It’s Time To Come Together Again

Shalom Bastrop Torah Community, 

Heidi and I pray every one of you is blessed and prospering in YHWH as the world around us is trying to find a new “normal” post lockdown.

I am reminded we have a sure foundation. YHWH is an unfailing anchor to keep us from succumbing to the plans of the evil one as we are witnessing the foreshadow of the “hour of testing” that is coming on the whole world.

Recently, at a critical point for me, I became aware we are experiencing a largely engineered event created to elicit fear and confusion. A measure of darkness has descended on humanity and especially onto our nation. This time has been foretold in Scripture and has been long-planned for by the enemy. Worldwide power is being consolidated while a stage is being set for the 10 ruler confederacy which will rise and then bow to the Torah-less One (more commonly known as the Antichrist or False Messiah). All humanity will be expected to follow their lead as they help usher in the final system of the beast. I don’t know if this will take months or years from here but it will happen and, barring a great awakening, life as we have previously known before the lockdown, will not return any more than we had a return to life as it was before 9/11 once Homeland Security measures were put in place.

We might be tempted to feel burdened with this knowledge and yet in this situation, we have an opportunity to wrestle with our Creator as Jacob did. He desires to remake us into the image of Yeshua like Jacob became Israel. However, as the patriarch did, are we willing to say (and do) like he said: “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

Have you grown weary in well-doing? Have we been willing to sacrifice obedience to Yah’s Word to not forsake the gathering of the saints for perceived safety & security? I think y’all know what Yeshua has to say about that subject.

I can’t and shouldn’t tell you how to live your life or tell you how to respond to a government-mandated cease and desist order. However, I do know none of us are immune to the wiles of Ha-Satan. Sh’aul stated (Heb 10:25), we should be: “encouraging one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Our Heavenly Abba has created us to need each other. Trying to do this on our own is a life of defeat and retreat. 

With that in mind, we are opening our house this Shabbat (5/23) at 1 PM for fellowship, praise, and Torah study. This week’s portion is about the census of the tribes. Will we be counted among His people?  Will we be physically present when His Ruach wants to move among us.

I cannot convey strongly enough how much we all need to fellowship in physical proximity with other believers whether with us here or somewhere else. Please get engaged where He leads you. But by all means, get engaged and don’t back down because your spiritual life depends on it.

Bamidbar – “In The Desert”

NUMBERS 1:1-4:20|



Please come with your Bible and, if you are able to stay and break bread with us, it would be great to share a meal. We will have the grill up and running. Bring your meat or main dish and a side to share. Please reach out to Heidi if you have other questions about what to bring.

Also, a friendly reminder to invite you to put it on your calendars to join us for the Sabbath of Shavuot on Sunday, May 31 – Feast of Weeks for fellowship and worship. We count from the morrow (Sunday) of the Shabbat following Pesach and end the counting on the 50th day on a Sunday. If that is not the calendar you keep you are still welcome to be part of a gathering.

We will keep in touch about plans for a holy convocation as we are instructed to gather on that day.

Parashah Ki Tetze – When You Go Forth 09.14.19

Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Haftarah (Prophets): Isaiah 54:1-10 B’rit Hadashah (Gospel): Matthew 24: 29-42

The ways of the Lord are different than the ways of the world and His command to treat our fellow human beings with compassion and dignity extends to even the most personal decisions of intimacy and romance. We have no excuse, whether in the heat of battle or in the heat of family negotiations, to treat one another any differently than His clearly defined terms of respect, honor, and grace demonstrated in this Torah portion.

If you ever wanted to see an expression of God’s heart for the vanquished, the unloved wife, the foreigner, the child, the wicked, and even the care of one’s oxen, this text includes 74 of the 613 mitzvot in one place helping us to see many specific and deliberate ways our faithful Heavenly Father wishes for us to care for one another and those in our care.

The text concludes with the admonition to not forget what Amalek did to them on the road as they were coming out of Egypt.

But what did he do?

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the road as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the road, attacked those in the rear, those who were exhausted and straggling behind when you were tired and weary. He did not fear God. ” (CJB)

It was a heinous thing in the eyes of YHWH for the weak and powerless to be attacked and plundered. He is a defender of the weak and the refuge for those who need help. Psalm 41:1-2 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.  2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. 

