Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Lesson of Leaving Sin. Beyond Spring Cleaning. Update.

 

For “Scripture Sunday”: 

Beyond Spring Cleaning

“It is that time of the year again where we have cleaned our houses and de-leavened them, and now spend seven days eating unleavened bread. I remember when I was a child my mom pointing out that it was nice to have Unleavened Bread at the beginning of Spring because it came right on time for spring cleaning. However, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is much more than just cleaning our houses and vehicles. Yes, it is nice when I open the fridge and it is clean, looking like it is new again, and I do enjoy driving in a clean car. Yet, the physical de-leavening is to encourage us to de-leaven spiritually.

This spring feast should remind us that we are new and unleavened in Christ. Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection gives “us a new birth into a living hope” of “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade” (1 Pet 1:3-4). Therefore, we should be living lives full of joy, hope, rejoicing, sincerity, and truth because we know that the suffering we go through now is refining and proving the “genuineness of [our] faith” (1 Pet 1:7). Plus, this suffering is only temporary, and it will never compare to the joy we will have in God’s Kingdom. However, it doesn’t mean it is easy to do, especially if we are holding onto some spiritual leavening.

We are to celebrate this feast “not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8).  I know that Paul is talking to the Corinthian church and the problem of sexual immorality that they were not doing anything about. However, I do believe this scripture applies to us also, and it is referring to anything that is not Christ-like behavior. If we are doing something that we know we would not do if Christ were literally standing right next to us, then we probably shouldn’t be doing it.

I don’t want to go through a listing of sins because I know we should all know what is wrong and right, but I do want to share some thoughts. When I was reading these scriptures, the first thought that came to my head is how we conduct ourselves with others and on social media. Maybe it is because it is an election year, but I have really seen some pretty malicious things out there on the internet.  Are we watching what we like, share, and say on social media sites? Are we acting differently than the masses or do we get involved in all the debates and discussions? I know we all fall short of being Christ-like, but we can keep walking towards that goal by not participating in things that we know don’t bring glory to God. Maybe we should de-leaven our “timelines” on social sites.

We are to put away “all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies and all evil speaking” (1 Pet 2:1). The words that come out of our mouth or onto the internet can defile us if they aren’t words that bring glorification of God or edification of others. You know the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”? Well, I am realizing how wise that statement truly is, and maybe that is why Proverbs mentions a lot how a wise person is a person of few words. Don’t worry, this is something I need to learn myself. I need to de-leaven my mouth.

imageThe truth is I am realizing how much this feast reminds me to reflect on how to spiritually de-leaven. I don’t beat myself up, but I self-examine in a healthy way. It also reminds me how blessed I am that my Father is so patient and my Savior is so sacrificing. We live in Satan’s world; therefore, sin, lawlessness, wickedness, bad-mouthing politicians, etc., is going to flourish, but we don’t have to act like the world. We can be different, a set-apart people, a remnant, a light in darkness. So, this Unleavened Bread let us remove the leavening of wickedness and malice from our lives and fill it with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).’

From: http://cgi.org/news-and-events/2016/4/26/beyond-spring-cleaning?rq=Feast%20of%20Unleavened%20Bread

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The Feast of Unleavened Bread: The Lesson of Leaving Sin
“ Immediately after the Passover comes a festival that depicts the next step in the fulfillment of God's master plan. After God, through Christ's sacrifice, has forgiven us of our sins, how do we continue to avoid sin, since we must go on living in newness of life? How do we live as God's redeemed people? We find the answer in the remarkable symbolism of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

When God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt, He told His people that for "seven days you shall eat unleavened bread" (Exodus 12:15). Verse 39 further explains, "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves."

Leavening is an agent such as yeast that causes bread dough to rise. And the leavening process takes time. The Israelites had no time to spare when they left Egypt, so they baked and ate flat bread. What started out as a necessity continued for a week. God appropriately named this time the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6), or Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 12:3).

When Jesus came to earth as a human being, He observed this seven-day festival—sometimes called the Feast of Passover by the Jews because the days of Unleavened bread followed immediately after Passover, so that the two adjoining festivals could seem to be one—and in fact Passover themes do carry over into the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus observed this festival as a child and later as an adult (Luke 2:41; Matthew 26:17). The early Church, imitating Christ in His religious practices, observed it as well.”

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Update.

