By Joseph Shulam – From Belo-Horizonte, Brazil
We have been in Brazil for a week. In the city of Vitoria we had the privilege of inaugurating a new congregation. The name of the new congregation is Hesed V’Emet – Grace and Truth. The text is taken from John 1:14, 17. In the English Bibles and in other Christian Bibles you will find this term only in John chapter 1:14,17 – but if you check the Hebrew Bible you will find it more than 20 times. The key to understand this term is in Exodus 34:6-7. The reason that you don’t find this term in most Christian Bibles in the Old Testament is that the Christian translators decided that it would be confusing for Christians to find “Grace and Truth” in the Old Testament since the text in John 1:17, says: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” So if Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ – there must have not been Grace and Truth in the Torah or the Prophets or the Writings (the Old Testament). Wherever there was “Grace and Truth” the translators masked it by using synonyms like: Gen. 24:49 “if you will deal kindly and truly” – Ex. 34:6 “abounding in goodness and truth” – 2Sam. 15:20 “Mercy and truth be with you.” – Psa. 25:10 “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” – Psa. 40:10 “Your lovingkindness and Your truth.” – Psa. 85:10 “Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.” These are just a few examples from the Old Testament. The translators masked the fact that the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings – the whole Tanach – is full of Grace and Truth, and they did it by using synonyms. So, we have a new congregation associated with Netivyah in Israel by the name Grace and Truth – Hesed V’ Emet. We took a Torah Scroll as a gift for the new congregation and they have built a wonderful Torah Cabinet and a reading table. However, the most wonderful thing about this congregation is that it is made up by young families full of energy and zeal to please God and to do His will. Most of the members – are survivors of a previous congregation that we had a hand in establishing in the same city – a congregation that developed spiritual and moral mold and an abusive leadership of directed by women. So, praise the Lord that gave Noah and his generation an boat to ride out the storm, and not in the city of Vitoria – there is God’s Hesed V’Emet – His grace and truth – to provide a home and a community for healthy growth and godly leadership that will work together and network with all brothers and sisters in that city and in Brazil.
This week the Parasha is Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18), The Haftarah (Reading from the Prophets is: Jeremiah 34:1-22, and the reading from the New Covenant is Mathew 15:1-14.
Immediately after God gave HIS instructions for everyone at the foot of Mt. Sinai – God expands his instructions (The Ten Commandments) and details the laws and the statues for the children of Israel and for every civilized society. The text starts with the laws of how to handle the weakest link in the society at that time, how do deal with a Hebrew slave. The Torah sets limitations to power and authority. When there is a person who out of circumstances in life had to become a slave – and even if you are a master – you can’t do with your slave as you wish. You can’t abuse the slave, and you must remember that the slave is your “brother.” There are so many interesting laws that God has given his children to regulate and have a society that is responsible for the weak and for the strong, and treats the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, righteously and with disregard for the social position or political power. Please read the the Torah and the Prophets and the passage in the New Testament and ask yourself the following questions: 1) Why did tradition chose the following readings in the Prophets and in the New Testament to accompany the reading of the Torah? 2) What are the principles and benefits that I can glean from these texts that would help me become a better person and a more faithful servant of God?
Our dear sister Lea Kurky is in the hospital. She had surgery and we are waiting to receive the results of this surgery. Please lift our dear and faithful sister before God’s throne of mercy for healing and complete recovery.
Daniel P., who had a very horrible motorcycle accident two weeks ago has undergone two major surgeries and until yesterday he was sedated and under the heart and lung machine. Yesterday he could sit down on a chair for one hour. Please pray for Daniel P., and for his family.
Please keep Marcia and I, and Yuda in your prayers. We are traveling and teaching every day. Marcia especially needs your prayers.
Keep praying for the United States of America there are ill winds blowing from Main to California and discord and violent discourse is increasing after President Trump has entered the oval office in the white house. Pray for the president because it is not easy to reverse all that was falsely called “progress” by the previous administration.
Please keep Israel in your prayers. The storm is brewing all around us and unless the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, raise up to save us and deliver us from of our enemies there is no one else who can do it. Prayer is our most important tool for this war, like in every other war that our nation had to go through.
There is a young man by the name of Israel who is the son of one of our leaders in Brazil. Please lift Israel in your prayers. He is a wonderful young man who needs much help to get his life together. He can do it with a little bit of help from God. Now he is ready to seek God and I am sure that God will be found by Israel.
Please keep Danah our daughter and Noaam our granddaughter in your prayers. Danah is doing her best and more than her best to be a good mother. She has been living an extreme Sacrificial life for her daughter. Danah needs your prayers. Please pray for God to give Danah a breakthrough in her life. Pray to God to give her strength and give her health and give Noaam a deep appreciation for her mother and peace in her heart.
Please keep praying for the sick brothers and sisters from all around the World. I would like to ask you to pray for some friends who have a need for God’s blessing on their work: Chung and Sister Lee. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., and his company. Pray for our dear brother David H., and his family in Finland. These are brothers who have needs in their work and God is gracious to bless and help those who have concern to bless others.
Please don’t forget to especial pray for healing and strength for our dear brothers in Murfreesboro. Pray for our dear brother and sister Bobby, and Emmet, and Joe M., and Gloria D., these are all very precious brothers and friends are battling serious health issues and we must keep them in our prayers.
Please don’t forget to pray for our dear sister Ruby, and for my finest teachers, Dr. John McRay, and George Howard.
Keep Gary in your prayers and Nancy’s and Don’s son Aharon who is doing better now, but still is struggling with a tumor in his brain keep him in your prayers please! Yuri Marianenko a member of our congregation in Jerusalem is fighting a prostate cancer. Our wonderful older brothers and sisters need our prayers: Ahuvah Ben Meir, David Stern, Marcia Shulam, Sarit, Miriam, Ilana, and Leah. This week I am adding to this prayer list our dear sister Lydia – lift her up in your prayers and ask for special encouragement for her from the Lord Himself.
We lift up our dear brothers and sisters Clara, Paulo, Naomi, Tim Tucker, Anna, Anne-Mirijami, Satu-Maria, Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, and Evelina, Eva H., and our dear sister Liz J., in Georgia, and Horace and June Marcia’s parents.
We especially lift up before your throne of mercy Marcelo’s father and mother in Belo-Horizonte. We pray for the following dear brothers and sisters: Pastor Curita in Tokyo, Toru San, and the husband of Yumi, Sadako San, Shoko San, Takeo Sensei and Tomoko San all in Japan.
Praying for the sick is something that we are not giving up. We never know the minute in which God will send his healing and touch those for whom you are praying for healing. It can be a physical healing and it can be healing of lives that are broken and it can be healing of people’s business and work. God bless you all for praying for these needs and praying for Israel, and for Netivyah and all the wonderful things that are being done by a very small and busy staff.
God bless you and yours and provide for you all the blessings and prayers for Israel and for us personally.
May the good Lord keep all HIS blessings flowing to you and from you for the body of the Messiah worldwide.