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If you or someone you know would be interested in having Rabbi Neal come and speak, send your request to: kehilatsarshalom@gmail.com.  Rabbi Neal can speak about any of the Biblical festivals (Leviticus 23), the history, present and future of Israel, and many other selected topics. Or, he is more than happy to accommodate special requests.

In addition, Rabbi Neal and his wife, Kim, have a vibrant music ministry. So any message that you would like to have brought to your organization can also be brought with special music. They would love the opportunity to come and worship with you.

 

Self-righteous eyes

Hi Ladies,

Since I’m not able to be in the devotional meeting today (staying home with sick kiddos) I thought I’d blog a little bit about the devotionals. Specifically, week 4: Self-Righteous Eyes.

I’m able to relate to what you wrote, Carolyn, about the “tug of war” with God especially when it comes to answering the questions…it definitely pushes me to the limits of my “comfort zone” to be so introspective.

However, when I was reading “self-righteous” eyes, I had an easy time answering the questions (I don’t think this is a good thing). This is an issue I’ve been struggling with and have been seeking the Lord’s help in battling. Immediately I was reminded of an argument I had with my brother a couple years back. Since we’ve reached adulthood, I rarely have arguments with my siblings; but on this particular trip back home to visit my folks, I accused my brother of doing something which led to an all-out yelling altercation between the two of us. I was certain that I was right and self-righteously told him as much. After fasting and praying about it, the Lord made it very clear to me that regardless of what my brother may or may not have done, my behavior was wrong and that I needed to repent of my self-righteousness and also ask my brother for forgiveness. Humbling myself enough to admit my prideful behavior to God and repent of it was difficult in itself, but having to ask my brother for forgiveness was excrutiating. I was obedient, however, and my brother forgave me and the healing was able to begin. My brother is going through a difficult time in his life and has been for a few years now. He is in need of constant prayer for God’s protection, mercy, and deliverance. I believe that my prayers for him will be answered and have seen some of them answered already. I’m particularly grateful that God made me aware of my self-righteous behavior and didn’t allow me to let it get in the way of being able to have effective prayer and intercession for my brother. I’m also so thankful that our Lord is so merciful and forgiving.

Observant Eyes – Take a good look!

As I read this weeks devotional, I could not help but think of a dear sister in the Lord who is going through a really horrible nightmare. You see, she was just sentenced to 18 months in jail for a crime that she admitted to doing. Her sentencing was this past Tuesday and she is currently in a jail cell waiting out her time. This precious daughter of God is married to a wonderful and caring man and is the mother of 6 children, ages 2-19. She and I attended the same weekend at Tres Dias. I really connected with her and have tried to stay in touch with her since our retreat in October of 2006. As soon as she found out that I was a Messianic Jew, she and I had several conversations the whole weekend, since she and her husband were really interested in the Jewish roots of their faith. I remember how she told me that she was a homeschooling mom who really enjoyed teaching her kids the Feasts and Festivals of the Lord. I have seen her a couple of times since that weekend at various events and have always made an attempt to say hello and catch up with each other. As many of you know, I served the weekend of May 14-17, 2009 on that retreat. I remember seeing her at a local Applebees restaurant after that Sunday evening, since she and her husband sponsored a couple that weekend and were providing transporation home for the wife. We talked for at least 15 minutes or so and I encouraged her to serve on the next scheduled weekend of the retreat, if possible, since she had not done so yet. Of course, I had not idea what she was facing at the time of the conversation. In fact, we did not find out until someone sent us a prayer request for the upcoming hearing. That was the first we had heard of it, and obviously we were dumbfounded. I am sure that by now you mind has been wandering and wondering what she could have done to get such a tough sentence, but it really doesn’t matter. She fully accepted her responsibility and did not try to negotiate or deny that she had done it. She plead guilty and left it up to God. She has taken responsibility for her actions, repented, and shared her sorrow for harm she had caused. Her husband is standing by her and loving her through all of this, even though he would have every “right” to walk away. She is at peace; with her husband, family, God and mostly with herself. She truly is free. How does this relate to the devotional; I will tell you. The story that was illustrated had to do with Passover and the spiritual preparation we are to take during that time. We are to search out the leven in ourselves. We all have heard this before and know the importance, but do we take the time to really search ourselves? Do we take a good look and search for the hidden leven; the kind that only you know about and that God sees? Just by looking at her and talking with her, I would have never know that my dear sister was struggling with an issue that would escalate to the point of her committing a crime that would separate her from her beloved children. You see, that is the deception of hidden sin, we can look “clean” to the world, but God knows. I am sure that if I could ask my dear sister, she would tell you that this “hidden” sin didn’t rise up overnight. It happened over a period of time. It makes me think of the song by Casting Crowns, “Slow Fade”. If you have not heard it yet, please try to. It truly illustrates the message of Passover and hidden sin and the death that comes from not removing the leven in ourselves. One of the lines of the song is: It’s a slow fade, when you give your self away, It’s a slow fade when black and white turn to gray, and thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid, when you give yourself away, people never crumble in a day….it’s a slow fade. I pray that each of us will use the observant eyes that God has given us to search ourselves DAILY for sin in hidden places, not just during the Passover season. If we wait, it may be too late…

Men’s Bible, Bagels and Prayer

Join the men (Bar Mitzvah age or older) on the second Shabbat (Saturday) each month at 8:15 as we chew on the Word with a nosh and a prayer. Email the Rabbi with questions.

The next meeting will be January 9th.

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