Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Parsha “Ekev”– teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a study of the set of several of the “most anti-paganism” and pro-Torah portions IN the Torah. It’s a theme that is repeated multiple times in Scripture, but perhaps nowhere else so clearly and unequivocally as in this parsha: When you come into the land, you shall not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. And when it comes to their idols, don’t even covet the gold and silver on them. Utterly detest them. Don’t even take an idol into your HOUSE, lest you be accursed like it!

The Erev Shabbat overview of the portion (Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25)


The alternative link via Hebrew Nation Radio:

Mark begins the Sabbath Day “deeper examination” of the parsha this week a bit differently. The parsha begins with what ‘shall come to pass,’ but – by now – all of that HAS come to pass, the blessings and the things that shouldn’t have happened, but did, leading to an exile still in progress. So it’s time to start with some talk about “faith”, and what happened with a lack thereof.

The theme of a ‘snare’, if we forget YHVH and are instead seduced by idolatry permeates the parsha, of course. But there is an element of understanding that reveals just how far down that road we’ve gone as a society when we think about what the point of “debate” once was. To find Truth, and seek to make a case based on Truth. When that is clearly no longer the goal, then what’s the point of discussion? And that goes a long way toward explaining what has happened to “civil discourse” in post-Biblical AmeriKa, too.

Moses AGAIN warns those who would turn from obedience to the instruction of Yahuah of the consequences, and AGAIN says not to do what they did, and we, as a world even, are still doing: going after other, false, ‘gods’.

This teaching, ultimately, is all about “faith”. What does that really mean anyway?

And we see that when it comes to Authority. His, and those who have sought to replace Him.

“Ekev: No Point in Debate”


The alternative link via Hebrew Nation Radio:

And finally, the podcast page for the HNR files are all here.

“Vayeira ”– teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa for a two-part look at parsha “Vayeira,” Genesis chapters 18 through 22.

The Erev Shabbat overview stretches from the story of the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, through the Akeida, or binding of Isaac.

SSM “Vayeira” 2017

The Sabbath Day teaching continues the examination of Abraham’s demonstation of FAITH, from the perspective of what it really means for us to believe Yahuah as he did.

“Vayeira – ‘by faith Abraham‘ and how do we WALK in that during troubling times?”

“Lech Lecha ”– teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa for a two-part look at one of the rightfully most famous figures in Scripture, and the first of the Patriarchs — Abram, later Abraham.

The Erev Shabbat overview teaching is a look how he is first called (to “come out of” the pagan land where he, and his family, were) and begins to walk the path that leads directly to THE primary Covenant upon which all that follows is based, and leads to his being given a new name, and reputation as the father of nations, and of faith.

SSM Lech Lecha 2017

The Sabbath Day teaching is all about Abraham’s legendary FAITH, but perhaps in a bit different way than we’ve usually heard it taught. Why is LAUGHTER such a big part of the story? And what does that teach us?

“Lech Lecha – Abraham: Faith and Laughter!”

Parsha “Devarim” teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Join Mark Call for two related, but different looks at this week’s Torah portion, Devarim, which begins the Book of Deuteronomy. This week’s discussion also includes a bit more from the Haftorah as well, in the first three chapters from the prophet Isaiah.

The first recording is the regular Erev Shabbat teaching, from the Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship, and is again an overview of the entire parsha:

SSM Devarim 1 Aug 2014

The longer teaching from Shabbat concentrates on specifics from the parsha in more detail, as well as the connections to the current “times and seasons”. Given what is happening today, and the context of this Torah portion, perhaps a good subtitle of at least one aspect of the teaching could be, “What? You call THOSE giants scary?”

Talking Torah Teaching – Devarim – 2 August, 2014



WHY the “Law” is NOT “done away with”, nor is “Jesus” the ONLY one who can keep it!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Here is the teaching for Deuteronomy 30 from Mark Call, which answers that particular Big Lie:


Deuteronomy 30

Come out – with JOY

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The first Book of the Bible provides us with contrasting stories of two men, each of whom can rightfully be said to be our physical and spiritual fathers — Noah and Abraham.  Noah was told to build an ark, because the world as he knew it was going to come to an end.  Abram (he would be re-named later) was told to come out of the world he knew.

It is from the patriarch Abraham that all of the twelve tribes of Israel descend.  It was to that same father Abraham that some of the most important and dramatic promises in all of history were made.  And it was arguably Abraham who was the first man in Scripture to be given the CHOICE to “come out of her,” as Revelation 18:4 later admonishes us.

