The introverted people person
Recently I’ve realised that there are a host of people out there who are called to people, but are naturally introverted themselves.
This is me. I never realised it was me until I found myself day dreaming of quiet vistas, lakes, forests, mountains and isolation. I don’t know if I changed over the years, or it’s just been highlighted by the fact that I have less time alone due to being a mother, and having a business.
It’s a difficult tension to balance when you are called to connect and to genuinely touch heart to heart with others, while also needing space and time alone and quiet, in order to fill up so you can cope with the people you’re called to!
I think that God has made us this way on purpose and probably more of us are made this way than we realise. I think it’s easy for extroverts to find their fuel from being around people and interactions from others. I think I used to be like this. I used to get such a high from being around others. But then something changed! I don’t even know what it was, but suddenly I found that if I hadn’t had some down time, alone and quiet, then people just positively drained me.
It’s interesting that even the gift that God puts in us, when it’s not framed by him can become the very thing that drains and empties us. Our gifts are only effective when they’re fuelled, and anointed by him. The moment the gift itself becomes ‘enough’ to get us through, it will eat us from the inside out and be a loud and clanging sound.
Our gifts are there to both reflect an element of God’s character and to bless the hearts of those around us. Our gifts are not only there to enjoy by ourselves. If you’re an introverted people person like me, then your gift is only going to be effective when you’re filled up in the secret place, so that you can be the fullness of the blessing that he wants you to be when you’re with the people that he wants you to bless.
Sometimes loving others well is a sacrifice, and the opposite of what we feel like doing. It fills us with dread and we’d rather run away and hide alone somewhere (preferably somewhere with an epic view, some hot chocolate and a crackling fire!). But it’s in those moments when we’re filled up by him, and we don’t feel like it, that we can be the greatest blessing. I believe that Yeshua meant so much more by the verse ‘greater love has no man than he who gives up his life for his brother’ (John 15:13), than life and death. That’s not to belittle or reduce the enormity of the sacrifice of life, however I do believe that we can show this same love by putting others before ourselves, especially when we don’t feel like it.
The most difficult thing for those of us who are called to connect deeply with people, and who’s greatest gift is to love others well, is to find the balance of self care, vs. others care. Sometimes we can pour out and keep pouring and seeing needs and forget that we are less effective and less loving when we have not taken care of ourselves and our own ‘filling up’ from God.
Sometimes introverts can assume that they mustn’t be people people. I think the ‘introverted people person’ is a special and deliberate breed, because God has made us with a need to be dependant on him. We cannot coast through on our nature, we NEED him. He’s given gifts which seemingly clash with how we’d choose to operate, so need to depend on him all the more for ‘enough’ to give to others. So if you’re an ‘introverted people person’, take encouragement that God is jealous over you. He wants you to be fully effective in your gift to love others well, by taking him along with you. He’s made you in a way that needs him.
This article originally appeared on Simcha Natan’s blog, March 7, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Simcha emigrated to Israel from the UK, with her husband and three children. Having studied theology and music and worship in London, and trained as a worship leader and song writer, she went on to teach music and be involved in worship teams in several congregations in the UK, and now in Israel as part of Sarah Liberman's team. Simcha is the author of the “Dare to Ask” project, comprising of the book 'Dare to Ask', and 3 CD's, Dreaming', 'Awakened' and 'Soar (To come) which each have a counterpart 30 day devotional study guide to accompany them. She is passionate about enabling people to engage with God in the way which they were made to, and is committed to multi sensory expressions. Simcha is also an artist, and paints her songs and messages to accompany the music and books. She is also the coordinator Ascend Carmel Programs.
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Reflections of redemption in Nisan, Part 2
We saw in Part 1 that rabbinic leaders created no community celebrations to mark Rosh Ha-Hodashim. For Yeshua’s disciples, this is a great advantage: We have a nearly empty arena in which to build traditions for this Milestone that are distinctly Messianic.
As always, we should build on a foundation of the Scriptures, and there we can find a surprising number of references to this date.
The Biblical Record
God’s word never gives pointless information, so we would do well to ponder the events that were recorded as happening “on the first day of the first month”:
– The Flood waters finally disappeared from the ground (Gen. 8:13).
– The Tabernacle was first set up (Exod. 40:2,17).
– Ezra began his journey from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:9).
– Ezra finished his investigation of the men who had married foreign wives (Ezra 10:17).
– Priests under Hezekiah began to cleanse and rededicate the Temple (2 Chron. 29:17).
– God announced that He was giving Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as wages (Ezek. 29:17).
– Ezekiel’s (future) Temple will be purified (Ezek. 45:18)
What do all these different events have in common, besides the date? We see here new beginnings, historical turning points… all following a theme of cleansing and closure. The earth emerged freed from an irreversible corruption, a Jewish leader left behind his life of exile, disobedient Jews were made accountable to the Covenant, God rewarded a king who had carried out His judgment, and three different Sanctuaries were (or will be) made ready for pure worship.
