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Archive for the category “DISCIPLESHIP”

Testimonies of LIFE

themasterteacher

 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… ”

–Romans 8.29

In our western culture, we have recently celebrated a new year; and with that celebration it is a tradition to adopt a life resolution, usually involving a challenge for a renewal or a transformation or an achievement in one or several areas of our lives. Many in our culture want a new level of physical fitness or a new body image or more friends or less life “baggage” or better scholastic accomplishments or learning something new, etc. These are good things; but resolving to undertake all the work to achieve them brings anxieties and fears of failure. So much about New Year’s resolutions is about our performance of what is new and not much about our becoming new…

On this day, I am marking another year in my body’s life on this planet. As I have seen 68 years and begin my 69th, I could be filled with all kinds of ideas about what I want to achieve in the year ahead and to try to craft a five-year plan about what I want to achieve or what I want my life to look like in five years. But I’m not straining my brain for that endeavor…

This past Sunday in this new year, I watched several adults renew their commitment to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Another thrill was witnessing the water baptism by immersion of one of our youngsters who has demonstrated that he understands and has responded to the saving work of Messiah Jesus in his own life. As our bishop blessed them and prayed for them, he asked the Father’s help in their life for becoming more conformed to the image of His Dear Son, Jesus Christ. And I prayed that prayer for my own life, because I find it an extreme challenge to remember that when the Father drew me into the grip of His Son Jesus, His resolution for my life is to conform it to the image of Christ. This is all about God’s performance and my becoming, and my testimony of LIFE in Messiah is about the work Messiah has accomplished in me–it is about my “becoming” conformed: not to the world, not to my myopic agenda–but conformed to the very image of Christ…

Every Sunday, in the life of my congregation, we celebrate the Table of the Lord, also known in many circles as Communion. In our liturgical form it is named The Eucharist. In the greater Body of Messiah, uniformly, it is a moment when all who partake of it remember the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, which was poured out for our redemption. Whenever we celebrate this we testify of  our life becoming new because Messiah’s lifeblood was poured out to take the judgment for our rebellion against God… a new reminder every new week of what we are becoming because of Messiah’s work…

Another observance in life is marriage. Christian marriage observance differs from civil marriage observances in that the Christian observance testifies of God’s ordination of this covenant bond, and the ultimate agenda–the resolution–in God’s heart for joining a man and a woman in this covenant.  Everyday, I remind myself of this resolution when I look at my husband of 46 years of “becoming…” Everyday, I renew my covenant vows in prayer, remembering what God has resolved to accomplish in our becoming one flesh…

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? How far are you willing to go with a renewal in your life? Do you have the courage to desire transformation? Are you willing to surrender your conformity to yourself and to the world’s way of thinking so that you may  become conformed more to the way of LIFE which is in God’s exquisite thinking?

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Do not confuse “conformity” with “uniformity.” When a believer is becoming conformed to the image of Christ, s/he is not becoming a “uniform” product.

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Today, I have added another unit of study to the page on which I have posted Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE. You can find the new material on the link to Page 5. There you will find content and the links for each study session in Unit 5.

Unit 5 is entitled:  “Testimonies of LIFE.”  There are three study sessions in this unit:

  • Sessions 16 and 17 explore observances which are unique gifts to the Body of Messiah for bearing testimony to the LIFE which Messiah Jesus has given to each believer: Messianic Mikveh*-Believer’s Baptism and  Shulchan Adonai*-Table of the Lord.
  • Session 18 is entitled,  Ketubah*-Covenant of Marriage and it exposes God’s exquisite purpose in His creation of two distinct, but harmonious genders, and His ordinance of uniting the two as one.  But it does not stop there; this session has equally exquisite applications for those in Messiah who remain unmarried, and live in the Covenant of Messiah’s love and ministry…

About the Content: The reader should note that all three of these sessions’ commentaries are taken from presentations by Scott Brown, missionary with Chosen People Ministries, former Pastor of Son of David Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, and now serving in New Zealand as a minister of the Gospel of Messiah Jesus to vacationing Israelis. Scott also works in partnership with other ministries, as well as educating the churches in understanding the foundations of the faith laid in the Older Covenant Scriptures pointing to and manifesting Messiah Jesus.

