For “Scripture Sunday:
The Biblical Alternative to Easter
“Are you letting religious traditions getting in the way of a real, authentic relationship with God and Jesus Christ? There’s an answer to this problem, and it lies in the biblical festivals observed and taught by Jesus Himself.
Jesus clearly teaches us that a religious tradition, even one that seems to honor God, can actually separate us from God!
A story has been told about a Russian czar who was strolling around the palace grounds and saw a guard standing in a neglected, barren patch of dirt. He approached the guard and asked him why he was standing alone in this spot. The guard said he had orders to do so.
The czar called the captain of the guard, and the captain said that there had always been orders to post a guard there. No one knew why. A search of the archives showed that at the time of Catherine the Great a prized rose bush grew in that part of the palace grounds. A guard had been posted to keep people from picking the roses.
The problem was that Catherine the Great—and the prized rose bush—had died many decades before. Year after year a guard was posted in a meaningless spot, and no one knew why. It had become tradition.
Traditions can be good, and traditions can be bad. Do you practice some religious traditions that may be diverting you from what God actually wants in your life?
Traditions can get in the way of authentic Christianity
Like the sentry in the story of the czar and the rose bush, could you be diligently standing guard over religious traditions that have no real spiritual meaning?……..
The Christian observance of the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread
But we do know of a festival period observed by the earliest Christians that commemorated Jesus Christ’s death and being raised to lead their lives. It was a festival period—actually two festivals right next to one another—that provided a profound connection between much earlier commanded observances and the Messiah. And most importantly, these observances were biblical —not mere human tradition.
One of the places we ﬁnd this festival period mentioned is in Paul’s ﬁrst letter to the Corinthians.
We know that the Corinthians were primarily Greeks who had converted to Christianity. For example, Paul tells them to stop being involved in traditional pagan practices that Jewish Christians would not have observed.
Replace the Easter tradition with biblical truth
Easter can feel like a wonderful tradition—a time of baskets ﬁlled with candy and colored eggs, a time for friends and family, a time to attend a special religious service. But understand this: It is a non-biblical tradition that actually comes from ancient paganism, from the worship of the fertility goddess Ishtar (Ashtoreth in the Bible). This is why Easter’s most popular symbols are eggs and rabbits—they’re ancient fertility symbols!
The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the other hand, are biblical observances ordained by God, observed by Jesus, taught to gentiles in the early Church and imbued with the Christian gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.
This festival period is the biblical alternative to Easter—the right observance to choose. The Christian Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread are ﬁlled with rich and meaningful symbols of Christ’s death, resurrection and present work to spiritually deleaven—to spiritually cleanse and heal—those who turn to God. It’s more than human tradition. It is God’s revelation to humanity!”
Let Us Keep the Feast
“1 Corinthians 5:8
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The apostle Paul wrote more than 20 years after Christ’s death that this mostly gentile congregation in Corinth should “keep the feast” of Unleavened Bread. From the analogy he uses here, it is clear the members were well acquainted with the removal of physical leaven for that week, and he wanted them to think more deeply about the spiritual lessons of replacing sin with godly thoughts and actions.”
Study more about the meaning of this festival in “The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness.” Read about the meanings of all seven festivals in “Festival Meaning: What Are the Meanings of Each of God’s Festivals?”
An Amazing Fact: “Years ago in the old Russian Empire the ruling czar, Nicholas II, was strolling through his vast palace gardens when he came upon a lonely guard standing at attention in a secluded corner of the great meandering gardens. “What are you guarding?” asked the inquisitive ruler. “To tell you the truth, O Great Sovereign, I have no idea, but the captain of the guard ordered me to this post,” the sentry replied.
