A Shabbastic Cake
Our Torah class this week looked carefully at the types of divisions made in the Torah portion Bo! this week. Although the division between the Egyptians and Hebrews is clear by the tenth plague, it is the separation within the hearts of the Hebrews that is just as important, if not more. The Hebrews had moved from being doubters in the blood tribulation of the Nile to believers in the blood tribulation of the Lamb. What changed in their hearts after the plague of the flies?
Unlike hard-hearted Pharaoh, who was like the Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly, making things worse on himself and others with each plague, the Hebrews began to soften their hearts toward Moses. With Moses as the metaphor of the Torah, this is relevant to today. As our hearts soften toward the Torah, then we begin to see tribulation and plagues for what they are, tools of our salvation and deliverance. The same person can take a tribulation that previously would have made her fearful, angry, and bitter, and accept it for what it is: a heart test.
Last Shabbat, we were going to have a friend over for the weekend. I was so excited! I knew that she liked chocolate, so I bought the ingredients for the most decadent, delicious, delectable, chocolate bundt cake I'd ever attempted. To make it even more delicious, I decided to make a molten chocolate cake.
I needed to go to a doctor appointment last Friday morning, so from experience, I've learned to start questionable Shabbat projects early in the week. With this cake, though, I wanted it to be as fresh as possible, so I'd waited until Friday. That little voice told me that I'd better try to do the cake before I went to the doctor so I wouldn't be running around with my hair on fire all afternoon trying to get everything done.
Okay, the cake fell. And I mean it fell! Molten cake batter all over the kitchen counter. I had to leave for my appointment, so I left my horrible, no good, very bad molten chocolate bundt cake with my husband. He worked with it, and eventually he achieved a version half the size of the original. There was no way to salvage the grand cake that I'd envisioned for my friend. We plated it, and I concealed the lava cracks with powdered sugar. What did I learn? No, not the lyrics to a Donna Summer song about melting cakes in the rain.
1. It's good to start bigger projects early on Shabbat in case (or in cake) there is a disaster. It gives you time to work an alternate plan.
2. The early failure was a blessing. It gave me time to go to the alternate plan.
3. That fallen cake was DOGGONE GOOD! We nibbled at it all week, and it was like the best fudgy brownie you've ever eaten. Ugly, but good.
So was the fallen cake a plague or a blessing? It could have been either. If I'd had a tantrum and let it ruin Erev Shabbat, then it would have been a plague. Because we worked together and made the best of it, we had a peaceful Shabbat. The tribulation was a blessing. A fallen cake is no reason to stumble over it and fall headlong into Shabbat! That fallen cake was simply Shabbastic!
This is how the Holy One wants Hebrew hearts to be transformed in the tribulations He sends. At the same time we are set apart from the hard Egyptian hearts, we are set apart from fearful, angry uncircumcised Hebrew hearts. When the Holy One was done, Israel was circumcised and ready for the Lamb.
Don't let anyone ruin your tribulation; transform it! Smile bigger with each passing plague. Make it Shabbastic!
Froggy Outside, Froggy Inside
In our online Torah study this week, we looked at how the tribulation affected both the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The effect of each plague increased the spiritual distance between the hard-hearted Egyptians and the Hebrews. By the final plague, the Hebrews made two serious declarations of their faith in YHVH: circumcision and visible blood on every home.
Gather the Scattered is back, following up a very successful (thanks to attendees like you!) 2016 event. This year we will be focusing on the End Time Gathering that the Scriptures speak of. What will the return of our Savior look like? Can we know when this will be? We believe there are 'keys' in the Scriptures that we've lost, Keys, that once recovered, will bring clarity to the confusion of this subject and in the process will greatly encourage you in your walk with God.
At first, however, the Hebrews were just as affected by the plagues as the Egyptians, and they, too, resisted Moses because it felt as though they were suffering along with the Egyptians. Well, they were! Those frogs invaded the kneading bowls and bedchambers indiscriminately (Ex. 8:3)! It was not until after the plague of flies that a distinction was made between the Egyptians and those living in Goshen (8:22-23). Until then, the Hebrews' behavior may have been a bit froggy and their thinking patterns a bit foggy.
