You seek the impossible!

Be encouraged; seek unity; love one another; These three statements are becoming increasingly difficult to live. Yet, throughout the New Testament we are told to live this way. How are we to be encouraged when looking at the direction of this world, unless one chooses to live in ignorance? How is one to seek unity when every issue is so divisive? How are we to love one another in such a fractured world? i don’t pretend to know all the answers but let me at least point us in a direction to explore.

Be encouraged. There’s a war, rumors of wars, violence of every kind, inflation at never before seen levels, pandemics, a food shortage brewing, and the list could continue. So how exactly is one to “be encouraged?” Here are a few verses to ponder. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 “For Elohim did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Adonai Yahshua ha’Mashiah, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort (encourage) each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” Here is one that i find personally encouraging, Luke 21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Seek unity. We are being divided by, race, gender identity, social economic classes, political affiliation, vaccine status, pro this or anti that, and the absolute vitriol that comes from certain sides is frightening as it is full of unseen hypocrisy by those spewing it. Yet, let us consider these words. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Is this calling us to compromise? Not at all! Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Elohim’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Later in this passage it says; “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18). This brings us to . . .

Love one another. How do you love someone who seemingly hates you? How do you show love to one who uses you or is evil? The Romans passage continues (12:19-21) “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of Elohim, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says YWHW. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Colossians 3:12-14 puts it this way; “Therefore, as chosen ones of Elohim, holy and beloved, put on compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against another, indeed as Messiah forgave you so also should you forgive.”

There is one point i feel needs to be made. When talking about unity, or love, or encouraging one another, in the context of the Church it is done to and for the unity of the Body of Believers. It is through our love for fellow believers of the WAY, that we achieve unity in the Body of Messiah and are able to truly encourage one another. It is in this genuine fellowship that those that are not of the WAY see us as a light on a hill, set apart, different. And in that we hope for the opportunity to share the Gospel of our Messiah Yahshua. Yes, we love everyone. Yes, we encourage, and yes we seek to live in unity with all, however, not at the expense of our commitment to holiness found in Yahshua ha’Mashiah.

Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

You are loved,

cj

Be aware, be kind, be giving, love

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James‬ 1:27

If there is one thing that has always been in the forefront of my faith it is to take care of those in distress. i won’t list the times here as this isn’t about ringing my own bell just simply that even with all i can point to i still feel as if i need to do more. The other day i was talking with some folks and as we talked life and such we got on the subject of foster care. i have done foster care several times and it is an incredible opportunity to show the love of Elohim.

Even if you are unable to take in children, you can support those that do or as i discussed with this couple; Most of these kids when taken from home to home pile all their belongings in trash bags. What if the next time you replace your luggage you take a suitcase down to the foster care center and donate it to a child. Instead of them feeling as if all their worth is garbage they can have some sort of dignity.

It’s not just here but i try to be aware of my friends, especially those that are single mothers. What do they need? Money to help their kids play sports? A bill that is due and you can see their stress? i will often donate to support their children’s sports or pay a bill for them. These aren’t huge but they are helpful. It doesn’t require a lot just awareness. Be aware of those around you. i don’t always give but what i do is seek the Holy Spirits direction and remain open to His leading.

i just want to encourage you in these days of uncertainty, inflation is on the rise, and the cost of living is a giant stress. Those in need now are really going to feel the stress before some of us do . . . Be aware, be kind, be giving, love those around you the best you can. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself untainted by the world.”

You are loved,

cj

For love’s sake i appeal to you

Now, therefore, fear YWHW, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve YWHW! And if it seems evil to you to serve YWHW, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve YWHW.” Joshua 24:14-15

This is my yearly appeal to you out of love, walk away from Easter and all of its pagan roots. We know it to be true that Yahshua fulfilled the Passover. John the Baptist declared on the river’s edge, “Behold, the Lamb of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world!” Yahshua is the final Passover Lamb, we should be honoring that and not the combination of a pagan festival mixed with the richness of the Feast of Elohim that tears the vale and covers us in righteousness, cleansing us from our sin.

In Emperor Constantine’s letter to “all those not present at the council,” following the Council of Nicea wrote how it would be better to separate from Jewish custom. He called out the Jews for killing Yahshua and in many instances called for anti-Semitism. For instance, he wrote, “We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews.” He goes on to say, “They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? for to celebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people [the Jews]. Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Saviour has left us only one festal day of our redemption, that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired[to establish] only one Catholic Church.”