 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’

               –Romans 6.4; 2 Corinthians 5.17;  Revelation 21.5

 

*FOOTNOTE: If you find the terms in these studies somewhat alien to you, please go to the bottom of the study listings on Page 4 on the DISCIPLING THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER page. There you will find a link to Appendix A which provides A Guide to Messianic Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish Terms.

Increase and Multiply…

themasterteacher

 “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

–Genesis 1.28

Have you thought about or have you written your last will and testament? What do you want to leave to those within your family and your sphere of influence when you can no longer be with them this side of eternity?

Most people I know quite naturally want their names and their contributions to humanity to be remembered. And when they start out life in marriage and making a living for their family, they want heirs; they want children to whom they can pass on all the hard-won prizes of their careers–all their financial conquests; all their worldly dominion. In and of itself, this is a reasonable desire; but if the desire ends there, it is a tragic dead end…

When we remember that God gave Adam and Eve the command in the Garden to be fruitful and multiply in the earth, we also need to remember the context in which He gave this command; at that time in the history of mankind, God’s Name and God’s Kingdom prevailed in the heart of Adam and Eve. The command to be fruitful and multiply, therefore, was understood that it is God’s Name and God’s Kingdom which Adam and Eve would increase and multiply on the earth. It was not meant that Adam and Eve would increase and multiply their own name and their own kingdom on the earth. They knew that everything they had and enjoyed had come by the grace and sovereign rule of God; they knew that they were heirs of all that is good from Him…at that time…

Today, I have added another unit of study to the page on which I have posted Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE. You can find the new material on the link to Page 4. There you will find content and the links for each study session in Unit 4.

Unit 4 is entitled:  “The Legacy of LIFE.”  There are three study sessions in this unit. Each one explores a distinct treasure which those who belong to Messiah Jesus may claim and enjoy in its fullness–now and forever: Tzedakah*: Gifting & Giving, Your Children: Heritage from God & Legacy to the World, and Talmidim*…

 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.

               –Psalm 16.5-6

In this unit, I hope to take you back to the origins of your gifting and your heritage and the purpose for which you have been gifted. The world, the flesh and the devil are all about clouding our understanding of how simple it is to live to pass on and increase the Kingdom of God in our lives. I hope to simplify the explanation of what the will and testament of a believer’s life looks like. If your mind is anchored in the truth that every good gift and every perfect gift, all that you have and enjoy, are from the gracious and sovereign providence of God, then the concept of increasing His Name and His Kingdom in your life and sphere of influence will direct your giving, your vision for your children and your testimony to the world…

May you be blessed in the study of these topics. May God grant the increase to what He has liberally and graciously shared with me…for His glory.

*FOOTNOTE: If you find the terms in these studies somewhat alien to you, please go to the bottom of the study listings on Page 4 on the DISCIPLING THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER page. There you will find a link to Appendix A which provides A Guide to Messianic Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish Terms.

Eternal Treasures…

themasterteacher

O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.

               –Psalm 16.5-6

Eternal Treasures. What does that phrase conjure in your little grey cells? I admit that when I see those two words side by side, I am guilty of thinking that eternal treasures are those which are far off, out of reach, things which are elusive, ethereal, vaporous, unattainable, invisible, intangible–which have no substance. Indeed, if they are ever to be enjoyed, they are for some ideal celestial future, the concept of which is limited by my own myopic imagination…