The new helper, Roy has been working here for nearly a year now, and as he is a retired contractor, he does know what he is doing, but his health is bad from his previous, and sometimes present, eating habits.  One can’t live on cereal, cookies, and ice cream, so that is why I fix him a nutritious lunch everyday.  But he still isn’t feeling well, and so he will be going back for more blood tests and to the VA’s doctor next week. 

We finally have the front door, storm door and bathroom door working properly in the mini-house (guest house).  We did get the new Formica glued on two sections of the kitchen cabinets, the sink and stove areas, the third counter isn’t built yet.  Now we are working on getting the bathroom exhaust fan installed in the ceiling over the tub.  I need to go to Conroe and buy a new router bit for cutting laminate before we do more Formica, I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t buy one here in Willis.

We have done some more cleaning up at Roni’s old place (now mine).  I have been washing the clothes that were hanging in that dusty place, and taking them to a women’s shelter.  Someone needs to get the use out of them.

For the church’s pot luck, I made a chili-mac type thing for one crockpot and some freekeh and veggies in another.  Surprisingly, the freekek was the favorite. We also had some fishstick things, some beef stew, plus veggies, coleslaw and salad.  The pastor’s wife was there, but still not able to stay on her bad knee for long, so I did most of it for her.

The Bible readings were Lev. 9:1-11-17, 2 Sam. 6:1-7:17, and Mark 7:1-23.  The Teaching was about Getting the Resurrection in Perspective and to be grateful for what He and His Father do for us, and honor them first and foremost each day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Feast of Unleavened Bread, What the Biblical Spring Festivals Mean to Us. The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness. Update.

 

For Tuesday, 18th. April, 2017, but posted late!!

What the Biblical Spring Festivals Mean to Us

“The people behind this site don’t keep the traditional spring holidays like Easter. Here’s an inside look at the days we do keep and why they mean so much to us.

What the Biblical Spring Festivals Mean to Us

We remove all leaven from our homes and often recruit our children to help and to learn the lessons of the festival.

What words come to your mind when you think of spring? You may think of things like bunnies and Easter egg hunts.

But those aren’t the things that come to my mind. I think of things like Passover, leavening, deleavening and matzo.

Since these may be foreign concepts or sound Jewish to some of our readers, I’d like to explain what these things mean to me—and the tens of thousands members of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association—the people behind Life, Hope & Truth.

As Christians, one of our distinctive practices is observing the seven annual festivals outlined in Leviticus 23. For us, these are more than just holidays that come around once a year; our lives center on these days.

It all begins with the spring festivals, then moves on a few weeks later to Pentecost. We then push through the hot summer months leading to the fall festivals, and then endure the cold winter, starting all over again in the spring. (Of course, for our brethren in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed.)

That is how I measure time every year.

As I write this, we are gearing up for the two early spring festivals: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Let me explain what these days mean to us.

The Passover—a memorial to our Savior

For our Jewish friends, the Passover symbolizes the Exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. That’s because in the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to observe this day as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 12:11-14). But why do thousands of Christians keep the Passover today?

For us the events of the Exodus foreshadowed what Jesus Christ would do nearly 1,500 years later. Just as God freed Israel from bondage in Egypt (following the death of the firstborn from which the Israelites were spared by the blood of the Passover lambs), God offers freedom to us from an even greater form of bondage—slavery to sin (Romans 6:6, 15-18). We can only be released from that bondage through the death of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 9:14).

In fact, the Bible directly connects the Old Testament Passover to Jesus Christ: “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7, emphasis added). We continue to keep the Passover with the symbols that Jesus instituted the night before His death (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25).  

We don’t approach the Passover lightly. Before we gather to observe the Passover, we go through a period we often call our pre-Passover self-examination. We examine our lives in the weeks leading up to the Passover to identify and strive to overcome our sins and analyze where we need to grow (1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

This year (2017) we will observe the Passover after sunset on the evening of April 9. This might seem a bit confusing because technically the Passover is on April 10. In biblical time reckoning, though, days begin and end at sunset. So although we are observing the Passover on the evening of April 9 according to the Gregorian calendar, we are actually observing it at the beginning of the next day, the 14th of Abib, according to the Hebrew calendar.

As Christians, one of our distinctive practices is observing the seven annual festivals outlined in Leviticus 23.The Feast of Unleavened Bread—putting sin out and putting righteousness in.

