Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is upon us. Beginning tomorrow evening, Yom Kippur marks the holiest of all holy days on the Hebrew calendar. It is the anniversary of the fall of man and it is the climax of the time of Teshuvah (repentance). Starting tonight night and into Saturday, all around the world, the religious will fast from food and water and read prayers in the synagogue, as will the majority of traditional Jews.
We live in a day and age that everywhere we turn, there's a "self-help" theory. Books, videos and dvds, websites, world-renown speakers, you name it — all dedicated to helping us "feel good about ourselves". Yet somehow, still many of us struggle with self-consciousness, even as Christians!
The high priest of Ancient Israel wore a crown of pure gold on his head called a Nezer, which comes from the word “nazar”. This word "nazar" means to dedicate, consecrate and sacredly separate. The word “nazarite” comes from this root, and describes someone who has taken a vow to be separated from the world.
One of my favorite ministers of the Gospel is D.L. Moody. He tells a story about having heard Pastor Henry Varley once say that, "The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him."
This groundbreaking conversation took place at Caesarea Phillipi, which lies today in the modern day reserve of the Banias in the Golan Heights region of Israel. The city was established by Ptolemaic Greeks, a Hellenistic community where the worship of the god Pan was centered. Reviled by the Jews of Yeshua's time and considered by them the most idolatrous place in the entire Galilee, to this day it remains a place of nature worship and deep paganism…
With war drums beating even more intensely in Iran and Syria, we've received numerous phone calls and emails expressing their concerns — and understandably so! Nevertheless, even in this climate of anxiety, we are preparing to enter into Shabbat (the Hebrew word for Sabbath) this afternoon. And as we do, we are remembering again, the deep lesson of God's entering into His rest following the six creation days.
As Scotland was declaring its independence from England in the 1300's, the English were hunting for Robert Bruce of Scotland in an attempt to prevent his accession to the Scottish throne. In the search, the English put Bruce's own bloodhounds on his trail. As they grew closer to apprehending him, Robert the Bruce found a small river, and he said to his foster-brother who was with him, "Let us wade down this stream for a great way, instead of going straight across, and so these unhappy hounds will lose the scent; for if we were once clear of them, I should not be afraid of getting away from the pursuers."
Many believers have a special place, a quiet place where they go to spend time with the Lord. This is a very important thing. But how many believers have actually 'prepared a way' for the Lord?
These past few days, writing about the will of God, has reminded me of the prophet Jeremiah, and how the Lord knew him – even before he was in his mother's womb, and he was sanctified by God as a prophet to the nations. A similar foreknowledge and ordination of God belongs to us who are under the New Covenant. God's foreknowledge of His people is clearly stated in scripture. We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless, and created in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) unto good works which He foreordained that we walk in them. It is clear that a life of holiness and good works is an integral part of our destiny in salvation, a fundamental aspect of His original plan for each one of us.
As we were leaving for Jerusalem yesterday, my wife made one of her frequent requests of me – “Honey! Could you take down the trash?” Well, I don’t know about you– but this is not one of my favorite tasks. Why does it always seem like we guys always get pinned with the dirty work?!
Some time ago, we wrote about pearl harvesting as an illustration of how the Lord takes us into His "shell" like an irritating grain of sand, and over time, covers us with His beautiful covering, forming us into polished and precious gems for his glory and delight. This image of sanctification takes the metaphor in one direction: but here is another interesting thought. The beautiful pearl inside the oyster cannot be seen or enjoyed without a great price being paid. The oyster must die. It must be torn open in order to find the treasure within. This speaks to me of the original foundation and source of our beauty. Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah had to be bruised, afflicted, torn and killed so that the beautiful treasures God intended us to be from the beginning, could be discovered and released from the darkness of sin.
1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not […]
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Have you ever thought about how much power God releasing in our midst right now? Is it 20%… 50%… 100% of His great power?? I […]
Exodus 12:2-3 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, […]
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. The faithful man of God that led my wife to the Lord is here from America with us this week and it's such a blessing to have […]
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. Our three year old daughter, Elianna, has been driving us crazy recently. She will say “no!” to just about everything […]
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. I've been trying to convince my wife for the longest time that we should get a dog. Well… I just happened to get word that some neighbors of ours […]