As you prepare to observe Sukkot – no matter how, where, when or with whom – may these words be the theme, the focus and the intent of our gatherings . . .”What can wash away my sin? Nothing . . .nothing . . .nothing but The Blood.What can make me whole again? Nothing . . .nothing . . . nothing but The Blood.”
There are times when, usually in the early learning stages of our Spiritual walk, we can get so involved in the ‘mechanics’ of what we are to do, we lose sight of the higher-level Spiritual trues that are to be learned in ‘the doing’. Each year, as we approach the season of Passover, I am reminded of this true story . . .
They were a kind and loving middle-aged couple that loved the Lord and strove to please Him in their endeavors. Each year, as Passover approached, they would begin the process of removing the leaven from their home and property. They would meticulously comb through their cabinets and pantries, refrigerator and freezers until they were convinced that ‘all the leaven was out’.
They would then pack it safely and securely in heavy trash bags, place the bags in a large, heavy duty trash can, and proceed to take the trash can to the back side of their property and set the trash can across the fence onto their neighbor’s property.
After the week of Unleavened Bread was completed, they would promptly journey to the back-side of their property, reach across the fence and retrieve from their neighbor’s property the large, heavy duty trash can containing all the leaven they had dutifully removed from their home just a week before.
They obediently followed the ‘mechanics’, ‘the letter’ of the observance, but somehow missed altogether the greater Spiritual lesson involved in the physical celebration.
Did our Father ransom us from ‘Egypt’, then begin the process of getting ‘Egypt’ out of us, just so we could reach across the fence and bring it all back into the house?
Merely performing the physical aspects of Torah is, in fact, ‘the milk of The Word’. But The Law is Spiritual, therefore, in the midst of the physical observance of The Law of YHVH, are the higher Spiritual Truths that we learn in the doing. Apostle Paul illustrated his understanding of this mystery in his conclusion – ‘first the physical, then the Spiritual.’ (1 Corinthians. 15:46)
So why is there a commandment to observe Unleavened Bread ? The answer is at least two-fold. First, the plainly spoken words of our Creator – ‘For seven days you shall eat Unleavened bread . . . For in that day, I (Father YHVH) brought you out . . .’ (Exo. 12:15,17)
Ok, so we eat unleavened and have no leavening, but why ‘seven days’? Yes, ‘7’ is the number for ‘completion’, but it is much more than that. ‘7’ is the Hebrew word ‘sheva’, which comes from the word ‘shava’ which means ‘oath or promise’. Father YHVH promised He would bring them out, and He fulfilled His promise ‘in the day He brought them out’.
So why should WE keep Unleavened Bread for seven days? Our Father promised He would make a way to bring us out, and on the day we surrendered to Him through the convicting, convincing , drawing power of the Holy Spirit, He did just as He promised.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart1 ” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:8-9)
So whether understanding it or not, my first Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread was the day I came to faith in Yeshua/Jesus as my Lord and Savior. That day, I was brought out of Egypt and into the Kingdom through The Door, Who is The Way, The Truth and The Life. From that point on, until I reach Sukkot (The Ultimate Family Reunion) the remainder of the pattern of the feasts is the process by which I am prepared to be a member of The Kingdom of our Father YHVH.
Again, we are reminded of the words of Apostle Paul spoken to the church. “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you are truly unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was slain for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast (Passover), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened-ness of sincerity and truth. (1Co 5:7-8)
Observing Passover and the week of Unleavened Bread is about much more than just obediently gettin’ all the crackers out of the cupboard. It is a reminder of what has been done for us, the Plan that was put in place before the foundation of the world was laid, that we might be reconciled to our Father through the redeeming and atoning work of Messiah on the cross; the work that brings us out of Egypt in to His glorious Kingdom.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:10)
Therefore, keep the Feast. Shalom
For some time now, we have sensed the Lord’s leading to begin to host and provide opportunity for a quarterly ‘Whole House’ gathering for all the folks and congregations. We are convinced that the time has come for His people to begin to come together in those things we hold dear and hold in common. Perhaps others of you also sense the need for this ‘coming together’.
Taking into consideration input from area congregational leaders, we will host this quarterly Gathering on a sunday afternoon to eliminate any possible conflicts with congregational Erev Shabbat and Sabbath Day meetings.
It will be a time for His people to come together from all over the area for a time of praise and worship, prayer, seeking our Father for what He wants from us in these days. This will not be a time of teaching but rather a time of worship, prayer and fellowship.
Weather permitting, the first Gathering will be held on February 24th, 1:00 pm est, the location to be the First Southern National Bank Community Ballroom, 27 Public Square, Lancaster KY 40444, on the southeast corner of the town square.
We are asking all prayer warriors and intercessors to begin laying down a covering for these meetings. We sense our Father wants these gatherings to be a time to come together in praise and worship and prayer, seeking Him and His direction for His people in these days.
We want to include the talented musicians from the various groups, so if our Father has given you the talent and desire to worship with an instrument, please bring it and be prepared to join in. As stated above, this will not be a time of teaching, but rather an opportunity to seek Him corporately in prayer, praise, worship and ministry.