Immediately following the Passover, we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days (Exodus 12:17-18; Leviticus 23:6). That may sound like a strange name for a festival, so let me explain.

Leavening is an ingredient that causes breads to rise, or puff up. Examples of leavening are yeast, baking powder and baking soda. For seven days we literally remove all leavened products from our homes because the Bible tells us to: “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses” (Exodus 12:19).

Of course in ancient times, when people lived in small, simple dwellings, this was relatively easy. Today with larger homes filled with furniture and plenty of nooks and crannies, removing leavening can be a bit trickier!

We search out the big leavened products—loaves of bread, pancake mixes, bagels, baking soda—and make sure those are gone by the time the feast begins. But we also try to be diligent in getting out as much of the remnants, or crumbs, of leavening as we possibly can.

So if you knock on our doors over the weeks approaching April 11, you may find our stoves pulled out of place and us on our knees vacuuming up any crumbs that might have fallen behind them during a year of cooking. You may also see us in our driveways tediously vacuuming out our cars, trying to suction up as many crumbs as is humanly possible.

You may think this sounds (and looks!) a bit odd, but we do this for a reason. The Bible compares leaven to sin (1 Corinthians 5:8). As we clean under our sofa cushions or between the seats of our cars, we don’t just think about crumbs, we think about our lives. As we clean out the obvious things, we think about the very obvious sins that we need to purge from our lives. When we use the narrow vacuum attachment to get the small crumbs out from under our car seats (probably the most awkward place to vacuum with any degree of accuracy), we think about all the seemingly small sins in our lives that we need to search out and purge.

But that’s not all there is to it! The Feast of Unleavened Bread also teaches us to eat unleavened bread for that week (Leviticus 23:6). So that’s what we do. We eat bread that has no leavening in it whatsoever!

What the Biblical Spring Festivals Mean to UsWhat does that mean?

Well, generally speaking, unleavened bread is very flatmaking pita look like a slice of Texas French toast! The most typical kind of unleavened bread is matzo (specially made for this time of year). A matzo looks like an abnormally large cracker—and generally doesn’t win many taste competitions. That being said, it is edible, and there are many ways to prepare it that are reasonably decent. Some people even enjoy the taste. I like to spread butter and melt cinnamon sugar on it and sometimes even make it into a pizza (definitely not Chicago style, though).

But before I get too carried away with matzo preparation tips, it’s more important to discuss what the matzos (and other forms of unleavened bread) mean to us.

We already covered the fact that during these seven days, leavened bread symbolizes sin. Unleavened bread symbolizes the exact opposite—righteousness. The apostle Paul described it as “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). It’s all about putting off sin and putting on righteousness(Colossians 3:9-10). It’s about living like Jesus Christ, the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

When we eat those crunchy pieces of matzo, or the occasionally softer homemade variety, we try to think about how our lives should be just like the flat substance we are eating: just as our bread is devoid of leaven, we should be devoid of sin.

Two pieces of a bigger puzzle

The special days I’ve described in this post are the first of seven annual festivals we keep every year. Seven weeks after we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we will observe the Feast of Pentecost. Then in the fall, we will observe the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day (or Eighth Day). These days are also loaded with meaning to us.

But we will save those explanations for another blog post in another season.”

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/what-the-biblical-spring-festivals-mean-to-us/

We would love for you to learn more about these days that mean so much to us. Check out our video series “The Feasts of the Lord” at the Learning Center on Life, Hope & Truth.

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The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness.

“How does God want us to respond to Christ’s awesome, merciful sacrifice for us? The Feast of Unleavened Bread shows us how to respond.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness

The troubles and suffering in this world are caused by sin—the breaking of God’s holy, good and beneficial laws. Jesus Christ was willing to give His life to save us from sin’s death penalty. His sacrifice was the first step in God’s plan to save us from sin and death, and it makes all the other steps possible.

But how does God want us to respond to that awesome, merciful sacrifice? Would He be pleased, having broken us free from enslavement to sin (as the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt), to have us willingly go back to sin again? Or would He much rather have us learn to look at sin as He does and to strive with His help to avoid it at all costs?

The Feast of Unleavened Bread comes immediately after the Passover and teaches us lessons about how we should respond to Jesus Christ’s gracious sacrifice.

