ANNOUNCEMENT:  I regret to inform you of the passing of Jim Brown from this world into the next.  He died on Sunday, June 25th.  Keith and I will be ministering both at the graveside (see the obituary for the location) at 10am this Friday, with military honors.  Following that, we are asking that everyone reassemble at Shomair (3811 Boyds Bridge Pike) for a celebration of life memorial service.  Then lunch will be served to everyone in attendance.  Jim served our community with excellence for many years as an elder.  We will be forever grateful to both Jim and Carole for their faithful service.  Let’s celebrate God’s goodness together as we support Carole and encourage her through her loss.


Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, July 4, 2023

One In Messiah part 8 – Romans, part 119

Romans 9:8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God; rather, the children of the promise are counted as seed. 9 For the word of promise is this: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but also Rebecca having twins, from one act with our father Isaac. 11 Yet before the sons were even born and had not done anything good or bad—so that God’s purpose and choice might stand not because of works but because of Him who calls—

The four verses of today’s subject text tell the story of election by grace.  Brings to mind this verse… Zechariah 4:6 Then he responded to me by saying, ‘This is the word of Adonai to Zerubbabel saying: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Ruach!” says Adonai-Tzva’ot.  The “word of Adonai” spoken by the Jewish prophet, Zechariah, (they were all Jewish) is the explanation of a vision which tells the same story as our subject verses from Romans.

Zechariah saw two olive trees (these are made of the wild “grafted in” branches and the – also “grafted back in” – natural branches) both feeding into one menorah (candelabra).  Zechariah is prophesying that this is the result of God’s choice (and not man’s works).  He is doing it by His sovereign will.

Rabbi Trail:  I’ve pruned many olive trees in Israel.  Let me teach you the basic principle… the fruit (olives) grow where it receives light.  Branches that are in the dark (overshadowed by other branches) must be cut away.  They will take resources, but will not produce fruit.  Yeshua put it this way… John 8:12 Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

Yeshua also explained it this way to Nicodemus… John 3:19  “Now this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. 21 But whoever practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be made known that his deeds have been accomplished in God.”  End RT.

Ever wonder if God’s election supersedes our choice?  This is the question that goes back to Arminius and Calvin.  While I, nor anyone else, has the last word on this, I do have faith… God is on the throne and He loves each of us.  Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.  We’ve already been over this, but here it is again.  Another encouraging verse… Romans 8:28  Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.  

The story of the half-brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, is involved.  No less involved is the story of the twins, Jacob and Esau.  Everything in both stories is ordained to accomplish God’s purposes.  May each of us find our own choices in line with God’s Devine purposes.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (
Tue 4 July 2023 15th of Tamuz, 5783
Nu 26:52-27:5 Ez 6-7 Neh 5 Gal 4 (Lk 11:29-54)