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More to the Great Commission Than Just One Step

    We are in a spiritual battle, and it must be recognized.  When we think of the Great Commission, we think of Matthew 28, right?  Yes, that is the whole purpose of the Great Commission; however; does the book of Mark paint a further picture of what it looks like to be that faithful witness of Messiah on the earth?  “He who has believed and has been immersed, shall be saved, but he who has not believed shall be condemned.  And these signs shall accompany the ones who believe: in My name they shall cast out demons, they shall speak with renewed tongues, they shall take up snakes, and if they drink any deadly [drink] it shall by no means hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall get well” (Mark 16:16-18).  If this describes what we should be doing and what we should look like to the world; then, do you not think the enemy is going to try to make you think you can’t do these things?  Yes, of course.  So, as soldiers in the army of YAH, we need to go through spiritual training in order to be well equipped to head out into the fight for our neighbor’s soul.  Let’s focus on three key elements: repentance, obedience, and prayer.
    First, repentance is key to even enter into the fight for YAH’s kingdom.  “…Repent, for the reign of the heavens has come near!” (Matthew 3:2).  These are some of the first things that John the Immerser was known for proclaiming.  Why?  YAH wants to know who is on His side, and who is not.  He begs for us to choose a side; even if it means being against Him: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I would that you were cold or hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).  He wants to know that He has a faithful soldier that will obey His commands to win the victory.  Has Messiah already won the war?  Yes; “So when יהושע took the sour wine He said, “It has been accomplished!”  And bowing His head, He gave up His Ruach”(Spirit) (John 19:30).  But, the battle still wages on; “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  We need to declare that we are no longer on the enemy’s side and show that we are for the kingdom of Heaven daily.
Obedience; this one can be difficult, but it is so rewarding.  The number one thing that will save your life in a battle is a leader you know you can trust.  He will be able to steer you out of the worst situations because he is always mindful of his company.  He will also have the strategies and tactics to follow in order to win the fight.  YAH is our leader, and we need to obey His voice in order to come out alive and in tact in the end.  Deuteronomy 28 lays out for us perfectly what happens when we obey His commands, and what happens when we fail to do so.  He desires us to do it out of a heart of love towards Him: “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands” (John 14:15).  When Messiah is telling all the Talmidim (Disciples) that He has given them “…power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19), He did not give it to them because they just asked to receive it.  No; they received this new authority because they left everything to follow after Messiah and proved to be faithful to Him.  “But יהושע (Yeshua) said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim” (Luke 9:62).  They were willing to lay it all on the line go Him, and He rewarded their obedience with more authority over the power of the enemy.  The same goes for us.  If we are not obedient to His commands, the enemy will see right through that and say, “…יהושע I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).  We have been given the authority to bind up and/or loose the power of the enemy (Matthew 16:19; Job 38:31).  We need to know the tactics our leader has given us and learn how to use them.
Prayer; it is our number one line of communication between us and the throne of YAH.  He desires us to have so much communication back and forth with Him that we should  become one with Him; His thoughts, actions, feelings; etc. (John 17:11).  Paul knew this, and he developed a strategy.  Ephesians 6 speaks of putting on, “…the whole armor of YAH, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).  Paul was so adamant about this that he even wrote, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Now, why does Paul write about this spiritual armor?  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6:12).  We are not to fight against man because man is either a part of the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of Darkness.  Regardless of what the person acts like, they are walking in obedience to a spiritual kingdom, and it shows.  Within this spiritual battle we fight against “…principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]” (Ephesians 6:12).  Since we are not to worry about preserving this life (Luke 9:24); but rather, we are to hope for our yeshu’ah (salvation) to come (Romans 13:11), we need to know how to protect our souls.  “…that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…” (Ephesians 6:13).
The armor is essential for our combat and defense in the spiritual realm. And, when we put on the armor, we are fully putting on Messiah: “…having your loins gird about with truth…” (Ephesians 6:14), is the same as Psalm 119:142, “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Torah is the Truth.” John 17:17, “Sanctify them through your Truth: your word is Truth”, John 14:6, “…I am the way, the Truth, and the life…”, and John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.”  The exact same verses apply to the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14).  “And your feet shod with the preparation of the Besorah (Gospel) of Peace;” (Ephesians 6:15).  “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the Besorah’s (Gospel), the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).  “Above all, taking the shield of belief, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).  “You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).  “And take the helmet of yeshu’ah (salvation)…” (Ephesians 6:17).  “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of belief and love; and for a helmet, the hope of yeshu’ah”(salvation) (1 Thessalonians 5:8).  “…and the sword of the ruach (Spirit), which is the Word of Elohim” (Ephesians 6:17).  Enough said about who the Word is, right?  We need to keep sober in Him constantly, always bringing our sin unto submission to Him; this is so we can keep our armor in tact and not damaged (2 Corinthians 10:6).
Now that we know the task ahead of us, let us run after it with all our might.  The last thing a person talks about with a friend will usually be the first thing he or she brings up the next time they see each other.  Do you not think He will ask us one day, “How did you do with the work I have given you?” (Matthew 25:21; Mark 16:15-18).
Erik Hedman

Created to Be

This morning, during devotion discussions, the ladies brought up a very good question.

Is a “perfect” Torah observant wife only a quiet demure “mouse”? When we discussed, we found that women are designed to be highly adaptable, able to fill in wherever their husband may have need. The Woman of Valor in Proverbs 31 is strong not just spiritually, but even physically. Being gentle does not mean being weak, weak willed or incapable of strong ideas.

She planned a whole vineyard, and Built it. With or without help, we know firsthand it’s a difficult thing to plan and build a vineyard. Being able to lead a group of people in something difficult is tremendously challenging.

If you’re loud, vivacious, bold or curious, listen to the Spirit, and He will guide you into who you’re meant to be. Sometimes we fall into thinking a certain aspect of our personality is what defines us, but it’s not. Our relationship with the Father of All is the only thing we should allow to define us. He knows us from our innermost being, and has a specific, unique, beautiful plan for each and every one of us, which no other person can fulfill. Every person reflects His character, His glory in a different way. Every person we come to know helps us see more of Him. If we look for it.

We encourage you to quiet the voices telling you who you “should” be – even your own. Listen to יהוה and His voice alone for who you are. His Word is a love letter, to help us understand ourselves, to understand each other, to understand Him.

Seasons and Cycles

YHWH is gracious enough to give us seasons in which things change and cycles which make things familiar. After the students have left, the farm is quiet but we rest and we plan and we dream of the new seeds we are going to plant in the spring. Each year we learn new things and find ways to better the farm and better how we teach the students. We’ve been getting new improvements like a larger septic system so that we can host more people comfortably during Feast Days, and we’ve been blessed with exemptions from the county, we have been given so much and it makes our world grow a little bit bigger every day.

Can one plan for the future and still be content? I do say so, as scripture says, “A man plans his way, but Elohim guides his steps.” As we pray and plan, we know that He will remain faithful. Bringing us to where we need to be, and bring those who need to, to come. So that we can make our world more like His.

We are so thankful for the innumerable blessings that He gives us every day, and we pray that we can share them the way they need to be shared, so that more people come to know Him and love Him. We also pray that we can learn to love each other way our Father wants us to love each other- “loving as brothers, tender-hearted, humble minded, not returning evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, blessing, knowing that we were called to this in order to inherit our blessing” 1st Peter 3:8-9″

Winter is a season for slowing down and nourishing our roots. The frost may kill the leaves, but the fruit has become so visible! And abundant is the harvest! Don’t allow winter to discourage you, but allow it to help you find where your fruit is.

What Does Being a True Servant Mean

Being a Servant, as defined by my studies during devotional time, will probably take more studying to get a full picture, but here it goes!

