- Forever Young
- The Feet of Other Disciples
- Discipleship Mentoring Project
- Download April Newsletter as a PDF
It’s a Dylan song title, a worldwide clothing store chain and a desire in the hearts of many – to remain young. Of course those of us who can no longer claim “youthfulness” for our bodies still covet an inner vitality. So, are there any real keys to staying young?
As lovers of God we can expect to find such keys in our Life Manual – His Writings. What is the wisdom of Heaven regarding this inexorable process? The Scriptures are not silent on the meaning and value of our “sunset years.” In fact, there are clear clues for living richly even as our physique might be sagging.
1. Be as a child. Don’t take yourself so seriously. “Whoever does not receive the kingdom as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:15). Having a good time and retaining a curiosity about life may seem frivolous. But maintaining a youthful approach to one’s existence, instead of carrying the heavy baggage of regret, adds years and brightens the countenance.
2. Don’t let the fire go out. At the center of Israel’s camp the altar fire was never to go out (Leviticus 6:13). I believe this is a picture of our heart, our passion for the Living God and His Messiah, Yeshua. Luke-warmness shortens and darkens our days. His life in us is as a fire to be stoked and tended.
3. Friendship and Forgiveness. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). The authentic support and camaraderie of established friendships is of greater value to me now than ever. At the same time, after decades, we have often gathered unresolved relationships. People have come into our lives and departed. We have loved and we have lost. We have flourished with friends and also failed in conflicts. “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15). Grudges age me. Forgiveness renews me. A sure recipe for staying young on the inside is to genuinely forgive those who’ve hurt me. “God gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). Keeping short accounts emotionally with others is vital if I’m to live youthfully.
Here is one more key to staying “forever young.” Give your life away. Pour yourself into others. They will love you for it. And you will be enriched beyond measure. Whatever your age, you cannot go wrong by investing your time in the lives God places before you. – Eitan Shiskoff
In John 13 we read the account of Yeshua washing the disciples’ feet. This happened during the time of the feast of Passover (celebrated this year at the beginning of April). We note that even up until this very day, in this annual ceremony, before the Passover meal (seder), the person leading the Seder washes his hands and the hands of others. Yeshua went even further and washed their feet! Why would He do this, and how did Peter react?
Peter initially objects to Yeshua washing his feet, something normally done by the lowest servants. I can relate to his negative reaction. Having someone you respect and look up to wash your feet is a humbling experience. I can’t imagine how I would feel if that person was the Lord. Yet once Yeshua explains, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me,” Peter enthusiastically receives this service (John 13:9).
After washing their feet, Yeshua returns to the table where they continue to eat and talk. He asks if they really know what he’s just done for them. Yeshua then shares with His disciples the reasoning behind his actions – that we should serve one another regardless of our station.
However there is an additional dimension even beyond humbly serving. In verse 18 Yeshua makes a troubling statement, “…He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.” He is referring to the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9. “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Yeshua said He just washed the feet of someone who is betraying Him! It’s one thing to forgive “regular dirt.” It would be another thing altogether, to forgive “dirt” that a friend might hurl directly in our face!
Is it possible that this could happen to us? Do we ever feel betrayed? And do we ever see the dirt clinging to another disciple of Yeshua? If so, may God give us the heart of grace to follow Yeshua’s example and obey His words: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:13-17).
– Guy Cohen
Editor’s note: In this article Leon shares with us a rabbinic/Talmudic style progression of thoughts connected by the letters of a Hebrew word.
This Hebrew word has the same root as the word עפש (shefa), meaning abundance. These words are related because the concept of abundance is contained within influence. Influence often comes from generosity and giving, which in turn comes from having an abundance. When we have abundance from God, we can pour out our influence.
Israel is presently going through a unique time – a time of growth and yet instability, a time of success and yet danger, a time of conflict and yet opportunity. This is similar to Yeshua’s time, when He told his disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). But this cannot be done only by human enthusiasm alone.
At Shavei Tzion we are blessed to have a dedicated prayer room. Over the coming months we have set aside several focused prayer days and would like to invite you to participate and pray along with us, even if you cannot physically be in Haifa.
We have chosen an intercession theme for each of the following days, connected to the letters in Hebrew as an acronym from the word (influence) העפשה.
March 11: Awaken (heetorer) ררועתה
Wake up! Seek the face of the Lord, open the boundaries within yourself, and “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch out your tabernacle curtains” (Isaiah 54:2).
The Lord encourages us and we seek His mercy and an understanding of destiny for the coming days. The words that were spoken to Queen Esther are also being spoken to us, “You have been born for this purpose, and in this is your destiny.”
April 4: Enough (shaddai) ידש
The letter Shin is written on the Mezuzah and means God’s sufficiency. God is sufficient to meet our needs. For many first generation Israelis, there are a lot of needs. To be a generation of pioneers is a great responsibility. At times we find ourselves attempting to fulfill His will by our own power.
But the words of the prophet Zechariah tell us: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). We need to learn to lean on God, to “flow with His spirit” and to move forward at His command.
July 23: Command (p’kudah) הדוקפ
After His resurrection, Yeshua commanded his disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised…” (Acts 1:4 NIV)
According to Scripture, an important part of our lives as believers is to become like our Messiah. Yeshua told his disciples, “The Holy Spirit…will teach you all things…” (John 14:26) Let’s dedicate this day to obeying God’s command to receive the Father’s gift, welcoming the Spirit to create Yeshua’s character in us, and to change us into His image.
September 9: Eye (ayin) ןיע
The eye grants us the ability to see. This is a leadership gift. Many congregational leaders are suffering burnout. They must teach, pray, lead their congregation, and develop new projects. This is a reality that can wear them out and deplete their energy.
The first congregations were known for revealing talents and gifts from the Lord among their members. They were especially gifted with the ability to educate new believers in the faith. Let us pray that God will fill our great need for leaders who have spiritual eyes to see, and the desire to serve and the understanding of how to accomplish things.
October 17-18: Inﬂuence (hashpa’ah) העפשה
In Jewish tradition this letter signifies “fruitfulness.” Though present results often seem modest, we know that fruit will come from our labors. The work that we do now is preparing Israel to return to her soon-returning Messiah.
On these two concluding prayer days we will be hosting the Worship & Watchmen Mission meeting and guests from the Baruch HaBa 2018 conference. I want to encourage you to pray with us and with these representatives of the nations for influence and abundance. Together we will knock on the door, and the Lord will open the windows of heaven! – Leon Mazin
The Olive Tree Ranch, under the supervision of Tents of Mercy, has been conducting discipleship mentoring projects for the last seven years. This initiative is geared especially to serve IDF soldiers who have recently completed their mandatory service. It is a great way for them to “breathe” and heal after their intense years in the army. For two months we teach them to hear from God and study His Word while living and working in a rural communal environment.
We recently completed our annual session with four young men participating. During daily group devotionals we did in-depth studies of the book of Hebrews and the Gospel of John. In addition each person shared insights from his personal reading. Some highlights included us gaining understanding together regarding the role of the Torah as “teacher” (Galatians 3:24), trusting Yeshua’s judgement as the righteous judge who sees the heart of every last person (Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:42) and putting our confidence in God alone (John 5:44-46).
In addition to their spiritual enrichment, the young men served several hours a day in harvesting and pruning olive trees as well as in goat farming/husbandry. – David firstname.lastname@example.org