The Eyes of Texas
I've been on the road this week, and we've had wonderful fellowship in Lovington, NM, and Lubbock, TX. Tonight and tomorrow in Amarillo, TX, we'll be exploring the questions of Chanukkah celebration. I'm so looking forward to seeing more familiar faces as well as new ones with the Craigs at Life of Worship assembly. Texas is a great place to share the Word, and (if they last that long), I'll be taking home a bag of delicious homestyle tortillas to Kentucky to share with Big Daddy.
Thanks to everyone for your interest in
Truth, Tradition, or Tare? Growing in the Word. At this time of the year when questions of holiday celebration come up, it's good to refresh ourselves on the basics, and the booklet is doing well on amazon. If you've already purchased a copy, we'd be so grateful if you'd leave a positive review on amazon. We're hoping to eventually promote the BEKY Books to Christian bookstores, so lots of good reviews will help us make our case petitioning for some room in what is usually a very tiny space in Christian bookstores. The BEKY Book series has potential to become a great outreach tool to our brothers and sisters in the church. The latest booklet, Peter's Vision: Beacon or Bacon? is now available on amazon.
A few of the topics in our BEKY Book oven are:
Clouds of Glory (transforming rapture thinking to Torah thinking)
Pharisees: Friends or Foes?
Sabbath: Day of Delight
Mikveh: the Hope
Tzitzit and Tefillin
Death of the Saints and Not-so-saintly
How to Read a Jewish Calendar
How to Use Bible Reference Tools
And in response to many requests, we are planning a second tier of BEKY Books addressing several women's issues. Once the foundational books are in place, we can begin working on those.
The Torah Portion this week is Vayetzei, and here is an excerpt from CG Workbook Five Vol 1:
How Far Can You See in the Dark?
Leah means weak, to weary one's self. Indeed, Leah wore herself out trying to earn Jacob's love. The principle of spiritual weakness is projected through Leah's eyes, which are also weak. In spite of her obvious weakness, though, Leah developed in her spiritual vision. In Hebrew, eyes are also wells of water, and the eyes of Adonai are His Spirit that actively search the earth.
By looking into Leah's eyes, we can see the Spirit of Adonai that resides in every human being, searching the innermost parts of her being. By studying how Leah names her seven children, we can understand how the condition of that person's spirit is discerned through words and deeds. More specifically, Leah shows us how our own relationship to Adonai is revealed in the words we pronounce over our offspring, our view of our good deeds, and our explanation of His gifts. There are physical children, the fruit of our bodies, but the deeds that we generate in our lives also are fruit that can reflect the character and growth of the grower.
Children reveal the strength or weakness of the Spirit of Adonai in us. Children reveal our relationship to the commandments of Adonai. Is our relationship to the covenant commandments the result of love, or do we believe our works will earn the Father's love? Our children, or metaphorically the fruit of our works, will expose that relationship as one of love or striving to earn love. As parables of the ruach (spirit) and nefesh (soul), children can be the offspring of
a) the spirit being given expression through the feelings of the nefesh (soul: appetites, emotion, desire, and intellect),
or they can be the result of
b) the nefesh subjecting the spirit to weak-eyed, short-sighted actions to gain the feeling of love
The nefesh has only half the truth at any given time (the lower half!). Its half-truth is based on feelings, appetites, and desires. A half-truth is a whole lie to a man made in the image of Elohim. Faith is developed as the nefesh learns to trust the ruach, which is characterized by truth and symbolized by the head. Imagine the gap between the heel and the head. As the nefesh learns to trust that the ruach is positioned to see farther, the gap slowly fills with faith. Test by test, the gap between the nefesh and ruach narrows until the nefesh is completely obedient to the vision of the ruach and offers itself as the expression of the ruach in the tangible world. By practice, the nefesh expresses emotions and appetites based on the whole truth of who the man was created to be.
Human beings are set apart from the kingdom of the beast by the Spirit of Elohim. Without complicating matters, think of the ruach as part of the neshamah, or breath of Elohim.
