New Beginning

I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

W​e are often an anxious generation! We become anxious at new beginnings, transitions, and when something comes to an end. Why is that? I believe that the main reason for our anxiety is that we do not know the future. Moreover, our negative past encounters have lasting effects our how we approach future endeavors. Our excitement about new opportunities are often sprinkled with some anxiety for the same reason—we do not know how it will turn out.

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TROUBLED SOUL

Show me favor, Adonai, for I am in trouble. My eyes grow dim with anger, my soul and body as well.

PSALM 32:10

We are all susceptible to anger that darkens our soul and body; anger that clouds our thinking. The decisions we make when we are angry and when we have no peace may create more problems for us than we want, much like shopping for food when we are hungry; we tend to buy more than we need. Anger is poison to the body that affect our thought, words, and our actions. We don’t see clear enough to truly assess a situation and make a wise decision. Our body responds in a way that can cause physical sickness — much like stress — and not much can console us. Like the Psalmist said, this is trouble!

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THE WAY

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me”

John 14:6

H​ow does a dirt path form and why does it so often wind along, sometimes for reasons not clear to us? If, like me, you have had the privilege of seeing paths form overtime you know it’s based on our pattern of walking along a particular way overtime, and its winding pattern may be due to us avoiding certain obstacles. Paths, lead us to a specific destination and are based on often traveled routes for a specific purpose. Over time and as the population increases, more than one path may form that sometimes intersects to take us in different directions. Taking a path because it exists does not guarantee it will bring us to the desired destination. For this reason we place signs along the way, to point us in the right direction.

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PROTECT YOUR TERRITORY

“From the time of Yochanan the Immerser until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been suffering violence; yes, violent ones are trying to snatch it away”

MATTHEW 11:12

Other Bible translations render the end of the above verse, “the violent take is by force.” These timeless words point to a dilemma that we still see and experience in today’s societies. People may refer to it as the struggle against good and evil; except, what society calls good may be subject to interpretation. Self-interest is one of the most prevalent characteristics that cause us to set ourselves up against the Kingdom. In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul warned that “in the last days, People will be self-loving, money-loving, proud, arrogant, insulting, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, uncontrolled, brutal, hateful of good, traitorous, headstrong, swollen with conceit, [and] loving pleasure rather than God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

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TAKE YOUR FAITH TO WORK

“Dear friends, I am writing you now this second letter; and in both letters I am trying to arouse you to wholesome thinking by means of reminders; so that you will keep in mind the predictions of the holy prophets and the command given by the Lord and Deliverer through your emissaries. First, understand this: during the Last Days, scoffers will come, following their own desires”

2 Peter 3:1-3

Invoking God and uttering Yeshua’s (Jesus) name was an acceptable, even welcomed initiative in the community wherein I grew up. Jamaica was, and still is a place where people are receptive to the Gospel and to discussing Biblical topics, even if they do not live out those Biblical principles. This is not necessarily a compliment to those who engage in such conversations but it opens the door to sharing the Gospel, at work, school, or in the public square.

Much of western culture today is resistant to hearing the Gospel; this is also true for other nations with differing major religions. It’s much more difficult to share your faith at work; doing so may even lead to termination. Preaching the Gospel is less tolerated in the public squares, and certain schools will not allow outreach on their campuses. How do believers carry out the great commission beyond the pulpit while facing such strong anti-gospel headwinds!

Think back to the prophets, like Obadiah, who worked in the palace of evil kings and how they were obedient to God while doing so. What is it that you fear the most? Is it God or is it losing your job? We may not want to lose our jobs, our livelihoods, or our security. We may have the needs of our children and other loved ones to consider. Your job may be the external support system for your ministry or ministries that you support. Still, the question remains—whom do we fear the most?

We should never fail to take our faith to work for through faith God will sustain and increase our work. Resistance will come, but “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). Times and seasons are changing and the world is becoming more resistant to the message of Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:18). This is not a surprising development, and we should not be so. Yeshua told us, “Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours too” (John 15:20).

Take your faith to work, even in the face of resistance. Remember, “they will do all this to you on [Yeshua’s] account, because they don’t know the One who sent [Him]”. Take your faith to work, for your place of work is part of your journey through this world and the Great Commission is to “go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20).

“Five times I received “forty lashes less one” from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea”

2 Corinthians 11:24-25

The Bible tells us of discouraging events—Cain’s struggle to overcoming jealousy, Abraham not being able to see the promise while Sarah was still barren, Jacob not getting the hand of Rachel when he expected it, Moses having to wander in the wilderness, Ezra’s efforts to rebuild Jerusalem, or John the Immerser’s (Baptist) doubts while in prison, to name a few. Paul tells us of the struggles he faced during his years of ministry; struggles that would have caused some of us to give up short of the goal.

We, too, are no strangers to obstacles and discouragements. We face them in our everyday lives, and in our efforts to serve the Lord. Believers in particular face a unique set of obstacles that are aimed at stopping us from sharing Yeshua. “For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12). Still, we overcome!

Don’t give up! “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Obstacles are just that—a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress. It does not stop you but does make it more difficult to carry out the task. The Adversary may hinder you but he is powerless to stop you, with God leading the way.

You are not alone! We may often feel as if we are in the fight alone. Elijah was a man of great faith and strength, but he, too, became discouraged when it Jezebel sought to kill him— “Adonai, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!” But what is God’s answer to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba‘al” (Romans 11:3-4).

Lastly, remember that you matter! Not as the world thinks of you, but as the Father thinks of you and prove his love toward you. “See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children! For that is what we are” (1 John 3:1). Do not be discouraged, be encouraged in the Lord, and in the power of his might!

SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT

“Lay hold of my words in your heart, keep my commands and you will live!”

Proverbs 4:4

T​he word of Adonai is to our spiritual being as healthy food is to our body. When we neglect to nourish our bodies, we will become frail which may lead to death. Likewise, neglecting the word of God will lead to spiritual death. Do not neglect the nourishment you need from God, and that is available to you in Scripture. 

T​he information we receive and process each day may be the main source of information that inform our behavior and decisions. What we put into our hearts and minds is what will flow from us. If what we feed on is toxic to the spirit, what flows from us will also be toxic to others. We cannot fully escape the world, but we “are not of the world” (John 15:19). Yeshua sends us into the world to share His word and be light piercing through the darkness. 

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