If you spend a little time exploring the worldwide web of definitions of the word “treasure,” you will find numerous proverbial quotes which identify a myriad of substantial, experiential pleasures and possessions defined as precious treasures. I found the following assortment: health, time, friendship, family, children, memories, books, contentment, wit, creativity, pets, illusions, music, ancestry… All of them are blessings to which we can aspire and which are within our grasp in the here-and-now… But they are all governed by time; they are “ordinary” as they say in liturgical circles–i.e., their days are numbered. They are temporal…

Eternal treasures are extraordinary; that is, they are not governed by time; they are outside of time; they are eternal…

The word “eternal” does not refer to things which are limited to the “hereafter.” Eternal things mean now and forever–they have always been and will forever be. Eternal things are not without substance; they are not intangible; they are not elusive. Eternal things have always been and will forever be REAL…

Eternal Treasures are REAL LIVE treasures. They are meant for REAL LIFE living, now and forever; and nothing and no one can ever take away these treasures from those who receive them and enjoy them…

Today, I have added another unit of study to the page on which I have posted Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE. You can find the new material on the link to Page 3. There you will find content for Unit 3.

Unit 3 is entitled:  “The Heritage of LIFE.”  There are four study sessions in this unit. Each one explores a distinct treasure which those who belong to Messiah Jesus may claim and enjoy in its fullness–now and forever: The Holy Scriptures, Prayer and Devotion to God, Overcoming Evil, and Messianic Mishpochah* – a forever family. Nothing and no one–not even death–can ever take away these treasures from those who receive them by faith in the Lord Jesus, the Messiah…

galactic rideIn our here-and-now, we are sitting on a jewel orbiting a star in the galaxy some 28,000 light years from the center of the Milky Way. Poised on an arm near the edge, we are still being hurtled through space at 600,000 miles per hour as the galaxy spins on its unseen center. Meanwhile the entire galaxy is hurtling through the vastness at 1.3 million miles per hour, while our little planet is spinning on its own axis at 1040 miles per hour, and rotating around our star in the galaxy at 66,600 miles per hour. Are you dizzy yet? What a ride!!!  And when you listen to the day’s news reports about all that men gain and lose in a day on this planet, remember that the REAL LIFE treasures in Messiah are forever, here for the taking by those who love Him. Wherever you are on this cosmic ride, whatever characterizes the “who” that you are and the sweetness and bitterness appointed to you in your days, God intended for these treasures to bless and strengthen and sharpen and equip and encourage and humble and heal and guide and counsel and instruct and gladden and make you wise beyond all worldly wit in all your here-and-now–forever…

So, beloved, I invite you to view the material in Unit 3 and dig deeply into the very Word of the God who has ordered our cosmic ride…

…And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

–Jeremiah 29.13

*FOOTNOTE: If you have just visited this page and find the terms in each study somewhat alien to you, please go to Page 1 on the DISCIPLING THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER page. There you will find a link to A Guide to Messianic Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish Terms, found in the link to Appendix A.

Who is like You, O LORD…

themasterteacher“I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness.”

–Psalm 145.5-6

We live in a time when man is generally stuck on himself and has the means in unprecedented ways to further that narcissism… More than ever and in increasing lust man exerts and pursues power and control over everything in this world (and the next) except his own appetites and inordinate inclinations… And such is regarded by the world as virtue…

I have been thinking more and more about the attributes of the God who has created me and redeemed me and given me LIFE–His LIFE. It is hard to forget what life was like in the years while I walked at odds and opposition to the God who is all glorious… How did I come to see Him? By His grace and kindness… He took me to the end of my self-worship and showed me the yawning abyss, the cosmic futility of my self-religion… And He made me see my darkness and feel my futility… To the point sometimes when I entertained the logical reaction to it–how to cease to exist… And by His grace, I have lived to tell about it…

Now, beloved, in every season and circumstance, I can rejoice in His grace and kindness and wisdom and power and omniscience and omnipresence and providence and sovereignty… He, in all His majesty, woke me and drew me to hunger and seek and search for One like Him…  The One like whom there is no other…

Today, I have added another unit of study to the page on which I have posted Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE

Unit 2 is entitled:  “The God of Your LIFE.”  There are three study sessions in this unit, each one examining the being and character of the Godhead…

If you are feeling like there is no reason for your existence, consider the possibility that there is a God who is loving you enough to make you feel your futility… Consider the possibility that your god is too small… There is no such thing as atheism… If you have been feeling futile and worthless, your feelings are signaling your little grey cells to wake up and realize who/what is your god… What do you worship?

