Israel Trip Update:  This time I’m writing from Jerusalem, Israel.  Our apartment is directly across from the Mamilla Mall, just a 10 minute walk from the Jaffa Gate.  Yesterday (Wednesday – I’m writing Thursday morning for publication Thursday night) we walked on the wall, 1/4 of the way around the Old City of Jerusalem (from the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate).  We walked and prayed and read Scripture, claiming this city for Yeshua.

Then we went into the Upper Room (where the Upper Room Discourse started) and prayed some more, this time with a group from the Philippines.  Then we descended to King David’s Tomb where we prayed again, then with Haredi men.  There was rain in the forecast, but we had sunny skies until we sat down to dinner.

Then the storm opened up while we ate, but stopped when we finished so we walked back to the apartment without getting “raindrops on our heads.”   Truly a blessed day.  For those of you who prayed, thank you.  We felt it.

Today (Thursday) we will be at the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter.


Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, December 23, 2022
(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Does Grace Trump Law?

Now that we have finished the Upper Room Discourse, what’s next?  In the big picture, I’m not sure, but I do have something for today.  I wrote it and rewrote it several times in my dreams last night.  I’m written on this verse before, but today I’m feeling something new.

Romans 8:3 For what was impossible for the Torah—since it was weakened on account of the flesh—God has done. Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin offering, He condemned sin in the flesh— 4 so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach.

I want to view these verses, written by Paul to the Romans, in the light of The Reformation of Martin Luther.  Luther was born into a world that needed reform.  The only church available (in Europe) at that time was The Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Rabbi Trail:  I’m not against the Catholic Church (as some Messianics are) but am writing this to acknowledge the historical mistakes that were made.  Seems that every move of God gets “off track” from time to time and is in need of correction.  The point I’m about to make is that even Luther’s correction needs correction.  End RT.

There were serious errors in Catholic doctrine back then.  One of them was the belief that indulgences (amounts of money paid to the church) were enough to bring about forgiveness of sin, so that repetition of that same sin the following week would result in additional forgiveness.  This was so bad, even known and active prostitutes were accepted and forgiven week after week because they paid their indulgences.

Luther brought in the doctrine of personal holiness.  This was both good and necessary.  Luther rightly quoted Paul….  Hebrews 12:1b …let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, 2a focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of faith. For Luther, this focus on Yeshua meant not focusing on the Law.  The Latin term is Sola Fide (justification by faith alone).

While we are not justified by works (Law), we must consider the preponderance of Scripture that states the Law (aka God’s righteous principles) is good. 1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately. It’s not the Law that is changed, but our approach to it.  Our striving is ended, for we walk (“walk” is euphemistic for obeying God’s commandments) by faith.  And then there are always these words from Yeshua…. John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

With Luther, the pendulum swung from no standard to hyper-grace.  But God’s righteous standard is a call to obedience.  Jacob 2:17 So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. To walk with God is to walk by faith while obeying His commandments.

There was much good that came out of Luther’s reformation.  However; in some ways it went too far and in other ways not far enough.  That might be something write about on Monday.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (

Fri 23-Dec-2022 29th of Kislev, 5783 Chanukah Day 5
Ge 43:16-29 2 Sa 3 Ps 78:1-39 Lk 4 (2 Co 2)
Nu 7:36-47 1 Macc ch. 9-10

Week 52

Memory Verse: Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore, be zealous and repent.

256 12/19  Monday:         Revelation 2
257 12/20  Tuesday:        Revelation 3
258 12/21  Wednesday:   Revelation 19:6-20
259 12/22  Thursday:       Revelation 21
260 12/23  Friday:            Revelation 22