Which Report Will We Give?

When the twelve spies were sent into Canaan to spy out the land, ten returned with a bad report. Their assessment was that it was impossible to conquer the land that God had promised them. Forgetting how God had led them with a pillar of fire by night, and fed them manna from heaven during the day, brought forth water out of a rock, and parted the Red Sea, they saw the situation with only their natural eyes, failed to walk by faith, and succumbed to fear.

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Celebrate!

Though the new cycle of Israel's feasts has concluded, I'd like to share one more observation about last week's high holy day, Yom Kippur. It is a day on which adults are afflicting themselves by fasting, abstaining from all pleasures, and repenting. But for the children, Yom Kippur is a very different holiday. This day is my son Obi's favorite holiday! Why? Because the kids are not fasting or recalling their sins or suffering at all – they are celebrating freedom!

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Take a Leap of Faith!

The African Impala (an African antelope) are amazing creatures that can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance greater than 30 feet. Yet Impalas can be kept in a zoo inside an enclosure with a simple 3 foot wall. Why? Impalas will not jump if they can't see where their feet will land. Do we have something in common with these antelopes? Able to take great leaps of faith, but refusing to do it unless we can see where we'll land?

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Be Careful to Take Credit!

One constant pitfall we must watch for is taking credit for something that God does in or through us, or using the gifts and callings of God for self-exaltation. In that light it may be easier to handle poverty, weakness, or insignificance, than wealth, ability, power or authority, since poverty and frailty are not normally things we boast about, and they cause us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity, gifting, and anointing, on the other hand can be powerful temptations, leading to pride, covetousness, and self-sufficiency.

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Where is your crown?

Yesterday, we talked about "tashlich" -- the traditional Jewish ceremony occurring between Rosh ha Shana and Yom Kippur, which involves casting bread crumbs into a river while confessing our sins and watching them be swept downstream. In this passage, however, we read about the importance of casting our crowns. These elders fell down before the Lord, casted their golden crowns and gave God the glory and honor He deserves. How much more should we do the same today?

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Take up your mantle!

When Elijah went up to to heaven, Elisha took up his mantle and walked in the power of Elijah. The Hebrew word for mantle is "aderet". It's root word is "adir", which means excellent, gallant, glorious, mighty, noble and worthy! Elijah was a man with these qualities. The mantle that Elisha received from Elijah meant a calling which was powerful. Elisha had earned it. When the two first met, Elisha had slaughtered the oxen he was plowing with, and burned them on the wood of their yoke as an offering. Then he followed and served the prophet until the day Elijah was taken miraculously to Heaven.

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