The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 1

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

In this post, we continue with our study of the Sermon on the Mount by learning more about how Yeshua taught us to pray.  We have been sitting at His feet for some time now as we learn directly from Him what it means to be true talmidim and how we should pray.

We have already learned that Yeshua tells us not to be a hypocrite when we pray; that we should pray in our secret place; and, that we should not babble on and on with endless words in our prayers.

Recently, a priest, a minister and a rabbi sat discussing the best posture for prayer while a telephone line worker made repairs nearby. Continue reading “The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 1”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 4

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the first of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ do not murder and be reconciled.

Do Not Murder

“You have heard that our fathers were told: ‘Do not murder,’ and that anyone who commits murder will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment; that whoever calls his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Sanhedrin; that whoever says, ‘Fool!’ incurs the penalty of burning in the fire of Gei-Hinnom!” (Matthew 5:21-22)

Statistically, murders are “crimes of passion” caused by anger among friends or relatives.  Yeshua did not say that anger leads to murder; He said that anger is murder.

In this passage Yeshua is arguing as any Rabbi might argue.  He is showing that he was skillful in using the debating methods that the wise men of His time were in the habit of using.  There is in this passage a different shade of anger and an increase in consequences. Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 4”

Happy Are Those Who Are Persecuted

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who are peacemakers.  In this post, we will explore the last Beatitude regarding the persecuted.

“How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great – they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.” ~ Matthew 5:10-12

Yeshua saved His toughest teaching for the last.  Only those who have gone through all the previous steps are qualified for advancement to this stage.  Oh joy, oh rapture!  Surely, this must be a misprint.  Being insulted and persecuted sure don’t sound like a good time to me.  But, these verses teach us that we can choose to be happy in spite of our circumstances.  They say, “I can remain positive and pardon those who persecute me, even when all else fails.”

If, after applying all of these previous positive attitudes to the best of my ability, I still find myself the abused victim in human relationships, I shall choose to believe that God can settle the score in His way and in His time.  I shall be blessed by knowing that my hurts, borne quietly, patiently, and positively, can be turned into halos. Continue reading “Happy Are Those Who Are Persecuted”

Happy Are the Peacemakers

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who are pure in heart.  In this post, we will explore the seventh Beatitude regarding the peacemakers.

“How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God.”  ~ Matthew 5:9

Verse 9 teaches us about becoming bridge builders.  It also implies that, “we have to make peace with ourselves before we become peace makers with others.”  Once again, Yeshua takes this lesson from the Tanakh.  Isaiah 54:13 says, “All your children will be taught by Adonai; your children will have great peace.”

In Romans 12:18, Rabbi Sha’ul exhorts us to “live in peace with all people.”   He goes on to say to the Ephesians, “always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom” ~ Ephesians 4:1-3. Continue reading “Happy Are the Peacemakers”

Happy Are the Pure in Heart

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who show mercy.  In this post, we will explore how happy are those who are the pure in heart.

“How blessed are the pure in heart! for they will see God.” ~ Matthew 5:8

Verse 8 teaches us about the importance of our heart attitude.  It says, “I’ve got to let faith flow free through me.”  Once again, Yeshua takes this lesson from King David.  Psalm 24:3-6 says, “Who may go up to the mountain of Adonai? Who can stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who don’t make vanities the purpose of their lives or swear oaths just to deceive. They will receive a blessing from Adonai and justice from God, who saves them. Such is the character of those who seek Him, of Ya’akov, who seeks your face.”

The heart is the center of one’s being, the throne of the spirit.  The P’rushim were concerned with the outward observances of righteousness (Matthew 15:2).  God is concerned with the inner heart (Proverbs 4:23; Jeremiah 17:9).  The heart needs to be cleansed (Psalms 51:10).  Being “pure in heart” is a work of the Ruach HaKodesh in our lives.

This Beatitude demands that every person who reads it should stop, think, and examine him or herself.

The Greek word for ‘pure’ has a variety of usages, all of which have something to add to the meaning of this beatitude for us.

  1. Originally, it simply meant clean and could be used for dirty clothes which have been washed clean.
  2. It is regularly used for corn, which has been winnowed or sifted and cleansed of all chaff. In the same way, it is used of an army that has been purged of all discontented, cowardly, unwilling and inefficient soldiers and which is a force composed solely of first-class fighting men, similar to our Special Forces.
  3. It often appears with another Greek adjective that can be used of milk or wine that is unadulterated with water, or of metal that has in it no tinge of alloy. Unlike Ivory soap, this substance is 100% pure.

So, then, the basic meaning of pure is unmixed or unadulterated. That is why this beatitude is so demanding. It could be translated: “Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God.”

It is very seldom that we do anything with absolutely pure motives. If we give generously and liberally to some good cause, it may well be that there lingers in the depths of our hearts some contentment in basking in the sunshine of our own self-approval, some pleasure in the praise, thanks and credit that we will receive. Maybe if we give enough, they will name something after us.

If we do some fine thing, which demands some sacrifice, it may well be that we are not altogether free from the feeling that others will see something heroic in us and that we may regard ourselves as martyrs.

This beatitude demands from us the most exacting self-examination. Is our work done from motives of service or from motives of pay? Is our service given from selfless motives or from motives of self-display? Is the work we do for Messiah or for our own prestige! Is our coming to services an attempt to meet God or are we fulfilling a habitual and social obligation?

Are even our prayers and our Bible reading engaged upon with the sincere desire to commune with God or because it gives us a pleasant feeling of superiority to do these things?  Is our spiritual life a thing in which we are conscious of nothing so much as the need of God within our hearts, or a thing in which we have comfortable thoughts of our own piety?  To examine one’s own motives is a daunting and a shaming thing, for there are few things in this world that even the best of us do with completely pure motives.

Yeshua goes on to say that only the pure in heart will see God.  It is one of the simple facts of life that we see only what we are able to see; and that is true not only in the physical sense, it is also true in every other possible sense.

What does it take to become “pure in heart?”  Let me suggest four steps that can really help:

  1. Wise Up. If you are struggling with the idea of faith, wise up! Realize that God has planted faith within the instinct of every healthy human being. Just as a healthy bird instinctively takes to the trees, just as a healthy fish swims in the water, so the healthy human being is inclined to be spiritual. By nature, we have to put our faith in something. Remember, God created the hole in your soul that only He can fill!
  2. Clean Up. Clean up any negative emotions in your life that might be blocking your faith and keeping you from “seeing” God. Worry, anxiety, pressures, or frustrations – all these can cause us to be blinded to the real work around us. Don’t trust your doubt. Doubt your doubt. Doubt is a subconscious defense mechanism fabricated by an insecure, guilty, or troubled mind to keep us from believing in a God who might make demands upon us we’re not prepared to meet. If there is a negative emotion within you that is blocking you in your relationship with God, clean up!
  3. Give Up. Do you want a life-changing experience with God? If so, wise up! Realize it’s instinctive and normal to be spiritual. Clean up! Wash your mistakes and negative emotions away through Yeshua’s grace. And the third step is: Give up – anything that may be hindering you. Perhaps there is something in your life that you will have to relinquish, with God’s help. If it is something that is blocking the birth of real faith, then you may have to give it up. If it is a choice between living and a bad habit – choose life.
  4. Take Up. We can believe God, we can see Him, we can catch His vision for our lives, and we can feel His spirit moving in our lives when we wise up, clean up, give up, and finally take up God’s call to do something great for Him. Do you want to have a real experience with God? Take up the execution stake of Yeshua and do something to expand His kingdom. One of the five purposes of a Messianic community is to minister to the needs of others. There are plenty of opportunities in any community to get involved and spread the Gospel.

So, then, this sixth beatitude might read:

“O how blessed is the man whose motives are absolutely pure, for that man will someday be able to see God!”

If you want a life-changing experience with God, a dynamic faith, here’s how you can get it.  Ask God to take your life, to heal the subconscious memories. Ask Yeshua to forgive you of your secret sins. Then ask Him to take your life and show you how you can be a part of something beautiful for God! For faith combined with good works makes God come alive within you.