Deliverance from slavery to sin

After years of harsh slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were overjoyed to leave Egypt during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Egypt and its leader, Pharaoh, serve as a symbol of sin and Satan.

But soon Pharaoh pursued the Israelites, trapping them at the Red Sea. He didn’t want them to be free, just as Satan doesn’t want us to escape from his clutches. Israel was helpless, as are we. Our strength is not sufficient.

But God provided the Israelites a way to escape—directly through the Red Sea! And He offers us a way out through His miraculous help. The apostle Paul explained that the Red Sea served as a type of baptism, the beginning of the conversion process made possible by God’s help (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).”

More at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/feast-of-unleavened-bread/

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Update.

With the Passover celebration and the Feast at the church on Tuesday we haven’t got much work done on the mini-house.  Then we spent quite a bit of time gathering more trash, mostly broken glass from the yard at Roni’s place, (now mine) as that trash man will pick it up if we carefully enclose it in the strong feed sacks that we are using. 

Quite a few of us gathered at the church for the service for the last day of The Feast of Unleaverned Bread on Tuesday the 18th, which is also my daughter’s birthday.  On Monday we worked on the mini-house and in the afternoon I went to a doctor all the way down in Spring TX, so I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook.   So I made a Gefiltre Fish Loaf and Matzos Ball Soup on the Sunday before, then stored it in the fridge until I took it to the church on Tuesday.  An elder brought a beef brisket in a crockpot, and we heated up the beef taco left overs from Saturday Sabbath in another crockpot so that there would be no work involved as that day is considered a High Day Sabbath until dusk.  Even most of the salad was prepared ahead of time, just a few tomatoes to chop up.

Once home, as soon as the sun set, I ate some raisin toast and cookies for the first time for a week, as they both contain leavening.  The pastor’s favorite saying was to jokingly say at each Passover Feast of the Unleavened Bread meeting was “Where’s The Cookies?’  But I didn’t really miss them, and I didn’t lose any weight during that seven days either, so it’s not the cookies around my middle!

The Bible Readings were Lev.23:6-8, ( “6 On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.  8 For seven days present a food offering to the LORD. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’ ”), and Num. 28:16-25 and 1 Cor 5:6.  The Teaching was about First Fruits, and how the “Root” (Jesus) supports us.

We all had a great time during the service and in the dining hall with our friendship and fellowship, so it was a great Feast’s last day.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Origin of Easter. What Easter Doesn't Tell You. Does Easter Really Commemorate Jesus Christ's Resurrection? Update.

 

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Origin of Easter

“Where did Easter and its customs come from? The Bible doesn’t mention rabbits or eggs or sunrise services. So what is the origin of Easter?

Origin of Easter

What is the origin of Easter?

Since Easter is one of the most renowned holidays in the Christian world, why should we be concerned about the origin of Easter?

For centuries, questions have arisen as to the relationship between bunnies and painted eggs and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is that Easter has its roots in ancient paganism and polytheism.

The origin of Easter

According to William E. Vine, “The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover] held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast. … From this Pasch the pagan festival of ‘Easter’ was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1997, “Easter”).

Another source states: “The history of Easter reveals ancient pagan roots; this holiday was not always a Christian-based holiday. It is believed that the term Easter is literally derived from the term Eostre, the name of a Teutonic feminine deity. The latter goddess is a fertility goddess, a goddess of the spring, and the hare is sacred to her. …

“The association of Easter practices with the pagan goddess Eostre makes clear some of the traditions that are carried out today. The goddess Eostre was honored toward the end of the month of March, right around the time of Spring Equinox” (HistoryofEaster.net).

Another source describes a possible ancient link to Good Friday: “In ancient Roman history, the 24th of March (VIII Kal Apriles) was the Dies sanguinis ‘day of blood,’ possibly a precursor of Good Friday. On the 22 of March, the arbor intrat, a procession of palms or a pine tree was brought to the shrine of Cybele. Two days later, at the Day of the Blood, the priests of Cybele slashed themselves and spun around to sprinkle her statue with blood” (AncientHistory.About.com).

