Of Friendships and the Kingdom!
By Adrian Bernal, © 2020, All Rights Reserved, 07-17-2020
The Malchut Elohim (ME) or the Kingdom of God is, the movement of Yeshua and those who have believed in him from John the Baptist (Yochanan the Immerser) up to this time, which has included millions of people. It’s a kingdom within a kingdom. Surrounding this ME is a kingdom of darkness ruled by the “god of this age” and his minions who know that their time is short (as far as ions are concerned). They don’t have much time to influence the world. And, unfortunately, they do an excellent job. Their influence isn’t done through straight-out wickedness or major evil exploits. Oftentimes, these are the outward manifestations or results of their influence, which is easy to decipher as evil when seen. For example, Hitler believed lies, found others who helped place him in positions of authority, and eventually led others down a path of pure evil. Even if those lies weren’t bad enough, what those lies led to were devastation and war, and then eventually the final solution—destroy all the Jews of the world. Others died as well, not just partisans and Jews, but those defending the Jews like Catholics and other Protestants. Therefore, the kingdom of darkness is founded on lies and continues to disperse them like Pez candies to little children who can’t resist. Lies come in tiny or big packages with beautiful bows tied on them that tickle our desires: “You will be rich!” “You will be famous!” “You have no friends.” “People talk about you all the time,” etc. So called “good” lies and bad lies fill the minds of all of us, but Yeshua gives us the tools to deal with them, and one of the greatest tools we have is the truth.
The truth that is handed to us ending costing God everything–his own Son on the cross. So, do you think God will not do anything in his power to make sure that the truth remains? He will do everything he can to fulfill the truth in your life. One example is, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). This truth is based off the words just two verses earlier, “Who shall separate us from the love of Messiah? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (v. 35). Therefore, the truth is, trouble, hardships, persecutions, famines, nakedness (exposure of your sins), danger, or weapons formed against you will not separate you from God’s love, and you will overcome all of these; you will conquer if you believe the truth. A lie will say anything contrary to this.
Therefore, how does this compare to friendships? True friends will love you. They will sacrifice for you. They will believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. They will pray for you, and they will also support you no matter what. They will also call you on the carpet when your life doesn’t meet God’s Word, and they will even say no to you when it is needed. Your friendships help present the Malchut of Elohim in your life because they are forged by God’s love. People are not perfect, and your friends are not perfect, but choose your friends wisely and remember, you’re not perfect either! However, the perfection of God is this, through our imperfections, we are made perfect in Messiah, Yeshua because we represent him within his Kingdom, not ours. So be a kingdom friend. Walk in truth, speak the truth, and believe the truth for you and those in the Kingdom.
Seeing the Beauty in the Midst of Darkness.
By Adrian Bernal, © 2020, All Rights Reserved, 07-16-2020
Have you ever felt like giving up? When life doesn’t seem to pan out or come together like you’d hoped it would, and champagne isn’t falling from the skies, what do you do?
Well, it’s easy to just quit. However, if you’ve dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s, and you know for sure God is in the decision you have made, then it’s time to weather the storms, and remain steadfast and faithful. It is hard, understandably, but there’re three steps I’ve found to be helpful, and hopefully they’ll encourage you as well.
1. Be thankful! Psalm 100:4 states, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving an his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” It’s interesting that in this passage it waits to state how we approach the presence of Adonai until verse 4! The key that gets us through the gate is thankfulness. As we pass through the threshold of our presence and into his, we open the gate with thankfulness. We can always find something to be thankful for. I have three wonderful, adult children. I can always thank God for the joy they bring me, and the memories of their childhood, and the new memories they bring me today. I’m thankful for my trials because they are producing character, patience, and wisdom. I’m thankful for the lack of having finances because it shows me I need to trust him and rely on his ability to provide for me in all aspects of my life. There is so much to be thankful for if we just look.
2. Praise him! Regardless of our ability to sing before judges and crowds, or even if we were born mute, we can praise him! We can praise him in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. We can praise him in the mall, on the sidewalk, in our hearts, and in our minds. We can praise him when we are alone or in a group. We can shout hallelujah when we see something praise worthy or even shout hallelujah when we see something unworthy. We can choose to praise him regardless of circumstances. So, rise up and praise him daily.
3. Stop looking into the darkness! It’s easy to see ugly, sin, and darkness, but it takes God’s heart to see the beauty in all things. It’s easy to point out one’s sins, but it’s freeing, fruitful, and more encouraging to point out the greatness of what God sees in others. Moreover, it’s even being willing to release your gifts to strengthen others out of the darkness. To see out of the darkness means you have to stop being selfish. That’s right, selflessness leads one away from pride and into the light. So, see others like God does and eventually you’ll be seeing into the light, not the darkness.
Therefore, be thankful, praise him, and stop looking into the darkness. It takes practice like anything else worth while. I spent years trying to become a professional basketball player and to to look back on it now, it can appear to be a waste of time because I didn’t make it. However, I’m thankful I had the opportunity and I was in the best shape of my life back then, I can praise him that he gave me the gift of athletics, and today I can see the benefit in how basketball gave me skills in the secular world to be a team member. I can see the “court” of life as it is, and take the lead to include others! I can resist the enemy and not allow him to score, and can trust my teammates and coach (Yeshua and other believers) because they have my back.
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This past weekend, Linda and I spent time with other messianic leaders and congregants at Lake Swan Camp in northern Florida. During one of the morning men’s sessions, we talked about faithfulness regardless of circumstances. The leader shared some statistics since COVID-19 started: 1 in 3 believers, (this includes Christians) have stop attending church, or in our case, synagogue, and 1 in 5 places of worship have closed down for good. This means thousands of doors of worship have closed with no immediate hope to reopen.
As leaders, we are faithfully committed to you as we serve Beth Yeshua, and look forward to continually serving you in many ways. And despite all circumstances, we rejoice in seeing you serve faithfully. As we continue to approach the End Days, it is imperative that we not only bond and connect together though the Holy Spirit, but we celebrate one another in His presence.
The Scripture tells us that in the days to come the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12) as we have seen by the thousands of people who are giving up for whatever reasons (e.g., fear, anxiety, distress, lack of finances, lack of trust in others, selfishness, etc.) just as the statistics above reflect. We, however, must press in and show our love by faithfully serving one another, and remembering that as we press on, we are all called to love one another as Yeshua loves us (Yochanan 13:34).