The fundamental elements of the entire story are outlined in the first three verses of Bereshiet (or Genesis) chapter 12:

“And YHVH said unto Abram, ‘”Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation; and I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
And I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'”

These are the first recorded words spoken by YHVH to him.  And Abram was already 75 years old, to boot.  Why does Scripture make the point to tell us that?  Perhaps in part it’s to help us understand that what is being asked of him.  At an age that now marks a time for many men to have settled into retirement, such a request might be considered out of our “comfort zones”.

But the story of Abraham was only beginning.  He left, “as YHVH had spoken,” and went where he was directed.  What followed has been described as a sequence of “tests” in the life of the first Hebrew…to leave the land he knew, to learn kindness and hospitality and strength, to manage his house, and ultimately culminating in the “Akeida” — the offering up of his son Isaac:

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”    (Genesis 22:1-2)

Many people have been troubled by this final test of Abraham, even though it appears to foreshadow the Son of God.  How could Scripture countenance what appears to be a command for human sacrifice?  We know that Abraham believed YHVH, and his “faith was counted for righteousness.”   (Romans 4:1-5)  I tend to think the answer is so simple that we overlook the obvious:  Abraham’s faith, and his willingness to hear and obey YHVH so great, that he never even considered the possibility that Isaac’s life would end.  He knew — and had SEEN! — that this was the son he had been promised.  This was the son whose miraculous birth was marked with joy, and even whose name meant “laughter”.  This was the son through whom the promises of Elohim would be fulfilled!

I believe that Abraham “rose early” to start his journey, and that “both of them went together” to “the place Elohim had told of” because
he was excited to see just what miracle the Almighty would work in their lives this time!

And it was truly one of the most striking, and important, and JOYFUL, in all of history.

Our choice is in some respects even similar, and may even sometimes seem almost as difficult to each of us as individuals.  Most of us, arguably, have not heard the promises of YHVH spoken to us directly, although we do have His Word.

We, too, are told to leave behind the things of this world, and “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness“.

And we, too, are tested — by the challenges of the world, and by the chastening of our Creator.  Also like father Abraham, we are told to “come out of her,” so that we do not partake of those sins, nor the coming plagues.   (Revelation 18:4)  The Book of Revelation if filled with similar admonitions in the letters to the seven churches as well — telling us to “persevere” and be “Overcomers”.  Yet the ‘world’ is pervasive, and persuasive, and certainly threatening to those who seek to “follow Him, and Him alone”.  Weren’t we even warned that the world would “hate us”, for His sake?  (John 15:18-23; Luke 6:22, 1 John 3:13, etc)

The key is to learn to “fear not”, and develop the KIND of trust in YHVH and His promises that enabled Abraham to simply walk in obedience, and accept His blessings with joy.  Yaakov (James 1:2-3) put it this way:

“…  count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience [perseverence]…so that you might be complete, lacking nothing.”

Even when our testing seems too much to bear, He assures us it is not, and reminds us that those He loves, He chastens.  But even so, testing is a lot easier when we can learn to focus on the joy.

Choose Life!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

If there is a single teaching that outlines and defines what it is that separates a Torah-observant mindset from what is too often taught in “mainstream Christianity” – it is this one:


Life and blessing – or death and cursing – so CHOOSE LIFE!

(As usual, the first teaching in the session is Jeff Gilbert, followed by Mark Call.)



Last week’s teaching goes with it as well:

Ki Tavo

Hebrew Roots 101

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Perhaps the most obvious, and frequently-asked, of all questions concerning the idea of what it means to “come out of” the world — and of the ‘Church’ of Babylon, or Egypt, or Washington, DC — has to do with what is DIFFERENT about following Him as a “Torah-Observant Believer”.  Isn’t it more than food, or keeping His Sabbath?  Are the differences significant ENOUGH that we might even refer to II Cor. 11:4 and suggest that some of those churches even preach “another ‘Jesus’, whom we have not preached“?*

Certainly we can suggest to people that our faith in YHVH must be built on the Rock that He has always said constitutes the foundation:  His instruction, aka “torah,” and the fact that He, without question or failure, always and absolutely keeps His Covenants.  Every bit of His teaching and instruction, literally from “Bereshiet (Genesis) to Maps,” tells an utterly consistent story.  But when it comes to any number of the ‘doctrines of men’,  most ‘Sunday churches’ still generally teach tradition rather than Scripture.  So to explain to a skeptical Christian what is different about following Him in obedience (and walking according to His commandments) ‘as Written‘ can be anything but a brief undertaking.

Is it possible to explain all of those differences in a short teaching?   Of course!  And the answer is amazingly simple.

Start the way He did!  The teaching known popularly as the “Sermon on the Mount”, contained in Matthew chapters 5 to 7, is a perfect introduction to what He did — because the Messiah Himself tells us what He came to do, as well as what He did NOT!  And it is easy to find, and remember, because it is essentially the very first major teaching He gave.