The question of whether or not Constantine truly converted to Christianity or not has been debated for centuries. However, we do know for a fact that rather than adhere strictly to Christian tradition and belief; for the sake of the unity of the empire, he combined the festal days of paganism and Christianity. His disdain for the Jews as represented in his letter, and his lack of judgment in establishing a new religion where we see the combination of paganism and Christianity should certainly call into question our adherence to these traditions.

When Adonai your Elohim cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? —that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship Adonai your Elohim in that way, for every abominable thing that Adonai hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I caommand you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32

i want to make a clarification here about Constantine’s reference to two Passover’s, clearly he was unaware and sadly none of the scholars of his day enlightened him. In Numbers 9 we read of some men who were cerimonially unclean and therefore unable to bring the sacrifice of Passover. They inquired of Moses and Aaron on what to do. YWHW told Moses to give this instruction: Numbers 9:10-11 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, if any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through tourching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to YWHW. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. . .”

Concerning the idea that Passover or any of the Feast of Adonai are strictly Jewish, i present Leviticus 23:1-2 “Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of Adonai that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are MY appointed feasts.” Clearly they are HIS feasts, much like the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

Finally, let me close with this, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:23) Passover this year begins at Sundown on Friday April 15, in line with Good Friday services, however, the tomb would not be discovered empty until Tuesday morning fulfilling the three days and three nights. Often Easter and Passover do not line up and occasionally are off by a months time. Although this year is very close in timing i will refuse to attend any church that is honoring Easter, hosting an egg hunt, or in any way mixing pagan tradition with this most Holy of Feasts, Passover.

You are loved,

cj

The days of Noah

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39

Yahshua’s words here in Matthew are so much more than just evil continually. All though we can see the increase in evil and lawlessness, and not just by the average citizen but also those in government who were elected to govern and not rule. i looked at my monthly budget last night and i am $300 over budget on gasoline. i am $75 over budget on electricity (i have all-electric heat). i am $100 over budget on groceries. Combined, that is nearly $500 in the hole. At this rate, it won’t be long before my account is upside-down. One would say cut back. Well, gas prices have increased where i was able to fill up at the end of my day for $20, i now pay $35 which is $15 a day, five days a week, four weeks in a month. Electricity, i only heat a portion of the house, i can’t imagine what my bill would be if i heated the entire house. i leave minimal lights on and always wear a sweatshirt, in the winter. As far as groceries, i buy the same things every week. even cutting back on the quality of meat i buy and still the same items are now costing $25 more a week. This is just three of my examples and their are many facing the same reality. So why am i telling you this?

It is easy to get fixated on these things and make that the focus of every moment. i need to pay my bills, i need to eat, i need to, fill in the blank. It’s not all about bills either, one wants to also live life, and that becomes a focal point. The days of Noah were days in which evil was abundant, yes, but also, life was focused on living and surviving the best they could, “Your best life now.” The solution being offered by Noah seemed out of touch with life. Judgment was coming but their children wanted to get married and have children. They wanted to eat and drink and make merry. The thought of doom and gloom wasn’t a part of that plan. Fast forward to today, and we are on point with the days of Noah. And the return of Messiah is mocked and scoffed at . . . even within the church.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:3-4

Believe it or not, we are being set up to receive a leader who can bring peace and safety, not just on a local level but a global one. Those that are asleep are falling in line with the narrative, hook, line, and sinker. i am not saying you shouldn’t worry about paying your bills, but don’t worry about it. i mean make the necessary changes in order to meet your obligations, of course. However, we are not to worry about tomorrow and to pray without ceasing. Still this isn’t why i write this . . . i am writing to warn us to not get too fixated on living life here on earth. The Kingdom of our Elohim and King is coming and although we will face many many hardships in this life, do not lose heart, keep your eyes on Yahshua. Our hope is in Him and not in this world or anything it has to offer. It is going to become increasingly difficult to hold that line; The Word is clear on that point. If you aren’t in the Word daily you will fall in line with the world.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10

You are loved,

cj

the love of many

“And because of the increase in lawlessness, the love of many shall become cold.” Matthew 24:12

Are you getting discouraged with the direction of the world? There are so many hot spots. We are told that the entire Middle East would be and it is a powder keg. However, let’s mention a few others, China and Taiwan, Russia and Ukraine, North Korea and its testing of long range missiles, that’s a few global, not to mention local uprisings in France, Australia, Germany. Even here at home lawlessness is increasing all over the USA, mainly in your bigger cities but we also have a crisis at our southern border.