The following is from another source: “Rabbits, of course, are a potent symbol of fertility due to their prodigious output of young. Eggs, likewise, have always been considered representative of new life, fertility, and reincarnation. Painted eggs, thought to imitate the bright sunlight and gaily colored flowers of spring, have been used in rituals since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. …

“The pagan celebrations most associated with modern Christian practices derive from Mediterranean cultures. The Phrygians celebrated a spring festival honoring Cybele, a fertility goddess. Cybele had a consort god named Attis, who was born of a virgin, and who died and was resurrected after three days, an occurrence commemorated sometime around the vernal equinox. Worshippers of Attis mourned the god’s death on Black Friday, then celebrated his rebirth on the following Sunday.

“Attis was simply the latest manifestation of earlier resurrection myths like those of Osiris, Orpheus, Tammuz and Dionysus, who were likewise said to have been born of virgins and resurrected three days after their deaths. In areas where Christian beliefs later took hold, these already existing tales were grafted onto the story of Jesus Christ, and continue to be retold to this day.”

There are hundreds of other websites that discuss the pagan origin of Easter.

Should Christians celebrate Easter?

So, what is a Christian to do with the knowledge of the pagan origin of Easter? According to the Bible, God does not want His people to follow or seek after pagan customs.

When ancient Israel entered the Promised Land, God warned them not to seek after the teachings and traditions of the nations that once inhabited the land. He said, “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).

Later, Christ told His disciples: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:6-8).

Therefore, anything that has pagan origins must be avoided by Christ’s disciples, no matter what the intent or long-standing tradition.

What the Bible tells us to celebrate

It is also important to note that the Bible nowhere tells us to honor the day of Christ’s resurrection. Instead, God established a command that the Passover should be observed annually to honor Christ’s death. Today, Christians are not to participate in the Easter holiday, but rather in the New Testament Passover, which is the memorial of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.

In great solemnity, once a year on the 14th day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:4-5), we are to observe the Lord’s Passover. On that special evening, the apostle Paul instructed the members of the Church to partake of the bread, which symbolizes Christ’s body broken (beaten) for us, and to drink of the wine, which symbolizes the New Covenant in His blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).

As to Christ’s resurrection, this occurred exactly three days and three nights after His burial (Matthew 12:39-40; Luke 24:46-47). Christ was crucified on a Wednesday afternoon, buried just before sunset, as Thursday was an annual holy day. He was resurrected three days later on Saturday afternoon (the weekly Sabbath) just before sunset. It must also be noted that on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene had come to the tomb while it was still dark. Christ had already risen—long before sunrise (John 20:1-2).

So, the story of Christ’s resurrection occurring on Easter Sunday morning (as well as rabbits laying eggs) is a polytheistic myth. Instead of observing Easter or any of its customs, Christians are instructed to observe the biblically authorized holy days of God.”

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/holy-days-vs-holidays/origin-of-easter/

You can learn more in the section “Holy Days vs. Holidays.”

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What Easter Doesn't Tell You

Something critical is missing in the story of Easter and it has everything to do with your salvation. Learn more.

Video: https://youtu.be/w7ogXe71iZk

Or go to: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-television-program/what-easter-doesnt-tell-you

Transcript:

“[Darris] Could it be the Easter traditions leave something missing in the story of Jesus Christ? You may celebrate Easter customs to remember the resurrection of Jesus. But, there are Christians who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, without observing the Easter traditions. I happen to be one of them. Could it be that Easter does not tell you the whole story about Christ’s life, death and resurrection?

If there is something missing - and there is - then it changes the entire story about Jesus Christ. What’s missing and what you need to know is our topic . Join us as we discuss “What Easter Doesn’t Tell You.”

[Darris] Did you know that Easter as a celebration has nothing to do with Jesus Christ?”

More at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-television-program/what-easter-doesnt-tell-you

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Does Easter Really Commemorate Jesus Christ's Resurrection?

 4 comments Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

“What do rabbits and eggs have to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Where did the name Easter originate? This holiday isn't even mentioned in the Bible—so where did it really come from? Find out the surprising story behind this religious holiday.

A nest of spotted Easter eggs on top of an open Bible.Lvnel/istock/Thinkstock

The world's observance of Easter is a curious mixture of ancient mythological and idolatrous practices and arbitrary dating that actually obscure and discredit the proof of Jesus Christ's messiahship and resurrection.

As a boy attending a mainstream church with my family, I was always surprised to see people at services on Easter Sunday who didn’t come any other time of the year, not even at Christmas. Embarrassed and somewhat fearful, a few of them told us they hoped that God would forgive their sins and absences because they made the special effort to come to church on Easter Sunday, which to them was the most sacred time of the year.

