Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Our Congregational Declaration – part 3: Doing the right thing isn’t enough. Doing the right thing for the right reason is.
Rabbi Trail: With all that talk about “the right thing,” you might be tempted to enter into a works mentality. Don’t be a sucker for that. Obedience toward God is not works. Thinking your works will get you salvation (a seat at God’s banquet table) is relying on works. Grace is a broad subject, because grace has many aspects to it.
Sub-Rabbi Trail: For reference, I recommend Jerry Miller’s book on the subject, “Grace Beyond Reason” (The Untapped Secret To The Life God Intends). It can be purchased at Amazon here https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Beyond-Reason-Untapped-Intends/dp/1954533098 . Incidentally, Jerry and Jo Miller will be ministering the last 3 days of Sukkot at Camp Galilee.
Extra Sub-Rabbi Trail: For those of you debating about celebrating Sukkot with us, try it (in obedience to the command of God), you’ll like it. There is no charge for “day campers.” Come for the entire day or just the evening and pay nothing. There are some lodging options nearby (I-75 Caryville exit) or just drive home. Most people live within 90 minutes of Camp Galilee. Bring your own food and beverages and camp chairs. We’ll have a big tent (both literally and figuratively). End all of this ESRT.
God has a righteous standard, which is communicated to us through His Word. When we become one of His people, He gives us grace, which is both the desire and the ability to be obedient to Him. Hyper-grace is the false concept that grace will magically turn unrighteousness into righteousness. We cannot sin our way into God’s kingdom. Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? 2 May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
The Feasts of the Lord are communal events. They are for the people of God, not as individuals, but interconnected as a community. I want to restate part of our first declaration. “Therefore; we the people of Shomair… are called to walk in unity … to love each other by being involved in each others lives; and to care for and strengthen each other by praying for and encouraging one another.” Every week for a year, we stood together and spoke these words.
Guess what happened? Our declaration changed the atmosphere. God spoke the world into existence. We don’t have that kind of power, but the spoken word does have power to change the spiritual reality, which then changes the physical reality. Love, care, strengthen, pray, and encourage, all make us more like the character of God, Who is love.
People often ask me if Shomair is growing. My answer sounds like a cop-out, but its not. There’s growth (measurable) in numbers, and then there’s growth (not-as-easily-measurable) in character. Have we grown at Shomair? Yes and yes. It’s easier to deal with what is more easily measurable, but the greater challenge, and greater value, is spiritual growth (aka “spiritual maturity”) The congregational declaration is possibly the best thing we have ever done at Shomair.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 18 Aug 2021 10th of Elul, 5781
De 23:8-24Joel 22 Ch 7(Ac 1)Heb 7
Memory Verse: John 6:37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and anyone coming to Me I will never reject.
166 8/16 Monday: John 6
167 8/17 Tuesday: Matthew 19:16-30
168 8/18 Wednesday: Luke 15-16
169 8/19 Thursday: Luke 17:11-37; 18
170 8/20 Friday: Mark 10