Friday, November 27, 2009

Give Thanks!

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever!" (Psalm 136: 1-3)

These days, I don't hear much on the "alphabet networks" (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) with which I agree or viewpoints with which I concur. However, on Thanksgiving morning, I tuned in to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS, (as I am wont to do every year on this holiday.) I don't pay that close attention to what is said by the network hosts of the event. I enjoy having it on for the familiar sights and sounds and the general festive atmosphere it brings to the house. Nostalgic memories of days gone by mingle with preparations for present day celebrations. Along with the tastes and smells of the day, these thoughts and feelings are a recipe for deep reflection and heartfelt emotion.

Consequently, the personal thoughts of one of the commentators, Maggie Rodriguez, caught my attention. She expressed her appreciation for the fact that Thanksgiving is mainly about one thing---family! No shopping for gifts is required, no sending of cards, no decorating of the home, putting up of trees or lights or anything else; all that is required is a grateful heart, an awareness of blessings received and some loved ones with which to express these things.

I heartily agree with the aforementioned broadcaster! (And so does my wife!)

Therefore, Jennifer and I truly have enjoyed this particular week. On Tuesday, November 24th, she and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. The next day, our daughter, Danyel Misha, came home from college. We gathered that evening with some of her best girl friends from high school and had a pre-Thanksgiving feast, masterfully cooked by Jenny! The next day, (Thanksgiving Day), we ate leftovers---which always taste even better to me---and watched movies and just generally "hung out" with each other.

My extended family is not very big; the "tribes" of Goetz and Yaffee (my wife's maiden name) have shrunk considerably in this current era. Our household is small as well; it's just Jenny and Misha and I---and our old dog, Maggie!

In light of this fact, we are exceedingly thankful to God for the bounty of having one another to love and cherish and celebrate! We are reminded every day of the preciousness of life and the eternal value of the time we share together. I'm certain the same could be said for you and the ones you hold dear, no matter what that looks like.

Irrespective of our lot in life, this is a time to thank God for each and every blessing.

I wanted to take a moment to thank God for you and to send you holiday greetings from my family and me.

May this season bring with it joy, peace, health, prosperity and every good thing.

And if it is attended by "various trials," may God give the grace to "count it all joy, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience...that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)

In consideration of all these matters, may I add to Ms. Rodriguez' much appreciated thoughts these closing words?

All who are believers in the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob---and followers of His Son, Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Messiah Jesus---ARE the family of God! That is to say, if you belong to Him, you BELONG! No one is truly alone who is a member of this divine household.

As it has been said, (and sung): "And we, being many, are one body in Messiah...and everyone members of one another...loving each other, with God as our father, who loves us as a mother loves her newborn child." (Romans 12:5)

Years ago, my family sang the above words on a video recording called "Psalm Enchanted Evening."

Misha was little then; she is no longer. I send this message to you with a current picture of her, along with her canine companion, Maggie.

We all wish you and yours a wonderful holiday which we all GIVE THANKS!!

Gratefuly yours,
Shalom, Peace,
Marty and his mishpochah (family)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Come Back!

Pictured here is LP Field, the home of the Tennessee Titans; and the view has me thinking about comebacks.

We live in Nashville and the Titans are our team. Last year they started the season with 10 straight wins. It was very exciting and we thought we were Super Bowl bound. It didn't work out; we lost in the first round of the playoffs. So we all thought, 'maybe next year!'

This year we began the season with 6 straight losses! Obviously this year would not be the "next year" we were dreaming of. However, following a "bye" week, when the team didn't play, they have returned with a vengeance; they have won 3 in a row and quite handily. As I said, I'm thinkin' comeback!

Life is filled with comeback stories. Remember when Bill Clinton hailed himself "the comeback kid?" How about Richard Nixon in 1968 when he rose from the political grave to capture the presidency? It appears the conservative movement is making a comeback; and maybe also the Republican party... which looked as if it would be in the electoral wilderness for a long time!

Sarah Palin is making a comeback; although her father says she didn't retreat...she just reloaded!

The words 'come back' evoke another image. Did you perhaps see the film, "Titanic?" Do you recall the character, Rose, clinging to a door from the sunken ship, weakly calling for a lifeboat to 'come back?' It took a whistle to alert the sailor searching for survivors; but the faint sound of her voice crying to survive..."come back, come back, come back" one of the most vivid movie memories ever!

Our nation needs a comeback, doesn't it? The economy, the national mood, the 'salt of the earth' American people, desperately need to come back from some serious doldrums. I've been around many years; things are as bad as I've seen them in a long time.

