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, or be 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…)
In an earlier post, we reviewed the lifestyle of following the 10 Commandments and the blessings it produces based on Deuteronomy 26:16-19. But God’s blessings go beyond human logic. It’s not only that if you do this, then that will happen. While that is certainly true in the natural realm, when we pursue God’s commands, the spiritual results are compounded beyond what we can imagine. (more…)
This 3-part blog series focuses on the Lord’s instruction in Leviticus 23:15 to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. For the Israelites, the count was about the harvest, thus the word “omer” which was a unit of measure used to count and track grain harvests. Yeshua taught us the spiritual meaning of “harvest” as those ready to receive the good news of the Messiah (Matt 9:37). That’s what the third phase of counting the omer is about.
The first two phases prepare us for what’s about to happen on the 50th day and beyond. (more…)
In Leviticus 23:15 God instructs us to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. But counting days with no explanation? Why would this be important to God and to us?
For the Israelites, it pertained mainly to their harvest cycle and offerings to be presented. For us living after the time of Yeshua, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, we can see the spiritual implications of this count. We know that on the 50th day after Yeshua’s resurrection, something unimaginably wonderful happened: The pouring out of the Holy Spirit not only on the disciples, but on all those who come to faith in Yeshua as the Messiah! The implications of that day reverberate even stronger in these last of the last days. The 50th day is one I want to be prepared for every year. (more…)
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
It’s called “Counting the Omer” because the omer was the unit of measure used in this counting process of tracking the grain harvest.
In 2014, the Feast of First Fruits occurs on Sunday, April 20th. Pentecost occurs on June 8, seven weeks or 50 days later – thus the name Pentecost.
For the past few years, I’ve kept count of the 50 days, although not understanding why. I was like a child – obeying my Father because he’s my Father. As with all the Feasts, God has been faithful to teach me little by little each year in accordance with my desire for His revelation. Last year brought insights about the count that I had never seen or heard of in my research. (more…)
In my first blog about Hanukkah, I explored how the Hanukkah candles symbolize our light in the world and how we partner with God to bring light to the darkness. Our focus was on Isaiah 60:1-3. As I continued my research into the Hebrew words used in Isaiah 60:1, it gave me a deeper understanding into my true power as a light in the world.
Isaiah 60:1 reads, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.” In a literal Hebrew translation, this would read: “Arise-you! light-up-you! That he-came light-of you and glory-of Yahweh on you he-is-radiant.”
The Hebrew seemed to be a much stronger statement, especially the idea that Yahweh is radiant upon us. (more…)
In my last blog I discussed the balance between stewarding our resources while remaining completely dependent on God during the increase in economic or political turbulence and especially natural disasters.
A wonderful example of this principle is Joseph. His leadership during the great famine of his time not only demonstrates his response to and preparation for hard times, but has additional significance for us today because of the fact that he is a foreshadow of Yeshua Himself. I believe Joseph’s story provides us a glimpse of what’s ahead for Yeshua’s followers as end-time events escalate. (more…)
Wait a minute – I thought that was Abraham! Well, actually the verse is about Abraham, but it could well be about Joseph. Abraham has the well-earned reputation of being a faith giant. After all, it’s his faith that God is rewarding us for even to this day. No doubt, he deserves high honor for his life of faith.
Joseph, on the other hand, is known for his wisdom in the gift of administration. It’s him we have to thank that the Israelites – and in fact the entire population — were spared in the great famine of his day. With a reputation of saving the known world from starvation, it’s easy for people to overlook the great gift of faith he had.
We know that God enabled Joseph to interpret dreams from an early age – his own as well as others’. We read the story of how he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream when all the magicians and wise men of Egypt could not. That’s faith enough – being called up from a dungeon after several years to stand in front of one of the most powerful leaders in the world and trusting God to give the ruler of Egypt an interpretation that no one else could. But what comes next is even more impressive. (more…)
This year the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh Hashanah) begins on the evening of September 25, 2014. We put aside our work and gather with other believers, share a meal, blow our shofar, present an offering and worship just as the Lord commanded us in Leviticus 23.
But Leviticus 23:24 also tells us this is to be “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Remembering what, it doesn’t say. In fact none of the references to the Feast of Trumpets tell us what we’re remembering.
To get some perspective, let’s go back in time about 3,500 years when the observance of this day was first commanded. (more…)
To this point in our journey, we’ve progressed from a casual recipient of God’s gift of faith, just barely inside the fence surrounding the tabernacle, to a partner in his business functioning as His very presence on earth, just as the Ark of the Covenant did in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle.
If we are now functioning as the Ark did, what can we learn from the Ark about what God considers representative of His presence on earth? What’s inside the Ark provides us great insight in answering this question.
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
I found this verse repeating in my head, so I posted it in a place where I’d see it every day, a place where I typically pray for my friends and family as I’m starting my day. I continued my routine of praying for various people, and the verse stayed on my wall for probably three weeks.
I came to understand the power of this statement: (more…)
On a recent vacation, I decided to try rock climbing on the simulated rock wall. I had never done it, but watched several people in front of me, some succeeding to the top and some quitting part way up. With each one I could, I asked how they did it or what stopped them from finishing, trying to learn whatever might help me make it high enough to ring the little bell at the top, announcing my success.
When it was my turn, the attendant, Alex, roped me up and gave me climbing shoes to help me hold on. I took my first few steps on the holds and knobs. “This is pretty easy,” I thought. But like anything else physical, it got harder as I went along. (more…)
Remember the story in Mark 5 of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years? She touched Yeshua’s clothing and was not only healed, but captured the attention of Yeshua despite the throng of people crowding Him. While obviously a great account of Yeshua’s compassion and supernatural power, this story leaves me with a few questions:
- Why did the woman think if she touched Yeshua’s clothes she would be healed?
- Why did Yeshua feel the power go out from Him when she touched Him and not everyone else who was crowding around?
- And after a wonderful miracle, why was the woman fearful of Him? (more…)