So, beloved, I invite you to view the material in Unit 2 and dig deeply into the very Word of this God…

…And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

–Jeremiah 29.13

FOOTNOTE: If you have just visited this page and find the terms in each study somewhat alien to you, please go to Page 1 on the DISCIPLING THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER page. There you will find a link to A Guide to Messianic Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish Terms, found in the link to Appendix A.

Another Page in My LIFE…

themasterteacher

image: Broderbund PrintShop 10, by permission

This picture speaks to me… Nothing is better to me than the sheer delight of quietly sitting at the feet of the Lord Jesus and learning what it means to be His disciple–to follow hard after Him–seeing life through His eyes, glimpsing what He wants to do with me, knowing I am His forever…

I belong to a knitting and crocheting ministry in my church, and we meet one Friday each month to pray and fellowship while we knit and crochet for others. Our recent topic for conversation included the tedium and exhausting work of unloading years of accumulated possessions in our advanced years… I am no stranger to this constant management of things, things and more things… Our conversation provoked me to think about the things that really matter to me, things I have accumulated and are in danger of being cast away like so much detritus after I die… things of which I have not been a wise steward…

Years ago, I knew I could not keep silent about what I had been discovering in the Scriptures on the subject of what it means to become one who is awakened to know the God revealed in nature, and magnified in the Scriptures. Discipling the Messianic Believer is a journal of sorts… I published a written edition of it in 1994 and issued a new edition in 2003 in print form. It has been distributed to interested ministry leaders in various countries, translated into other languages… But I don’t want the few printed copies I have sitting in my file cabinet to sit there till after I die, only to be thrown into the recycle bin as one more of those inconvenient collections of an old lady… So, I’m following the suggestion of my former mentor under whose direction I compiled the material in this manual: I am making it available on the internet…

Don’t be intimidated by the title; if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you will enjoy the studies in this volume. I wrote it with an Hebraic perspective in order to help non-Jewish believers in Jesus understand some of the roots of the Gospel in the Older Covenant Scriptures. This will assist them in their dialogs with Jewish friends. I also wrote it with this Hebraic perspective in order to encourage new Jewish believers that they are not less Jewish; in fact, they are  “completed Jews.” I have provided a glossary with the meanings of all the Hebraic/Yiddish terms I have used in the study guides. It addresses what I know is essential to living and walking with Messiah in this wilderness… the process… and it is more than a primer…while it is friendly to those who are beginning, it is provocative to those who are continuing…

By God’s grace I have enjoyed the nourishment and encouragement from these things for 20 years and counting… accumulating more LIFE through what I find on the pages of Scripture in these studies…  I continue to be challenged and provoked as I re-visit these studies, proving that they are never old and always relevant to every season of my life…

In its original form, I published a full unit on the Biblical Feasts which made this volume a whopping 600+ pages. As time passed, God led me to re-publish this work without that unit. The result is 18 lessons for LIFE. I thought it was significant that the Hebrew number 18 – “chai” represents life… Just a thought…

Anyway, I have added a new page to my WordPress site, devoted solely to Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE. When you visit this page, you will find links to each portion of the study manual. You may print them out and use them for your personal study.  I am not greedy for myself… I might be greedy for readers who can be nourished and transformed by what God did to me when I started studying and writing this volume…  I am definitely greedy that God would receive more glory and honor out of what He is generously pouring into my life through Messiah Jesus…

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