All of these can be seen as pictures showing the different results of being redeemed – in terms of both rights and responsibilities.
The absence of celebration doesn’t mean the rabbis never talked about the significance of Nisan 1 for Israel. Following are a few examples showing the unintentional (?) hints of the Messianic redemption that we experience through the New Covenant.
A new or stronger creation. As we saw in Part 1, Jewish teachers insisted that God’s activity in creating the world on Nisan 1 was stronger than any of the aspects of creation associated with Tishrei 1. And so it is with the New Creation, which God first promised through the prophets (the “Tishrei” phase) and then fulfilled through Yeshua (the “Nisan” phase). Even if someone learns to know God through the Scriptures, and/or has returned to the Land of Israel according to the promises, he is in an embryonic state of redemption. He must be “born of the Spirit” to enter the Kingdom of God and the New Creation (John 3:3-7). The teachers of Israel are supposed to know these things from what is revealed in Tanach (v.10).
The Patriarchs entered Heaven. According to a pre-existing tradition recorded in the Talmud, Avraham, Yitzhak and Yakov all died on Nisan 1. This provides interesting context for the statement in Hebrews that our faithful forefathers all considered themselves strangers in the earthly Land of Promise, because they were “looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10) How fitting is the idea that they should receive that longed-for inheritance on Rosh Ha-Hodashim, the day of cleansing and closure in Scripture which God ordained to represent “the Head” of all “new things”. This idea in turn leads to Messiah – for in that Heavenly architecture built by God, we are told (Matt. 21:42, Acts 4:11, 1 Pet. 2:7) that Yeshua is the Cornerstone (Heb: “Rosh Pina”, quoting Psa. 118:22).
The Patriarchs were also portrayed (Pesiqta Rabbati 162) as interacting directly with Messiah during Nisan. “The Fathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] will in the future rise up in the month of Nisan” to beg Him to go and redeem their descendants. Curiously, in the story they are conscious of “the sins of our children” and that Messiah has already “suffered on their account”; now they fear He has rejected Israel because of it. For the remarkable answer Messiah gives them (and similar stories), see our collection on the Restorers of Zion site
Future Nisan miracles will dwarf the Exodus. Hassidic teaching (Sefer Ha-Yetzira) characterized the First Month as brimming with miracles, by relating its name to “nisim/miracles” and suggesting a translation of “nisan” as “miracles of miracles.” For Israel’s future, the commentary quoted God as promising: “As the days of your exodus from Egypt, I shall reveal to him wonders.” They explained that the future Redemption will be like the deliverance from Egypt, but more miraculous.
What could surpass national liberation from slavery, except spiritual liberation from slavery to sin? This expectation is reinforced by God’s oft-repeated declaration (Exod. 13:3, 13:14, 20:2; Deut. 5:6, 6:12, 8:14, 13:5, 13:10, etc.) that He has brought us “out from Egypt” AND “from the house of slaves.” Given the Jewish view that God never needlessly repeats Himself, these are taken as two deliverance experiences. Yet the Talmud (Rosh Hashana 11a) expected that second deliverance also in the Passover month: “in Nisan they will be redeemed in the time to come.”
The consecration of God’s dwelling place. The Mishkan (Tent of Meeting) was first erected on the first day of the First Month, the date set by God (Exod. 40:2,17). After it was cleansed, His glory covered and filled it so intensely that even Moshe could not enter it (v. 35). Many details about this structure, beginning with its name (“mishkan” comes from “lishkon/to dwell”), portray the kind of intimate dwelling place that God desires within His people. Paul makes this connection explicit (1 Cor. 6:19).
The Talmudic rabbis also taught that we are meant to be individual dwelling places for God. “Since the Temple was destroyed, the Holy One has no place in this world except for the four Amot of Halacha” (Brachot 8a). “Four amot” are roughly 1 square meter, interpreted as the space occupied by a human torso. But we know that “halacha”, performance of the Law, will not make the human temple a fit dwelling place for Him. How do we know? The original Mishkan needed to be “atoned” by blood and “sanctified” by oil (Lev. 8) before God was willing to inhabit it.
