.  The harlot is the counterfeit to the bride who is loved by grace.  

I’ve tried works and I’ve tried grace.  My testimony is that grace is better.  However; (pay attention here)… let’s go back to where we started… 1 John 1:6 (again) If we say we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in the darkness, we are lying and do not practice the truth.

If you don’t believe me or the Bible, please believe Clarence “Sonny” Henry who wrote the song Evil Ways made famous by Carlos Santana at Woodstock (1969), “You’ve got to change your evil ways… baby.”  

That notwithstanding, go ahead and believe the Bible.  Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived—God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also shall reap. 8 For the one who sows in the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But the one who sows in the Ruach will reap from the Ruach eternal life. 9 So let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don’t give up.

Although Churchill was addressing the challenges of fighting World War II, these words apply to us, who are called to fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)  “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”