Av/Elul 5772 August 2012
MA CHADASH? WHAT’S NEW?
High Holiday Services
September 16: Erev Rosh HaShana, 7:30 p.m.
September 17: Rosh HaShana, 10:30 a.m.
September 25: Erev Yom Kippur, 7:30 p.m.
September 26: Yom Kippur, 10:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
September 30: Build and decorate the Sukka, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Bring leafy branches, flowers or colorful fruits and vegetables; some food to share (nothing non-kosher please – call if you need to know more); and a desire to be happy and draw closer to the God Who Dwells Among Us on this joyous holiday!
Did Messiah make you kosher – clean, fit and acceptable to God? Tell the world by wearing one of our white t-shirts with blue letters on the front and back that humorously yet truthfully proclaim: Jesus Made Me Kosher! These shirts definitely attract attention and create witnessing opportunities. They can be ordered by contacting Jennifer at JGoldstein@shema.com. The price of $15 includes postage. When you email Jennifer, give her the address where they are to be sent along with the size and quantity desired. She will send you further information on your payment options.
It’s now possible to donate to Shema at the Shema website – www.Shema.com.
TODAH RABAH! THANKS VERY MUCH!
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him, there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing (Psalm 34:8-10). Our heartfelt thanks to you who have been supporting Shema through your giving and your prayers. Truly, we lack for nothing (save, perhaps, our need for more of the Three-In-One God). By God’s grace we are growing, and so is our outreach into the community. Please continue to pray for us.
WISDOM FOR LIVING: LESSONS FROM NATURE
The book of Proverbs is about wisdom. Wisdom isn’t the same thing as knowledge or intelligence. Demons are very intelligent and have a lot of knowledge but they are not wise. Someone can get a Ph.D. from one of our finest academic institutions and gain a lot of knowledge, but not be wise. We need wisdom, which is the ability to use knowledge in the right way. Wisdom comes from applying knowledge in such a way that you live according to God’s wise principles that the Creator has designed into this magnificent universe. Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom. Foolishness is ignoring God’s wise principles; it results in damage and harm and loss and, perhaps, even eternal loss. Wisdom is very beneficial. It results in divine favor and blessing and success in this life and ultimately eternal success in the Life-To-Come! We want to become wise men and women. If you believe in the Three-In-One God of Israel and read the Bible, you have some wisdom, but it doesn’t mean you have wisdom in every area of life. Proverbs help us acquire the wisdom we need to make good decisions in the various areas of life in a complex and fallen world.
God is amazingly wise and has revealed some of His wisdom in His creation. You want to get wiser? Learn the lessons that nature can teach. One of those lessons is that being small doesn’t mean you can’t be wise and do important things – the things that the Lord has asked you to do. The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer. We live in a fallen world that is satanically controlled and is in rebellion against God and is under a curse. In a fallen world like ours, there will be summers, when times are good and there is abundance. And there will be winters, when there is scarcity and life becomes more difficult. Be wise like the little ants! During good times work hard, save, prepare for times of hardship and lack. Some people spend everything they have – and then they spend even more and live beyond their means and go into debt! Foolish! Some of you, if you have some extra money, can’t wait to spend it. It’s like the money is hot and burning a hole in your wallet or purse and you have to get rid of it. Don’t be like that! Don’t spend every dollar you make! Be careful! Be prepared. Winter is coming! Get a decent job. Work hard. Live on 80 percent of what you make, save 10 percent and give 10 percent.
Who is not like the smart little ants that work hard and gather and save during the summer? The federal government, and most state and local governments. Since the end of World War Two, a huge money and credit bubble has been blown up. Times have been good. Easy money and credit have been flowing. It’s been summertime in America. But in a fallen world, good times don’t last. Summer doesn’t last forever. Regrettably, our nation did not save during the good times. We spent everything and then spent more and went massively into debt, squandering the wealth of our children and grandchildren. Now the money is gone and we are deeply in debt. We’re in the fall and it’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter, and the wintry winds of economic hardship are blowing. The European economic system is imploding and we will be hugely affected by that failure. A bloated welfare state that hired far too many government workers and promised cradle to grave care is failing. A corrupted form of capitalism that no longer generates real wealth but merely skims money off the top to enrich the financial elites; accounting standards that have been corrupted; a corrupted monetary system based on money not backed by anything real like gold and that can be printed at the whim of central banks; a fractional reserve banking system that is inherently unstable – it’s all failing. Get ready for winter!
