Monday, September 16, 2013

Seven Reasons Why a Christian would keep the Biblical Feasts

"Concerning the feasts of the LORD..." The word translated "feasts" is from the Hebrew word /moed/ which means "appointment, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival...".

These last few years we have been learning about the Feasts of the Lord, and keeping them the best we know how. Some of my friends have asked me about it, wondering why we would have any interest in keeping "Jewish feasts". I woke up this morning thinking on that question, and decided to write this post sharing with you seven good reasons to keep the biblical feasts.

1. They are the Feasts of our LORD.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. {Lev 23:2}
In the minds of most of us, they are Jewish. By the time of the New Testament they were sometimes referred to as feasts of the Jews. That is because throughout history, it is the Jews (even if just a remnant) who have faithfully kept them from year to year, though they may not have understood their full significance and fulfillment. But from the beginning, the feasts are appointments set by God, special times to meet with Him, from which He did not exclude "strangers" (Lev 19:34; Num 9:14). They are His appointed times, and we who are His may keep His feasts!

2. Creation itself was set up for them.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons /moed-im/, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. {Gen 1:14-15}
The Appointed Times were not a new idea in the mind of God when Israel left Egypt and congregated in the wilderness. They were in His heart from the beginning, and were part of the purpose for creating the heavenly bodies. When we look up at the night sky and thank Him for creating these beautiful lesser lights to light the night, we are only acknowledging part of His purpose. They were also created to be for signs and for His seasons (moed-im, appointed times).

3. The Biblical Feasts are all pictures of Jesus Christ, our Messiah.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me {Jesus}: for he wrote of me. {John 5:46}
The more we study the Feasts, the clearer the beautiful picture of Christ comes into view. It reveals more of His heart and His character to us! They are all about HIM. Why wouldn't I keep them, then?

4.  The Biblical Feasts are not all "fulfilled" yet.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. {Matt 5:18}
The Spring Feasts picture events that have been fulfilled with Messiah's first coming: Passover and Unleavened Bread (His death and burial), First Fruits (His resurrection; He is the First Fruits, and we will follow in the Resurrection), and Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (He sent the Holy Spirit). But the Fall Feasts have yet to be fulfilled: Feast of Trumpets (His second coming), Day of Atonement (That Great Day, final redemption), and Tabernacles (when He will dwell/tabernacle among us in the Kingdom). We are still looking forward to these prophesied events. The Biblical Feasts are still relevant at least until these events come to pass.

5. So that we won't be in the dark about Messiah's return.
Read this carefully:
1  But of the times and the seasons {Greek /kairos/: occasions, set times, akin to Hebrew /moed-im/}, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2  For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. {1 Thes 5:1-6}
Why did Paul not have any need to write to them about the times and seasons? Because they already knew all about them, and were keeping them as Paul did. From this and other passages we see that Messiah will come as a thief in the night to those who are NOT watching, and who are NOT walking in the Light of God's Word, which reveals His times, seasons, appointments.

6. Keeping the Feasts of the LORD shows that we are a faithful Bride, prepared and waiting for our Bridegroom.
{Matt 25} Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish...
In this parable there are five wise virgins and five foolish ones, who went to meet the Bridegroom. The five foolish ones were not prepared for His coming, but the five wise ones were prepared with oil to spare. At the end of the parable we see this same admonition used later by Paul: WATCH.

7. The Feasts are remembrances of what He has done, and rehearsals for what is to come.

Looking back, we remember His death with Passover, His glorious resurrection with First Fruits. Looking forward, in the Millennial Reign of Christ the first event we see taking place is the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a picture of the great wedding feast of the Bridegroom and His Bride! It will take place every year for a thousand years as a commemoration, like a wedding anniversary.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. {Zec 14:16}
Most of us had a wedding rehearsal before our actual wedding date. Shall we rehearse the Greatest Wedding in the Universe?

I have found it a joy to do so!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Tomatoes and Children

This morning I woke up thinking about children. In the Bible, children are sometimes likened to tender young plants, and I thought of the tiny tomato plants we recently potted. Not all of them stood up straight at first; they needed to be planted into good soil, gently watered, and trained with a gentle and patient hand. With that kind of care, their little stems gained strength, their leaves stretched toward heaven, their roots went deeper into nourishing soil, and they've grown into strong plants and are even beginning to bear fruit.

I thought about how silly it would have been to yell at those tiny plants for being so flimsy, or to impatiently stick them into the soil, or worse, toss them onto the soil and throw up our hands hopelessly, saying these plants will never amount to anything. That's ridiculous. No one would do that with a tiny tomato seedling. Yet people do that with their children.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. {Ephesians 6:4}

What does it mean to "bring them up"? The Greek word is /ektrephō/, which means "to rear up to maturity, that is, (generally) to cherish or train: - bring up, nourish". Cherish. Train. Nourish. These speak of meeting needs, and children have a lot of needs.

We must cherish them to meet their emotional needs.

We must train them to meet their spiritual needs.

We must nourish them to meet their physical needs.

How can children grow up right, if their needs are not met? How can they learn to be kind to others, if they are not treated with kindness as they grow? How can they learn to tolerate others' shortcomings, if they are not allowed the the same grace? How can they learn to do a job well, if they are never given opportunities to try, to fail in a safe environment, to build confidence, and then to succeed?

When parents provide the secure, loving, nourishing environment that little ones need, they can grow up to maturity and produce the good fruit that we long to see.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stuck at the Gate?

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Have you accepted Jesus as your Saviour, and think that's all you need to do? Is God happy with you sitting on your salvation, hoping to cruise right through the pearly gates to your eternal reward, even if it's just a cabin in the corner of glory? Then you are missing something very important in Scripture.

Jesus said that He is the Way. This tells of a journey, the road or means of getting somewhere. Jesus walked the Way perfectly, and we are to carefully observe what He did, then do it. First John 2:6  "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

Jesus said that He is the Truth. Funny thing about the Truth is that it does not change. There's not "my way" and "your way", and we're all okay. Jesus IS the Truth, the living Word of God (John 1). Psalm 119:142  "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth." If you are not walking in this Truth, you are not walking with Jesus. At all. Period.

Jesus said that He is the Life. There is no life outside of Him. If He is not living in you and through you, then you are like a dead branch. Jesus is not your crutch to get into heaven, He is a way of Life.

You say that you are a Christian. Believers were first called Christians (little Christs) because their life, their speech, their way of living testified of Whose they were. Others in the world identified them as Christians. Would others identify you as a "little Christ"?

I'm glad that you have entered in through the Gate, which is Jesus. But realize that there is the Way (which is also Jesus). It starts just inside the Gate. Start walking in it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time with our Children is Precious

'pre-cious: (adj.) (of an object, substance, or resource) Of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.

I saw the saddest story in the news today. A little four-month-old baby boy passed away in his sleep. We hear about these things happening from time to time, and don't always stop to ponder the grief of the mother, the father, the family of the little one. But this story struck an even deeper, sadder chord with me. 

This baby died in a daycare facility.

Now, infant deaths do occur, many times for unknown causes, and pretty much anywhere, whether the child happens to be at home, with grandma, on vacation with the family... But the saddest of sad, to me, is that this one died among strangers. His mommy wasn't the last one to hold him, feed him, rock him to sleep. That sad thought is overwhelming. I do not mean to criticize this poor mother at all, because I do not know her reasons for leaving him there. But, to me, it is worth any sacrifice it takes to make the most of our time raising our babies, especially since we do not know how much (or how little) time we have.

Are any of us guaranteed another embrace? Of course not. Therefore our time with our children is very, very precious. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Pesky Zealots

We've all probably come across one of them. It's the person who is always excited about something, and they can go on and on about it if anyone gets them started. They know what they love, and it spills over into every aspect of their life. There is no doubting what they are about; they are zealous about their love, and everyone knows it. Sometimes the things they say might cause everyone in the room to roll their eyes, but only if the people in the room do not share or at least understand their passion. A psalmist said, 

Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. My ZEAL hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

Now, this guy Mr. Zeal takes God's Word seriously. He would not be welcome at any typical party. He may not even be welcome at the typical church! He has found God's Word to be righteous and very faithful. What does that drive him to do? Not only guard it, hear and heed it, but also to tell others! His zeal consumes him, and he can't stand it that others are oblivious to its wonderful, life-giving, eye-opening Truth. He will likely share things he has learned (whether solicited or not), warn others of their sin and the consequences of it. He will never be one of the "cool" crowd. He is not knowledgeable of worldly trends, t.v. shows and movies; he has neither time nor patience for any of that, and he is sure that those things will amount to dung in eternity. He is consumed with one thing: Loving the LORD with everything he has.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." To love Him is to keep His commandments. Therefore, the above verse from Deuteronomy may be read:

Thou shalt {keep My commandments} with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Mr. Zeal may be uncool. But he may just be right on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My (Healthy) Beauty Secrets

It's no secret that most commercial skin care and beauty products are full of unpronounceable chemicals. In just a matter of seconds after application, those chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream. Over time they can contribute to hormonal problems and other health issues. I've made it my goal to eliminate as many of them as possible from my skin care regimen. Here are some of the things I use instead.

Baking Soda. I use this for so many things! I keep a small cup of b/s in my shower and use it to wash my hair about twice a week. It has a mild exfoliating effect, so sometimes I use a tiny amount to wash my face. (I have slightly oily skin. Those with dry skin should probably not use b/s on their skin.) Occasionally I use baking soda for brushing my teeth, but it has a strong flavor. (There are plenty of good recipes online for homemade toothpaste, which are better tasting, but I don't always take the time to make toothpaste.) I also use baking soda to make my own deodorant.

Apple Cider Vinegar. This is also kept in my shower, diluted in a plastic squirt bottle. ACV is an excellent hair conditioner, to use after rinsing out all the baking soda. Sometimes I put it on a cotton ball and swipe it over my face to refresh my skin after washing. It's good for skin and nail fungus, and taking it internally is good for the complexion.

Hydrogen Peroxide. This is the alternative for commercial toothpaste that I use most often. I have some in a small spray bottle, so I can spray it onto my toothbrush and directly onto my teeth, then brush. It whitens the teeth over time. (In fact, most if not all of those expensive tooth whitening systems are made with hydrogen peroxide.)

Banana Peels. Yes, banana peels. They are full of nutrients that are good for the skin! I cut a large piece off the peel and rub the inside all over my face until the chalky-looking white stuff is gone. I leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse off with warm water. It makes a nice mask that firms up the skin, and I've noticed that it clears up blemishes quickly. It leaves my skin feeling very soft and not over-dry.

Essential Oils and Healthy Carrier Oils. I'm learning how to use essential oils for health care, but beyond that they make some really nice custom fragrances! I use Sweet Almond Oil, Sesame, or Olive Oil for carrier oils (because that's what I have), and add drops of different e/o's until I have a scent I like. Sometimes I use this to moisturize dry spots like my hands and elbows, but it's too, well - oily - for use all over. Thus the next beauty secret...

Healthy Moisturizers. First of all, I reduce the need for lotion by avoiding the overuse of soap in the shower. (I've found that using just warm water and a bath pouf gets me very clean without drying out my skin. I only use soap where it's necessary.) But I do need lotion sometimes, facial moisturizer every day. The stuff I buy is as basic as possible. Right now I'm using a nice lotion I bought in the States, called "Everyday Shea". For my face, I have a homemade moisturizer from Generation Cedar. Occasionally I might use a commercial lotion I was given, but it's not the norm for me.

So there are my own healthy beauty secrets. What about yours?