Frustration and discouragement lead to bitterness and a loss of understanding, respect, civility, and ultimately love. i am writing to encourage you not depress but knowledge is key here. You have to be aware of what is going on so that you can fight off these feelings. As believers we have the Holy Spirit, we have a Prince of Peace, we have an Almighty Elohim. Knowing this is vital!

There is a reason the early church was given warnings and told what to look out for in the future. Many of them were living under constant persecution. We in the west really cannot relate, but we need to start preparing spiritually, and mentally, for what is coming. Remind yourself of who you are in Messiah. As things become more unhinged knowing these things would come to pass before His return should give us peace and hope.

“Peace I leave with you – My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

” Yahshua answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and we shall come to him and make Our stay with him.’” John 14:23

There isn’t a need for me to analyze these crises, there are many already doing that. i am simply highlighting them to bring awareness to the fact that the reason these things are happening is that the lawless one is currently running the show. Yahshua said, “I shall no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he possesses naught in Me.” John 14:30

“But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7 KJV

Do not let your love grow cold. Stay focused on Adonai. Stay obedient to His Word, by staying IN His Word. Know that these things are coming and we are called to endure, and to love.

You are loved,

cj

Paganism in the church?

Paganism in the church?

Okay, here it is, as i have been studying the Scriptures and origins of pagan tradition it has led me to a crossroads. As i will begin to point out over the next several posts. Here i begin to lay the foundation of my case. i encourage you, the reader, to put in your two cents. i do not claim to have all the answers. As my blog heading states, this is my journey with Jesus. It is a journey, and i am walking it out in view. i say that because as new information comes to light, it will no doubt, if true, alter my perspective on a topic or point. If what i am learning is accurate, it will absolutely change the way i worship and view the holidays.

Constantine was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 AD and 337 AD. A significant character in the mixing of pagan tradition and the early Church. For it was he who legalized Christianity in 313 AD. At the time, the church was being led to some degree by a man named Gregory the first; tradition from protestants would call him the first “Pope”; however, Catholics, of course, view the first Pope as Peter. It is clear that the traditions of the church find their origins post 313 AD, which means the early church did not worship in the way we traditionally have even in all of its evolution.

Before 313 AD, Christianity was illegal. It was mostly underground at this point as Rome looked to stamp out both Judaism and Christianity. It appears that Constantine had come into a new understanding, perhaps the salvation of his soul, i wasn’t present, so i will refrain from passing judgment and will simply let the fruit speak for itself. First, let’s examine the prince and ruler of this world, as described in Scripture. In Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, we see who is at the root of the global rebellion against God.

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'” Isaiah 14:12-14

In Ezekiel 28:12-19, we have another picture and an understanding that Satan was one of the most splendid of angels, and he desired to be like God and was cast down. Since his fall he has been leading a rebellion against God that began in the garden, “Did God really say,  . . .” His lie continues to this day. Satan has two methods to his rebellion, two fronts if you will, religion and materialism. If satan can distract you with religion or if he can distract you with materialism or better yet both at the same time, he will and in the end, separate you from God by defiling you with sin.

Satan has known the way of redemption from the garden, for in Genesis 3, God reveals that it will be the offspring of the woman that will eventually crush him. From that moment, he has been working, scheming, plotting, and planning against the offspring of the woman. He has done so through death and through copy. Since the Tower of Babel, we see the formation of many religions, and each of them has an interesting similarity to what satan knew of his demise. There are a mother and her son. Take a look at this:

Mother                                  Son                                 Region

Samiramis                            Tammuz                       Babel

 Ishtar                                    Tammuz                      Assyria/Syria

Asharoth/Astarte                 Baal                              Phoenicia

Isis                                          Horus/Osiris               Egypt

Aphrodite                             Eros                              Greece

Venus                                    Cupid                            Rome

Anytime you read in Scripture about Mystery Babylon, you can assume it comes from these traditions. And with all these mother, son traditions, it isn’t any wonder why we read time and time again of Kings and Pharaohs trying to kill the sons? Satan has been trying to destroy God’s plan from the beginning. Each of these fables from above also shares something else in common with Christianity; each of these son’s died and was resurrected. We will be getting into more of that in weeks to come.

Let me try to wrap up this post by setting the standard offered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10

What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

Rebellion against the Creator is the common thread of these and all world religions, and behind them is a demonic power. Why would we want to cross-contaminate, or intermix the worship of God the Creator and these pagan gods by introducing into worship pagan practices? As promised in my last few posts, we will look at the traditions of the holidays. We discussed Halloween last week. i felt the need to lay this foundation for the coming weeks. Next week we will dive into paganism and the Spring Feasts, followed by paganism and the fall feasts, ending with paganism and the church.