The shephanim (rabbits, rock badgers?) are not mighty people, yet they make their houses in the rocks. This world is not an easy or safe place in which to live in. You need a safe place to live. You need a home to protect you from the elements, from the cold and the heat and wind and storms. You need a place to protect you from dangerous people. Get a decent job so that you can find a place in a decent neighborhood with good neighbors. Just as we need shelter from the elements and from human predators, so too we need spiritual shelter from spiritual storms and bad people and evil angels. Again, like the shephanim, make your house in the rocks! Find a place of spiritual protection. Get into a good spiritual house – the house of the Living God! Get the safety you need by getting close to the Three-In-One God of Israel and being part of Messiah’s New Covenant Community. Build a safe spiritual house by learning and applying the Word of God! And if possible, build a strong financial home in the rocks. Protect yourself by working hard and saving your money and preserving your wealth in the best kind of money – gold and silver. For more than 4,000 years they have been a reliable means to store and protect wealth. Learn from the shephanim, who are not mighty creatures yet make their houses in the rocks.
Another small yet wise part of creation are the locusts. The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks. Unlike ants or bees, locusts have no leaders. Yet amazingly, they come together and organize themselves and work together toward a common goal. The Creator designed us as individuals. Each one of us is unique. We need to pursue our unique gifts and interests. But the Lord also designed us to be part of larger communities. No man is an island unto himself. It is not wise when a person separates himself from his community. We need to be part of a good community. Sadly, American society no longer is that kind of healthy community. Our cities and neighborhoods are often fragmented. People don’t know each other. There is little community in many neighborhoods. American society is fragmented by the religious and culture war that is taking place. I am not thrilled to be part of a national community that is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible, anti-morality, anti-family and pro-abortion! A healthy community needs to come together and work toward common and beneficial goals, but large segments of our nation aren’t doing that. To compensate for this lack of national and local community, it’s very important to be a member of the very special community of the Father and the Son and the Spirit! If you aren’t already, become an active member of a good evangelical church or Messianic Jewish synagogue. Work with your brothers and sisters to accomplish the good and important goals that the Lord has set for us – growing spiritually, building up the community and bringing the Good News of salvation to those outside the community! Learn from the locusts, who have no king, yet all of them go out in ordered ranks.
The lizard you may grasp with the hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces. There are many kinds of lizards. This one is small and fearless. Even though we can grasp one of these little lizards in our hands, it is not intimidated by the most powerful human beings and will boldly go to the centers of human power – kings’ palaces! God wants us to be like that. He wants us to be bold, courageous, fearless, taking the truth to the centers of power. And He has made it possible for us to be bold, not timid. He has given us a spirit of boldness. The Spirit of God lives in us and can strengthen us and make us bold. We can be bold because we know that the most powerful human beings are still human beings – weak, frail, fallible and mortal. We can be bold because we know that our God is so much greater than any human being, even the most powerful human beings! Fear God, man! Like the little lizard in kings’ palaces, don’t be intimated by people. Go to where they are to tell them the truth that they so desperately need. Give people the good news about salvation! Tell them there is a God who is real, who loves them, but who is holy and judges sin and sinners! Tell them about the reality of moral and spiritual absolutes, that there is right and there is wrong! Tell them about the reality of Heaven and Hell and the Day of Judgment! Rabbi Paul was like this. He fearlessly took the good news that alone can save human beings to the cities of the Roman Empire, to the centers of power. The other apostles were like this. They boldly took the message about Messiah to the Jewish people first, and also to the Gentiles. We need to be like those courageous little lizards, taking the initiative, going to where people live, not expecting them to come to us.
Again, the Creator has revealed some of His wisdom in His creation. Learn from the creatures that are bold and confident. There are three things which are stately in their march, even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts and does not retreat before any, the strutting rooster, the male goat also, and a king when his army is with him. Human nature has been severely damaged by the Fall of Man. After Adam and Eve sinned and joined the rebellion of the fallen angels, everything changed. When the first human beings yielded to sin, it affected every aspect of who we are – our bodies, minds, emotions, will, our relationship to God and our relationship to one another. And we are alienated from ourselves. When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately sensed that they were naked. Although they had been designed by the Creator, and were made in the image of God, and were precious and valuable, they sensed that they were now inadequate. They experienced the powerful emotions of guilt and shame. Most human beings share that sense of inadequacy, that sense they are not good enough, not worthy enough, not important enough. Failures, rejections, disappointments that all of us experience, reinforce those feelings of inadequacy. A new relationship, a new romance, another sexual encounter is not the answer to that sense of inadequacy. Another drink, more drugs, more money is not the answer. To be bold, fearless, confident, we need to know that the Three-In-One God of Israel is real; that He loves us; that we have been made in His image, but that image has been marred; that if we come to God on His terms, and end our rebellion against Him, He will forgive us, heal us, give us His Spirit to live with us forever, create in us a new godly nature, transform us, reorient us, make us into His exalted and eternal sons and daughters – priests and priestesses, kings and queens of the New Heavens, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem! We need to understand who we are as the saved and redeemed sons and daughters of God! We need to understand that God is our glory and the One who lifts our heads! Be like the creatures who understand that they are important and valuable, who are bold, fearless, confident. Understand at the core of who you are, that you are a son or daughter of the King of the Universe!