Shomair Yisrael, TN

Shabbat Service - livestream

every Shabbat morning

El Shaddai, MD

Shabbat Service - livestream

every Shabbat morning

Rosh Pina, Owings Mill, MD

Interactive Tabernacle Worship Service & Torah Study

every Shabbat morning

Brit Hadasha, TN

Shabbat Service - streamed

every Shabbat morning


Some of our thoughts

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Matthew 5:34a But I tell you, do not swear at all. Yeshua is covering a lot of ground in this part of His “Big Sermon.” There is a definite call to holiness. For example … Matthew 5:29 And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. This thought is repeated in several forms. Rabbi’s note: There is also a discourse on divorce in this part of Matthew 5 that is troublesome to me. I believe there is more to divorce than this one section of scripture. For instance, Matthew 5 doesn’t address domestic violence, physical or verbal, nor emotional abuse. There are situations that arise in a marriage where it becomes unsafe for a spouse or children. So, this part of Matthew 5 cannot be viewed as the last word, but rather, as some words on divorce to help our understanding in some situations. End RN. Then Yeshua says, Matthew 5:33 Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’ There must be some deeper understanding here. Let’s find it. Our subject is “Do Not Swear At All.” The rabbis had a narrow interpretation of the third commandment (not to take the name of the Lord in vain) and the ninth commandment (against bearing false witness). Their narrow understanding was that as long as you didn’t use God’s name, you could swear a falsehood and it wouldn’t count against you. Swearing by heaven or earth is not swearing by the name of God. Yeshua speaks to this by ending this section with an instruction to always tell the truth. Matthew 5:37 But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’ – anything more than this is from the evil one. Words have creative power. Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light. We are created in God’s image so that our words also have creative power. However; the creative power of our words is not the same as the creative power of God’s words. What’s the difference? Our faith! Matthew 17:20 And He said to them, “Because you trust so little. Amen, I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” As the children’s song goes, “Be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh be careful little tongue what you say.” We, as followers of Yeshua, should be the most reliable people on earth. That’s a critical part of our witness as ambassadors for the Messiah. Let’s commit to being reliable. Numbers 30:2 Whenever a man makes a vow to Adonai or swears an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he is not to violate his word but do everything coming out of his mouth. [...]
Matthew 5:25-26 “Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!” The quotation marks indicate Yeshua is speaking. Therefore; we can quote Him. These words of His are involved and complex, so we have to be careful how we quote Him. There is no simple understanding. Yeshua is using this occasion (of His big sermon) to describe a situation by allegory. The “opponent” He mentions, is not necessarily your typical adversary, the devil, but anyone with whom you have made an agreement or contract. As we will see, it is always a bad idea to make agreements with the devil. Our weakness is that we don’t know what a contract is or how it applies in this verse. A contract occurs any time we agree to swap something for something. Some of our contracts could be referred to as non-aggression pacts or treaties. We make agreements not to “mess with” the enemy’s “stuff,” while he agrees not to mess with ours. The problem is that he is a liar. Never make an agreement with a liar. There are two ways to take this. In one direction, the Lord warns us in the Torah not to make agreements at all. Exodus 34:12 Watch yourself, and make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, or they will become a snare among you. This is a related thought to Jeremiah 51:45 Come out of her, My people! Each of you, save your soul from the fierce anger of Adonai. This is restated in Revelation 18:4. It is also connected to Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. On the other hand, we are to keep all the promises we do make. Yeshua will conclude this section with Matthew 5:37 But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’ – anything more than this is from the evil one. He is making a restatement of Ecclesiastes 5:3(4)-4(5) When you swear a vow to God, don’t delay in fulfilling it. For He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better for you not to vow than to vow and not pay. Furthermore; God is an unmentioned party to every agreement. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. It is never okay to take His name in vain. Exodus 20:7 You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain. “Make friends with your opponent” means to settle all the contracts you have made quickly, so the enemy has no basis for an accusation. That’s enough for today. We’ve talked about who is your “opponent.” But, who is your judge? Let’s find out next time. [...]
The rains have come and at least in the beginning, everyone is very happy! The refreshing cool in the air is welcome and people enjoy putting on coats and sweaters after a long hot and dry summer. The holiday season is over and life moves forward in its daily routine until Chanukah which is just about a week before Christmas this year. Along with the rains, we have had elections and once again Benjamin Netanyahu will be Prime Minister upon completion of the coalition talks. The Likud party, of which he is the head, received the most votes but as usual not enough to form a government and so he has to put together a coalition of various parties who are willing to stand together in order to pass legislation. Netanyahu has always been aligned with the religious right in part but in this election, in addition to the usual parties, he has had to also join with a very extreme religious right-wing party, headed by Ben Gvir and Smotrich. This party has never been in government before and its radical policies on many issues have raised concern, not only