Czar Nicholas then summoned the captain and made further inquiries as to what was being guarded. The captain of the guard replied, “O Great Sovereign, there are clear written regulations specifying that a guard was to be assigned to that precise corner at all times and this has been done as long as I can remember.” The curious czar then ordered a search to find out why. The palace archives finally yielded the answer. Years before, Catherine the Great had planted a special rose bush in that corner, and she had firmly ordered a sentry to be posted there to guard it so nothing might disturb or damage it. Now, one hundred years later, even though the rose bush had died long before, sentries were still guarding the now barren corner of dirt, even though no one knew why!
Traditions of faith can be valuable. They may be useful in preserving special experiences or ideals handed down by family or culture. However, we should be careful in what we spend our time guarding! Many religions zealously defend rituals which have lost their meaning. People may faithfully stand by traditions but not know why.
There is a more serious concern regarding traditions that Jesus warned us about. If a custom should ever stand in conflict with the commandments of God, it should be thrown out.
Christ told us that holding such traditions makes “the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13). It’s a good idea to reflect on the traditions we keep. Do they conflict with God’s law? If so, we are stepping away from the Bible. It’s like standing guard over a dead bush.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Mark 7:7-8
Finding a Cure for Cancer
And you wonder why doctors don’t prescribe natural food instead of trying to fix us with chemical prescriptions. We would all be healthy and no longer need the doctors. It’s all about the money! “You are what you eat, and what it ate!!”
Another unnecessary trip to Homeland Security in Houston to take my marriage certificate that I had taken there before. The first time the man didn’t want to see it as he said that my driver’s license was enough. Then I got a letter saying that they wanted to have a copy faxed to them any way. After spending several hours trying to navigate to the right place, I still couldn’t fax it as their website was so messed up. Calling didn’t produce a real person and just more options which if you didn’t choose the right number, it would say “Bye” and hang up on you. But I was able to make an appointment online.
At this second appointment on Monday, which was in a different location, another man said that they didn’t take documents there and to send them by snail mail to Overland Park, KS. I could have done that 3 weeks ago if they had given me that option. Their left hand obviously doesn’t know what their right hand is doing.
All this because my green card needed to be renewed so that I could apply for Social Security. Now that my main source of income, renting out my guest house which is now destroyed, I need to get all that is due to me. He also said that I could use my passport at the Social Security office as my new green card could take up to a year to arrive.
But my British passport expired in 1991, so I had to make a whole new application online and it was easy. Yesterday our pastor signed as a counter signer for me, verified my passport photos, etc. Now that has to be sent registered mail to Her Majesty’s Passport Office in England tomorrow. So much paperwork is making my head swim.
Jay and I have done a little bit more work to the guest house repairs. Finally, we got the kitchen linoleum (sheet vinyl) cut and fitted right. We had to move the new wall between the new kitchen and new bathroom a fraction of an inch to make the wall square and to let the lino lie down right. It was another worker who had installed that wall, not Jay. We temporaily moved some of the old lower kitchen cabinets into the new kitchen, just to get a feel of how the floor plan will work. It is a good thing it wasn’t set in stone, as we did have to change it up a bit. Also we have been working on the wiring, moving outlets up above counter-height. Other outlets will be installed on a whole new circuit in the new wall between the new kitchen and new bathroom.
Jay has been suffering from allergies and sniffling most of the time and so he didn’t go to church. I had to wait until the cats were picked up for Adoption Day before I could leave. Three more new ladies attended, a mother and two daughters came this Sabbath, and we sure do hope they will continue to come. Another new lady who had been absent sick for a couple of weeks was welcomed back. Sometimes it is a very small congregation and other times the pews are mostly filled. But no matter how many, we all feel like a family with great fellowship and pray for the ones that are not present.
For the church potluck, I took a Cucumber Casserole (A what! Look it up!) and also chicken gumbo and rice. As I didn’t have much rice I also took some barley cooked in chicken bone broth and that was more popular than the rice.
Now that we are through Exodus we started the first 6 chapters in Leviticus for the main Bible reading. The others were Isa. 43:21-44:23 and Heb 10:1-12. The Teaching was about doing right and Galations 5:15-26.
15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Good words to live by.
Even though Spring has sprung it has been cold the last couple of days.