2017-12-08 Channukah, Thanksgiving and Encouragement
Reflecting on the Jewish holiday of Channukah and the American one of Thanksgiving, it becomes obvious that both are the same celebration. In both cases a large and powerful government had begun to treat God's people as chattel. In both cases the people threw off the government and established one more in line with God's word. The subsequent holidays were to remind their descendants of God's grace and aid in the struggle.
2017-11-25 Who is Israel?
Within Christianity there is often confusion about who is who within God's economy. This leads to such things as dispensationalism, replacement theology, etc. This talk explores the Biblical covenants and discusses which ones apply to whom and what the conditions are for each.
2017-10-28 The Confidence of Knowing
While every generation is tested in its faith, the tests are different depending on time and circumstance. The Bible records that even the generations to whom God spoke directly and audibly lost confidence in critical situations. How then are we to act with confidence in today's world?
2017-09-30 Truth and Simplicity of Soul
A child starts out as the uncorrupted image of God. The world tries over a lifetime to move him away from that image. How are people of faith to maintain their initial simplicity over their lives?
2017-09-23 Why Does the Truth Set Us Free?
In John 8 Y'shua declares that His disciples will obtain freedom through knowing the truth. What are the consequences of believing a lie either nationally or individually? How does one discern that he has bought a lie? What should he do about it?
2017-08-26 Elul - Forty Days of Preparation
At the beginning of Elul, we are 40 days out from Yom Kippur. This should be a time of reconciliation, repentance and preparation if we are to get the most out of the fall feasts. Deciding what is possible and how to go about it requires a prayerful plan. Happily, there are tools to help with that.
2017-07-29 The Gospel - Good News for Whom?
For something to be good news, it must meet some need or expectation of the hearer. The Jews were looking for something very different than were the pagans. As such, Y'shua gave each what he was looking for. Today many Jews do not accept the Gospel because they have come to believe that it simply tacks pagan myth onto the Tanak. This is not true.
2017-07-22 The Voice of the Prophet
Biblical books of prophecy have four elements: a diagnosis of the societal problems that moved God to send the prophet, God's remedy for those problems, a list of consequences should that remedy not be applied, and hope for eventual restoration. Revelation, which is addressed to the church, follows that pattern. That leads to the conclusion that we should take the diagnosis to heart and apply the remedy so we can avoid the consequences.
2017-06-24 The Tithe - Training the Soul
In the Torah there are both mandatory and voluntary sacrifices. So too with giving. Tithes are mandatory; offerings are voluntary. In the mandatory, God is training our souls to be generous just as He is generous.
2017-06-17 Accuser of the Brethren
Twitter and other social media have become the vehicles of choice for those wanting to silence or destroy religious conservatives. Their technique is relentless accusation and libel. In this the accusers represent the seed of the serpent. Or as Y'shua said, "...your father, the Devil." How does one counter such tactics?
2017-05-27 Wherever you go, there you are
In God's economy it is only possible to be in one state at a time. Thus, in Numbers 3, God explains that He is trading the Levites for the firstborn of Israel because it is not possible to have two firstborns. Similarly in John 3 Y'shua explains the Nicodemus that he is either born again or he is not. He cannot be in two states at once. Understanding how state works opens up understanding of quite a few biblical concepts.
2017-04-29 Roles and Goals Part 2
In a world where the landmarks God designed for our guidance are being destroyed, our roles in life have become confused. John says that Y'shua has given us the right to become children of God. What does that mean? How should that role shape our goals in life?
2017-04-22 Roles and Goals
Many today are lost, confused and angry because the landmarks that God designed to orient our lives have been destroyed. These landmarks are the roles that each of us is designed to fulfill in life. Without them, the goals that we hope to achieve become confused, frustrating and ultimately impossible to achieve.
2017-04-16 Firstfruits, the Promise of Resurrection
Human life has five great events: birth, life in the body, physical death, resurrection and life eternal. Messiah is the Firstfruits of the resurrection from physical death. Today we celebrate the promise of our resurrection that the harvest to follow will be great.
Forgiveness is perhaps the most difficult lesson to learn; yet its fruits are among the sweetest. Practical advice on how to get there.
Laws to Train the Heart
The Bible presents a grim picture of the human heart. From Genesis through the New Testament it is described as evil. That means that popular advice to, 'Follow your heart,' is not wisdom. God has devised a program to train the heart into something pleasing to Himself. He does this with the laws in the Torah.
Hardness of Heart 2017
Hardness of heart is a major theme of the Bible. In the Torah, Pharaoh is the poster boy for the condition, but it is also a major theme of Y'shua in the New Testament. A hard heart prevents one from seeing the hand of God working in the world. In Luke Y'shua indicates that a hard heart could cause one to miss the signs of His second coming and so be taken by surprise.