To paraphrase Paul (1 Cor. 9:9-10), is God concerned about inanimate objects, or about us? Torah’s message: Yes, we are designed to be God’s Mishkan; but no, we cannot serve that purpose until we are cleansed with the Blood of Messiah’s atonement and set apart by the Oil of God’s Spirit. Both are essential in the gospel (Acts 2:38, 8:15, 19:2)
According to Torah, God’s indwelling Presence depended on one more thing: the Olat Tamid, the daily sacrifice. This was the first offering commanded for the newly dedicated altar, and note the amazing promise attached:
Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one-year-old lambs each day, continuously…. And I will dwell among [or, within*] the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am YHVH their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among [or, within*] them; I am YHVH their God. (Exod. 29:38-46
*The Hebrew word here, unlike the more definite “bekerev/among” (בקרב), is “betoch” (בתוך) which can mean both “among” and “within”. It’s an unmistakable reference – twice – to some unique power of the Tamid (not attributed to any other sacrifice) to make Israel a fit dwelling place for their God.
The Mishkan’s first use and the Tamid command were logically assumed by the sages to have happened on the same day, Nisan 1. As we already saw, the command concerning the Passover lamb also came with the command to mark Nisan 1. It’s no coincidence that the Tamid and the Passover lamb both belong to the “first things” of Nisan, and now we will explore that connection.
Hannah Weiss lives in Israel with her husband Hillel, their three children and two grandchildren. Besides writing on issues relevant for followers of Yeshua, she also works as an English writer, editor and translator for Israeli exporters and academics. Hannah is part of a small home fellowship, Restorers of Zion, which serves the Body of Messiah by focusing on neglected or dysfunctional areas of Scriptural teaching and practice.
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Kevin Costner’s Waterworld and getting stuck in your most important projects
When Kevin Costner came up for air on the set of Waterworld (1995), he knew it would be a long day. So did the other cast and crew. Have you ever got stuck on a project you’re working on? Have you ever reached what author Seth Godin calls “The Dip”? I’m there right now. But I can’t stop. Not an option. So here’s what I’m doing about it…
In dreams begins responsibility. Adam Lee Rosenfeld, of the indie rock band Har Adonai, shares his lifelong pursuit of finding and creating beauty and truth. Check out more episodes here
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No longer alone
“I don’t know another soul here,” I thought to myself during the class break, feeling distant from the other adult students I was observing. I began to face the fact that, in a way, we are always alone. That is, we are bound within our mind, our consciousness, our self. Even our closest friends, even our spouses cannot breach that border. I have often wished not to be so alone, trapped within my own thoughts.
But are we really alone? Those of us who have experienced full reconciliation with God through Messiah’s atonement have been reunited with our Maker. In wrestling with my own “aloneness” I want to explore the divine response to this phenomenon—as a type of “therapy, healing and change of outlook.” First, let’s see what Yeshua went through on the cross.
Yeshua felt alone, was alone, on the cross. He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This was in blunt contrast to His prayer conversations in which He addressed God as “Father.” Yeshua knew that His Father was always with Him. Yet in being crucified, the Son of God submitted to temporary “abandonment” in order to bear our rebellion. He experienced the penalty we deserved—separation from a holy God, i.e. absolute aloneness. The one person who was never truly alone embraced isolation from everyone and everything—utter darkness—in order to liberate us from the aloneness birthed in sin.
After His resurrection, as our Shepherd finished His work on this earth, He gave us this guarantee, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)!!! Knowing our capacity to feel alone, separate, detached, disconnected, He assured us as His disciples, “I’ll always be with you, in every situation, no matter what’s going on inside of you.”
Elijah thought he was alone. In a cave, following the astounding victory on Mt. Carmel, the prophet was convinced of his aloneness. Then God spoke to him in a whisper. The Author of the universe was right there, with the prophet, at the mouth of the cave, when Elijah was depressed and suffering by himself. God, entirely aware of His servant’s inner state, challenged him to come out of his introspection and go back to his history-altering calling. Thus he “finished well,” setting in motion the destinies of two kings and the young prophet who succeeded him.
I sometimes find myself in such a cave. There, I become consumed with self-doubts, self-condemnation, and pointless regrets about my past. In that cave I need to hear the whisper of my God. I need to remember and rejoice in the truth David learned. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death [a fitting metaphor for the loneliness of depression/discouragement/self-focus] I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
Practicing His Presence
Now I’m sitting alone. It is a holy moment. Silence…and I am with Him. Simply with Him. No agenda, no list, no regrets. It is not a lonely aloneness. Because Someone is with me. This must be what is called “the secret place.” The psalm that speaks of such a place (Psalm 91) contains enormous promises of God’s presence, protection, and abundance when I “abide with him.” This practice of being “alone,” but conscious of His presence with us is, I believe, our indispensable communion. Once united with Him, I can enjoy the richness of shared life with the people around me, and I am no longer alone.
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, April 2019, and reposted with permission.
Eitan is the Founder and Executive Director of Tents of Mercy Network of Messianic Congregations is Northern Israel. He's a published author, having written "What About Us?", which answers the question about Gentile participation in the restoration of Israel.