Customs and symbols associated today with Easter observance can be directly traced back to Easter’s pre-Christian origins.

Others felt that a special measure of sanctification, purification and holiness was imparted to them by their attendance at Easter services.

However, these people likely didn’t know or even wonder about Easter’s real origins. They probably would’ve been surprised to know the truth of the matter!”

More at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/does-easter-really-commemorate-jesus-christs-resurrection

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Update.

Not a lot has been going on since I updated on Wednesday, which was the anniversary of Jesus’ sacrifice and the beginning of The Feast Of Unleavened Bread.  On Thursday, a trip to the doctor’s office for the annual checkup required by my insurance company.  It was done by a nurse practitioner, who when testing my strength, told me to push her.  Then she said, “I should have known you’d be strong.” 

For the last few mornings that we have worked, my helper and I have been re-doing the front door and glass storm door that Jay installed on the mini-house.  They have never worked right.  We had to reset the front door jamb completely and move it all inward, and the storm door had to be re-hung because it was ‘hinge-bound’. 

For the church potluck I made another lamb dish with little new potatoes.  Even though the pastor’s wife’s knee is better to the extent that she was finally able to come to church, she can still hardly walk.  So I left early again as I knew that I would have to manage the kitchen.  The pastor’s wife had made some taco meat from a church member’s home raised beef, and then there were all the fixin’s.  I chopped up onions, lettuce, tomatoes and there was all that good stuff, like guacamole and shredded cheese.  We had soft and crispy tortillas, still in keeping with The Feast of Unleavened Bread, as they are unleavened.

The Bible readings were Psa. 136, Lev. 6:8-8:36, Jer. 7:21-8:3 and 9:22,23, 1 Cor. 10:1-22.  These scriptures include the ones about not grumbling, and don’t partake of the cup of the LORD and that of demons.  The Teaching was about The Temple Of His Body, and The Resurrection.  But neither the pastor’s wife, who was sitting in the kitchen, nor I couldn’t hear much of it as a lady came in the kitchen and was telling us all about her health, which I thought was very rude, and unimportant considering that the pastor’s wife and I were trying to listen to the Teaching.  She would have had plenty of time to tell all that after the service.  I pointedly went over to the speaker to try to show that I wanted to listen to the Teaching but she didn’t finally shut up until I said “They are saying the blessing”, which was at the end of the service.

We had a big crockpot of beef stew, my new batch of Lamb Cholent, Chicken and Enchiladas, and the hard and soft tacos.  It was a great spread with no leavening at all, and enough to serve again on the last day of The Feast of Unleavened Bread which will be on Tuesday.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Take the Bread and Wine in a Worthy Way. Christ’s Body. “This Is My Blood … for the Remission of Sins”

 

On Wednesday, the 12th. April 2017 we had a service to commemorate the death of Jesus all those years ago.

Chronology of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection

What does the Bible really say about the timeline of events for Jesus' death?

Tuesday

Jesus Christ ate an evening Passover meal with His disciples (at the beginning of Nisan 14, Jewish reckoning) and instituted the New Covenant symbols (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus was then betrayed by Judas, arrested and during the night brought before the high priest.

Wednesday

Jesus was crucified and died around 3 p.m. (Matthew 27:46-50). This was thepreparation day for the annual —not weekly—Sabbath, which began at sunset (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31). Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb just before sunset (Matthew 27:57-60).

Thursday ~ High Sabbath

This was the high-day Sabbath, the first day of the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31; Leviticus 23:4-7). It is described as the day after the“Day of Preparation”(Matthew 27:62). Wednesday night and the daylight portion of Thursday were the first of three days and nights Jesus’ body was in the tomb.

Friday

The high-day annual Sabbath now past, the women bought and prepared spices for anointing Jesus’ body before resting on the weekly Sabbath day, which began at Friday sunset (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56). Thursday night and the daylight portion of Friday marked the second of three days and nights Jesus’ body was entombed.

Saturday ~ Weekly Sabbath

The women rested on the weekly Sabbath day, according to the Fourth Commandment (Luke 23:56; Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus rose near sunset, exactly three days and three nights after His body was placed in the tomb, fulfilling the sign of Jonah and authenticating the sign He gave of His messiahship.