I'm thinkin' comeback! When and how...I'm not sure.

There is a 'come back' of which we all can be certain; the coming back to earth of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel and Lord of all!

He won't return to the sound of a whistle. No, He will "descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God." (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

The low murmur of a lone survivor won't bring him back. Rather it will be the cry of His kinsmen, Israel: "Baruch Haba B'Shem Adonai---Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!" He promised...and it will be. Look it up...and look up! (Matthew 23:39)

So many of us feel like that character Rose; holding on for dear life to a scrap of what, moments ago, seemed so secure and indestructible. We find ourselves in strange and turbulent waters, surrounded by others victimized by unimaginable and unforeseen disaster. We wonder how long we will have to wait for our lifeboat; we wonder if we will be a victim or a survivor.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick," writes the author of Proverbs, "But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)

The "Desire of All Nations" will come! It is written...and it shall be. (Haggai 2:7)

"This hope"--no longer deferred-- "we have as an anchor of the soul..." and the anchor WILL hold in these stormy seas. (Hebrews 6:19) He, the Lord Jesus, is the door to which we cling; and the lifeboat of His presence is coming back to save the uttermost! (Hebrews 7:25)

Hang on! Cry out!! Sound the whistle of praise, prayer and intercession!!!

Go Titans! God bless America!! Come Lord Yeshua---Maranatha---Come, Lord Jesus, Come...Back!!! (Revelation 22:20)


P.S. It's Thursday...Hi, Misha!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Double Blessing in the Twin Cities

Our friend, Thom Berkowitz, turns 60 on the 24th of November. On that same day, Jennifer and I celebrate our 25th anniversary. And then...Thanksgiving!

And we have much for which to be thankful. In that spirit, Thom's wife, Marcia, along with their three lovely daughters, arranged for me to give a concert in Minneapolis. (I write this at their house, having just concluded the evening.)

We first met the Berkowitz' over two decades ago when I played and sang for a ministry called "Good News for Israel." Thom was one of their board members and he and Marcia drove us to the airport the next day.

I remember commenting to Jenny that I could see being friends with them. The next time we came to Minnesota, we stayed in their home...and stayed....and stayed!

We became close friends; watching their girls grow up, visiting numerous times, sharing life's joys and sorrows.

Seven years ago today, my father, Albert Goetz passed away. The sad loss of my dear Dad caused me to consider the preciousness and brevity of life and the treasure of friendship. An event like the one we just had here in Minneapolis is a reaffirmation of these enduring values.

"Good News for Israel" also participated in the concert. They continue to spread the good news of salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. (Romans 1: 16, 17)

A good time was had by all...and it wasn't even cold! Perfect picture weather!! Shalom!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Very Present Help in Trouble: (Blog from a Balcony)

Thousands of people travel to Washington D.C. to protest against government health care. Thirteen service personnel are killed and many are others are wounded in a senseless shooting at a military facility in Texas; all this on the day after the New York Yankees win the World Series.

In an age of instant, twenty-four hour news, we are cheering one minute, crying another, and shaking our head in disbelief much of the rest of the time.

I've been on this earth a long while; I don't recall days quite like these. Yes, the sixties were turbulent and frightening. We aging baby boomers have lived through a lot: the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam war, the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, just to name a few.

We recall the gas lines in the 70's, the Iranian hostage crisis of the 80's, the Gulf War in the 90's and, of course, September 11th, 2001. Our brief sojourn on earth has been marked by
these and many other startling incidents which have shaken us to our core and left us wondering where our world is headed.

Still, I have a strange and uneasy sense that we are entering times and seasons, the likes of which we have not seen before. It seems the very foundations of all that we have known and held dear are being challenged---even attacked. Morally, socially, economically, spiritually; we are experiencing radical change, happening at mind-numbing speed.

In the midst of all this chaos and confusion, if one has ears to hear, the scripture whispers:

"God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains
shake with its swelling.

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46: 1, 2, 3, 7-10)

I remember vividly another extraordinary event; the miraculous victory of Israel in the Six-Day War and the recapturing of the city of Jerusalem in 1967. Since that day, my faith tells me that we are on a prophetic, historic timeline, moving rapidly toward the "end of the age." What lies ahead, none of us knows for sure.

But we do know this: "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge!"

Yes, my friends; Be still---Know God!!

Yours in the battle and on the pilgrimage,
Shalom and thanks for your love, encouragement and support,
Marty Goetz