The words I found in Hebrew that translated as servant were many, but the most common are these:

Na’ar נער- young man

Sharat שרת- Minister- to be in service to another.  Breaking the letters down into their ancient concrete meanings I thought it could mean that the second is more important than the first. Shin Resh Tav- two or second, head or first, cross or mark. The mark of the second is submitting to the first.

Shifcha שפחה- maid servant as joined to a mistress, to spread the family out.  When I went back to the ancient meanings of the letters; shin, fey, chet, hey. Teeth, closed hand, open mouth, tent wall, arms raised. Trying to understand the narrative for that brought me to this: Press into work on the borders to warn of dangers from the outside.

Eved עבד- slave or servant- the root is avad, which is work performed out of obligation, requirement, or gratitude. The verb form is to provide service to another or work at a profession.  The ancient hebrew breakdown I found for ayin, bet, dalet; was eye, house, door- one who watches over the household diligently.

Dalal דלל- Humble- the ancient concrete meaning is a door on the rod- which in the tent was a curtain that swings back and forth as people enter and leave – such as a person’s (who is lowly in spirit) head hanging low and moving back and forth in weakness. The door (curtain) is easily moved by the wind, and the wind represents the Spirit. So the one who is humble is easily moved by the Spirit of Elohim.

For Greek, I was looking into Yeshua’s words about a servant and found many that were translatable.

Diakonos- The Septuagint cross referenced to sharat.

Doulous/doule- one who gives self up in service to another’s will, to the disregard of their own will/interests.

Therapon- service rendered to another, especially by medical or household service, also cross referenced to Sharat.

A servant is someone who:

Completes his vows- makes a covenant with peace- fulfills his promises to Yahweh, the Master.

Is Blameless- knows the house rules and does everything to abide by them with his heart in the right place.

Speaks truthfully with his Master- not lying in order to deceive, cause failure or disappointment, not functioning like he was meant to.

Presses into his work-not being lazy or sluggardly, but is alert and focused on the task at hand.

Adores the Master- he is so full of love that he is willing to obey when sent to wherever.

Is Trustworthy- faithful and known to do what is required of them, and beyond, acting according to their belief in the Master’s desires.

Is Humble-not thinking more highly of his work or position or status. Sensitive to the Spirit.

Knows the will of the Master- seeks to do right, love mercy and walk humbly with Elohim.

Servants can be weak, they can be leaders, and they must work diligently, cooperating with their fellow servants.

A servant is one who is looking to the well-being of his Master’s interests and his Master’s household. He does whatever it is that needs to be done; guarding, healing, cleaning, delivering messages, organizing, leading.  Whatever the Master calls upon him to do.

May this post not confuse, but deepen understanding for you, and may it bless you as much as the study blessed me.

Shalom

שלום
קארין

Katherine

Thinning Fruit

A few months ago, we students had the opportunity to thin fruit trees. Not only our own fruit trees, but the orchard of a friend.  As we found out, there were a lot of good, spiritual principles found in thinning fruit.
Each fruit tree needs to be thinned considerably. Over 3 quarters of the fruit gets picked off each tree, in the early stages of growth, so that the tree can support, and focus on the remaining fruit. This also enables the branches not to get too weighty, and break off the tree. Even though it can be stressful seeing all that fruit go to waste, a good harvest is seen in the end of the season.
The spiritual principle that I took away from this is that some things in my life need plucked out. To really focus on a small portion of my interests, skills, and talents, for a period of time. And maybe the other fruit in my life isn’t that bad, but it needs to be removed, for a time, so that the other fruit can flourish, and produce a healthy crop.
This is what we are doing here at GIT; taking time out of our lives to really focus on areas that need work, or areas that we want to produce even greater fruit. We are setting some things aside for a time, so that we can truly learn and grow. And it is all a part of being pruned and trained under Yahweh’s guidance.