Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, December 17, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Update on our friend Frank Susler.  (Both Frank and his adult son, Jim, read the RR, but Frank will have some catching up to do.)  I received a very nice note from Jim yesterday.  Jim wrote the doctor said, “The patient did great.”

Rabbi Trail:  Hey Doc, all you doctors say that, and what you mean is “I did great.”  I’m so glad you did great.  That’s exactly what we were praying for.  

It’s like praying for a safe airplane ride.  Just pray for the captain to have a safe ride.  Everyone else is just along for the ride.  End RT.

Seriously (yes, I know that word) let’s be grateful and thank God for delivering Frank through surgery where they have to stop his heart.  That means he was clinically dead.  I’m sure the operating room is always pensive when they order the heart to restart, and relieved when it does.  Then, when they don’t find any leaks or abnormalities, further thanksgiving to the One who gives life and returns us to it. 

Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for returning Frank to life.  Please be with today today.  Lead him through a complete and total recovery to continue his valuable service in your kingdom and to ride his motorcycle again.  In Yeshua’s name.  Amen. 

Today I want to write about this verse… 1 Timothy 3: 16a “Now beyond question, great is the mystery of godliness.”  Before you continue reading, please pause for a moment to contemplate how I might finish this RR.

Rabbi Trail:  Isn’t it interesting how many books of the Bible have significant “3:16” verses?  Besides the obvious, find another 3:16 verse that you like and send it to me.  That’s your homework assignment.  End RT.

In this season of the first advent, and anticipation for the second, it’s good to dwell on the “mystery of godliness.”  Yeshua came, so we can be like Him.  Emanuel, God with us!  That’s 3 Hebrew words formed into one.  “Im” means “with.”  “Anu” means “us.”  “El” is God’s name.  

Sometimes God’s name, “El,” is followed by a modifier that defines part of His character.  El Gibor (Mighty God), and El Elyon (Exalted God) for example.  

I want to talk about “El Shaddai” for a moment.  It is usually translated “God Almighty,” but “Shaddai” does not mean “almighty.”  A “shad” is a breast in Hebrew.  Shaddai is a plural form.  (I was going to say they typically come in pairs, but decided not to go there. – Note to self: “Watch it rabbi.”)  

What do we know about breasts?  A breast is a place of nurture and nutrition.  A breast is close to the heart.  A breast can also be called a bosom.  A breast is where we like to hold a baby.  A breast is a source of power.  (Ask a weight lifter about the muscles necessary to bench press.) 

Does any of this help us in understanding the mystery of godliness?  I think so.  I think so.  Romans 8:31 What then shall we say in view of these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?

The mystery is that He loves us.  Then it goes beyond that to sending His Son to perfect that love.  How do we reveal our devotion in return?  1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

Anyone can say the words, “I love you.”  But how do we show God “I love you?”  He tells us how… John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  Enough said.

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:  Is there anything in the two chapters we are reading today that is consistent with the first part of the RR (above)?

Answer:  I wrote the part above before reading the two chapters today.  Usually, I do the opposite.  Sure enough… 1 John 2:3 Now we know that we have come to know Him by this—if we keep His commandments.

What?  Did they put that in the Bible?  That belongs in the Old Testament where we are under the Law, right?  Just wait, you “ain’t” seen nothing yet.  In the next chapter of our reading today…  1 John 3:4 Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness—indeed, sin is lawlessness.

Rabbi Trail:  Generally, I like the Tree of Life Version (TLV), which is why I use it exclusively.  But here, in this verse, they’re messing with me in a way I don’t appreciate.  I want to say straightforwardly, “Sin is transgression of the Law.”  End RT.

When we sin, we have an advocate with the Father.  That’s right, the Son of God takes up our defense.  Sin (rebellion usually based in pride) cannot coexist (I don’t are what the bumper sticker says) in the presence of the righteous God.  Yeshua came to reconcile the world back to God; to restore what the enemy stole in the Garden.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Messiah and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Messiah God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us.

I want to close this with a personal note.  I enjoy writing these RRs.  I know I got a little edgy in the first part.  Thanks for indulging me.  Yesterday I had this thought and I want to share it with you now.  Writing these devotionals is so easy.  God has given us (in the Bible) the all the words that count.  It’s easy to work with what He has provided.  After all, it needs nothing added to it.  

And thanks for the encouragement.  Many of you write me from time to time.  I love hearing from you.  Blessings.