The spirit (neshamah) of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being. (Proverbs 20:27)
Just as human beings diligently search their homes for leaven before Passover, the lamp of the Holy One searches the man and the woman! Leah's innermost parts had to be searched, for her offspring would become the royal bloodline of Messiah. In naming her six sons, Leah betrays her bitterness and deep pain of feeling unloved and rejected, and she believes that the sons will force Jacob into loving her. Count how many times she uses the word "because" when she names her sons. The names tell us more about Leah's pain than the sons! In like manner, Rachel names Benjamin Ben-oni, Son of my Suffering, which reflects HER physical and emotional state, not Benjamin's. Jacob wisely changes the name to Son of My Right Hand.
Is there resolution to the deep wounds of rejection for Leah? The text doesn't tell us specifically, but when she names her seventh child Dinah, there is no proclamation of pain or an exclamation of desire to be loved and accepted. She named her Dinah, the feminine form of judge. Period. What is not said screams more loudly than what was projected upon the naming of the sons. We hear the silence. Acceptance. Resolution. A Sabbath rest with her daughter of Israel. Perhaps Leah finally understood that no number of deeds could force love. When those closest to us reject us, the One who really counts presses us close to His chest.
In Yeshua, we see a son because our Father heard our cries of affliction. Because He wanted to attach His heart to ours, He gave His Son, and therefore we can praise Him that it was through no effort on our behalf that merited His love. He simply loved us. And because the wages of sin is death, His Son took its judgment so that we could dwell with Him. And because the Son sits at His right hand, the judgment is softened, for how harshly will the King judge His daughter that clings to His right hand while she learns to walk in His ways? Now that's a lot of "because," but it's a "because" of encouragement and hope. A "because" of rest and acceptance. A Sabbath because...
He loves us.
He loves us.
He loves us.
Like a father loves his baby girl and carries his little princess on his shoulders,
Oh, how much He loves us.
 Workbook One, Lesson Two.
Now available on amazon.com, the newest BEKY Book,
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!
Don't be alone this December! Come fellowship with friends, believers, and family at HRN's 2016 "Lord You Are My Light" Hanukkah Conference.
Enjoy teachings by Bill Cloud, Hollisa Alewine, Tony Robinson, Daniel Botkin, & more! Experience heartfelt worship and join hands with hundreds of people who share your faith.
We weren't meant to be alone - we were created to be in community with one another. Space is limited so register for this exciting event today! You'll be glad you did.
or the Hanukkah image above to make your hotel reservation at a special discounted group rate. Discount available on the nights of December 23-26 if booked by December 7.
DATES: December 23-25, 2016
LOCATION: Nashville, TN
HOTEL: Sheraton Music City
REGISTRATION: $30 per individual or $50 per couple or $75 per family.
A Davidic Dance Class will be offered Friday, Dec. 23 frin 4-6 PM. To sign up for this two hour class,
. $15 per person.
LaMalah Children's Centre
We can't thank our donors enough for their monthly support of the Children's Center in Kenya. We are saving for the purchase of a vehicle for the Centre, so if you can help, please click on the link below. Our most recent update from Brother Ndungu is also below.
Shalom my sister and brother:
The Lemalah community is well. The children are not in school until January. Obviously this will be their first year of "NOT" celebrating xmass. It is our utmost desire to ground them in Torah.
I was visiting Narok county to teach Torah last weekend. I could not help admiring how this people live. Narok is predominantly Maasai.
Many make do without cellphones Those who have them have solar panels to light up their homes and charge their phones. A man with grand children has a room about 10 x 8 feet and a grass thatched hut where the children sleep.
These people can walk for hundreds of kilometers. They get all their water from dug holes and seasonal rivers They grow their food and do not have special clothes to wear for shabbat. They can stay weeks and even months without money in their pockets. Kiswahili is a difficult language for them and English is all the more.
Yet they are hospitable people. One old family man wants to bequeath the assembly 1.2 acres of land. They will vacate their bed for the visitor too. And we were hosted and well fed by these people.
At the end of a long matatu (Psv) ride, a motor bike taxi will take you to their location, about 20 kilometers from the highway.
And they are very attentive listeners. Pray that Father will continue opening the ears and hearts of all those who hear the good news these last days.