Rhonda and I will be fasting periodically and praying for and over these gatherings and ask that, as our Father leads, you would join us in this.
If you have questions, please let us know. We also ask for your RSVP to enable us to make adequate preparations.
There will be a time of potluck fellowship afterwards, so bring a Biblically clean ‘covered dish’ and your favorite non-alcoholic beverage to share. Coffee and water will be provided. if you have questions concerning the food, just give us a shout.
We trust you will support this with your prayers and attendance as we come together to seek the heart of our Father for His people in these days.
Shalom B’Shem Yeshua – Jerry & Rhonda
ANXIETY or AWARENESS?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Timothy 1:7)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (Philippians 4:6)
“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming– in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning– 36 “lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:35-37)
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matt 24:42-44)
We are not to be fearful, and yet we have been told of things coming upon the earth that will cause men’s hearts to fail for fear of those things. We are told to not be anxious, and yet we are told to watch and be ready for those fearful and dreadful things that are coming. Is it a challenge to anticipate and prepare for things that are going to bring deathly fear, without being fearful, afraid and anxious? It can be . . . if our preparation and anticipation is based on ourselves and what WE can do, rather than being based in ‘Christ in me, the Hope of Glory’ and what He has done and is doing, ‘for greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world’.
There is a fine line between ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Awareness’, and we need to realize and understand the delineation between the two, as well as how and where to stand so that we do not cross that line into anxiety, and, at that same time, are not ‘caught unaware’.
Yeshua stated His people should be able to discern the seasons and the signs of the times. We are not to be fearful, and at the same time we are to be aware of what is going on around us so that those prophesied events do not catch us unaware and unprepared. We are not to get wrapped up and bogged down in things such as’when does the the tribulation start’ or ‘when is the rapture’ or ‘who is the anti-christ’, and yet we need to know and understand there is both a physical and spiritual reality to these matters and we must, for our sake and the sake of our families, be aware and discerning. It is not for us to be focused obsessively on ‘the next great disaster’ or who the ‘man of sin’ is or is not, but it is for us to be aware and well versed in The Word, led by His Holy Spirit, to the degree that when these things do happen or this ‘man of sin’ steps on the stage, no one will have to give us explanation, for we will recognize them by the picture shown to us by The Ruach in The Holy Scriptures.
But how do we acquire this ‘awareness’ of which we speak? Awareness comes from being led through the Scriptures by His Holy Spirit, our teacher, knowing and understanding what it says concerning events coming upon the earth and the people, and simply paying attention to those things going on around us.
How do we ‘get prepared’? Preparation comes in many forms. First and foremost, we must be spiritually prepared by having a deep and abiding intimate relationship with our Father through the work of Messiah on the cross and the working of His Holy Spirit in us. Once that priority is in place, there are other forms of preparation, based on our awareness and understanding of current events as well as the things to come.
If the government suggests that every citizen should make preparation and have provision for at least 6 months’ worth of food, water and supplies, enough for themselves and their family, perhaps every citizen should pay attention to that ‘suggestion’. That preparation does not indicate a ‘fearful spirit’. It indicates common sense.
In the same manner, if The Word and our Messiah and The Holy Spirit tell us not to be afraid, and yet be mindful and prepared for those things coming on the earth, then perhaps we should pay attention to that instruction as well.
If awareness, discernment and proper preparation – under the leadership of His Holy Spirit – somehow indicate a lack of faith and a sign of deception, then what do we say to Joseph in the days preceding the 7 lean years? If awareness, discernment and action based on that discernment somehow indicates a lack of faith or perhaps being misled, then what do we say to Noah in the building of the boat and filling it with provision? .
“The discreet sees danger and takes shelter, the simple go ahead and pay the penalty.” (Pro 22:3)
One basic principle we see throughout Scripture is the concept of ‘balance’. Yes, it is sometimes possible to get side-tracked by important matters by giving them more impetus than they deserve. It can be just as dangerous to not give ‘the devil his due’. There is a difference between being obsessed with a matter versus being aware of, warned of and warning prudently about said matter. For our Father’s people in these days, we must be able to not only balance the knowledge of the reality of ‘fearful things coming on the earth’, without succumbing to a spirit of fear, as well as prepare for those things in every way our Father gives us knowledge, resource and opportunity, remembering that no amount of preparation will be enough and our Father is the only One that will get us through and get the glory.
Barrels of beans and bullets, or thinking we have discerned the identity of ‘the anti-christ’, or that we have achieved ‘knowledge of things reserved ‘only for our Father’, will not get us through the days to come. Only by a relationship with our Father through the Son and the fullness of The Spirit will we be able to walk through the valley that will lay before many of us. And at the same time we must also remember – ‘faith without works is dead’. Sh’ma means to ‘hear’. But not just to hear. ‘Sh’ma’ means that we have ‘heard’ in such a way that provokes us to proper action.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near– at the doors! (Mat 24:32-33)
Therefore let us not sleep, as others, but let us watch and be sober. (1Th 5:6)
We are NOT to be anxious. We ARE therefore to Watch. Shalom
Israel bans usage of cash in certain transactions . . .