Sunday, November 18, 2007

Only One Thing Is Needful

My title comes from the account in Luke 10:38-42 where Yeshua and His disciples entered the village where Mary and Martha lived. Martha welcomes Him into her home and is busy with much preparation and serving of food, while Mary sits at the feet of Yeshua, listening and learning as He shares. Martha gets frustrated and approaches Yeshua, attempting to get Him to tell Mary to help her with the serving, but instead Yeshua says: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. "

Lately, Yeshua's words, "But one thing is needed," have echoed in my thoughts quite often. Like Martha, I have gotten distracted with much busy-ness. It's not that the things I've been busy with have been bad or worthless things, either. But even good, worthwhile things can be a distraction.

Our discipleship study yesterday included the passage from Luke 14:26-33. We were particularly challenged by verses 26-27: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Then in the discussion time, we were presented with this question: Assume for a moment that Yeshua is not instructing us to live a life of complete poverty and solitude, yet He does expect us to actually forsake things in order to be His disciples. What is the Spirit prompting you to abandon, turn your back upon, or hate in order to follow Him?

Keeping in mind that only one thing is needful and that is focusing on Yeshua, I have to say that He's been prompting me to eliminate the distractions from my daily schedule as much as I can. By eliminating things I've been busy with on-line, for instance, I should have more time to spend studying His Word, sharing the insights He's giving me, praying, and reading other books that I've been wanting to read which will encourage me as a follower of Yeshua.

And so that I will be reminded, I write it here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Looking Unto Yeshua

I wanted to get down a couple of recent thoughts before they fade from my memory. One of the things that has been bothering me quite a bit since we've begun exploring the Hebraic roots of our faith is the emphasis on things Jewish within the Messianic community. It's as though everything that is Jewish is wonderful and to be embraced whole-heartedly, while everything else is bad, is "pagan", and is to be cast aside. I have to admit that I find myself rebelling against this idealogy.

Yes, I am a believer in and follower of Yeshua the Messiah, who was born a Jew of the tribe of Judah. I am grafted into the olive tree of Israel, by faith in the Messiah, and so am a child of Abraham by faith, part of Israel. However, I am still a Gentile by natural birth. Yeshua prayed that we would all be one, even as He and the Father are one. So the Jewish believer in Messiah and the Gentile believer in Messiah are now ONE through faith in Yeshua our Messiah. In discussing this with a friend yesterday, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the husband-wife relationship, that Yeshua said that from the beginning, a man was to leave his father & mother, be united to his wife and the two of them would be one flesh. In a marriage, you have two separate, unique individuals who come together, embrace each other, and become a new ONE. Yet, each still retains their own individual uniqueness. I am the wife of my husband Tim; I am one with him in our marriage, yet I am still ME. I still have my own thoughts, feelings, talents, abilities, likes & dislikes, as does he. Somehow I think this is a picture of what God intended in making of Jew & Gentile ONE body. I think the Holy Spirit is showing me that it's okay if I don't embrace all of Jewish tradition and culture, that it's okay to still be distinctly Gentile, even though I am obedient to Torah. I haven't fully explored all that this means to my walk of faith, but will continue to pursue this line of thought and see how it is supposed to impact what I DO as a follower of Yeshua.

Another thought that came up in that same conversation with my friend was this: she was dealing with some struggles in calling herself Torah-obedient when she wasn't embracing all of the Jewish stuff, either. Like me, she's felt the pressure from others in the Messianic community for those who want to obey Torah to also embrace all things Jewish. In a flash, I saw it! We ARE Torah-obedient, only NOT in the way that these define it. Yeshua IS the Living Torah and we are obedient to Him. HE is our focus, not the written Torah, and certainly NOT the oral Torah (rabbinics).

And now it is time for me to close this up as we need to leave for Sabbath fellowship, where we are studying what it means to truly be a disciple of Yeshua. Perhaps I'll have more to share here tomorrow...

Shabbat Shalom!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Still Here!

I'm not entirely certain where all the days of this year have disappeared to, but find it disconcerting that it's already November 11th! It seems that the older I get--and I'm drawing closer to 51 with each passing day--the faster the days go by. It's been an interesting and busy year so far, occupied with my job, my family, my home, and ministry, not necessarily in that order. I have continued to read & study God's Word, to learn and to grow. Right now we are embarked on a discipleship study from Perfect Word in our Sabbath fellowship. I had referenced quotes from the writer of this study back in my post #4 To Be His Disciple. Now he has put it all together into a book/study to be used in small groups. It's challenging, too!