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The phenomenon that is Bibi – Election Day
One evening so many years ago, I was sitting with my wife in a Tel Aviv restaurant. The only seats were in the smoking area. As I walked in, I saw a man who looked like he was watching TV intently. Then I saw the wire coming out of his ear. Security guard. I then saw sitting at a table smoking a cigar, then finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. After an hour he got up to leave and I introduced myself as a new immigrant. His large soft and chubby hand, engulfed mine. It was a brief encounter. While he had already been prime minister once, I didn’t realize that I was shaking hands with the man who would become Israel’s second most iconic prime minister. No one will outshine Ben Gurion—our first.
There is a joke about Netanyahu: What is the difference between Bibi and President Trump? Netanyahu speaks good English. That is not a slight against the President, but more the fact that Netanyahu’s English is so good, he could be mistaken for an American politician.
He is polished to the tee. While the evangelical world loves Netanyahu—who can forget his bold speech before congress, attacking President Obama’s Iran Deal—he is the most polarizing figure in Israel. Walk down any street in Israel and you will get two responses to the elections.
- Rak Bibi! Only Bibi
- Anyone but Bibi
But surprisingly Netanyahu is polling well amongst young people. This has intrigued the experts. As a 53-year-old man, I forget that for many young people, Bibi is the only leader they have ever known. While there are clearly domestic problems, no one can deny that he has kept the country safe in the midst of ISIS, Hamas and Iran. Maybe they are simply frightened of a new leader.
Think about it. Bibi has been in power for 10 years. The left wing Prime Ministers before him served two years (Barak), one year (Peres) and three years (Rabin). If Netanyahu wins in today’s elections and makes it to July, he will surpass Ben Gurion, our first prime minister, as the longest serving prime minster in Israel’s history.
Born in Tel Aviv to secular parents, his mother, a native-Israeli and his father an American immigrant, Netanyahu enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces just after the Six Day War. He served in an elite commando unit. He fought bravely on the front lines in the wars between 67-73, once getting shot in the shoulder.
His brother, Yoni, is one of the most famous of Israeli war heroes, as he led the raid on Entebbe, freeing Jewish hostages taken by terrorists to Uganda. If you have time to read Shimon Peres’ No Room for Small Dreams, his chapter on the Entebbe raid is fascinating.
Bibi graduated from the illustrious MIT. One of my Hebrew teachers at Tel Aviv university was not only one his classmates, but part of his inner circle of friends. While she is a dyed in the wool left-winger, she had nothing but praise for Bibi as a person.
Gulf War and CNN
The first Gulf War was the first war fought on TV. Elana and I would stay up late at night watching CNN and the latest developments. It was then, that a young, handsome Benjamin Netanyahu won the hearts of Americans. The former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, and present deputy foreign minister, spoke intelligently, with charisma, in perfect English. Everyone knew he was destined for great things.
Then, Rabin was assassinated in 94. Had Shimon Peres called for immediately elections, there is no doubt that Peres would have crushed Netanyahu in the wake of public sympathy. But Peres knew that would be manipulative; an abuse of Rabin’s memory. By the time elections came a year later, Israelis had no faith in Arafat or the PLO and were growing weary of terror. Bibi defeated Peres and became prime minister.
He was the youngest prime minister we have ever had and served until he lost to the arrogant Ehud Barak in 1999. Barak was sure he could fix things. However, after he offered everything to Arafat, including parts of Jerusalem, and still Arafat rebuffed him, the public threw him out for Ariel Sharon.
Netanyahu bided his time for the opportune moment to gain back the premiership. In 2009 he came back to power and has not let go. Despite leading a country of less than 10 million people, he is one of the most recognized world leaders, right up there with Trump and Putin. Love him or hate him, he is one of the most extraordinary figures in the last 50 years. Over the past couple years, he has managed to build relationships with some of our worst enemies like Saudi Arabia. Recently he was received in the Muslim Majority nation of Oman.
His life had not been without bumps. He cheated on his first wife who promptly divorced him. He married his non-Jewish mistress who converted to Judaism. However, they soon divorced. Then he met a flight attendant on an El Al flight named Sara. She was studying for her master’s degree in psychology at the time.
Sara may be the most famous, or infamous, wife of a prime minister that we have had. She has made bitter enemies in the political world and has been accused of arrogance, abusing employees and living a lavish lifestyle. She has been under police investigation for corruption for the past few years. For that matter, Bibi was recently recommended for indictment for taking bribes.
He will go before the court in the next several months. If he is elected to a fifth term today, he will be the first sitting prime minister under indictment. Bibi’s pitch: No one can lead the country at this time like me. His main rival, Beni Gantz: Our democracy hangs in the balance this election.
We will know soon
By the end of the day, it will either be the end of the Netanyahu era or the next chapter. We will see.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, April 9, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.