in Israel but internationally and especially among our new Arab allies. Netanyahu’s coalition is now totally a ultra conservative religious right-wing block. While the strength of the coalition may ensure a government that can stand longer than the ones before, the extreme religious outlook of the parties may cause changes in the way the country is run. Please pray for Netanyahu who is definitely more moderate than the rest of his coalition partners – that he will be able to stand strong and keep the country moving forward as it has been doing. There are many people who oppose him and he will face great challenges at every turn – conflicts from within and from without and he will need supernatural wisdom to transverse the turbulent waters. Good news: Starting in beginning of December our congregation will once again be meeting every Shabbat. We are very excited about going back to our “normal” routine after an extensive Covid disruption. Since we returned to meeting together, we have only met twice a month with the whole congregation and once a month in smaller meetings. We will continue our smaller geographical meetings once a month and will have regular congregational meetings three times a month. We trust that this will be a good combination and while we will be strengthened as we meet together more often, we will have the option of a more intimate setting once a month in which we can deepen relationships with those in our local group. Please pray for Ahavat Yeshua that as we establish this more regular meeting schedule, we will see increase. Our leadership is strong and united and we have a devoted pastoral staff. We have a good foundation and are ready for the harvest! We are seeing a greater openness in Israelis and many are reporting that they have been able to share the gospel in these days. I have been blessed to have been able to share Yeshua in several different situations that surprised me! God just opened the door! My son, Evan is the manager of which broadcasts evangelistic content in Hebrew across the internet. He reports that there is a significant increase in those who are listening and responding and asking for New Testaments and personal visits and phone calls. Let us pray that the floodgates be opened and every seed that is planted and those that have been lying dormant will come to life as they are watered by the rain of the Holy Spirit. I am planning on hosting a small group of women who are widows in the beginning of December. Please pray that all will be encouraged and strengthened as we learn to adjust to this new reality in our lives. I want to extend a blessed Thanksgiving holiday to all my dear American friends. Though the shakings continue throughout the world and we never seem to be able to recover from one event before there is another that takes our breath away, God’s peace is our refuge in the midst of the storm. And in this Thanksgiving season, I am so thankful that no matter what the circumstance, God is greater! His love for me is so beyond what I can even imagine and as the scripture says, we need “power” to even to begin to grasp the full measure of this incomparable love. He is our perfect Father and if He is for us… what can man do to us? Indeed, as Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:18; He will rescue us from every evil attack and bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom. Our future is assured! I am also very thankful to be living in this special Land and all the more so as anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head throughout the world. I believe God is once again warning his people and I pray that our Jewish brothers and sisters would be sensitive to God’s leading. Please pray that the doors for Aliyah will stay wide open and all who want to live here will be able to do so. Pray that the Interior Ministry which is run by those who strongly oppose Messianic Jews becoming citizens will not be able to stop what God has ordained. Pray that the economy will continue to grow and develop and easily absorb those who want to come home to Israel. And I am grateful for your prayers and support and I so appreciate your love for this country. May the name of Yeshua be lifted up and exalted, in our hearts, in our nation and throughout the world. With love from Zion, [...]
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. When a verse starts with the word “therefore,” we have to see why. Yeshua is explaining that being angry is sin (comes under judgment) as well as speaking harshly to one another. He has just finished the beatitudes as He lays out the character standards for the kingdom of God. These two verses put forth an important principle. It is on God’s heart for us to be right with each other. He considers it a prerequisite to getting right with Him. “First be reconciled to your brother, (get right with each other first) and then come and present your offering (then get right with God). Other scriptures confirm this. 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother. I want to confess something. There are people I don’t like. I hesitate to say that, because some of you are paranoid and will immediately think it’s you. Let me put you at rest. Yesterday, I was sharing this thought (that I don’t like certain people) when the person with whom I was talking said, “What if those people you don’t like, are in heaven?” Of course, I had a smart-alec answer, but really, what if they are acceptable to God and not to me? Yeshua’s words demand that I fix my attitude. As my rabbi, Dan Juster, has told me, “You can always repent.” I do, how about you? A pearl starts out as an irritation. Let’s turn our irritations into pearls. To carry this just a little further. How dare we devalue God’s creation? He created each person for His own good pleasure. So what if some of them irritate me? The irritation is probably due to a flaw in my character. After all, Yeshua has the perfect character and He loves me, but I’ve given Him plenty of opportunities not to. John 13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. The world is waiting for this, the next verse. John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. The salvation of the world depends on this, we’ve got to get it right. [...]

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