“…and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12)
…”Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Forgiveness: Relinquishing our desire to punish another for their offenses. (Dr. Jerry Cook)
Easy to understand, hard to apply. But The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in Hebrew) is all about forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of others. Yom Kippur (literally translated the Day of Atonements) begins at sunset on September 23, 2015 and is the sixth in the seven Biblical Feasts. It commemorates God’s annual forgiveness of the Israelites as a nation and God’s forgiveness of all through Yeshua’s death. Likewise, it’s a time when we are to forgive others. (more…)
A new opportunity arose from someone in my congregation, and I was asked to participate. Wow, I’d never thought of that idea, I didn’t even know we had those resources. It was an obvious God-incidence in answer to my prayer. I was excited about the prospect and what it could lead to.
Then the obstacles began to mount against my participation — to the point of impossibility. Under my current circumstances there was no way I could participate in the project. (more…)
(In this post, I will refer to Yeshua as “Jesus,” because it is written for those who may not yet observe the Sabbath and likely still call Yeshua by his English name, as I did for many years.)
Often we hear that Jesus taught against the Sabbath as a day of rest. After all, he healed on the Sabbath, he defended his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath. Every time the Pharisees challenged him about the rules of the Sabbath, he set them straight that “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
I heard those teachings; I read the Pharisees’ criticism of his actions on the Sabbath and Jesus’ responses defending himself and his disciples. I was convinced that the Sabbath and all its rules had been done away with when Jesus came and taught us the New Covenant.
Then I read the original instructions for the Sabbath in the Old Testament. (more…)
“As a Christian, serious about living out Christ’s intention for me, I view life as a series of opportunities to respond to and maximize… to recognize opportunities – either immediate or in the future – and prepare for, or respond well to them.” Dr. Jerry Cook
This summarizes our partnership with God in bringing his will. This is exactly what Esther and Mordecai did when the Jews were threatened with extermination by the Persians, as recorded in the Book of Esther – the story commemorated on the festival of Purim. (more…)
Esther – Queen of Persia, intercessor for the Jews before the King, and the one for whom the book of Esther is written. Understandably, as the heroine of the story, most discussions of the book are meant to inspire people to emulate her. But how many people are going to get the chance to be a queen, and in a position to intercede for their people in front of a king? Re-reading the story this year, I realized Mordecai’s role in the whole affair is probably a more realistic picture of what people in any position could aspire to. (more…)
Hanukkah — or Chanukah as it’s sometimes spelled, typically falls sometime in December. I had heard of it, but didn’t actually know what it celebrated. So one day I decided to look into it. If you’re at that point, I can save you some time.
It turns out, it’s really not the Jewish version of Christmas. It’s not even the most important Jewish holiday. It just happens to usually fall between America’s biggest holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — so we end up throwing it in with the majors. Not to say that what’s celebrated is not a big deal. Here’s what I found out… (more…)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
I find no evidence that this passage was originally about Hanukkah. It’s meant as a prophecy about Israel in the Millennial Age. But as I was contemplating the Hanukkah candles, this verse came to mind.
Then as I read verses 2-3, I realized how much this really parallels the idea of the Hanukkah candles:
“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:2-3
I decided to take a closer look at this passage and some of the Hanukkah themes that it contains. (more…)