I don't seek out controversy. I really don't. But there is a part of me that seems to find it. I don't know what to do about that. I enjoy studying and learning, and I care deeply about my faith, the church, and politics. Hmmmm...Well there you have it - that's gonna bring controversy.
Of late, I have been deeply concerned about the direction some segments of the church are taking. I have written about it in depth. Not here, as I have wanted to keep this blog for the most part "non-controversial". My last "controversial" post probably would have been the "emergent church" series that I wrote.
This week, some news made the headlines that vindicated me somewhat in some of my opinions about the direction some segments of the church are taking. I didn't need that news, and neither did it surprise me. What did surprise me was the support from Christians I saw via the internet that stood in the opposite way of what I had expected. I was absolutely shocked by the numbers and the comments. Even more than that, it literally made me sick to my stomach. I wept and I wept. I am not going to go into the controversy here. I wrote about it sometime ago, on my other blog. I may repost it there for those who have that mindset. I won't trouble the rest who read here who simply have stopped for a hopeful moment of enjoyment.
This morning, a devotional that I read fairly regularly brought much needed encouragement for me. Isn't that like our Lord? He knows what we need, just when we need it. Now don't get worried! The author of this devotional is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein who is a Messianic Jew and the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. I enjoy the Hebrew perspective and literal translation he brings to his devotionals. With that being said, as we read this, we must remember, we will never have perfection on this earth until Jesus returns again, and we are washed holy only by the Blood of Jesus. I like this morning’s devotional, though, because it gives us no excuses. It is a call to action. That's where my belief lies. We are here to act.
I thought you might need some encouragement this morning, too. We share what we enjoy, don't we? But no, I am not advocating following Jewish holidays. Relax and enjoy. Then, get to work. ;-)
Rise up like a lion, in the Spirit of the Lord!
Continuing to continue...
Wake the Dawn
October 17, 2014
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. — Genesis 2:3
Today marks Simchat Torah, which literally means “rejoicing in the Torah.” As we celebrate the completion of the annual Torah readings, we immediately begin the new year of Torah readings. Because this is a non-working holiday, today’s devotion was prepared in advance for you.
We begin our new year of readings with the Torah portion, B’reisheet, meaning “in the beginning,” from Genesis 1:1—6:8, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 42:5—21.
This week’s Torah portion begins with the story of creation. At the end of six days, God looked at all that He had created and declared that it was good. Next, God rested on the seventh day. The Bible says it like this: “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
In the original Hebrew, however, the verse is a bit more difficult to understand. Literally translated it reads: “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work which God had created for it to continue to make.”
What exactly does that mean?
The Sages explain that when God created the world, it was only the beginning. God created humans so that together, they could continue to create the world and mold it into a perfect place. This is what the verse means in Hebrew by “the work which God created for it to continue to make.” God laid the foundation. He created everything necessary to continue the job. However, it’s up to us to finish the work as partners with God.
Earlier, when man was created, God declared, “Let us make mankind in our image . . . ” (Genesis 1:26). Who was God talking to? The Sages explain that God was talking to all humanity. It’s as if God were saying, “Let us create humans together. Let us work together to create this wondrous being called a human being and develop all of the latent potential which I have placed within him or her.”
Every day we have a mission and a partner with which to accomplish it. Our mission is to make ourselves and the world a better place in any way that we can. Our partner is God.
The premier book of Jewish Law begins with instructions as to how to go through our days. It begins, “Wake like a lion!” The Sages explain: “A person must wake the dawn.” We need to begin our days with enthusiasm. The dawn shouldn’t wake us up; rather, we should wake up the dawn with enthusiasm to start our day.
The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words— en Theos — which mean “in God.” When a person feels that he or she is with God, that person is motivated and inspired. This is how we need to begin every day – with the knowledge that we are with God, as His partner, accomplishing a most important mission.
Ultimately, it’s not so important when we wake up in the morning, but how we wake up. We need to start each day with the kind of passion, enthusiasm, and determination that can chase away the darkness of the night and bring the morning light.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President