We started the beginning of this month with this study and are doing one lesson every two weeks. In the first lesson, one of the questions was about who in our lives had discipled us. I cannot think of any one person who spent time & energy discipling me. However, I do believe that the Lord has used a multitude of believers and Christian resources to bring me to the place where I stand today. I HAVE been discipled, even if it hasn't been in one-on-one, face-to-face discipleship. I would also have to say that because of how I have been discipled, that it has been the Lord Himself who has discipled me. That's kind of an awesome thought! He loves me and cares enough about me to personally direct my discipleship.

With that thought, I need to get back to my studies. These early morning hours on the weekend are my best time for studying. So til my next post, which I hope won't be so long in coming...take care and may the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Still Alive--Just Been Busy With Life

No, I haven't died and no, I haven't given up on following Yeshua, either. Funny how life gets so busy that it's hard to keep up with all the things I want to do--like this blog. I just skimmed back over my previous post and I have to say that it was a lesson that I'm still practicing--learning to obey cheerfully and not grumbling or complaining. We are having our annual performance reviews at work this week, so I'll see then if my attitude correction has been noted.

I hope to get back into some kind of habit in regards to posting here. There's been so much that the Lord keeps teaching me and showing me. What an awesome, loving Lord we serve! Til later...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Chastening Of The LORD

Well, I had a good sleep yesterday, awoke last night with a much better attitude, after the rotten out-of-sorts attitude I was in the previous night, and went to work thinking I would be a light for my Lord. So much for my good intentions! My team leader assigned me to one job that was done within half an hour of starting my shift. Then he sent me to do another job. I had set it all up and was happily working away when he paged me to his office and then asked me to move to a different job altogether. So I moved, but not without grumbling. Then I was shuffled once again, then yet again which involved following the night 12 hour shift people who left me with a mess to figure out and really had me boiling! That assignment took all of half an hour and then I went back to one of the other jobs I'd had during the night and finished the night there. Talk about a bad attitude! I was grumbling and complaining to beat the band. Not good! When I spoke up about all of this to my team leader, he said that it's because I'm such a versatile worker. My thought was that I thought we were ALL supposed to be versatile and able to switch from one job to another as necessary, but somehow it seems that I'm the one he chooses to do this the most. He said that my versatility was my crutch. At least I think he said "crutch." I didn't see anything positive in THAT.

On the way home, the Holy Spirit began to deal with my heart. Then when I was reading my Bible this morning, He whispered to me that maybe what Dan meant wasn't crutch, but crux. Hmm! So I looked that up. Ouch! Crux is Latin for "cross." It means: "an essential point requiring resolution or resolving an outcome; a main or central feature (as of an argument)." The thought of the cross took me to Luke 9:23 (a verse the Lord has brought to my attention many, many times): "Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'" The reminder was clear: I have to deny myself and take up my cross daily, even if my "cross" is my versatility or ability to do any job I am asked to do. But wait! That's not all! I was also reminded of HOW I am to do that. Philippians 2:14-15: "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." And Ephesians 6:5-8: "Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free."

I have known for some time that the Lord wants me to honor Him in every area and aspect of my life, which includes my job and my attitudes. I don't practice a "Sunday-go-to-meetin'-only" kind of faith. My faith in the Lord is to impact my life 24/7, to make a difference in EVERY detail of my life. And the last couple of nights, maybe even longer, I've been failing Him where I work--by my attitudes, the words that are prompted by those attitudes and the actions that result from those attitudes. I haven't been much of a "light." Then He gently reminded me of Luke 16:10-11: "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" I believe the Holy Spirit wants me to see my employment as the "unrighteous mammon" in these verses. Was I being faithful at work last night? No. I do not want Jesus' words in Mark 7:6 to be true of me: "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (quoting Isaiah 29:13)." So I have repented of my sin, because that's exactly what it is, and I have asked Him to help me to honor Him with whole-hearted obedience, even if it means taking up my crux, my versatility, and having to go from one job to another all night every night at work, and to be able to do it with a cheerful, uncomplaining attitude, not finding fault with my team leader or any of my fellow employees. This is what I MUST do if I truly love Him as I say that I do because He said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15)."