Archive for August, 2014

Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance, Part 2

Messianic Sabbath

Alignment, Fall FeastsIn Part 1, we looked at the Hebrew understanding of the month of Elul, which begins 40 days before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).  From the days of the Israelites in the wilderness, this period has emerged as a Season of Repentance, specifically repentance from idolatry, and originally the idolatrous Golden Calf.

For us it may not be a statue, figurine or carved image, but idolatry can take many forms.  Repentance is an ongoing process of discovery of sin in our lives and realignment with God’s ways.  In my own journey I’ve found four places where idolatry can hide and have watched God realign my life as I walk through each one.  We’ve discussed the first two: discontentment and following my own plans.  Let’s continue with the third:

Fear

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Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance, Part 1

Perhaps this will speak to your heart as it did mine. And be sure to check out part 2 of this great post, too.

Messianic Sabbath

Alignment, Fall FeastsHow would you characterize the month of August?  How about September?  Or January?  Just like the Gregorian calendar in which each month reminds us of the season and a mood, the Hebrew sages have determined the spiritual seasons of the year.

The Hebrew month of Elul is considered the start of the “Season of Repentance.”  This season extends 40 days, from Elul 1 to Tishrei 10, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). 

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FLAT BROKE & IN THE RED!!! Pt. 2

In part 1 of this post I talked about living in the red; the debt of a sinful life. Jesus paid our debt with his own life and filled out accounts to overflowing with His own righteousness. The only stipulation being that we accept His sacrifice as a free gift, recognizing that there is no way we would ever be able to pay our debt on our own, so Jesus’ gift is the only way.

In this continuation, I would like to talk about the connection that faith has in accepting the gift of salvation from Jesus, both during and after. At the point that a person accepts salvation from Jesus, there is faith. It is the faith that must be present in order for a person to believe in, and accept, the God whom they cannot see. Faith to recognize He is real, living, and active in the world, and in their lives. Faith that God has always been, is now, and will forever be.

One can believe that God is real, that Jesus is His Son and that He died to pay our sinful debt, and yet still not have faith. It is more of a head knowledge than a belief of the heart. So what is the difference between belief and faith? Obedience. There are a number of things I believe to be true in this world. Many of them are subject to debate, and I could, in fact, be convinced to change my mind. I may act on my beliefs, or I may not. My behavior is not crucial to my beliefs.

My faith in Jesus, on the other hand, does require action on my part. Faith requires a demonstration of proof; something that shows God, and the world, that I have taken my belief to the next level. I want to prove that I have hinged my life on my faith. I am not only willing to do things, say things, behave in certain ways because of my faith; I am willing to change the way I live my life so that all areas match up with my faith in God. I am willing to surrender my own will to the will of God and seek to obey His commands and instructions. Obedience is the evidence of faith.

It was by faith that Abraham was accredited with righteousness, before Jesus died on the cross. It was his obedience to God that demonstrated his faith, proved it before God. Hebrews 11 chronicles the great faith of so many of the Old Testament heroes. Each one, “By faith…” they did something. They obeyed. If they had not obeyed, they would not have demonstrated a faith that was worth committing to, but a belief that could change with the wind.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac….” Hebrews 11:17.
“By faith Isaac blessed….” Hebrews 11:20.
“By faith they [the Israelites] passed through the Red Sea….” Hebrews 11:29.
“By faith the harlot Rahab…received the spies with peace.” Hebrews 11:31.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (NKJV)

Saved by grace. Through faith. Faith which then demonstrates itself in obedience. Let me be clear that it is not the act of our faith that saves us…only by God’s grace. But it is the act of faith that brings us to His grace and the demonstration of our faith, through obedience, that we accept His grace and salvation by answering His call to come to Him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20. He calls to us. Do we obey and open the door, or disobey and reject Him?

If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died for you; to pay the penalty for your sins, which you cannot do on your own, do you also have faith? Do you have the faith to live in obedience to God, let Him change your life? Are you ready to take the next step and commit yourself fully to demonstrating your faith through your obedience to God? Do you believe it, or do you live it?  If you aren’t living it, do you need to reevaluate and determine whether your faith is real, and make the decision, once and for all, to commit yourself fully to God?

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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