Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL?

R. Herbert

In John 5 we find a question asked by Jesus, which might seem strange if we think about it.

John records the healing by Jesus of a disabled man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, a pool called in Aramaic Beth hesda or “House of Mercy” (or “Grace”) probably because of the healing associated with its waters.   Many sick and disabled individuals came to this area and literally lived by the sides of the pool waiting for an opportunity to be healed by the water’s occasional, but seemingly miraculous action.   It was one such individual – a man lame in his feet for a great many years – whom Jesus asked “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6B). If we simply continue the story from that point we see the man affirmed his desire by way of explaining why he had not been healed after many years: because of his lameness he was never able to get to the waters quickly enough when the transient healing conditions occurred.

But if we go back to Jesus’ question it bears thinking about. Ostensibly it doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you were very ill and I came to see you and said “do you want to get well?” you might think I was being sarcastic, exhibiting a strange sense of humor, or at the very least, had poor bedside manner. Obviously, when Jesus asked the question none of these things applied. So what did he mean?

We should remember that the man Jesus healed was not alone at the pool of Bethesda. A great many sick and handicapped individuals were there. For some of these people their illness or disability had doubtless become a means of earning a living by way of the alms of passers-by. Their illnesses had perhaps become a way of life which ultimately was not as bad as what some people face. They were not starving and did not even have to work, though naturally, their illnesses may have precluded many or most of these unfortunate people from working. But the point is that, for many, their illnesses had become a lifestyle to which they had become accustomed (Jer. 10:19) and perhaps in some cases with which they were even reasonably comfortable.   This is not in any way to try to gloss or deny the illnesses and physical hardships these people may have suffered, but perhaps there is an answer to Jesus’ question here.

Keep in mind that in most cases people who had heard about his healings came to Jesus and asked for help. In this instance it was a Sabbath and it appears that Jesus purposely went to an area where he knew there would be a number of sick individuals in order to choose someone to heal as an example that it is not wrong to do healing and helping work on the Sabbath day (John 5:8-10, 16). Now look at this from the perspective of human psychology. Some of the people at the pool of Bethesda, including the man Jesus healed, had been there for many years. Their lives may well have been bleak and seemingly hopeless. But in those circumstances the human mind often tries at least to grasp on to what it can. Perhaps some of these people had become resigned to the fact that this was their life, and that it could perhaps have been worse. Few people gladly embrace drastic change in their lives – sometimes even from bad situations.

Could this possibly have been the reason Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well? Jesus did not go around asking all the sick at the pool this question. What drew him to this man and caused him to ask a seemingly redundant question? Could it be that Jesus could read the hearts of these people, or was guided by God to do so, and could it be that this man was unusual in his group – a man who did fervently want to be well? If Jesus had compassion on this individual for this very reason, perhaps his question was as much for his disciples’ hearing, and for ours, as for the hearing of the man himself. Perhaps Jesus was not only acknowledging that not everyone at the pool deeply wanted to be well - and let his question single out this individual who truly did – but he was also asking a question that applies to all of us.

The moral of this story is larger than that small pool in Bethesda, and even larger than physical sickness.   Before God calls us, we live in spiritual sickness. We are spiritually blind, deaf and lame. Due to the results of sin our lives may be bleak indeed, yet we still cling to them, often justifying the causes and effects of which we are victims, sometimes longing for something better, yet all too often comfortable in our spiritual sickness, or at least accepting of it. When God calls us He gives us the opportunity to be free from our spiritual illnesses and disabilities. But that is a huge change for our human minds and when the call comes, God does not just reach down and heal us. He asks us, in effect, “Do you want to get well?” and we must choose.

Just as the man healed of his physical ailment at Bethesda had to choose to begin a new life with responsibilities and work that had not been there before, so we have to count the cost and make the decision that we want to start a new life of spiritual health. Then, just as Jesus told the man he healed, we must act to keep sin out of our lives in order to stay spiritually healthy and not revert to spiritual sickness (5:14).   We have to want to be well, and then we have to want to stay well in order for the miracle to continue.

No wonder Jesus asked the lame man if he wanted to be well. But it is a question that applies to all of us as much as it did to the man at the pool of Bethesda!

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Are you a “Scatterer” – or a “Gatherer”?

Do you know that Yeshua (Jesus) says we’re one or the other? No middle ground. You and I are either scatterers or gatherers. Find out what defines that and find out which you are. It’s vital.

Life on earth and for all eternity is all about relationships. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is paramount. Our relationship with our Redeemer-Savior, His Son, determines everything. And here on earth, our relationship with our family – our spouse, our own children, our mom and dad, our siblings and other relatives – affects our joy and quality of life immensely and even involved in the 4th commandment. When any relationships is failing, there’s little joy and often painful anguish. Note the anguish of divorce, or when parent-child become estranged, or when siblings are not close.

On the other hand, nothing’s more beautiful, satisfying and fun to behold, than two sisters who like to do everything together. Or brothers acting as one, enjoying all things together with great joy. I just read a FB posting from a former college friend who reveled in being with his dad for the 4th of July weekend. I know the feeling because I was also a dad reveling in my own wonderful 4th of July weekend with one of my daughters and her family recently. (My other children are 3,300 miles away!)

Now here’s where the spiritual element comes in. Those whom Yehoweh calls “My people” are described in Scripture as being your spiritual brothers and sisters – if you’re one of His people. We should have the same father and the same mother spiritually. The results of that union produce people who are part of the same family. They’re brothers and sisters, “in Christ”. Though each person is unique in the entire universe, we who are of that one family subscribe to living according to the Way of the Family of God. But just like in physical families, there are often different styles, personalities and points of view within families that can cause separation and disunity. But they’re still your brother and sister. I wrote a BLOG a long time ago called “We don’t get to choose our brothers and sisters.”

The Adversary (that’s what “Satan” means) relishes in destroying relationships by getting us to focus on what divides us, rather than on what unites us. If you are estranged from a loved one, it’s not her or you or him behind it. Oh no, it’s far higher than that. It’s Satan and his spirit that wants to drive the thoughts and moods that lead to divorce or children being estranged from mom and dad. It’s the same spirit that drives the spread of ever more denominations – all claiming to serve the same God but who won’t have anything to do with one another. What should unite us is having the knowledge that spiritually we have the same father and His one spirit.

Let’s see what Yeshua, the head of God’s church, says. In context of demonic activity, and how Satan loves to bind people, Yeshua says this (and hence the title of this blog):

Luke 11:23

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and HE WHO DOES NOT GATHER with Me, SCATTERS.”

It’s one or the other. It appears to me that our Master is saying we can’t stand idly by on the sidelines on this matter. Either we are bringing people together – or we’re scattering, by virtue of our INACTION. We’re either helping to fix the massive hurts and divides out there, or –by doing nothing – we’re adding to the problem. This is not a spectator sport with Abba. We’ve got to be fully engaged in putting a spirit out there and actions out there that bring Yah’s children together.

The point of today’s blog is simple. I have a simple question I pose to each of us (including me!): WHAT ARE EACH OF US DOING to gather the people of Yehoweh together? Would Abba say you are “gathering” people together with Him, or – if we’re not gathering, are we basically aiding the Enemy in scattering His flock? Are you taking steps to be reunited with those from whom you are estranged – or do we do nothing, encouraging the divide to just get wider? Do we counsel friends to mend their broken marriage, or by our absence lead more to the scourge and tragedy of divorce? Are we imposing impossible requirements before we can agree to walk together? I also have a blog all about AMOS 3:3 and what that verse really means. Go find it. We don’t have to agree on every minute detail before we can agree to walk together. It’s all explained in that blog a while back.

I suggest this as your simple homework: ask yourself, ask your family – “what can I, what can we, start doing to be a “gatherer” of people with Christ, rather than doing nothing, which just encourages more scattering?” Ask yourself: “what am I doing to forge a stronger bond with my family, my dad, my daughter, my brother or my son? What am I doing to promote unity and harmony at work, in my neighborhood, at “church” and among the various denominations?”

With action guided by God’s spirit, you become a gatherer with Christ. No divinely guided action means you’re a scatterer. So let’s wake up and start recognizing our brothers and sisters, even those with different outlooks and personalities.

Are you a gatherer with Christ -- or are you a scatterer with the Adversary and his wolves (John 10:12-13)?

Satan loves to divide. He’s the Adversary. He’s the Slanderer, and all who promote the spread of slander or defamation or division and separation, are playing right into his hands. Can you imagine the slander used against Rahab, against BatSheva (Bathsheba), and even against the Messiah? I’ve spoken about all of the above in recent full length sermons on this website.

If you’d like to learn more about this vital topic, HEAR THE 5-part “ONE BODY” SERIES of sermons which started in November 2009. The series will also suggest steps by which you can become a gatherer. In the matter of church break-ups, for example, I encourage you to visit across denominational lines. Pastors have to understand you will not be separated from your brothers and sisters in Christ because of political feuds between pastors, for example! Be very wary of ministers who threaten you with expulsion if you visit outside of their own man-made organizational walls.

Our Head is Yeshua (Col. 1:15-18) – not the pastor. We belong to Christ (Mark 9:41), not any man-made organization. Don’t ever say you “belong to” this or that church or organization. No, no, no. They didn’t buy you -- or have they? Frankly many are “bought” by being given positions and opportunities in that fellowship, which appeal to one’s pride. NO! You were bought with the blood of the Lamb of God! HE paid the price and bought you and me, and so we belong to HIM.

