There is a long standing tradition of cleaning one's house in the springtime – hence the term "spring cleaning". One source for this tradition is certainly the Jewish Passover (Pesach). Each spring as the holiday approaches observant householders in Israel and around the world perform a meticulous cleaning of their homes, especially to be sure there is no leaven in the house before Pesach begins. Leaven, in scripture, is often a metaphor for sin and impurity; and this season of the year is often a time for emphasizing "spiritual housecleaning".
As the world celebrates the end of 2014 and enters into 2015, it looks toward the conclusion of yet another year. However, God has not been working his plan according to the Gregorian calendar — but rather according to His own calendar. For example, when Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, and became the Lamb of God slain for the world, it was on the Biblical feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew).
The first man was called "Ah-dom", we know him as "Adam". The word used for "man", as in "mankind", in Genesis 1, is also the same word – "Ah-dom". "Ah-dom" is rooted in the three Hebrew letters, aleph-dalet-mem, and one of the Hebrew words for earth is "Adamah", which contains the same three letters, however it ends with the Hebrew letter "hay". "Adamah" means "red earth", or "red clay", and this word points to the natural earth elements, the "earth dust" that composed Adam’s body, and the body of every human being since. "Man" is "ah-dom", in a very real sense, "clay".
While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil.
Some time ago, two university students in Moorhead, Minnesota painted a mural on the wall outside their dorm room. It was of a school of fish all swimming in the same direction except for a single fish heading the opposite way. That one fish going the other direction was meant to be Jesus. Included in the mural were the words, "Go against the flow." Sadly, university officials argued that the mural might offend non-Christians, and told the students to paint over it.
A United States Army officer who trained pupils at Fort Sill for over 20 years once described the different qualities of the students during the two decades of his tenure. During the 1950's, he observed the students' attitude as being so lax that the instructors had trouble keeping their students awake during their lectures. This drastically changed in the mid 1960's. The students began taking meticulous notes and absorbing every word of instruction. So, what changed?
As believers, we are all called to transform the little world around us. C.S. Lewis offered a thoughtful perspective on remaining heavenly minded while continuing to make an impact in this present world.
Every time I turn on the news it seems the new buzzword is – CHANGE! So how can we just shift gears and change? Let's learn a lesson about basic automotive mechanics. Generally a car has between 4 and 5 gears. The first gear maximizes power in exchange for speed. As you move through the gears, you can continue to go faster, yet without using any more power, and before you know it – you have to look at the speedometer – cause nobody wants a speeding ticket!
Momentum is simply the force or speed of movement that carries an object to its final destination. If you want to break through, you need to have a certain amount of momentum. In order for a rocket to blast into space, it needs tremendous momentum to break the gravitational barrier – but with the enormous power of jet engines and rocket fuel the ship is propelled faster and faster till it breaks free of the earth’s gravitational pull.
Throughout the world, millions of dollars are spent on priceless works of art. I'm always amazed at how much people will pay for one painting — some are considered virtually priceless. But what makes a masterpiece? It's not a what — it's a "who" — a master makes a masterpiece!
After Yeshua’s (Jesus) resurrection, He showed himself to the apostles several times. Once, they were fishing, and Yeshua met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter was there, back at his craft, but swirling with inward emotions. The anguish of his recent denial, three times, exactly as Yeshua had predicted, mixed with the amazement and perplexity at the empty tomb, and finally the astounding relief and joy witnessing the risen Lord. Peter was on an emotional roller coaster for days, but the issue of his denial remained unresolved.
Are you righteous? If you are truly a believer in the Lord, then you received His gift of righteousness! Righteousness is a gift we receive when we come to saving faith. Righteousness is not something we earn, but rather it's a gift to be received from our Messiah! According to this passage, you have received the gift of righteousness through Him. Not because we have kept the "law" or lived a holy life . It can't be bought with money, or earned through self-effort, or by doing "religious" works. It's a gift!
This morning as I woke up, I decided to watch the ball drop in Times Square on YouTube. There were thousands of people bundled up in freezing New York weather to witness a few short seconds during which a descending ball of light announces the arrival of a New Year — 2011.