I always have mixed emotions about Thanksgiving, because on the one hand, at its heart are two of my most favorite things: family and food! But on the other hand, it not only signals the beginning of the commercial winter holiday season (in which we are bombarded by merchandising and inducements to unnecessarily part with our finances), but, to a degree, it’s not really my holiday. I am only a second-generation American-born Jew, so before WWII, my ancestors knew nothing of the American Thanksgiving holiday (though it is indirectly related to our own Autumn Feast, Sukot). So, while I enjoy Thanksgiving on a familial, individual, and American level (because I am very thankful indeed for this country), it also reminds me that I—as my ancestors have been for centuries—am a stranger in a strange land… a man caught between worlds. Read more
Please believe I am not bragging when I say that for many years now, people from all over the world have found the Messianic devotionals I have written to be helpful and inspiring for their daily walk in Yeshua. I give all glory and praise to Adonai for this, because whatever encouragement or insight I have to offer, it is only because I have gained it (usually the hard way!) by His loving and compassionate hand.
Yet, I mention this not to call attention to myself or the character of the devotionals, but to point out the fact that we as believers in Yeshua primarily seek information and inspiration for one purpose: self-edification. While I am personally pleased that my writings have been edifying for so many, the purpose of the devotionals (as well as everything produced through Perfect Word) has never been for self-edification, but always for discipleship—the means by which we first become edified, then multiply that edification by passing it on to others. This, however, is not the way most of us approach a “devotional” or any other kind of spiritual experience—rather, it is generally with the intent to focus ourselves on the Master and increase our devotion to Him.
Such goals are in no way wrong. On the contrary, in a world that is constantly trying to steal our focus away from God, we need to use every means possible to keep our hearts and minds dedicated and devoted to Him. Where we do go wrong, however, is that we tend to stop there, feeding only ourselves, and forgetting the most important reason to increase our own devotion: everyone else. Indeed, the walk we walk in Messiah is ultimately not for our own benefit; rather, “Let no one seek [good for] himself, but each [one for] another’s.” (1Co. 10:24) Read more
Over the past weeks and months, I have been praying earnestly for you—asking the Lord to guide you, and provide for all your many needs. While in the midst of seeking His face, I felt impressed to offer you the one thing I know you need: encouragement. Yet somehow, “Hang in there, it’s going to be okay,” and “Don’t worry, you’ll get through this,” and “Have faith—all things are possible with God” just don’t seem to suffice. Instead, I feel compelled to be somewhat more substantive in my exhortation, and bring you a heartening, yet challenging word.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if we members of the Body are as concerned with worldly things as those who are of the world. We’re rocked by an unexpected turn of events; we worry about our health, wealth and happiness. Some of us feed that anxiety by obsessively following the daily news; some of us put our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going along just fine. But what most of us often forget—or only acknowledge intellectually without action based in faith—is that what is happening around us really doesn’t matter… what matters is whether or not we are living for Yeshua. Whether we are being forcefully evicted from our homes, or rushing our deathly ill child to the hospital, or buying a morsel of food with the very last dollar in our pocket, we have a choice. Do we become caught up in the moment and react out of fear, or do we face reality with a conviction of spirit and a heart fortified toward God?