Nothing has changed. When the Holy One begins to squeeze the pharaohs of the world to release His people, He starts with the kneading bowls and bedchambers. It's what we are ingesting as food and the holiness of our sexual conduct that is the most important consideration in beginning the exodus. Last week I watched a program on the history of Egypt, and the archaeologists were asked what Egyptians typically liked to do (according to the notes found on ostraca). The answer according to archaeology?
These three things fall into the frog category. It's what we ingest for nourishment and what goes on in the bedchamber that must be corrected by tribulation first. Not so coincidentally,in the Book of Acts, the Jerusalem Council points out these frog firsts to the Gentile believers:
Don't eat [or drink] things offered to idols.
Don't eat things not rabbinically slaughtered.
Abstain from blood (including relations during the time of niddah)
Also not coincidentally, John emphasizes these things in the Book of Revelation. To the assembly at Thyatira, he warns:
Don't eat things offered to idols.
So should those who call themselves Israel be terrified of tribulation? Only if they don't want to give up the lying spirits of the frogs emitting from brain fog! The process of holiness begins with these basics taught in the first plague of tribulation. The plague of frogs was the first step in the process of leading the Hebrews out of Egypt to worship God according to His appointed time.
Dealing with our frogs prepares us to discern the truth from a lie; a miracle from Heaven from a lying miracle from hell. The great separation of blood on the doorposts starts with cleaning out the bedchamber and the pantry, both in the physical realms as well as spiritual. Be distinct in the "food" you eat; keep your body and the marriage bed sexually pure.
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." (Rev. 16:13-15)
We want to see everyone that comes leave refreshed, uplifted, encouraged, and blessed. Whether you may be struggling with one thing, or a myriad of things, we believe you will find that in the presence of a gathering of the Body of Messiah this is possible. Whether you have weekly fellowship, or believe you are all alone, Gather the Scattered 2017 is for you.
We've gone to great lengths to bring premier speakers to be a blessing to you. Like last year, we will have the opportunity to be a blessing to them and to others.
What is the Torah? in Spanish
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What is the Torah?
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Truth, Tradition, or Tare: Growing in the Word
Readers of the Newer Testament can find its treatment of tradition confusing. Many of the customs in its pages are Jewish, and therefore foreign to non-Jewish believers. Yeshua (Jesus) sometimes corrected those observing religious customs, yet at other times he said they should have observed them. Paul does the same in his letters, and twice he instructs non-Jewish believers to keep the Jewish customs he passed on to them.
Among believers in Yeshua today, some enjoy incorporating tradition into their worship. Some dismiss all customs as "man-made," and therefore extraneous at best or the sin "adding to" the written Word at worst. There is a way to determine the relationship of the written Word to tradition, for the Word would not leave us without comfort on such an important question. Our Father wants His children to grow in wisdom, maturity, and favor before Him as well as their communities.
The methods used by the prophets of the Older Testament (TANAKH) as well as the writers of the Newer Testament (Brit HaChadasha) did leave readers guidelines to divide the Seed of truth from tradition, and then to separate a tradition grown from truth from a "taredition" grown from a different seed. Additionally, it is just as important to the disciple of Yeshua to test the goodness of the soil on which the practice of the Word grows. The most important consideration in the Older Testament's, Yeshua's, and the apostles' instructions is the sincere heart that holds justice, mercy, and faithfulness as the weightier matters of any religious custom.
By evaluating the traditions that one chooses to observe or not observe, the individual can avoid the lament:
"O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: 'Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.'"
By applying the instructions in the Word, every believer is encouraged in his or her growth. A careful examination of Yeshua's instructions lifts a nuance that is frequently lost in discussions of truth and tradition. The first step is to identify whether that tradition is a tare. By throwing all tradition into a mental trash bin labeled Man's Tradition, it is possible that one could throw good plants and fruit into the bin with the tares. This is a logical fallacy called oversimplification. Yeshua's parables encourage his disciples to learn critical thinking skills so that growth in the Word is abundant life.
When a disciple of Yeshua examines his or her walk in the Word, there may be times that he or she feels that there is not enough growth. The very fact that we question our growth is a sign of readiness to grow. The next step is to allow the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) to teach us how to bear good fruit. To do that, every disciple can identify beliefs and practices that either stimulate healthy growth in the Word, or they stunt it. Welcome to the living fields of the Father's Garden!
LaMalah Children's Centre
Thank you for your faithful donations! We hope to be able to take in two more youngsters on the waiting list soon.