Russ Resnik encountered Yeshua as Messiah in the early 70s as a young radical in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Later, he was drawn into the Messianic Jewish movement and founded Adat Yeshua, a Messianic congregation in Albuquerque, NM, which he led for nearly 20 years. Today, he serves as executive director of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC), an association dedicated to establishing, strengthening, and multiplying congregations for Yeshua within the wider Jewish community. Russ is ordained as a Messianic Rabbi through the UMJC and also maintains credentials as a clinical mental health counselor. He has an international speaking and teaching ministry, contributes regularly to Messianic Jewish publications, and is the author of Gateways to Torah: Joining the Ancient Conversation on the Weekly Portion,Creation to Completion: A Guide to Life’s Journey from the Five Books of Moses, and Divine Reversal: The Transforming Ethics of Jesus. Russ and his wife Jane live in Albuquerque and have four children and seven grandchildren.
Life is chaotic, but our souls don’t need to be. The wisdom of Mussar is that we can increase our inward order through practical action in our outward surroundings.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation. —Habakkuk 3:17-18
Beloved . . . this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Messiah Yeshua. --Phillipians 3:13–14
Separation begins within, as Messiah taught in one of his most famous—and challenging—sayings: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:27–28). Likewise, Cheshbon Ha-nefesh instructs us, “Strengthen yourself so that you can stop lewd thoughts,” because defilement begins in the mind.
In late 2007, the sports world was shocked by the findings of a commission investigating allegations of drug use by professional baseball players, including star pitcher Roger Clemens. When Mike Wallace interviewed Clemens on “60 Minutes,” Clemens admitted that his trainer did in fact give him injections, “but only with Lidocaine and B-12. It’s for my joints, and B-12 I still take today.”
“And that’s all?” Wallace asks.
“That’s it,” Clemens says.
When Clemens denies that he used any illegal drugs, Wallace asks, “Swear?” and Clemens answers, “Swear.”
Later Wallace says, “If you were to testify to the Congress under oath, would you tell them exactly what you told me today?”
Calmness of spirit allows us to act, rather than react, when the pressure is on. In a moment of crisis, calmness is essential to doing the right thing.
I recently added email to my cell phone capabilities and discovered that waiting in line will never be quite the same. If it looks like the line might hold me up for more than a few minutes, I flip out my phone, click a couple of times, wait while the little icon spins around for a few seconds, and then start doing email.
Righteousness or justice resounds as a theme throughout Torah and into the rest of the Scriptures, but nowhere does it sound more clearly than in three Hebrew words in Deuteronomy—tzedek tzedek tirdof: “Justice, justice you shall pursue.”
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. --1 Timothy 6:6–8