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JOSIAH – A GOOD KING, SO WHY THE BAD ENDING?

By R. Herbert

(This blog is written by a long-time minister and close friend who writes under the name R. Herbert. I love this contribution about lessons we can learn from one of my favorite kings – Josiah.  We look forward to many more blogs from this contributor.)

Josiah (Hebrew “Yoshiyahu” meaning “supported by Yah”) was undoubtedly one of ancient Judah’s best rulers. This king took the throne of Judah at the early age of 8 and ruled for thirty-one years (c. 640-609 BC), accomplishing great good during his reign. Yet his death is puzzling and may present lessons to those of us who read the story.

Before we examine the events regarding the death of this great king, we should consider his deeds. The Bible gives few details regarding the early years of his reign, but – perhaps under the influence of Jeremiah - in his eighteenth year Josiah began a great reformation of the faith of Judah. He first repaired the Temple of God and it was during this work that “the book of the law” (perhaps Deuteronomy, if not the whole Pentateuch) was found. Moved by the warnings in the book, for the non-observance of God’s law, Josiah tore his clothes in repentance and called an assembly of the elders and people of Jerusalem and Judah at which the ancient covenant with Yahweh was renewed (2 Kings 23). The king then began to cleanse Judah of idolatry. After the Temple of God was purged of the various paraphernalia and emblems of the pagan god Baal and “the host of heaven,” local cult “high places” were destroyed throughout Judah and even beyond. As a high point of this reformation, a great Passover celebration was kept in Jerusalem, greater than any that had been held since the days of the Judges.

Josiah’s reformation and good deeds are all the more remarkable considering that his father, Amon, and grandfather, Manasseh, were among Judah’s worst kings, committing great evil before God. Josiah clearly returned to the one God and humbly led his people to return also. He was praised for this by the prophetess Huldah, a relative of Jeremiah, who also prophesied that Josiah would be buried in peace (2 Kings 22:20). But something went amiss. Josiah did not die in peace, but as a casualty of war.

To understand Josiah’s death we need to understand the basics of international relations in his day. When Josiah ascended the throne the ancient Near East was in political flux. That world’s “superpower”, the Assyrian Empire (to Israel’s North east), was disintegrating in Josiah’s lifetime, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire (to Israel’s east) was rising to replace it. By 612 BC the Babylonians captured the great Assyrian city, Nineveh, and began to take over Assyrian territories and cities such as Carchemish in Syria. Egypt, another key power player under the strong pharaoh Necho II, perhaps saw Babylon’s attacks as an opportunity to reconquer areas of Syria for itself, and Necho thus led an army north to fight the Babylonians (who would ultimately attack Judah) at the city of Carchemish.

What’s all this have to do with you, me and Josiah and how he ended up? Read the rest of this blog to find out what might have happened to righteous king Josiah – and to glean vital lessons for our own lives.

This is where Josiah enters the picture. Necho requested permission to pass through Judah on the main road to Syria in order to fight the Babylonians, but, ironically – considering Judah’s soon-coming downfall at the hands of the Babylonians – Josiah refused. According to II Chronicles 35:20-21 Necho then sent messengers to Josiah saying, “What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you.” This message is amazing not only in that Necho pleaded with the relatively minor king Josiah not to interfere, but also claimed that God Himself instructed him to do what he was doing. Was this just a detail of cleverly contrived psychological warfare, or was Necho really marching under the influence of God who raises kingdoms and diminishes them (Daniel 2:21)? The biblical account appears to indicate the latter as Chronicles tells us that “Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.” (2 Chron. 35:22, emphasis added). The results of this battle in the summer of 609 BC were disastrous for the Judean king. “Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, “Take me away; I am badly wounded.” So they took him ... to Jerusalem, where he died. “(vs. 23).

Josiah’s folly in taking a huge chance with his life at Megiddo not only led to his own demise, but to the loss of Judean independence, because his defeat in battle meant that Pharaoh Necho now controlled Judah and thus instituted his own puppet ruler.  

What brought about this very bad choice by Josiah? The Jewish Talmud (Taanis 22b) states that Josiah acted on the basis of the scripture which says that “no sword shall pass through your land” (Leviticus 26.6) but this attempt to justify the king’s action is only speculation and is offset by the Bible’s own account that Josiah was warned by God through Necho. The Talmud itself also asserts that Josiah was warned by Jeremiah.

So what happened to this good king of Judah? Did Josiah somehow misunderstand the situation and simply die as a result of his fatal mistake, or had something happened in the king’s life that he no longer enjoyed God’s guidance and protection? There seem to be two logical answers.

Scenario/Lesson One: Good people sometimes make very bad mistakes. It is possible that Josiah continued his close relationship with God down to the end of his life, but that he simply made a wrong choice – a fatal mistake – by getting involved in a power struggle that did not concern him.   Proverbs 26:17 gives the principle of not meddling in a matter that does not concern us, and Josiah may have paid the price for not knowing or heeding that principle. There is no doubt that God sometimes mercifully protects those who love Him from the results of foolish decisions and actions, but He does not guarantee He will do this in any or every circumstance. The principle of not “tempting” God (Deuteronomy 6:16) certainly applies here. Lesson: We can jeopardize our success, our happiness, and even our lives through taking foolish chances - despite our relationship with God. Don’t run the stop lights of life – physical or spiritual.

Scenario/Lesson Two: Sometimes we stop seeking God’s will – with very bad results. Because the Bible is silent regarding a spiritual assessment of Josiah at the end of his reign, it is also possible that this king, despite the wonderful attitude and dedication to God’s way he displayed earlier in life, spiritually “died on the vine” in the sense of losing his dedication and desire to continue seeking God’s way with the same former fervency. While he had earlier sought God’s will through His Word and His prophets, the Bible does not give any evidence that he sought God’s counsel as to whether or not to intervene in Necho’s campaign.     Since Josiah had repaired the temple and begun the worship of the one true God according to biblical commands, he could have sought guidance from the High priest, perhaps specifically through consulting the Urim and Thummim intended to give guidance from God (Exodus 28:30), or he could have sought God’s guidance through one of His prophets living at that time – such as Jeremiah.   Lesson: The life of Solomon and perhaps the life of Josiah show that even the wisest and most dedicated followers of God can lose their original love and die in a lesser relationship with Him. And, of course, it’s not just a problem of kings – Jesus’ words in John 15: 1-5 and the book of Revelation’s message to the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) show that we are all capable of such a sad ending.

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Happy “Fathers’ Day”, Almighty YHVH!

On June 16, 2013, the USA has a special day to honor Fathers.  Mothers’ Day is in May.  It is fitting and appropriate to honor our fathers and our mothers.  My father died in 1984 and my Mom died in 1993.  I wish like anything I could be with them and honor them on these days and I miss them so. So many times, some people don’t realize what a gem they have in their father and mother until … until they gone. Don’t let that be your regret, if you have a living father and mother.

Before going further on the topic of our earthly fathers and mothers, I want to say that first and foremost, we have an ultimate Father in God the Father – Yehowah Most High. In the last days, an Elijah work will cause the children of God to turn their hearts back to the One Living Father of the Redeemed—as well as to our Fathers in the faith -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And of course it refers also to our earthly fathers.

Malachi 4:5-6
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHWH. 
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

The Elijah work will be about turning hearts. I don’t know who that Elijah at the very end time will be. I know John the Baptist absolutely was a type of that Elijah – for Yeshua said so.

Read the rest of this blog to see what we can learn from John the Baptist and what God says about fathers.

Matthew 17:11-13
Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, ELIJAH IS COMING first and will restore all things. 
12 But I say to you that Elijah HAS come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." 
13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Notice that Yeshua says Elijah HAS come and WILL come, so that is why I believe there is yet an Elijah work.  Concerning John the Baptist, he was commissioned with making ready a people prepared for their God. So it seems clear that turning the hearts to Father starts with turning our hearts to our heavenly Father.  Once that is done, we surely will obey Him and His command to honor our earthly father, in spite of any of his quirks or oddities.  We are to honor our father regardless – simply because he is our father. Too many young people and young adults today are forgetting that.  Now look how the priorities applied to John the Baptizer. What was his first priority? Turning people back FIRST to God our Father.

Luke 1:16-17
16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 
17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to TURN THE HEARTS of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Now notice what has to change first: the HEART. Now notice whose heart turns first; it’s we fathers who have to make the first step. WE have to be the ones who FIRST turn our hearts to our daughters and sons. Once we do that, it’s easier for our children to turn their hearts back to us. So no matter what happens in our family relationships, we fathers are to always have our faces and hearts turned towards our children – even if they don’t want us to just yet.

Think of the father of the prodigal son. He let his younger son have free moral agency and sow his wild oats. But when the son came back, his Dad was out there and saw him coming from a long ways off.  Be that kind of Dad. The father did not insist on first discussing all the bad things that had happened before. Neither did he insist his son get some therapy to manage all his quirks.  He simply forgave him, loved him, covered him and celebrated with a big party. We fathers must be the same way with our children.  

And children of any age, respond. And remember to obey your heavenly Father and always “HONOR your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land YHVH is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).  Even if your father was absent, didn’t care, or hurt your feelings. God does not say we are to honor them IF this or IF that. He simply says “honor your father”.  Show profound respect for their position and office. And please call your Dad once in a while. Pray for your Dad. Go tell him you love him and give him a big hug – even if he was a less-than-perfect Dad.  Frankly all of us are less than perfect dads, even I.  Remember that your earthly dad is not your real enemy, if you’re having issues with your Dad. We all have one real enemy – his name IS “Adversary” – SATAN.  Our battle is not with Dad, but with spirits in heavenly realms. SEE that, and get back to loving and honoring your father.  And most of all thank God for your Father and pray for him.