It is a violation of His nature for injustice and oppression to be found among His people. When we go forth we are not to be like the other nations. We know better and we have the empowerment of the Ruach HaKodesh to teach us and equip us.

But the conclusion of Amalek’s listed grievances was the most tragic. He did not fear God. There could not be wisdom found in him and he became anathema to God’s people. Israel was told to. “…blot out all memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 25:19) There would be no lasting legacy for this pagan king.

Let’s go forth with the fear of the Lord and, with His banner of love and compassion, of wisdom and kindness, build community that reflects His nature. No shrinking back from battle but stay far from willful destruction, selfish use, and oppression so that our memory can be a blessing and our lives can bring abundant life to a world desperately in need of a Savior.

Parashah Ekev – Consequence 08.24.19

TORAH: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 HAFTARAH: Isaiah 49:14–51:3 B’rit Hadashah: Matthew 16:13-20

As we near the end of this year and look expectantly toward the Fall Festivals, their meaning in our lives, their prophetic importance, and the steadfastness of Abba’s perfect and excellent plan for His creation, Ekev has great meaning. We walk daily with the consequence of our choices and it is the heart of our Beloved that we would walk in the blessing and joy that is a natural consequence of following His truth and His commands.

“The forty-sixth reading from the Torah and the third reading from the book of Deuteronomy is named Ekev(עקב), a word from the first verse of the portion. Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “Then it shall come about, because (ekev, עקב) you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.” Usually, the word ekev means “heel.” In fact, this word shares the same three-letter root as the name Jacob (Yaakov, יעקב), whose name actually means “heel.” He was born holding on to Esau’s heel. However, in Deuteronomy 7:12, the word ekev means “on the heels of” or “because of.” This portion of Deuteronomy speaks of the rewards that will come to Israel on the heels of keeping God’s covenant and commandments.” (quote from First Fruits of Zion)

    • Deuteronomy 7:12 | Blessings for Obedience
    • Deuteronomy 8:1 | A Warning Not to Forget God in Prosperity
    • Deuteronomy 9:1 | The Consequences of Rebelling against God
    • Deuteronomy 10:1 | The Second Pair of Tablets
    • Deuteronomy 10:12 | The Essence of the Law
    • Deuteronomy 11:1 | Rewards for Obedience
    • Isaiah 49:8 | Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home
    • Isaiah 50:4 | The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication
    • Isaiah 51:1 | Blessings in Store for God’s People

Additional Study resources can be found on Torah Class by Tom Bradford. Lessons 10-13 are relevant to our Torah portion.

Parashah Devarim – Word 08.10.19

This week’s portions are: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:1, Isaiah 1:1-21, Matthew 24:1-22

Additional study on this week’s Parashah can be found by listening to Tom Bradford at Torah Class: Lessons 1-4 will cover our text (Deut 1:1-3:1)

A resource my sons have particularly enjoyed was the Bible Project. This ministry based out of Portland, Oregon has used graphic novel type visuals and Youtube videos to explain historical and biblical concepts. This video is only about 8 minutes long but provides a fantastic overview of the book of Isaiah and can help us to gain perspective into our Haftarah portion, Isaiah 1:1-21, leading us into Isaiah’s vision, the wickedness of Judah, and the degenerate city.

Finally, our gospel portion, Matthew 24:1-22 is the text where Yeshua discusses the destruction of the temple and the Abomination of Desolation. This is a very appropriate text as we are ushering in T’isha B’Av, the 9th of Av.

Notable events of this historic date include:

1. The Spies Returned With a Bad Report

2. Both Holy Temples Was Destroyed

3. The Battle at Betar Was Lost – the end of the Bar Kochba revolt and massacre of Jews by the Romans.

the end of the Bar Kochba revolt and massacre of Jews by the Romans.

4. The Romans Plowed the 2nd Temple – Beit HaMikdash

5. The Jews Were Expelled From England

6. The Jews Were Banished From Spain

7. Both World Wars Began