Please feel free to comment here any questions or helpful resources or on my Facebook page Coffee with Jesus or on twitter @cjwill73 or Instagram @simplycoffeewithjesus.

You are loved,

cj

And God * said, ​”because you are free,​ it is ok to do as the pagans do!” (*never)

And God * said, ​”because you are free,​ it is ok to do as the pagans do!” (*never)

This is me wading into the muck of a cultural tradition steeped in paganism. The question, should Christians celebrate Halloween? The answer, first, let me ask you a question. If Jesus were alive today, would He attend a pagan festival, dressed as a zombie? No, given the many times in Scripture, we are told not to do as the pagans. Would He attend the festival to preach to the attendees? Unlikely, perhaps He would stand outside of it preaching? Maybe. We don’t know because there isn’t a pagan festival written in the New Testament, so what we have is Jesus’ words regarding worship and the Old Testament. So when in doubt, search the Scriptures and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Let me tackle the idea that we are not to put on others our own convictions, which, i hear often. The verse most widely used is found in Galatians 5:1 — “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Another prominent verse is 1 Corinthians 6:12 — “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.‘” We could also look at Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 here, but we will touch on those in a bit. Our freedom gives us, well, freedom. But, not license to sin by committing idolatry. i have been reading and studying Halloween for some time now, and these are the things that i have learned.

  1. It dates back to a Celtic festival known as Samhain. In which the Celts believed that a portal between worlds, life, and death, was opened. They would dress up in costume to ward off evil spirits.
  2. The Celts date back to 1800 B.C. However, The existence of the Celts was first documented in the seventh or eighth century B.C. The Roman Empire, which ruled much of southern Europe at that time, referred to the Celts as “Galli,” meaning barbarians.
  3. In the early Church, roughly the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve and later Halloween.
  4. It was believed that if the church incorporated some of these traditions, it would make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity.

There is so much more i could write regarding the traditions and origins of those traditions but suffice it to say all of them are pagan. Therefore, they should be avoided. Look at this passage in Deuteronomy 6:13-15 we read:

“It is the Lord your God, you shall fear. Him you shall serve, and by His name, you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you, for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God, lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and He destroy you from off the face of the earth.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23, we have Paul instructing the Thessalonians to avoid evil.

“but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely . . .”

Two things here stand out. First, abstain from EVERY form of EVIL. Would you say that Halloween in its former and present state is filled with evil? i know i sure do! Second, “sanctify you,” sanctify means to set apart from. As Christians, we are to be different than the world not blend in so well that no can tell the difference. Let me share a few more verses just to add some perspective for our thought.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11

“He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” Matthew 15:3

We could discuss here the eating of meat that had been sacrificed to idols, but i will just add this . . . The intent here is to not be a stumbling block to others by our understanding.  So let me pose the question, are you confident in your celebration of a clearly pagan festival isn’t laying a stumbling block for your neighbor? That is the test! Let me end this with a passage from Ezekiel and really, the reason i am writing was inspired here.

“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” Ezekiel 3:18-19

Can you warn someone of wickedness, evil, and idolatry, and still keep the same festival you are warning them about? No, you cannot. So, therefore, in my humble opinion we as Christians should not partake of the pagan festival known as Halloween regardless of its human tradition. Let me add, this was a natural conclusion, but a difficult decision. Why? Because i love tradition and i grew up on Halloween. i even helped my sister put on a haunted trail for a park she worked for not many years ago. However, my conviction over this grows more and more every day as i see the day of the Lords return getting ever closer. We must wake up and proclaim the truth!

You are loved,

cj

i am becoming one of “those” . . .

i am becoming one of “those” . . .

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

This passage from Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is highly regarded as justification for Christians to say, “I am doing this in worship of the Father, the other things don’t mean anything. I love God.” or some variation of the same. But, i ask you what Jesus was referring too here? It was customary for Jews to travel to Jerusalem to worship on particular feasts, Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles. There are seven Hebraic Feasts; i say Hebraic lightly i will get to that in a bit.

Jesus, in His referring to worshiping in spirit and truth, was prophetic, in that He was the Messiah, and therefore He is the feasts. Thus, the location of worship was shifting from a physical place to a spiritual place . . . One primary reason is that Jerusalem was in the hands of the Romans and would soon destroy the Temple, the reason for the pilgrimage. He, in no way, was saying, anything goes, instead expressing a more personal focus because the relationship was about to become intimate.