THEN we can be healing our relationships and families will start coming back together, as Malachi 4 says.   

Fathers – let’s turn our hearts back to our children.  And let’s be turning OUR hearts back to our own heavenly Father, who indeed has turned HIS heart to us.  Now it’s our turn. Let’s also set the example to our children by showing a deep and profound respect for our living earthly fathers, and honor them in a special way on Father’s Day. But don’t let that example of respect and honor end with one day.

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1 Thessalonians 5:17. Do we “pray without ceasing”?

I’m sure we all know we need to pray. If we’re not praying every day, it’s a habit we need to form. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), but if we’re not seeking Him first thing daily and seeking the Kingdom of God daily (Matthew 6:33), then we are walking in our own strength, instead of being “strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might” (Ephesians 6:10).  (Woe be to the person who thinks he/she can fight their spiritual battles without YHVH with us, around us, over us and in us.)

But as we’ll see, Scripture also says in many places that we are to “pray always” or to pray “without ceasing”.  How can we possibly do that? What does that mean?  Understanding the answers will make all the difference in the level of our relationship with dear Abba, our heavenly Father.

It does not mean that we must literally have our head bowed, eyes closed, while praying non-stop 24 hours a day! We all would have been fired from our jobs long ago if we lived like that. It means we go through each day with an active awareness of the presence of the Almighty.  It means we take time to connect with Him dozens of times a day in quick short prayers. I’ll explain far deeper as we go along in this blog.  

We surely should connect with our Father first and last thing each day – especially in a formal prayer time on our knees.  David and Daniel prayed three times a day in these formal type prayers (Psalm 55:17;  Daniel 6:10, 13).  In these prayers we praise Him, thank Him, ask for His forgiveness for where we fell short, we intercede for others, and we ask for the help we need as well.  But we always praise and thank.  (There are several sermons and teachings on this website about prayer.)  These times of prayer on our knees, I think of as “formal prayer times” and I think they are necessary. It is good for US to be on our knees before our Maker. It is good for US to confess our sins, to ask forgiveness, and then to praise and to intercede.  That’s formal prayer time primarily.  I recommend you be sure you are giving God this honor. Don’t fall for the teaching that its OK to JUST have quickie prayers while we shave or do dishes or drive to work on the freeway.  I teach we should have definite formal prayer times on our knees (if our knees and bodies allow for that) first as the foundation. THEN, to those times, we add the concept of “praying without ceasing”.

First let’s see some of the places we’re told to pray “always”:
•    After discussing the “armor of God” in Ephesians 6, Paul concludes the section in verse 18  by saying, “praying ALWAYS, with all prayer and supplication in the SPIRIT…”.  So we are to pray “in the Spirit”. Praying is part of our spiritual armor. It’s what makes it functional!

•    To the Thessalonians Paul admonishes, “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING” (1 Thess. 5:17).  He goes on to say “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.”   Here Paul stresses the connection of effective prayer with thanksgiving and the peace that comes from realizing we are in His hands.  Is there a connection with lack of prayer and quenching the Spirit? Paul seems to imply so.

Read the rest of this blog for HOW we are to pray always and more on WHY we should.  

First let’s continue to see some of the many passages that urge us to “pray always”. 
•    In the parable of the Persistent widow, the context was a parable showing “that men ought ALWAYS to pray and not to lose heart.”  (Luke 18:1-2). 
•    Yeshua also orders us to “watch therefore and PRAY ALWAYS that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).  Here, “watch” refers far more to our spiritual alertness than it means to watch world news or something. We are to watch our own spiritual state, be on guard, to stay awake and alert – and that’s tied in to praying always.  Prayer is about keeping the communication with God alive.
•    We’re told that Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was a devout man who “prayed to God ALWAYS” (Acts 10:2).  As a centurion, he had many responsibilities, so how could he possibly really pray to God always?  

So HOW do we “pray always”?

I believe it means going through the day with a keen awareness of the presence of Yehowah in your life. That will be easier to do if we started the day on a foundation of prayer, before we eat, before we go to work.  It’s easier to do if you’ve consciously asked Him to help you “turn your heart” back to Him.  After that, you’ll be getting nudged by His Spirit many times a day. You’re ‘hearing His voice” in many different ways, conversations and circumstances. So to me it means that all through the day we’re connecting with Father in dozens of quick short prayers. It’s like touching base with our Maker all through the day. If you’re not doing that already, you’ll be amazed how your life changes once you make a practice of calling on Father and Yeshua all through the day and into the night. He’s a FATHER!  He LIKES hearing from His kids.

A few days ago something was heavy on my mind around 4 a.m. I wasn’t sleeping. So I just decided to get up, get on my knees, and I spent the next 10-15 minutes praising my Father for all the good He does in our lives and asking Him to put my restless mind at peace. I wanted to experience the joy of His grace, to share my heart with Him – and what a wonderful time we had together! It made me think of the many psalms where David says He praised in the wee morning hours.  It was wonderful. That’s one of the ways we can “pray always”.  Just touch base with our Father many times a day and night. Share your concerns and thoughts. Share your joys. Share what’s happening. Fathers like to have sons and daughters who share what’s going on in their lives.  I know, I’m a father and grandfather. If my kids aren’t sharing their lives with me, I feel cut off from them. I’m joyful when they do share something. Just the other day my son shared something with me that made my heart sing all the rest of the day. It wasn’t a big thing, but it was a big deal in how it impacted me. God our Father is the same way. Share your life with Him, all through the day.  

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit!  In the “old days”, one man – the High Priest – could go into the Holy of Holies once a year for a few minutes – and that was it.  Today we HOUSE the Holy of Holies within each of us, we are IN HIM, and He is IN US, and so we can come boldly before His throne of Grace. The Shekinah glory of God should be evident more and more in our lives.  That’s especially true when we come into the Holy of Holies –every time we pray -- in Yeshua’s name. Hallelujah! We have the unprecedented opportunity to come before His presence any time we want, and frankly we should be capitalizing on that opportunity.

So think of “praying always” as a way to be walking and talking with God all day long. Always. Be saying silent prayers before and during important meetings. Lift up a brother or sister in Christ to heavenly realms in prayers several times a day, every day. Look up and just quietly ask Father to smooth out your paths for you, if things aren’t going well. Maybe you should have touched base many times before that point already!  When feeling anxious, I like to look up and say something like, “there I go again. I don’t want it to be me – but to be YOU. I have no reason to worry or fret since you are with me. I have every reason to claim the victory, to shout the joyful triumphs, even long before I see the final outcome, knowing I walk with the King of the Universe!!!”  

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Do you hear Him speaking?

Scripture is replete with examples of mankind hearing the voice of YHVH.  Do you? Do I?  Or has the Almighty gone mute and into retirement as far as your experience is concerned?  Absolutely not.  If we’re not hearing Him, it’s not because He isn’t speaking – but could it be that we simply aren’t listening or we’re not tuned in to Him?  I have spoken on this before, but our recent experiences have been replete with times we felt our Father was showing and telling us exactly what to do next.  It was fun.

I remember going to a neighbor’s home some years back, knocking on his door, calling out his name, but he never heard me. His TV was blaring so loud, and loud music playing as well, that he never heard my voice. Reminds me of what Yeshua says in Revelation 3:20 to the Laodiceans about “if anyone hears my voice…”.  We are a very noisy generation.  Yehowah spoke to the Israelites in a quiet wilderness.  He whispered to Elijah.  The Holy of Holies was a most quiet place – though outside the tabernacle was often a noisy place. So many saw and heard Him speak while in wilderness situations.  You might want to hear my sermon about “Your Wilderness Time” (June 2012).  Turn off the TV. Turn off the music once in a while. Enjoy the sound of silence. And you’ll be in a better position to hear His voice.

There have been other times where people were trying to talk to me but I didn’t hear them because I wasn’t trying to hear. My mind was somewhere else. So we have to tune in.  Yehowah was constantly telling Israel to “SHEMA – HEAR, O Israel….” – part of Deuteronomy 6:4.  It’s surprising how much more we hear when we focus our hearing, expect to hear something, and tilt our ears so we can hear.  

When we pray, is it a monologue of all our requests – or is it a dialogue?  For years now, during my prayers I often stop praying, and with pen and paper in hand, just suggest to Father that I’d like Him to speak now please and tell me what He wants me to hear.  Honestly sometimes nothing happens. But it’s simply astonishing how many times I start writing HIS words, HIS thoughts, HIS commands to me when I shut up for a few minutes and let Father speak through His Spirit. Try this. The first time you experience yourself unable to keep up with His words, you’ll be floored! This has happened to me many, many times now.   

Father also uses His holy Spirit to communicate with us in many other ways.  If we are praying “thy will be done on earth just like it is up there in heaven” – and really believe it – be prepared to see doors opening up and doors slamming shut, to your delight.  For example, recently we made a major decision to move our home and business  across the country. My wife and I told Father we wanted this to be HIS desire for us, His decision, and HIS will and to please slam shut the doors we were approaching if they weren’t HIS open doors. We asked Him to bless us with open doors HE wanted for us. Time and again we saw His providential hand every step of the way, and continue to do so.  When you combine that with a mind at peace and at rest regardless of what’s swirling around you, what a joy this becomes.  He who commanded the stormy Sea of Galilee to calm down was fast asleep moments before. His inside was at peace – and so what was happening outside didn’t bother Him.  