And remember who He was talking to!  For the most part, they were people who had some understanding of the Scriptures, but who had been deceived by teachers who had not been doing their jobs.  He would later call many of such unfaithful servants and blind guides things like “hypocrites”  — and worse — for exactly that reason!

These were people, however, who arguably had a better understanding of ‘the Torah’ than many in today’s churches do.  But, like those who have been deceived by the modern Pharisees, many in His audience had been misled to believe that their own, often pagan, tradition was what Scripture actually SAID (they may have even claimed it was ‘law’).

Yahushua started with things they knew, at least in part, because Scripture promises blessings for obedience to YHVH.  These include things like the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 28, and culminate in the ultimate directive to “choose life!” of chapter 30, verse 19.  His introduction, therefore, is a reprise of the blessings YHVH bestows upon His children.  The first time He speaks directly of Himself and what He has come to do, however, it is about ‘torah’.  After all, He is the “Word Made Flesh”, and makes VERY clear right up front that He has NOT come to ‘destroy the torah‘ but to “fulfill”…literally to “fill up” His instruction, and the testimony of prophets who spoke of Him, with meaning that had not, until that time unfolded, been clear:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.   (MatitYahu 5:17)

Furthermore, we can see that “heaven and earth” still exist.  And since even most children understand**  simple logic, the meaning of His next statement is undeniable — even if it conflicts with much doctrine of ‘the Church’:

“For assuredly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will by any means pass from  the [torah] until all is fulfilled.  (v. 18)

Having established that He did not come to change His own Word, and warning against “teaching men so” besides, He proceeds to give just about the best point-by-point refutation of the ‘doctrine of the Pharisees’ — both of that time, and those that followed — that a new Believer will find.  It was His choice of repeated verbal ‘template’ and imagery that is so profound — and so VITAL for us to recognize!  Time and again, He makes the same point:  “You have heard it said”  illustrated by some example of a Biblical-sounding doctrine with a bit of a twist, followed by His own correction, “...but I TELL YOU.”  In every single case, what they had “heard it said” was wrong, as He patiently explained, and what He told them was EXACTLY WHAT WAS WRITTEN.  Why, because He was the “Word Made Flesh”, of course!

And what better introduction to the differences between what each of us has “heard it said” that He taught, or — well, SHOULD have taught, if only He understood whatever traditions and doctrines of fallen men are being promoted at the time — and what is actually Written than His very first sermon!  Yahushua, as opposed to “another ‘Jesus’ — who came to change His own instruction and thus make Himself out to be some type of false prophet,” makes perfectly clear the difference between what it means to BELIEVE Him, as opposed to merely believing IN Him.

No wonder the summary of that teaching ends with the observation that those who heard it “were astounded!

For he taught them as [one] having Authority.”  And why that is should be obvious!

The best way for us to explain the difference between the real Yahushua, who didn’t change the smallest part of His teaching and instruction, and “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,”  is to be able to do so exactly as He did:  What you have “heard it said” is NOT necessarily what “is Written!”

*  II Cor. 11:4

** Case in point:  When a father tells his son that — if he expects to earn some desired reward  — but not “until you clean this room” and wait “until after supper”, it means BOTH conditions must be met.  Those with seminary degrees who claim that the “law (meaning His Torah) is done away with” because “all” has somehow been fulfilled need to understand simple logic as well as a child.

Who Ya gonna believe – Me, or your lyin’ eyes?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Even though by now it probably shouldn’t, it still amazes me just how utterly relevant the weekly Torah portion (parsha) so often is.  Not only are we seeing so much of prophecy fulfilled (admittedly, perhaps not for the first time!) before our eyes, but the lessons for what we should DO in response are just as vital now as they were to those who lived it the first time.

The story of the ‘spies’ in Numbers chapters 15 and 16 is a perfect example when it comes to current events.  Not only is it the “first recorded vote” in all of Scripture, but it teaches the timeless lesson that when it comes to the choice between “believing Him” and accepting appearances, which “look correct” to us, there is no contest.  Even the Hebrew word “tur” — a root verb meaning “to spy out,” seek, or explore (think “tourist”)  —  is revealing,  and the use of the very same word at the end of the portion points to a wonderful solution as well.

The story starts out by making sure that we know exactly who the players were.  Each of the representatives of their respective tribes, “every one a leader among them,” was recorded by name.  And Moses gave clear instructions, (Num. 13:17-20) telling them to observe the people, the land, and what type of cities they dwelt in, but with the proviso, “Kazakh,” in the Hebrew , to “be strong and of good courage!

Yet the vast majority* returned bearing not only the incredible fruit of the promised land, but an ‘evil report’.   They failed utterly to “see” beyond the surface, as they had been directed, and were instead deceived by appearances, and their own preconceptions.  Caleb and Joshua — alone — saw the Truth, and recognized that the land was “an exceedingly good land,” exactly as YHVH had promised.

And while there are many wonderful lessons which can be drawn from the story,  it is the question of “what do we choose to believe” that I find particularly interesting.  Yes, there were giants in the land, but Numbers 13:33 gives us more information than might be obvious at first glance; read it carefully:
“…and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Imagine that!  The men of the land managed to see the ‘grasshoppers’ exactly as they saw themselves.   Joshua and Caleb, however, realized (Num. 14:9) that “their defense has been removed from them,” and not only should they not be feared, but (in the equivalent Hebrew idiom) ‘we will eat their lunch!’  So, we should go now, Caleb urged.  As it turned out, the “whole congregation” turned on the two of them, rejected the promises of YHVH, and all of those adults ended up not going at ALL.  Every one of them died in the wilderness, because they “despised” YHVH (Num. 14:11) by their failure to believe His promises, given all that they had already SEEN!

And just Who do we believe today?  We have a world economy based on dishonest weights and measures — which He calls “abomination” — and it is nearing worldwide collapse.  A debt which is mathematically impossible to ever “repay” is taking down the PIIGS dominoes (Greece, then Spain) first, but portends a plague of truly Biblical proportions.  Unrest, riots, famine, and war will follow – as they always do, and just as Scripture warns.

And what of the governments…all of whom arguably now serve the “prince of this world”?  There, too, both Scripture and the news give the same answer:  Tyranny.  “Capital controls” and other draconian population control measures have already been implemented across Europe, to prevent people from escaping the economic meltdown, or preserving their wealth.  Cameras, airport searches, and internet spyware have long ago made the concept of ‘privacy’ laughable.  In the United States, tens of thousands of drones are not only already being openly admitted to perform aerial spying, but now to being armed…with everything from Tasers and rubber bullets to machine guns and missiles.

People have even begun to bring an “evil report”:  The “New World Order” is too strong to resist.  Big Brother really IS watching you…and X-raying, and groping.  And, just like the Borg of Star Trek, “resistance is futile”.  It truly sounds bleak…at least to those without “eyes to see” His Truth.

Is what we face today really so different from the “giants in the land” that so terrified a mixed multitude who ended up dying in the wilderness?
Does the commandment to “Fear Not!” still apply?  If we allow ourselves to be propagandized into seeing ourselves as the blind “tur-ists” did — grasshoppers in our OWN sight — is it so hard to see how that story would end?

And why does He end the lesson associated with the spies, and immediately the man who rebelled against His Sabbath, the way He does?

Part of the solution is in fact as simple as Scripture lays it out for us:  “Choose this day Whom you will serve…serve YHVH…and Him alone.”  Believe His promises.  Fear Not.  Seek Him…and “He will direct your paths.”

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:36)

There is no question that this is a time for prayer.  But is there something else — practical and effective, and maybe even relatively EASY to do — that might help us learn to “walk that path”?

Yes.  And it is at the end of that same Torah portion (Numbers 15:38-40).  It even uses the same Hebrew word —  “tur” again — to make the point:
Put a blue thread in the tzitzit on the corners of your garments.
“And you shall have the tzitit, that you may look upon them and remember all the commandments of YHVH and do them, and that you may not spy after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go astray;
and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be set apart to your Elohim.

Who are we gonna believe?  YHVH or our own “lying eyes”?  If we can learn to follow even some of His simplest commands, and look upon the tzitzit that he tells us to put upon the corners of our garments as a reminder, He is faithful enough to teach us, and guide us the rest of the way.


IF we are really close to the ‘endtimes’…

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Are we coming up on the ‘endtimes’?  While I have a suspicion or two, it is admittedly impossible to really KNOW, until sometime, well…later.

But we are to “know the season”, and also to remain “teachable”.  So, I’m open to being shown.

But IF, and I stress the ‘IF’ part, that is indeed what is coming, what does it mean for us, now?

I heard a comment from a friend on the subject that I like:

“You cannot POSSIBLY prepare for what is coming.”

BUT…there are things we certainly can do:

Prepare to be teachable.

Prepare to be led.

Prepare to be obedient.

Prepare to be able to help others.

(Learn, live, lead.)

and PRAY to be counted worthy to escape what is to come.

In other words, enter via the “strait gate” and be prepared to be led via the narrow way.  You won’t find it on your own, and probably wouldn’t believe what lies along the path in the interim anyway…yet.