Rivers of Living Water - 2017
Much of the world seems deranged today; what should be our response? The Scriptures say that, 'Rivers of living water will flow from our hearts,' and that this river is for the healing of the nations. How do we apply this while wearing the full armor of God?
The Great Commission - Making Disciples
There are two versions of the Great Commission. In Matthew, Y'shua speaks as the king, commanding his followers to make disciples of the nations. If we are to recover what has been lost over the past 100 years, believers must take discipleship seriously.
The Gospel and the Garden
In the Garden, the two trees present each of us with the choice of who is to decide good and evil. Deciding to make those choices ourselves leads to evil and death, both individually and societally. Giving the choice to God leads to blessing and life.
Joy at Succot - 2016
The world is designed to be difficult. As we go through life it is tempting to focus on all that is wrong or stressful. God commands us instead to be joyful. How is this possible?
Yom Kippur 2016
On Yom Kippur, the emphasis in most people's minds is on atonement, the covering of sins. While that does happen, from a Scriptural perspective, it does not seem to be the central idea. Rather, the day represents a recreation of the events at Sinai when Israel was in the presence of God.
Prepare for the King - the Fall Feasts
The month of Elul is a time of spiritual preparation for the Fall Feasts. It is a time to reflect over the past year, plan for the next and repair broken relationships. The time is short, the King is coming.
Ekev - Hear and Remember 16
Hearing and remembering are dominant themes in Deuteronomy. These two form the basis for faith, obedience and gratitude - all characteristics which will allow Israel to thrive in the Land.
How to Determine the Truth
The world today is a fairy-land of wishful thinking, illusion and deception. Figuring out what is actually true is difficult. Both Y'shua and Jeremiah give practical, Biblical advice on how to find the truth in the midst of all the lies.
Politics and the Bible 2016
The Bible is an intensely practical political manual. It covers all aspects of how people are to organize and behave so that they will thrive. The American church has been cut out of politics by the tax authorities and so has neglected its heritage of political activism and become irrelevant in many areas of public life. Context is Luke 11:37-52
The Good Samaritan - 2016
The parables in Luke form a structured whole. Each has both an homiletic and an eschatological application. The Good Samaritan is told in the context of eternal life and describes Messiah's care for the wounded as well as his promise to repay kindness upon his return.
Rejoice - We are Winning - 2016
Seeing all of the cultural chaos around us, it would be easy to despair. Such an attitude is neither Biblical nor is it warranted. That we are actually winning is obvious from the behavior of our enemies.
Counting the Omer - 2016
The fifty days from First Fruits to Shavuot represent the spiritual progression from slavery to freedom. Comparing this time with Yovel (Jubilee) yields some very important insights into God's plan for how we should progress as His children. This is a continuation of the sermon on the Age of Endarkenment.
Passover in the Age of Endarkenment - 2016
We are living through an age when the dominant ethos is perpetual adolescence. This has roots going back several hundred years but has really accelerated since WWII. The upshot of this is the accelerating destruction of history and tradition. It has gotten to the point where people don't even know what bathroom to use. What is an adult to do during such evil times?
Holy Spirit - God with Us - 2016
Throughout history, God has always been with His people. In the wilderness, He was in the Tabernacle. During the time of the Gospels, He was here in the person of His Son. Now His Spirit is with us. The Spirit's ministry and mission are laid out clearly in the Book of John.
Generosity - Training the Heart - 2016
In the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6, Y'shua comforts the poor and excoriates the rich. Wealth is a training and testing vehicle for the poor and the rich alike. God's heart is open and flowing with love and sustenance for us. Since we are creatures in the image of God, it should be our goal to train our hearts to be open and generous. How does one do that?
Watch What You Say - the Laws of Proper Speech
Speech is our most powerful faculty, either for good or evil, thus it is important that one study the laws of proper speech. This talk discusses evil speech, hurtful speech and courageous speech. Evil speech - lashon hara - is speech that damages a third party. Hurtful Speech - ona'as devarim - is speech that damages the one spoken to. Courageous speech expresses joy and hope in the face of a society that encourages cynicism and negativity.
The Church is Culturally Ineffective
Christian churches in the United States and Europe have lost their effectiveness in shaping the culture. Why is this so, and what should believers do about it?
Two Creations 2015
God chose to tell us about Himself using the vehicle of a book. If people understood what the book is trying to do and how it should be read, there would be a lot less junk theology. Torah means teaching, not law, so the Bible should be read as a guide book. As an example, this talk covers the two creation stories in Genesis - why there are two and what we are to learn from that.