So listen to YHVH speak to you -- through open and shut doors.  Listen to Him speak to you – if you’ve asked Him to speak to you – through people, phone calls, conversations, circumstances, sermons, even through an ass (like Balaam’s ass) if need be. He will use even bad people to get a message across if need be. Remember when Caiaphas said it was better that just one man die instead of the whole nation?  God inspired that (John 11:49-52)!  He also spoke through Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-41).  Sometimes Father chooses children to speak to us, or lessons from nature and creation, or circumstances.  He doesn’t speak to us just through ministers.  But He certainly can and does use ministers as well. So listen. Be aware.

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Leviticus 19:3. What’s the first thing mentioned about being holy? It’s interesting in light of “Mother’s Day”.

This weekend of May 11-12, 2013 in the USA we are honoring our Moms.  I wrote another blog as well – about moms who aren’t so wonderful (see previous blog).  Most parents are wonderful.  Some are not. Certainly no matter how toxic the relationship with your Mom or Dad might be in a few cases, pray for God to help you forgive and to love – for we are to love even our enemies, let alone our mom and dad, even when they’re far from perfect.  I don’t know any of us parents who would feel we are perfect parents. I know I’m not.  And my parents weren’t. And our adult children as parents of our grandchildren aren’t.  In spite of what all the cards might say, no one is perfect. No one.  But I thank God for my mom and dad and wish I had them around now. They both died decades ago.

Look at Lev. 19:3 – where honoring your mom is connected to keeping the sabbaths as part of the holiness teachings of the chapter. Take a look at it. Sabbaths – in plural – refer to ALL the moedim, or commanded holy day appointments. with our Maker.

After telling us to “be holy for I am holy”, Leviticus 19 then enumerates a long list of commands to illustrate how holy people are to live. This blog is about the first command in Lev.19 associated with holiness. It’s interesting for it combines what seem to be two very different topics – but it tells us something very important. Why is this instruction from Yehowah listed FIRST?  

Leviticus 19:2-3
"Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I Yehowah your Elohim am holy. 
3 'Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am Yehowah your Elohim (the LORD your God).”

You and I can’t make ourselves holy.  Only holy God can make anything holy by His presence or by Him announcing that something or someone is to be set apart for holy use. We’re sanctified (set apart for holy use) by the blood of the Lamb. His holy spirit in us is what makes us holy – or “saints”. Apart from that, we are mere flesh.

So why is the fifth commandment mentioned along with keeping God’s sabbaths?  
Read the rest of this blog for something you may not have considered before.

First of all, the Almighty doesn’t say exactly why. But could it be because these two summarize love for God and love for man? Could it be these 2 commands are strongly linked in ways you may not have thought about?  Many have commented in the past that a civil society is much more likely when the family unit is cohesive; when children respect and honor their father and mother.  Look at the trends in our present society:  over 40% of children being born in America today are born out of wedlock. In black communities it’s almost twice that.  At least these young mothers are not killing their babies in abortion, but where’s the stable family for those babies to grow up in after they’re born?  And now it’s becoming commonplace for children to speak rudely to their own parents – and to teachers and other adults. I hear it and I’ve witnessed it.  It’s not uncommon for children – even adult children – to dishonor their father and mother. This can only mean that the very fabric of our society is unraveling before our very eyes. Interestingly here in Lev. 19:3, honoring our mother is listed first, even ahead of honoring our Dad.

How does the sabbath figure into this discussion? It’s not arbitrary.

The sabbath is holy time when we must stop all our earthly work, rest now – and “be with” the living God. I like to think of Shabbat (the sabbath) as a date with my Redeemer and my Father too.  After all, it’s the very first of the moedim – the divine appointments with Yehowah –mentioned in Leviticus 23:1-3. Sabbath is time we are to set aside to spend with our Maker. Remember the One who became Yeshua (Jesus) was the one who formed Adam from the adamah – the ground.  

So one way we show honor to our parents is by spending precious time with them. YHVH is our spiritual Father – the one living God in heaven.  Are we spending time with Him in a focused way on the appointed day HE set as holy time when He wants His family to come together as one? I know I just loved it when our whole family would come together and do things together.  And it grieves me mightily when things aren’t all what they should be on the home front.

Think about the connection here:  One big way fathers and mothers feel honored is when their children will talk to them, and want to come and spend time together with them.  Any mom or dad – or God -- can feel unloved and dishonored when their kids won’t spend time or ever call or talk.

We spend time with those we want to spend time with. It’s that simple. A parent gets the picture pretty quickly when a daughter or son won’t come by or return phone calls.  Almighty God is our FATHER. He is our “Parent”.  He wants you and me to call Him, visit Him and spend time with Him. He wants us to seek Him first. Too many of us get distracted or have lost the love for our mom and dad- - and God.

Our heavenly father is saying, as I read it anyway:   “Don’t think you’re honoring Me by coming before me at sabbath services – but you won’t spend time with your earthly mom and dad or really honor them. Hey, we’re linked together. I’m your Abba, your dear father, and I want you to turn your heart to your earthly father and mother too (Malachi 4:5-6).  Sabbath worship and honoring your parents go hand in hand because even the sabbath is ultimately about honoring your ultimate Parent!  YOU don’t get to pick your parents. I chose them for you. And as your heavenly father, I expect you to honor them.  By honoring them – and doing what I told you to do in that regard – you are honoring Me.”   

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Mother’s Day (USA). But what if Mom’s NOT so honorable?

Mother’s day is this coming May 12.  Mother’s Day in some countries does have a pagan root or history apparently, so believers in those countries rightfully do not observe it.  But Mother’s Day in the USA has no such pagan roots to the best of my knowledge – so I teach we should observe it.

Mothers should be honored every day and not just on Mother’s Day. I’m sure millions of words will be spoken and printed about how wonderful mothers are.  And those words should indeed be spoken and written. There certainly are a lot of amazing, incredible moms out there.   

But what about this? What if your mom’s not so amazing, not so incredible? Let’s be honest. Not everyone is amazing, though that adjective is way overused.  Sometimes I’ve been asked something like this:  “My mom frankly is a …(then they tell me something awful like one of these:  “a drunk, a whore, mean spirited, gambler, a drug addict, hot tempered, lazy, etc.”).”  The adult child continues:  “I don’t feel she’s worthy of my honor.  Isn’t respect and honor something that has to be earned?  I just can’t honor her on Mother’s Day.”   (And I know some who feel that way about their dad, and so the same question could come up on Father’s Day.)

OK, now what?  Please read the rest of this blog for those situations: when you have a mom you feel you can’t honor.  

I say honor her anyway. Love her anyway.  The 5th commandment – to Honor your Father and your Mother – does not come with any “if” statements.  Our heavenly father does not say to honor your Mom “IF she is a wonderful mom”.  YHVH says to honor her, period. Without any pre-conditions.  Giving honor in this case would be a matter of obeying God’s command.  

There’s something else: maybe, just maybe, your sincere gestures of giving honor to a woman who has fallen short (so far) of being an excellent mom --  just might be the catalyst to help her get her life back in order.

Even if they don’t admit it to you, most of us parents (including me, very much so) often feel we fell woefully short of being the perfect mom or dad we wanted to be.  We didn’t get weeks of training prior to having our babies.  Weeks?  Most of us got almost no training.  More is required to be able to get a driver’s license – than what’s required to get married or to qualify to have children. Think about that. So we parents all had to learn as we went along.  And suddenly the guilt began to happen.  The baby who wouldn’t stop crying and you’re worn out and it’s 2 a.m. You feel guilty for resenting the baby but you get up and check on the baby anyway.  Or someone’s told you to let the baby cry and not spoil the child.  But the guilt continues if you don’t get up. Then eventually some have a stubborn child who won’t budge. These can wear out the greatest of saints. Or the shy child whose shyness we made worse by always telling everyone in her presence “She’s so shy”.  And just when you thought it couldn’t get any harder, the middle teen years come along. Those of you with just little children, and who are so quick to judge parents who have teens, just you wait.  Your turn will come.  

You think of the many, many times you could have handled issues better – but at the time, you didn’t. Maybe your daughter didn’t get home til the wee hours of the morning. Or maybe you find drug paraphernalia. Or they had yet another car accident or endless traffic tickets. Or your son got someone pregnant. Or wants to drop out of school. Now what?  These are real life issues!

I’ll never forget the long, long chat I had with my mom when I was around 38 years old.  By that time, my youthful bravado had faded and I could see how far I’d fallen short of God’s standards. I was going through some tough, tough times.  I didn’t feel like a very good person – let alone a great dad or husband, and I told my Mom that.  She opened up to me for an hour in a way I’d never imagined. Basically her message was –“I know how you feel. I know I sure fell short of being the mom I should have been…”  Though I assured her otherwise, I could tell she had regrets.

Mom started to sob when I started recounting the many ways I felt she had been an incredible mom.  She was a single mom after her divorce, so I told her that I remember her long hours after work toiling to get the laundry done at the Laundromat, keeping up with the housework and shopping and raising teens – all while somehow trying to make the dollar stretch.  We were very poor. We always had way more month left at the end of the money, it seemed.  I assured her we understood her stresses and that I loved her – especially now that I could see how hard it was to be a parent of kids who would soon be teens at the time. It reached a climax when I blurted out, “Mom, now I appreciate a lot more all you went through…”   

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LEV 21:17 –priests with disabilities and deformities

There’s an intriguing passage in Leviticus 21:17 and the verses which followed:

Leviticus 21:17

"Speak to Aaron, saying: 'No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, WHO HAS ANY DEFECT, may approach to offer the bread of his God.”

This passage enthralled me. We’ve read it before, but it really hits you how serious God is that His priests serving at the altar or in the holy place represented His perfection and holiness. Anyone with any defect could not serve. Wow! I hope you read Leviticus 21 carefully and slowly, on your knees. After all, whether you’re ordained or not, if we’re being called by our Heavenly Father, WE today are being called to be part of a “holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5; also Revelation 1:6; 5:10; and Rev. 20:6). Yes YOU. Forget the images in your mind of what a priest is, just for a minute. YOU are being called to serve God as part of a “royal priesthood”. Do you have any defects? What does this mean?

1 Peter 2:5, 9

“…YOU also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, A HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” V. 9 – “royal priesthood”          

We are called the house of God, a spiritual house. Our lives should be a house of prayer. I’ve spoken on that before. But then Peter says we are all being called to be a holy PRIESTHOOD in these new covenant times. In the first covenant times, only men could be priests. But in these second covenant times, though I believe scripture is clear that PASTORS of churches are to be male, scripture is also clear that spiritually speaking we are all of one. No more male or female as far as our spiritual potential goes. Women are co-heirs with us of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7).

WOMEN who are led by God’s spirit are also being called to be priests of God in the new kingdom. Now there is no longer (spiritually speaking) male nor female, Jew nor Gentile (Gal. 3:26-28).   SO whether you’re a man or woman, I hope I have your attention. The rules in Leviticus 21 for priests say a lot for us today – those of us in training to be priests of YHVH in the coming Kingdom.

In Leviticus 21, after some rules about dealing with dead bodies and rules for marriage, the rules for physical perfection are listed. We find Yehowah saying in verses 17-20 that if any priest is deformed, lame, blind, a dwarf or has imperfections like severe eczema or scabs -- he couldn’t serve in the tabernacle.

WHY? How does all this apply to us TODAY?

Read the rest of this blog for the intriguing answers. The answer will also help you understand much of the rest of Scripture if you apply the principle I’m going to employ.

 SO what’s the key to understanding why Yehowah the Living God would be so restrictive about who could serve as a priest who would offer the bread of God? It sounds discriminatory today.

It’s relevance for US today is seen in its SPIRITUAL meaning. But first I share something from the Bible Exposition Commentary of the Old Testament by Warren W. Wiersbe:

“Leviticus 21:1-15

The privilege of leadership brings with it the responsibility of maintaining a life that's above reproach. In their devotion and obedience to God, the priests were to be examples to the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, the priesthood in Israel declined spiritually and led the people astray. "They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds" (Hosea 4:8-9, NIV).

“… The important thing for all of them was that they remain ceremonially clean before the Lord. The word defile is used four times in this chapter, and the word profane is used eight times. You will notice that at the end of each major paragraph in chapters 21-22, the Lord says, "I am the Lord who sanctifies you," or words to that effect (Leviticus 21:8,15,23; 22:9,16,32)”.

Yehowah called you and me as priests of the new covenant, to be set apart, sanctified, and to walk in His holy way. In fact Yeshua said we were to become “perfect”, as our heavenly father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). I realize that comes from the word meaning mature or grown up, but the point is God wants us representing Him very, very well. WE must put away anything about us that brings reproach to the One we claim to follow.

Having said that, the only one perfect – as we think of that word -- is our Leader, Jesus Christ. I know of no human being – minister or otherwise - - who is without fault. Even the Apostle Paul claimed he had been a chief sinner who had caused many believers to blaspheme by his cruel persecutions (1 Tim. 1:15). Jacob (Israel), late in his life, said “few and EVIL have been the days of my life” (Genesis 49:7).

You’ll soon see this has everything to do with Leviticus 21 and the holiness of the priests.

When we act like unbelievers, it causes people to blaspheme and speak derogatorily of us who are of the Way. Peter, Paul and others say we should no longer do the things we used to do before Christ came into our lives (1 Peter 4:1-4). Who hasn’t failed in this task? Do you remember that after David’s sin of murdering Uriah and seizing Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan also said that David had caused the enemy of Yehowah to blaspheme by his sins (2 Samuel 12:14). We are not a good light, me included, whenever we are poor examples of this Way in our speech and conduct. The priests of God were to bring glory to Him – not dishonor.

We pray: “Oh Master, give us more of your Spirit and please awaken our senses to where we fall so short of your glory. Help us follow you more closely each day. Forgive us, your children, for our imperfect walks. Have mercy, especially on us who teach your way, for we have been called to be leaders and priests. Help us grow up ever more to be in your image, to look and be like you.”

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A lesson from today's Torah reading: coming before YHVH

Each week there is a reading from the Torah (specifically the first 5 books of the Bible) in various Jewish groups or even among Messianics and Hebrew Roots folks. Yeshua said we are to live by every word of God, not just the first five books. In fact Scripture also says the whole Torah is to be read once every seven years while at the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), not once a year every year (Deuteronomy 31:10-13). So I try to read the entire word of God, and not just pre-selected scriptures. Having said that, the Jerusalem Conference does seem to allude to this practice of reading Torah in Acts 15:21. So I keep aware of the Torah readings each week – but just feel more of scripture should be read and discussed.

Having said that, it's interesting that this week's reading starts with Leviticus 16, and holiness as we come before the presence of YHVH. The previous chapters dealt with ritual impurity. Now Yehowah deals with purity and holiness in this week's reading. It is also about the High Priest coming before Yehowah once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

There's something simple, clean and reassuring about the instructions. The High Priest (Cohen Hagadol in Hebrew) had to first be washed in a "mikvah", almost like a baptism (Leviticus 16:4), and only then could he dress to come before holy Yehowah. But this time he didn't don the colorful and ornate full High Priestly regalia – but a simple white linen tunic. Then barefoot, he took the incense into the Holy of Holies.

There may be some things going on here that we don't give enough thought to. Read the rest of this blog for the answer!

When we come before Yehowah, we need to think about what we're doing. We come reverently. In fact the High Priest would normally wear a gold crown on which was written "Holiness to YHVH". We need to be more aware of this as well.

Almighty God not only wants us to wash before we come before Him – but He wants you to know He SEES you as having washed. Apparently Aaron's two sons who were killed by YHVH earlier either didn't come with profound respect, maybe they were even drunk, but perhaps they hadn't washed either.

My first point is: if we obediently wash, God sees us as washed. It's important that WE recognize this. Regardless of whether or not people see one as washed of their past, the One who counts – DOES. We no longer have to feel dirty about any sinful past.

That's also a part of the lesson of the Passover footwashing: we are acknowledging as we wash our brother's or sister's feet, that WE see that person as having already been washed by the Master (John 13:14).

In our case, our washing is repentance and being washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 1:5) and in His Word (Ephesians 5:26). Of course most of us adults who follow His Way also had washed in our watery baptism, ideally with flowing water (Acts 22:16; Hebrews 10:22). Ultimately the Holy Spirit is washing us (Titus 3:5). The Great Innumerable Multitude of Revelation 7 is said to have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).

Titus 3:3-7
3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6 which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Then the High Priest put on the simple white linen tunic. White, simple, clean. Once again, white is seen as a symbol of purity, holiness and acceptance by our Maker. The absence of the ornate robes depicts humility as we come before His Holy Presence. The High Priest was representing all Israel.

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Quality time with your Father

I’m a father. I just love it when my daughter or son calls – especially if they just kinda want to talk. Or come over. Or want us to come over.  I love that.  Best of all is when one of the young grandkids call on the phone.  My grandson Grey sometimes phones and just blurts out, “Poppy! Turn on Skype! Let’s talk…” – then he hangs up, and of course we HAVE to get on Skype.  

Fathers love hearing from their children. It’s a crying shame how much fathers and mothers are dishonored today by so many. Some children won’t phone or reach out or come visit or touch base with parents. Looking back, I remember writing my mom every single sabbath eve while in college. I didn’t do that with my Dad though, and looking back, I’ve repented of that. It wasn’t right. I should have shown him my love with more frequent calls and letters.  I was studying in England at the time when my father called me to say he had some tickets for me to fly home for a few weeks to see my mom (they were divorced). I had 30 minutes to pack and get on the train. I asked him if I could see HIM.  He said he wasn’t sure, but what made MY day was when I landed in New York, my Dad was there. He loved to surprise us kids. What a glorious hour we had together. I’ll never forget my dad making the effort to meet up with me too.  He said it was because I had asked if I could see him somehow. He said that touched his heart.  I was too young – and not a father yet myself-- to realize how much fathers and mothers crave that love from their adult children. All too often parents are forgotten, unless they are needed for babysitting.

We also have a heavenly Father. When was the last time you spent quality time with Him?  Do we spend more time with Facebook or computer games or social media or TV – than with our dear Abba?  I’ll bet many of us do. If it’s not all that, maybe its non-stop work even til late into the evening (that’s my distraction).  When was the last time you went for a walk with Abba?  Abba (that’s our dear heavenly Daddy) is turning His heart to His children and we must, as His children, respond by turning our hearts back to Him. He wants your heart. All of it. He longs to hear from you. He loves knowing you love Him and think of Him often. We think of what we love!

Call out to your father. Lift up holy hands as you reach up to Him in prayer, as a little child does to its much-loved dad. As we lift up our hands, He is reaching down to us.  Life is about relationships. And the most important one is our relationship with Him. But remember, He won’t hear us if He knows we won’t reconcile with fellow humans first. That’s what Yeshua taught us over and over. Be kind to one another. Repent deeply when you’re not. And yes, I’ve done some repenting of the way I’ve missed the mark myself on that one.  

Now, as I said before, just do it. Call Him -- in prayer, in meditative walks.  Sing to Him. Praise Him. Open your heart to Him.  He is waiting to hear from YOU.  

When my children or grandchildren call my wife or me -- we both just beam, all day long.  May YOU make Abba’s face beam with joy. May His face shine upon you, and He will – if you just spend more time with Him, sharing your heart with Him.  So whether your earthly father or heavenly father:  turn your heart back to him.  Just do it….

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It doesn't take much. Just do it. Call someone.

There are a lot of parents, uncles, nieces, aunts, grandmas and grandpas and – people – out there besides your family, who would love to hear from you. I just got off the phone calling my 85 year old uncle Ken in hospice care. He's had a tough life. We didn't talk long, but I am glad he got to hear me say that my siblings and I all love him and think of him and are praying for him. I think he felt loved by that call. My sister had called him a few days earlier. I think my other 2 siblings have talked with him recently too.

That got me thinking. Why don't we take 5 minutes more often to brighten someone else's day and just say, "You popped into my mind... and I just had to call and say 'hi'" – and let them know you love them. When someone receives an unexpected call, it makes them realize someone out there thinks of them once in a while. When's the last time you called your dad or mom? That old lady or gentleman down the road? Or someone who's "the black sheep" of your extended family? And if you know ANYONE in a nursing home – go by and visit, or at least call. Do that often. Maybe when your turn comes, Abba will reward your kindness today with kindnesses returned to you in the future.

Go ahead. Do it now. And I mean a phone call – not a text message. Especially if the one you're reaching out to is over 60, we're still used to hearing someone's voice. Truly young people, we wonder if some of you are losing the art of conversation with real give and take. Texting and Facebooking is not the same at all, though that's better than nothing. I see people walking on the street with their spouse and they're texting. I see people driving – and texting. I see people in restaurants and they're texting or checking facebook. Folks, what have we come to? For the life of me, if an EMP from the sun or enemy ever happens, and we lose the ability to use electricity and electronics, millions of people in the Western countries especially will be lost!

So call now, while you can. Write now, while you can. Say "I love you" to someone now, while you can. Maybe that person is your son or daughter. Do it, say it, even if they don't respond. You take the high road. Brighten someone's day.

And most of all – take time several times a day to say "hi" to your heavenly Father and to your Saviour as well. "Walk with God" literally. Go on a long quiet walk and just mouth some talking time to Abba. Be sure you don't move your lips too much or someone might think something's wrong (ha, ha) – but yes, Abba is waiting for us to say "hi" and to talk more to Him as well.

Just do it. It takes just minutes. I gotta go ... I can think of another uncle and others to call. After all, "By this" shall all people know you are a disciple of Christ, by your immense love for people (John 13:33-34) and this is one way to show that love.

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NOW….Experience the JOY of His Salvation

We’ve focused a lot on deleavening, putting sin out, replacing the leavened (sinful) life with the Unleavened Bread from heaven – Yeshua.  He is risen; He is living His life anew.  “Yeshua” means “Salvation”.  

Sometimes we (me included) focus so much on the sin, the leaven, the guilt, the consequences of sin, the fear of punishment if we don’t repent – that we don’t focus enough on the JOY of Yeshua. Yeshua MEANS “Salvation”.  

Even MORE than being about the death of the Lamb of God, we need to focus on the joy that results when we accept that blood covering. Yeshua was killed, yes – but by His blood we are granted victory over sin, over its punishment and over its guilt. By His blood we can enter into a new covenant with Him. All covenants involved “cutting” and shedding of blood.  But true, before joy there has to be confession, repentance and commitment to change.  But given all that, the last few days and really ever since we accepted the Lamb, we should have been experiencing profound JOY from our deliverance from sin. 

But the truth is -- most of us humans don’t know how to let go. We keep going back in our minds to the scene of the crime or the sin. That in turn, leads us away from the joy of deliverance and the pardon we’ve been given. We get so sidetracked by doctrinal issues, on the calendar dates issues or on any issue but His love – that we forget the reason for the season!  I’ve done that too. Let’s get back to what we should be focusing on!

Click on “Read more” to get the rest of this important message. We’ll talk about how David expressed his need for joy after confessing the bloodguilt over Uriah and much more. If you aren’t experiencing that joy, please continue reading the rest of the blog.

Perhaps some of us don’t focus enough on the new life, the new creation, the joy of having the peace and devotion we should now feel.  Passover is about freedom, joy, being freed, having Someone who believes in you. OK, WE must be the ones believing in HIM.  I get that. 

But have you considered that HE also believes that YOU can change, YOU can be new, YOU can be a new creation, you are acceptable to Him, you are a new kind of person than you were before – because HE LIVES.  To put it another way, HE is confident of what He can do in you, now that you have put HIM in charge of your life.  (If YOU are still in charge of your life, you’re still in trouble. Yeshua must be LORD and Master now and we do what His Spirit tells us now.) 

In Hebrews 2:10-13, we are told that Yeshua is not ashamed of you or me.  He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. That frankly boggles my mind. I’ve given Him a lot to be ashamed of over my lifetime – and so have you. So has everybody.  We tend to categorize sinners into “worst of the worst” and “not so bad”, but all of us have incurred the same penalty—the life of the Son of God. Maybe you feel you’re in the “not so bad” category, so I’ll speak for myself:  I’m amazed that He knows who I am.  I’m amazed that He loves me. I’m amazed that He died for ME and was raised for me, and that He lives in me.  Passover has to come to be that personal.  You and I are saying “He did it for me” – not just “for everyone”.  Personalize Yeshua’s mission.  He lived, suffered and died and wants to live again in YOU, in me.  

Hebrews 2:11 says He who sanctifies (God, Yeshua) and those being sanctified or being made holy (that’s us), are all of one!  That’s exactly what Yeshua prayed in John 17:21-23, that WE may be ONE in God as Yeshua was one with Father and Father in Him – all of us are in Christ, in God (Col. 3:3).  

At His Passover with His disciples the night He was betrayed, this incredible Son of God and Son of Man was talking about all of us loving one another the way HE loves us (John 13:33-35). He had just washed Judas Iscariot’s feet! He spoke of the peace we can have in Him, the JOY of the day. Isn’t that incredible? 

So I want readers of this website to understand we need to be about His JOY, His LOVE, His peace – more than about our sin.  Our sins are gone. They’re buried and past. He remembers them no more. It’s time to focus on the real POINT of Passover:  we have an amazing God! We have an incredible Leader and Savior. 

Now that you’ve deleavened your spiritual temple and have repented of your sins and accepted Yeshua as your Savior, we need now to focus on HIM – and not so much now on us, and our sins. Passover and Days of Matzoth (unleavened bread) is freedom and joy.  
I want to focus much more on the consequences of what HE did for me, than what I failed to do for Him. 

I want to focus much more on the JOY of His salvation than I do the pain of the memories of my sins.  

I want to focus now on how Yeshua accepts me into Yehowah’s (God’s) family and flock as belonging to Him – not on the Slanderer (Devil) I used to belong to. Slander and gossip and keeping record of sins are Satan’s way and the way of his children.  God’s children forgive and see the new person we are in Christ. Love keeps no record of wrong (1 Cor. 13:5) or thinks about evil.  

I want to focus much more on how His amazing love is greater than any of my sins. 
This is the same Saviour who told the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-12), “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” But He forgave her, encouraged her, accepted her.  This is the same Saviour who inspired Paul to tell the Corinthians to bring back into their fellowship that horrible, horrible sinner who had openly and defiantly paraded his awful sex sins before, but who had now repented. Paul said don’t let him languish out there as a shunned pariah or spiritual leper!  Read it yourself in 2 Corinthians 2:1-11, especially verses 8-11.  

This is the same Savior who now wants to present you and me – His Bride – as a bride without spot or wrinkle.  Of course, we have to present ourselves to HIM to work in us, to let HIS mind be in us and to follow Him as He leads by His Spirit. 

Be watching for a full audio message that will go into far more detail about the JOY and PEACE we should be feeling after repenting and accepting our Savior. We’ll discuss David’s statements at the end of Psalm 51, the changed lives of those who DO move on in His love and joy and much more. Read the last half of Psalm 51 to catch the joy David was looking for. 

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Hallelujah – our Master has RISEN!

(No, I don’t mean Easter!)

Messiah said He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth and then be resurrected  (Matthew 12:40).  In the year He died, his death and resurrection schedule matched perfectly the Passover week this year 2013 – IF you’re keeping the non-changed dates. (The Rabbinic Calendar changed God’s holyday dates this year to two days earlier, as they often do many years.) He was placed in the tomb just before sunset on Wednesday night (Luke 23:54) just before the 1st holyday of the days of Unleavened Bread, a “High day” (John 19:31).  You can read about this in Leviticus 23:4-14.  Thursday was the annual holyday High Day this year, also referred to as a sabbath.  So He had to be resurrected just before sunset as well, three days later. That places His resurrection to Saturday just before sunset. So the tomb would be already empty when the women went there before sunrise Sunday morning.  I apologize for using the pagan names of the week, but I want to be clear to all my readers. As I write this, the sun is going down “Saturday” night and my Master has been resurrected as a spirit Son of God!  I’m pretty excited about that.

Of course if you decided to keep the rabbi-changed dates, you will have missed this glorious realization – that 2013 perfectly matches with the year Messiah died and was resurrected.  Sunday March 31, the first of the weeks, is Wavesheaf Day when Christ ascended to His Father and our father, His God and our God (John 20:17) at the precise instant the High Priest was raising the first of the fine barley flour. Don’t miss Wavesheaf Day. THIS year, the pagan Easter holiday coincides perfectly with Wavesheaf Sunday.

Those of you who have come to this website for many years know we don’t keep the pagan holidays but the God-ordained holy days.  Easter is named after Ishtar, the goddess of sex and fertility ---hence the Easter eggs and bunny rabbits. What do eggs and rabbits have to do with the resurrection of Messiah?  Besides, remember that no human witnessed the actual resurrection of Messiah as it happened, and certainly not at dawn. The tomb was already empty by dawn, or as John 20:1 says, it was empty even “while it was yet dark”.

For more about the correct holyday dates, and how this year matches the year Yeshua died – IF you don’t follow the changed dates of the rabbinic calendar, just continue reading. Click “Read more” ….

The correct unchanged dates, based on the sighting of the moon in Jerusalem on March 13, are two days later than the changed rabbinic calendar dates.  Even the full moon was officially March 27, so clearly having Passover day be March 25 was too early.  The first holyday is March 28, not March 26. One can try to reason til the cows come home how man has the right to change His dates, but unless you show me that in scripture, I’m not buying that dangerous argument. Man has changed his holy days, changed His name, and changed the story of how and when our Messiah was really resurrected.

Yehowah told us to meet in a holy convocation on the 15th day after the sighting of the moon, which starts the new month each month.  The 15th day, a holyday in the first Hebrew month, was March 28 in 2013.  April 3 is the last holyday of Unleavened Bread. Those are the dates HE said to meet on.  NO man, no rabbi and no pastor has any business changing HIS appointment times. These are days He is calling us to assemble and meet with Him.  If you missed the first appointment with YHVH, join the growing number of believers who are deciding to obey and keep the holydays on the days Yehowah stipulated. The NEXT HOLYDAY IS APRIL 3, Wednesday – not April 1.  All holydays begin at sundown the night before. Don’t fear any man.  Fear to disobey God. And then pray your pastor comes to see the truth on this and has the courage to preach the truth.

Sunday March 31 will be Wavesheaf Sunday.  Oh how I hate using the pagan names like SUN-day and month of Mars, the war god of the pagans, but I want to be sure you all understand the right date.  Wavesheaf Day is not a holyday, but we should recognize it.  My wife and I usually have a special prayer together before doing our other work on Wavesheaf Day.

Anyway, I just wanted to make the point that if we don’t move His dates, this year is exciting because it copies the timing of the days the year Christ died.

So Yeshua was put into the tomb just before sunset, so He would be resurrected just before sunset three days later! He was resurrected at sundown Saturday night… hence my title: “Hallelujah , Our Master has RISEN!”  The tomb was already empty by Sunday morning, before sunrise. So He was resurrected many hours BEFORE sunrise.  John 20:1 says they found the tomb empty “while it was still dark”.  Luke says “very early in the morning”. Matthew says the day “had began to dawn”.  In any case, the tomb was empty by sunrise.

The important point is that He was RESURRECTED and LIVES TODAY in each of His brothers and sisters who are led by His Spirit. The important thing is that my life must now be HIS life in me.  You and I carnally should have crucified the self and the life we now live is the life of Christ, by faith in Him and using His faith (Gal. 2:20). Our lives are now “hidden in Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), so Father no longer sees you or me, but His perfect Son. This is the only way – in Christ – that we can come boldly before the throne of grace.

The resurrected Jesus should now be living in you and me.  If He is, we will think and act more and more like Him. If He is not, well – we’re in trouble.  These days are days to remember that after accepting Yeshua as our Savior, we now show that appreciation by fighting sin with everything we’ve got, and mostly we do that by abiding in Yeshua. HE won.  He never sinned. HE wants to win again in you by living HIS life. It’s up to us, however, to LET His mind be in us, to offer ourselves a living sacrifice, to seek Him first and constantly each day.

“Abide in me, and I in you, and you shall bear MUCH fruit”, He promises us in John 15:5. That’s the secret.  When I do that, He in me defeats sin.  When I don’t abide in Him, I’m in trouble. For without Him we can do nothing. Nothing. Our overcoming must be because HE is living in us, and not just our own human efforts.  Even Yeshua said even HE could do nothing of His own power, but He did EVERYTHING by the Father.  If HE says He was spiritually powerless apart from the power of the Father, how can we imagine we can start any day without HIS power.  The rest of John 15:5 says, “…for without Me you can do NOTHING.”  Let’s see what Yeshua said even about his own power if not empowered by the Father.

John 5:19, 30
Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son CAN DO NOTHING of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 
30 I can of Myself DO NOTHING. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

John 8:28-29
28 Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I DO NOTHING OF MYSELF;  but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 
29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him."

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John 21:11: Why 153 fish?

Scripture is careful what it takes time and space to say about Yeshua. Why does John mention in John 21:11 that there were exactly 153 fish caught after Christ’s resurrection?  There are some interesting answers but I’ll be the first to admit that Scripture doesn’t say anywhere “here’s what the 153 fish means”.  But scripture DOES give some strong indications of what could be going on here, and we’ll explore that today. The explanation will have significant meaning to you and me – especially as we come to the end of the age.  Don’t miss it.

Yeshua told His disciples if they would follow Him, He would make them fishers of MEN (Mark 1:17).  But after Yeshua was crucified, His disciples lost much of their direction and their heart, and at least for a time went back to their old professions – including fishing, as you can read in John 21:1-4.  Once again, the professional fishermen caught nothing after a whole night of fishing.  When you read what follows, it’s almost funny. Here’s a carpenter telling professional fishermen that the reason they weren’t ANY catching fish all night is that they needed to cast their net on the right side of the boat, not the left side. They do this – and now can’t even lift up their net because its teeming with so many large fish. I suggest you read John 21:1-13 yourself.  Peter swims to shore when he hears it is the Lord calling to them. There they find Yeshua already has a warming fire going, some fish already on the coals and some fresh bread. They count the fish – 153 large fish.  They quietly eat the bread and fish Yeshua has already prepared.  Perhaps even this is reminiscent of the miracle of the loaves and fish in some way.

Remember the context:  Peter had said, “Fellas, I’m going back to what I know best – fishing.”  The others joined in. They weren’t called to catch fish, but to catch men for salvation, to be “fishers of men”.  So what’s going on here?  Why are we told there are 153 fish? I believe Yeshua was using that number to make some very important points.  If you’ve ever wondered about this, then be sure to read the rest of the blog to find out why there were exactly 153 fish mentioned.

What’s the context of the revelation of 153 fish?

The greatest event in the history of the world had just happened!  The Son of God, who lived as a man and then died for all of our sins, had just been resurrected! He had already gone to Father on behalf of all the rest of the harvest.  Now He needed to build His group of called-out ones, the select “ekklesia”.  I avoid the word “church” most of the time because of its connotations. The “church” – ekklesia – is the group of people led by Yehowah’s spirit.  It’s not an organization and certainly not a building. So you in China and Russia and Kenya reading this – and any of the other 45 countries who come to this website – if you have repented, accepted Yeshua as your King and Saviour, and are following the leading of the Holy Spirit (ruach ha’kodesh) – ARE the “church”.  I wish I could meet and with talk to all of you in person.

Now back to the story.  So far Yeshua has 11 remaining apostles and a few other followers including the brave women disciples who stood by Him as He was tortured. That’s all He had. On Pentecost there were 120.  And now the leading apostle – Peter – wants to give it all up and go back to fishing!?  NO way!  He was understandably distraught and depressed, but Peter needed some encouragement.  So the story of the 153 fish happens.  There are several interesting “153’s” in the Bible. Could Yeshua be pointing them back to where their focus ought to be?

-    Yeshua uses FISH as a symbol of all humanity.  The disciples were to become fishers of MEN, not fish. Mark 1:17.  FISH are also used in the parable given in Matthew 13:47-48. Fish “of EVERY KIND” were caught.  Surely Peter and the disciples remembered this. Yeshua, without their full understanding even yet, was preparing them for the fact He loves the whole world, and all peoples from all nations who will call upon His name and repent. After all, God so loved THE WORLD, not just the Jews, that He sent His only begotten Son… (John 3:16).  They have work to do!  Surely Peter must have thought of Matthew 13:47 when this happened.

Matthew 13:47-48
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,  48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.

-    The number of those who built the first House of God was, are you ready, 153,000. 
Could it be that Yeshua was telling Peter and the disciples that we must once again build the House of God, this time a spiritual house that will include all the Gentiles He is calling. You in Africa, South America, China, Philippines, and across Europe who are learning about Yehowah from this website and other websites, glory be to Father!  He is calling so many of you into His body and I hear of your zeal, your desire to learn, and what an example you are to those of us in America who have God’s word readily available.  Thank you for your inspiring example!  But YOU are part of that house of God I speak of.

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Passover: It’s how we end up that counts.

Praise Yah.  With Passover ALL of our sins are covered and washed in the blood of the Lamb of God.  We are freed from sin – which is what the Israelites being freed from Egypt was really depicting.  We were also bought with a price and now we belong to Christ and Father. We do not “belong” to any man-made organizations but to Yehowah (YHVH) our Maker.

ALL of us have sinned. Some of us have -- at least in the sight of men – greater sin than others, though all sin requires the same ultimate penalty:  death.  Either our death or accepting the life of Messiah to pay for our penalty.   I bring this up because many people like to remember people by their failures. God remembers His children by how much they used His Spirit to overcome even the most despicable of sins.  Do you really think when we meet Rahab of Jericho that we will say, “Oh, you are that whore. You’re Rahab the harlot”??  Really?  Or are we going to count it an honor to have met one of only 5 women mentioned by name or alluded to in the genealogy of the Christ?  Be watching for my message about the women in Messiah’s genealogy – because it has everything to do with Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread.

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WHO really killed Christ? It’s not who you think.

I’ve seen articles and heard sermons over the years with this question. You’ve seen them too, I’m sure.  I’ve spoken on it myself.  I think most of the time, the real answer is missed.  Do YOU know who REALLY killed the Messiah?  Don’t assume I’m going to give any traditional answers, because I will not!

Many say the Jews did.  Certainly they’re right.  They did. Paul and others attest to that (see 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15).  Many say the Romans did. They’re right too – for it was the Roman government that had him nailed to the cross and who thrust the spear into His side.  Still others say – and I’ve said in the past too – that we ALL killed Yeshua of Nazareth.  Peter seems to say this to his sorrowful Pentecost audience (Acts 2:36-37), and later to a group in Acts 3:12-17, see especially verse 15.  How did we ALL kill the Christ?  By our sins. Our sins required His death in our stead. Please look up those verses and read them in your own Bible.

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Don’t MISS all your “HIDDEN Leaven”

The HIDDEN Leaven.  You probably know what at least some of it is and where it is in your life.  Oh, physical leaven – bread, crackers, cookies, cakes – that’s all comparatively easy to find and toss out as we prepare for the days of Unleavened Bread. But then the real deleavening starts. The self-examination of our hearts, and not just our homes.  Remember that our hearts and lives have become the home of God our Father and Yeshua (John 14:23). THAT’S the spiritual home Yehowah wants us to be sure to deleaven.  Remember the physical things we do point to the real spiritual lesson. Don’t get so worn out doing the physical that you have nothing left to deleaven your hearts and homes.

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Passover –Unleavened Bread- Pentecost dates this year 2013

Our household does not believe mankind has the right to change the dates Yehowah has given us as divine appointments to meet with him.  Orthodox Jews, rabbinic Jews, some Hebrew roots folks, most of the sabbath-keeping church of God groups and fellowships unfortunately do follow the “postponement” rules set up by rabbis.  They openly admit they’re changing the dates and call them “postponements”, though most of the time the change is to a day or two earlier than it should be. Some of you “see” this error but are afraid to step up and worship on the right days for fear of alienating your friends.  I pray you make the right decision this year if you know in your heart that what I’ll say here is correct.

Even the orthodox rabbis admit that a new month begins with the first visible sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem or Israel. The law goes forth out of Jerusalem, remember. So that’s not the issue.  If you have an issue with that definition, then that’s an entirely different discussion.  But rabbinic Jews believe that in four situations they somehow have the right to move the holydays to a day earlier or so.

This household, this website, does not agree. I keep God’s holy Sabbath on the 7th day because that’s when Yehowah says to keep it. No convenience rules can make me teach that in some cases we should change it to Sunday, the day of the sun.  In the same way, if Yehowah says He wants to meet with us on a particular day of His calendar – in which every month starts with the first visible sighting of the new crescent light of the moon in Jerusalem – then that’s the day we do it. 
Read the rest of this blog to learn more about the unchanged dates for Passover, Night to be Observant, and the Days of Unleavened Bread in 2013.

The new moon was sighted in Jerusalem on our pagan Roman calendar March 13, making March 14 the first day of YHVH’s calendar since all God’s days begin with sundown the night before.  So March 14 is Day 1 of the month of Aviv (Abib) in Yehowah’s calendar.  So on Yehowah’s calendar, Day 14 is the Passover day.  Day 15 is the first holyday of Unleavened Bread.  Day 21 is the 7th and last holyday of the Days of Unleavened Bread.  See Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23:4-16.

On our Roman calendars then, what I’ll be doing this year is this:

·    We’ll do the footwashing and unleavened bread/drink of the Master’s cup the evening of March 26, Tuesday, as Yeshua clearly did that service the evening before He was crucified and sacrificed as the Lamb of God.  The next day, Passover daytime -- at 3 pm Passover day, at the precise instant the Lamb for the nation was being sacrificed on the Temple mount, Yeshua was pierced with a spear and breathed His last, proclaiming “It is finished”, at the same instant the High Priest on the temple mount was saying the very same words as he slew the lamb “It is finished. The lamb for the nation…”

·    The evening immediately after Yeshua died on the stake/tree or cross – is the Night to be Observant.  For us, that will be the evening of March 27, 2013, Wednesday evening.  It is also a proclamation of our liberty from the penalty of sin as we come under the blood of the Lamb.  (I hope to have time to prepare a teaching on the Threshold Covenant as well.) This will also be the start of the 7 days of Unleavened Bread.  I call it “observant” because that is the real gist of the Hebrew.  When armies are leaving an area is a time to be watchful. When we have proclaimed our liberty from sin, is a time to be watchful that we don’t callously and carelessly bring in more sin.  We have to be on guard against the enemy putting sins back into our lives.  Be sure to hear the coming sermon on “the Hidden Leaven”.

·    The two holydays – without the changes made by the rabbis without ANY Biblical authority to do so – will be March 28 Thursday (the 15th of Abib) and April 3, Wednesday, 2013. The days begin at sundown the evening before. Those are the correct holydays! Those are the divine appointments – the moedim – of YHVH and He commands our meeting with Him on THOSE days.  What you do is your business. I’m just telling my readers what Yehowah tells us.  I’m so happy that more and more Church of God folks, Hebrew Roots folks and Karaite Jews understand the corruption of the Postponement rules.  Join us in celebrating our victory over sin on the right days!

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Recommended “Pre-Passover preparation” sermons

Very soon those of the household of Yehowah (YHVH) will all be participating in the Passover as we wash one another’s feet, break the Passover bread and drink of the Master’s cup.  Are you mentally and spiritually getting ready for it?  Many of you are already deleavening your house and car.  Don’t forget the main deleavening of the mind and soul that must be going on right now.

It is also our custom to do Passover-specific studies. We search for sermons that will help us be in the right frame of mind. So with that in mind, here are my personal recommendations from this website that will help you with Passover preparation.  I’ve also included 2 unsolicited comments from others. Perhaps their recommendations will go a long way. Let’s start with theirs.

From someone in the western USA: We listened to and read your Sermon titled “Are You Crucified With Christ?” [March 2007) It was just what we were looking for and needing at this time.  Thank you for this powerful and inspiring message!  Believe us—you just don’t come across sermons like this—the best Passover preparation sermon we have heard in a long time, and we sincerely mean this. This sermon is absolutely life-changing.”

From someone in Canada:

“I just thought I’d mention – this morning I was in the book of Joshua about Jericho and the sin of Achan there – and its consequences and severe punishment. Then I randomly clicked on your sermon – “Sins of ignorance” [March 2011). I really appreciated it again (I’ve heard it before a long time ago) – especially as Passover is getting close on the calendar.Thanks again for your sermons at Light on the Rock. BTW – as I listened through that message, I was surprised at how undated it was – it had few if any references to current events or other dated material. Lots of your messages at LOTR are like that which make them useful now and in the future for anyone who listens. In any case, thanks again for all your efforts.”  

We must also forgive those who have hurt us terribly, whether deserved or not. The standard is “as Christ has forgiven” – which goes very deep. So I recommend this sermon. It’s hard to forgive when the hurt cuts so deep, but we must.    SeeApril 2008 – “Forgiving as Christ Forgave Us” 

When we wash feet, is it just to remember that we are to serve one another, or is there something so, so much deeper than that?  There is. Find out in the sermon about Passover emblems at April 2011. Know why the night after that is the night to be observant – and not the misapplied “to be observed”.  Know also that drinking of the cup has so much deeper meaning that goes beyond the contents of the cup and the red wine.  The pierced matzah and the stripes on the matzah – learn about it.  The “Afikomen” is not to be forgotten.  I might even do this message again.

There are many timeless messages on this website that will help you have a most meaningful Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread season. Many of these messages are ones given from my own soul-searching and desire to have a closer walk with my Redeemer who has made me new.  

Others I strongly recommend:

April 2011 – “Repenting of what you are”

April 2011 – “Don’t Miss the Most Important Deleavening”.

April 2005 – “The JOY of Passover and Unleavened Bread” (It shouldn’t be as sad as some have it! We’re remembering His death, sure – but it resulted in victory!)

March 2009 – “Let’s Keep Passover in a Worthy Manner”

Short message:  “I am Barabbas”   April 2012

April 2012—How Jesus Fulfilled the Passover in intricate Detail

April 2006 – Dramatic Healing and its relation to Passover.  (This goes beyond the “broken bread” and “stripes” for our healing).


And of course the ones we’ve mentioned already:

April 2008 – Forgiving as Christ Forgave Us

March 2011   “Sins of Ignorance vs. Intentional sins”

March 2007 –“Are you Crucified with Christ?”

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