Shalom from Jerusalem!

This evening we will celebrate Rosh HaShana, the beginning of a New Year. For many of us the past season may have been one of perseverance and persistence or we may have enjoyed a time of quiet rest or of fruitfulness and joy. Whatever the recent days, weeks or months have held for you I would like to share a few words of encouragement with you at the start of the New Year.

It is good for us to remember the goodness and faithfulness of our God! “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want-I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters. His goodness restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake – He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3, emphasis added). For His Name’s sake: it is for His glory, not for ours. It’s for His glory so we should be encouraged that He knows what He is doing, for every season He has a plan and a purpose even when we cannot see or begin to understand why. This is where our faith is tested: will we follow where God leads us knowing that He is good, even when we cannot see? His plans are so much greater than ours, even if we never understand the whys or whens.

Our Heavenly Father is the very same One who made the heavens and the earth, bringing everything into being. With just two words He spoke light, that life-giving source, into existence. The original Hebrew says: יהי-אור or in English, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). And there was. Can you even imagine it? Just stop for a second and consider it. God spoke light into existence! And that was just the beginning…(Genesis 1)

Maybe for some of us it is time to get back in the fight, because it is a fight. But take heart, gold is purified and refined in the fire. Only then do we really see the true value, worth, beauty and strength. “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.” because Yeshua lives in us (2 Corinthians 4:8,9). Being a believer, a follower of Yeshua, does not exempt us from trials or tribulation. It should not be surprising when we face difficulties because for every plan and purpose that God has for you, the enemy has another. He does not want to see you walking in freedom fulfilling the destiny and calling that God has for you.

Although we will have trials and tribulations in this world, Yeshua took the trouble to personally remind us that He has overcome the world. He knew we would need to be reminded of this and He tells us to have peace in Him (John 16:33). The great joy that we have in this life is that we know our Heavenly Father loves us and will never leave us, He has promised to be with us forever (Joshua 1:5, Deuteronomy 31:8, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20, Romans 8:35-39). Therefore, let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Yeshua the Messiah (Philippians 3:14).

We can rest in the grace and love of God knowing that it does not depend on our own strength or ability for God’s plans and purposes to come to fruition (Zechariah 4:6). His grace is sufficient for us even when we feel things collapsing around us (2 Corinthians 12:9). We must put our trust not in what we do or have done for God but rather, what He did for us.

Evangelist Angus Buchan challenges us to start adding on the words “But God” to every situation and every circumstance that seems impossible because for God, nothing is impossible. So when you feel that there is no way forward, that you are hard pressed on every side and do not know what to do remember: “But God” because God really does know the way forward, has the answer and will provide. Apart from God we can do nothing, it is only by abiding in Him that we will bear fruit (John 15:3-5). It is when we seek God’s kingdom first or in other words, submit ourselves to Him, give Him His rightful place in our lives and seek His will, that everything else will fall into place, in a right and Godly order (Matt.6:33)

It’s our personal experience with the Lord that really matters, our daily walk and personal relationship with Him that counts. I would like to encourage you to think about the things the Lord has done for you, the ways in which He has moved, in which He has blessed and cared for you. He who made the heavens, parted the seas, called the stars by name and sent His only Son to die for you knows you intimately and is not only the Creator of the world but your Creator too.

While there may be many plans within our hearts for this new year it is the Lord’s counsel that will stand and His purpose that will prevail. While we may be planning in hearts, it is the LORD who will direct our steps. (Proverbs 19:21, 16:9) Let’s give God His rightful place at the start of this New Year to guide and to lead us along the right paths. He knows the way, He is the way and He is more than able to establish us and bring us into the fullness of His promises for us in spite of our weaknesses, our insecurities or shortcomings. He is able and will do it for His Name’s sake. We should learn from Abraham and not make the same mistake he made. When he was promised a son, he looked to himself and not to the One who gave him the promise. This New Year, let us not look to our own capabilities and strengths but to the One who made us and trust that He will fulfill all He has promised to.

May God bless you and lead you in His way this coming year,
Samuel Smadja