Forgiveness is a genuinely difficult subject. Dr Stephen Marmer has broken forgiveness into three more manageable chunks - exoneration, forbearance and release. Each concept applies to different situations and calls for different actions on your part. This can bring Y'shua's (Jesus') command to forgive much closer to where we live.
2015-10-31 Avoiding the Rebuke of the Ephesians
The Parable of the Sower, Paul's letter to the Ephesians and Yeshua's (Jesus') letter to the same church in Revelation 2 all deal with the same subject - handling the Word of God. As time progressed, the church at Ephesus was faithful in preserving and using the Word. However by the end of the first century they had lost their first love. How do we avoid the same situation and still handle God's Word properly?
2015-10-24 Being Judgmental
The outbreak of literal insanity we are seeing today has its intellectual roots in the Reformation. The Reformation broke free from the authority of the Church and enshrined reason instead. We are seeing the end of the pendulum swing away from external authority toward self authority.
2015-07-18 How We Got Here and What to do Next
Isaiah 29 describes the process of exile. God shuts down prophets, seers and closes the book. Isaiah also describes how that process is reversed. It's looking like we're living during such a time. If that is true, we have responsibilities during this time.
2015-06-27 What's Going on Today?
With the current court rulings on homosexual 'marriage' and health care, the government has forfeited the pretense of moral authority. Now words mean whatever the strongest say they mean. Curiously, this presents a great opportunity for believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Being surrounded by hostiles simplifies our problem greatly.
2015-05-30 The Test of Wealth
In this world, God gives us wealth to motivate us, to sustain us and to test us. Perhaps the most difficult test in one's life (and the most common) is how he handles the wealth that God gives. There are simple Biblical principles on how to gain wealth and then use it in a way that is pleasing to God.
Joy is a major theme in Scripture and in certain cases we are commanded to rejoice. What is joy and how does one summon it on command?
2015-04-18 Counting the Omer
During the season from Passover to Shavuot we count the Omer as prescribed in Leviticus 23:15-21. This strange commandment is the key to hidden depth of meaning and ultimately to joy. There are two sequences of 7x7+1 in the Bible, the Omer and Yovel. This talk correlates those two sequences to learn something about the nature of God.
2015-03-28 Why is Y'shua the Lamb of God?
It is not uncommon for Messianics to lose sight of the truths they learned in the Sunday Church when they discover the richness of the Torah. Using only the Exodus story, this talk demonstrates that Y'shua is the Lamb of God and that His death and resurrection atones for the sins of the world.
2014-12-27 Why We Need a Savior
Some in the Messianic movement come out of the Sunday church and slide right into Judaism losing the Savior in the process. A Savior is central to God's purposes for His Creation and this talk explores some of the reasons for that.
2014-11-29 Companionship along the Way
Why do we persist in following God in the face of all of the difficulties this world makes for believers? Y'ashua says that He is the Way. A way or path should be leading toward a goal. In His case, the Way leads to life.
2014-08-23 Elul - Prepare for Yom Kippur
There are 40 days from Rosh Kodesh Elul until Yom Kippur. This is a time for reflection and planning as you prepare to go into the new year. It would be very helpful during this time to simplify your life by getting rid of distractions that keep you from focusing on what's important. The world crisis of the week will still be there in 40 days as will the cute cat videos. What will not be there in 40 days is this opportunity to prepare.
2014-07-26 Cyclical and Linear Time
The generation that left Egypt and died in the wilderness is often regarded as a failure. I do not entirely accept that because they lived 40 more years and died in the hope and promise that their journey would be completed by their children. Just so with we who live our lives waiting for Messiah's return. We may not see that event, but we faithfully live our lives in the hope that our children will. Herein lies the difference between cyclical time and the hope embodied in linear time.
Redemption from Parshat Behar
Torah portion Behar discusses the seven and fifty year cycles of release. It includes the responsibility of the community to redeem land and persons who have been sold. These commandments translate directly into the Book of Revelation and the final redemption of the earth and all its people.
2014-04-26 Love Your Neighbor
The Bible exhorts us to 'love your neighbor as yourself,' but what does that mean and how does one actually do it? As might be expected, the Torah gives us practical instruction.
2041-03-29 Corrupt Instituitons
Commentary on Matthew 15:1-9 All human institutions become corrupt if they hang around long enough - even those established by God. Once an institution has ceased to serve the purpose for which it was created, it should be abolished, or you should come out of it.
2014-01-25 Laws Flow from Narrative
Laws do not exist in a vacuum. They represent a vision of what an ideal society should look like. That vision, in turn, comes from the stories and history of the people who make those laws. This is true for Israel and for the United States.