Let’s take a look at each of the three pilgrimage feasts. First, Passover, they would come to present their sacrifice to the priests, and the Passover lamb would be sacrificed. It was to commemorate or remember the Exodus from Egypt, where those who had the blood on the doorpost were passed over by the angel of death. The final plague before Pharoah would let the people go. John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” This was Jesus, the Lamb of God. In observing Passover in real-time, in that year, Jesus, as the Lamb, fulfilled the Feast. We should honor it today as a remembrance of our Passover Lamb, who takes away our sin.

Second, The Feast of Weeks occurs seven weeks or 50 days after the Sabbath of Passover. The interesting thing about this feast, it is a remembrance of the receiving of the law, and with the law comes the knowledge of sin. Its institution was to celebrate the ripening of the wheat harvest. Which is even more interesting! Think of it, Jesus said, “the harvest is plentiful, the workers are few, pray that the Lord of the harvest would send workers.” (Luke 10:2) Here is the cool thing, just as they received the law on Mt Sinai accompanied by smoke, fire, and clouds; so on the day of Pentecost 50 days from the Sabbath of Passover the disciples were gathered, and tongues of fire with a rushing wind came as they received the law written on their hearts as the Holy Spirit was given. We are the workers in the field that God has given.

Third, Tabernacles, this feast was in remembrance of the Hebrew nations wandering in the desert living in temporary shelters. They would again make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem and worship there. Looking to the future, it is symbolic of the return of the King and Jesus ruling and reigning among His people as we tabernacle together with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Here’s a cool fact, the Feast of Tabernacles was open to all people and nations to come and be with the Lord. Reminds me of the Sabbath day and the Day of Atonement, another feast in which it is stated that even the foreigner within your gates should do no work. As Jesus declared, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,” so we should consider the Sabbath God made for us, to rest and reflect on the goodness of our Lord.

Each of the other feasts is equally significant, and in Leviticus, we read that they are not Hebraic but rather God’s feasts.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are My appointed feasts.‘” Leviticus 23:1-2

But we don’t really celebrate these feasts, we pass them off as being strictly Hebraic. However, that isn’t even implied in Scripture, for it is Israel who was to be God’s mouthpiece to the world. And as the writer of Hebrews tells us, we are all grafted in together as one people before God. Again here in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The intention of the feasts, most certainly the final one known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is to unify us in the worship of God. To draw our attention to the Most High.

If God, so intently, marked out His desired Feasts, for His people to honor Him. He was even reminding them that these were forever feasts, being both remembrance and prophetic. If Jesus observed the Feasts and the early church followed the Feasts, i feel it right to do so now.

Now let me ask you; if you were one of the first century Christians, and as such, you, as they did, observe the Feasts with both the remembrance factor and the prophetic one in mind. Looking back and looking ahead, would you allow for a mingling of pagan cultural practices to interfere with those feasts? Would you desire to take on the worship of pagan gods to enhance the worship of God? i hope that your answer is NO WAY! It certainly is God’s answer:

You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughter in the fire to their gods. Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:31-32

Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

(Note, read all of 1 Corinthians 10) “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” . . . “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:14 & 22

We are to flee anything evil. We are not to intermingle pagan worship with the worship of God. These things have not changed, and yet we do. The majority of Christians in the west and some beyond do. Christmas and Easter both have their origins in paganism. These have been central holidays within the church for centuries. Why did the church allow this to happen? How did they not see? Why am i just now waking up to the truth? This isn’t an undue hardship or yoke, this is central to the Worship of God. i am not talking diets or fabrics or circumcision, i am speaking to what the Lord desires and what we were ultimately created for . . . Worship. If you think it is evil to worship the Lord, then don’t, as Joshua said.

Now to Halloween, i once thought it was actually the one rooted most in the faith with All Saints Day, but i was wrong there too. It is ripe with its roots in paganism, and there is no redeeming it, nor should we try. There is no need for an alternative either, for we have seven feasts to the Lord, and each one is a party, a grand celebration! We are called to be different, to come out of the culture and be the Kingdom here and now. When Jesus said we were to Worship in Spirit and in Truth, i am certain He didn’t include pagan rituals in there regardless of your “intent.”

In my next few postings, i will be touching on Halloween and its true origins and then Christmas in the same way. i hope to show why i am choosing to walk away from these traditions. i will also write again about Easter, although i have already done that if you go back in my history of posts. This is a massive step for me, it hasn’t been easy, but it is right. i am becoming one of “those” Christians, and it is not a burden placed on me . . . It is actually a point of self-denial to put away the ways of the world that i might honor the Lord. To love Him with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes, i am becoming one of those Christians, the one i should have been from the beginning. And you should too!

You are loved,

cj

Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj