Tishri/Cheshvan 5774 October 2013
MA CHADASH? WHAT’S NEW?
THANKS VERY MUCH!
Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the Earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand is power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious name. These were the words of King David (1 Chronicles 29:10-13) at the culmination of the freewill offering the people brought for the construction of the Temple. Though it would not be built in their generation, David and the people of Israel clearly understood the opportunity before them: to build a holy place that honored the Living God. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter, the great Emissary of Messiah wrote: You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua (1 Peter 2:5). That is the work we are called to as Yeshua’s followers – bringing people to the Faith and helping them to grow to maturity. And we thank you so much for helping support this endeavor!
SUKKOT: GETTING CLOSE AND STAYING CLOSE TO GOD
Getting close to God and staying close to God enables us to draw strength from God. Those who wait on the Lord, by staying close to Him and focused on Him, will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired; they will walk and not become weary.
Getting close to God and staying close to God enables us to have a fruitful life. I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who lives in Me and I live in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. This is talking about closeness to Messiah that produces good results in us – holy living, and a life that is characterized by the right priorities – living for God, not for self; living for God, not for the world; a life that is driven to complete the mission of the Messiah – evangelism, teaching and good deeds. To have a genuinely successful life, that is useful and productive, we need to be united to the Son of God, who is united to the Father and the Spirit.
Getting close to God and staying close to God enables us to be satisfied. Messiah promised: Everyone who drinks water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. So many people today are unhappy, bored, depressed, discontent, never satisfied because they are drinking only ordinary water. Our need for God, for truth, for purpose, for meaning, for eternal life, for contentment, for satisfaction can only be quenched when we have the Spirit of the Messiah living in us.
Getting close to God and staying close to God enables us to have purpose, joy even in the midst of life’s troubles, peace in the midst of life’s storms. From closeness to God comes abundant life, wisdom, holiness. Closeness to God provides power for victorious living, the ability to resist temptation, and strength to endure. When we are close to the Creator we are able to understand the plan of God, the mind of God, the Word of God, the priorities of God. It is so important, so beneficial, to get close to and stay close to God!
Resist temptation. Don’t sin. Don’t do the wrong things. Find out what Messiah wants from you and do those things. Do what is right. That will bring you close to God and keep you close to God. Three thousand years ago King David understood that being close to God can’t be separated from righteous, holy, moral living. Lord, who may dwell in Your sacred tent? Who may live on Your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from the heart.
Have the right priorities. Just as you enjoy spending time with those who share your interests, I think God is closer to those who share His interests and passions – living for God, not for self; living for God, not for the world; having the same mission that the Messiah had that He passed on to us – evangelism, teaching and doing good deeds.
Practice the spiritual disciplines. Build good spiritual habits and practices into your life that will help you maintain closeness to God. Practice the discipline of taking in God’s Word by hearing it taught by a qualified teacher, and by reading and studying God’s Word on your own.
Learn how to see God in creation. As you become a better observer of nature, you will learn more about the greatness and the power and the wisdom and the love of God, and be drawn closer to your great Creator.
Pray without ceasing. Train yourself to talk to God all the time, but try to cultivate special periods of time alone talking to the Lord.
The disciplines of fasting, silence and solitude can help us get closer to God. When we are alone and silent, and when we are not focused on food, we may be able to hear the still small voice of God speaking to us.
Regular worship, giving and serving the Lord within your New Covenant community can help you stay close to God.
Witnessing, evangelizing, sharing the Good News about salvation with those outside the Community of Salvation, and teaching those who are interested will help keep you close to God.
Sukkot is about God living with us, and us developing a close, personal relationship with the Living God that will last forever! Come to God on His terms, be obedient, practice your spiritual disciplines, and you will enjoy the presence of the living God – now and forever and ever!