In my next post, we will look at how happy are those who make peace.

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Happy Are Those Who Show Mercy

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  In this post, we will explore the concept of showing mercy.  The purpose of our study is to sit at the feet of Yeshua and learn directly from Him what it means to be His talmid.

“How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.” ~ Matthew 5:8

Verse 7 teaches us about forgiving those who fail us.  It says, “I really want to treat others the way I want them to treat me.”  Once again, Yeshua takes this lesson from King David.  Psalm 18:25 says, “With the merciful, you are merciful; with a man who is sincere, you are sincere.”  Psalm 86:5 goes on to say, “Adonai, you are kind and forgiving, full of grace toward all who call on you.”  Have you noticed that Yeshua is teaching these vital characteristics right out of the Tanakh?  Clearly, He did not come to abolish the Old, but to resurrect it without man’s appendages added on. Continue reading “Happy Are Those Who Show Mercy”

Happy Are the Hungry & Thirsty

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are the meek.  In this post, we will look at how happy are the those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

“How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness!  for they will be filled.” ~ Matthew 5:6

Verse 6 teaches us about the bliss of a starving spirit and the continual recognition of the importance of our being right with God.  Again, Yeshua quotes from King David’s: “O God, you are my God; I will seek you eagerly. My heart thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a land parched and exhausted, where no water can be found.”  ~ Psalm 63:1 Continue reading “Happy Are the Hungry & Thirsty”

Happy Are the Meek

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are the mournful.  In this post, we will look at how happy are the meek.

“How blessed are the meek! for they will inherit the land.”  ~ Matthew 5:5

The way the Beatitudes are organized is significant.  They don’t tell us to apply and practice all eight concise sayings and then we will be “blessed”; they describe eight key factors that characterize a “blessed” person.  In summing up the first two beatitudes, we learned “How Blessed Are Those Who Wait Upon the Lord!”

Verse 5 teaches us about the bliss of a God-controlled life and directs us to refuse to seek revenge when wronged.  It says, “I’m going to remain cool, calm and collected.”  In this teaching, Yeshua quotes directly from King David in Psalm 37:11, “but the meek will inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” Continue reading “Happy Are the Meek”

Happy Are the Poor in Spirit

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began a new series entitled The Christian Torah based on the Gospel of Matthew.  We briefly explored the concept of what it means to be a talmid of Yeshua’s.  In this post, we will begin to explore Yeshua’s teaching Believer’s call the Sermon on the Mount.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua explains the values of the kingdom.  Money, prayer, relationships, possessions, information, and power were a few of the categories He redefined from God’s perspective.  He showed that following Him would involve radical change for most of us.  It may mean undoing the way we’ve always done things and rethinking traditional sources of wisdom from our parents and culture.  To become like Yeshua involves a tough-minded review of our values and a thorough change in our behavior. Continue reading “Happy Are the Poor in Spirit”

Some Techniques for Scriptural Memorization

An Introduction to Christian Meditation and Memorization

In my last post, we explored the benefits of Scriptural Memorization and some key steps to begin to memorize selected passages. In this post, we will explore other techniques to memorize portions of scripture, including whole books of the Bible.

In conducting my research for this series, I relied upon four references on memorization of God’s Word. [1]  The techniques ranged from rote (similar to how must of us learned our multiplication tables) to the “Film Making” method as Ms. Charis called her technique.  Interestingly, all four authors recommended that the serious talmid should utilize a variation of the film making technique.

The primary means that information is stored in our mind is through stories, events and visual location.  The right side of the brain captures stories, events, emotions and art.  It requires little effort to absorb information that is fed into the right side of the brain.  The left side of the brain deals with facts, data, numbers, names, etc.; but it is a poor retainer of new information.  By facilitating right-brained experiences, it opens the door for memory retention.  Admittedly, this technique is more suited to narrative passages such as the Gospels and Acts, but can be used on many other passages as well, depending upon your creative skills. Continue reading “Some Techniques for Scriptural Memorization”