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My U-Haul Sukkot

One of Nehemia Gordon’s earliest childhood memories was sitting in the family Sukkah, built on the back of a flatbed U-Haul trailer!

Source: My U-Haul Sukkot

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Christianity, Evangelism, God, Uncategorized

Reflecting on What the Lord Has Done

I had planned on reading John and Acts today, but as I was reading through John, I couldn’t get past the end of chapter three. It was like the Lord prompting me to tarry over this part of Scripture. Here’s the section He highlighted:

He who comes from above is above all, and he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who come from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness. He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:31-36, NASB).

Join me and let’s take a look at this more closely.

He who comes from above is above all.” When I thought about this, I was reminded of another passage of Scripture: “To whom will you liken Me that I should be his equal” says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25, NASB). The One who comes from above is truly above all, and there is nothing we can compare to Him. His name is above every name, and every knee will bow to Him one day. Jesus once asked His disciples who people said He was. When we compare what the disciples said with the Isaiah passage, we realize how far off people really were. Jesus isn’t just some prophet or one “spiritual master” among many, as if someone could be like Him. Don’t let anyone tell you there is someone like Jesus. The Holy One is beyond comparison, and no one is His equal.

He who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth.” We can see how different we are from the One who comes from above here. We are of the earth, created beings who have fallen from a state of perfection. After the Fall, our nature has lost its spiritual characteristics and became natural (also referred to as the flesh), and so we now think and act as those from the earth. Our life resembles the lyrics from a Harry Chapin song:

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”
“You know I’m gonna be like you.”

(Chapin, 1974, track 1)

We are concerned about the things of the world, and looking for fulfillment, but not finding it on earth. We have lost our ability to hear and receive spiritual things.

What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness.” When Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be born again, he couldn’t understand how that could be. After all, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3: 4, NASB). Nicodemus couldn’t understand that the children of God are not born according to the flesh, but according to the will of God. He couldn’t receive what Jesus was saying. Now you can see why after Jesus would speak to the people, He would say “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Not everyone can receive what He says.

He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.” When I read this, I felt led to look up the definition of seal. The definition that stood out to me was this: “Something that confirms, ratifies, or makes secure: Guarantee, assurance” (Seal def). The one who receives Jesus’ witness has confirmed, ratified, or made secure the fact that God is true! This is good, but it leads to a conundrum. If we cannot receive the things of God in our natural nature, then we will not understand how we have sinned against God, and we will not be able to come to a place of repentance. It would seem we are lost were it not for this one fact: He is the God of the impossible!

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” In our natural self, we cannot receive the things of God as Paul reminds us in 1 Cor 2:14, but God has given all things into Jesus’ hands, and He has all authority. When God gives the Spirit without measure, it means Jesus’ has been given limitless power to reach the heart of the lost. His arm is not shortened that it cannot save! He intervenes in His great power and makes it possible for that lost soul to receive His word so they can repent. Without that intervention, it would be impossible for us to be saved. In conclusion:

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

If you have not done so yet, please come to the Lord Jesus and receive mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Jesus has used the limitless power of heaven to bring you to a place of repentance. If you will confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive all your sin; He will abundantly pardon and make you into a new creation! Come and see that the Lord is good!

Shalom my friends,

Sivan 20, 5778

Chapin, H. (1974). The cat’s in the cradle. On Verities and Balderdash. Elektra

Seal. (2018). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.meriam-webster.com/dictionary/seal

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Christianity, Passover, religion, Uncategorized

Get The Leaven Out!

On Friday evening, March 30, 2018, it will be Erev Pesah, and Passover will begin. This celebrates the departure from Egypt and slavery and will last for eight days. Passover is also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In preparation for the Passover, Jewish families remove all leaven from their homes. This is an effort that goes beyond a normal cleaning:

Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land (Exodus 12:19, NASB).

A last search is made of the house before Passover, and any remaining leaven is burned, followed by reciting a declaration that all leaven has been removed. As I thought about this, I realized there is an application for us I would like to share.

 

The New Testament also has something to say about leaven and unleavened bread we should consider. First, unleavened bread is a type of those who are born again. Jesus tells us “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NASB). Before a person is born again, that person is like leavened bread. They have been leavened with malice, greed, idolatry, arrogance, hatred, strife, bitterness, rebellion and so forth. None of these things will ever make a person fit for God’s kingdom, and so the leaven must be removed. When a person is born again, the old leaven is purged, much like when all the leaven is removed from the house for Passover. Like the house is cleared of leaven and clean, the born again person also has their old leaven purged; they become like unleavened bread.

 

The problem is, we must guard ourselves to keep ourselves in an unleavened state. Leaven has a way of creeping back in if we don’t guard against it, and it only takes a little to do great damage. Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthians:

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover has also been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5: 6-8, NASB)

We all remember what Jesus warned the disciples: “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt 16:6, NASB). And Paul was distressed that the Galatian church had become infected with the leaven of false brethren: “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” (Gal 3:1, NASB).
Leaven can sneak in many ways, such as the cares of life and corrupted teachers who seek to draw away followers for themselves. As a matter of spiritual housekeeping, we must make sure this leaven finds no home with us. We may not be conscious of any problems, but that doesn’t mean everything is alright. The Laodicean church thought they were fine, but they were unaware of their true condition:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Rev 3: 15-17, NASB)

We may fool ourselves about our condition, but not Him. We need His perfect eyes to search us for the leaven that may be hidden in our house so it can be removed. Remember, all it takes is a little leaven to mess things up, so get it out! Make your temple a “leaven free zone.”

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thought; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way (Psalm 139: 23-24, NASB).

Shalom and blessings my brothers and sisters!
Nisan 10, 5778
 

 

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