Sunday

The women brought the prepared spices early in the morning while it was still dark (Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Jesus had already risen (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:2-6; Luke 24:2-3; John 20:1). He did not rise on Sunday morning, but near sunset the day before— three days and three nights after being put in the tomb, just as He foretold.”

From: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-chronology-of-the-crucifixion-and-resurrection-of-jesus-christ

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Take the Bread and Wine in a Worthy Way

1 Corinthians 11:27-28

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

image_thumb29The bread and the wine of the New Testament Passover, representing Christ’s body and blood given in His complete sacrifice for our sins, are not something to take lightly. Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians give us a warning and advice about preparing for this meaningful memorial.

Baptized Christians are commanded to take the bread and wine, to recommit to our loving God and Savior. Examining ourselves will surely show how far we fall short of the perfection of our Savior, and how much we need His sacrifice and His help to overcome. We are not worthy and cannot make ourselves worthy.

Thankfully Paul is not talking about being worthy, but about approaching God in a respectful way. Seeking God’s forgiveness and help allows us to take these symbols in a humble, worthy way.”      From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/take-the-bread-and-wine-in-a-worthy-way/

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Christ’s Body

Matthew 26:26

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

The breaking of the unleavened bread at the New Testament Passover service is symbolic of Christ’s suffering in our place for our sins. It reminds us of our deserved punishment that fell on Jesus as His body was beaten and broken.

Eating the bread is also symbolic of our allowing Jesus Christ to live His life in us, and our need to live by every word of God (John 6:35; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 4:4). Just as physical food is essential to maintain physical life, living by the spiritual “bread” is essential for a healthy spiritual life.”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/christs-body/

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“This Is My Blood … for the Remission of Sins”

Matthew 26:27-28

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

It was Jesus’ intent that each year as Christians drink this small glass of red wine that it would serve as a vivid reminder that His blood—His life—was poured out for us. This helps to impress on us the reality of the enormous price that was necessary to pay to forgive our sins—the death of the Son of God!

Christians remember the New Covenant that we made with God at baptism every year as we take the Passover. The New Covenant allows God to write His laws on our hearts, and it provides forgiveness of our sins and a promise of eternal life (Hebrews 8:8-12; 9:15). From: “This Is My Blood … for the Remission of Sins”

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Update.

My helper had already helped me pull out the fridge and vacuum under it, to make sure there were no crumbs under it.  This is to be ready for The Feast Of Unleavened Bread, and is the origin of Spring Cleaning.

On the Monday and Tuesdays nights before the Holy Day on Wednesday we met at the church at dusk and had services.  On Monday we washed each others feet and had the bread and wine. Then all products containing leavening had been removed from the dining hall kitchen.

On Tuesday we had lamb and other Passover dishes such as roasted potatoes, hard boiled eggs, parsley, horseradish. and the apple, walnut and honey mixture (Charoset)   and enough salad for two meals.  One dish was a Lamb Cholent which was cooked ahead of time and invented so that people could eat hot food on the Sabbath even though cooking is not allowed.  It is normally done in a slow cooker and cholent staples are beans, barley, meat and potatoes.  We had food in five slow cookers that night.

Then on Wednesday we met at the church at 11.00 am for the start of the Passover Feast of Unleavened Bread which will end on the 18th. 

The Bible readings were Psa. 24:and 27, Lev. 23:4-8, Num. 28:16 and 1 Cor.5:6-8 and the Message was about the Passover Today.

For that potluck we ate the reheated crockpot leftovers from the night before as no work should be done on a Holy Day.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Passover. Christ, Our Passover. Christ’s Fervent Desire. “You Also Ought to Wash One Another’s Feet”. Update.

 

For “Scripture Siunday”:

Passover 2017

Passover begins at sunset Monday, April 10, 2017 and ends at nightfall Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The Festivals of God

‘'”The seven annual festivals are special times of assembly. Given to ancient Israel by God through Moses and kept by Christ, the apostles and the New Testament Church, they are commanded to be observed today. These festivals reveal God’s plan of salvation for mankind. They will continue to be observed during the Millennium.

Scriptural support: Colossians 2:16-17; 1 Peter 1:19-20; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 15:22-26; 16:8; James 1:18; Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23; Luke 2:41-42; 22:14-15; John 7:2, 8, 10, 14; Acts 2:1; 18:21; 20:16; Zechariah 14:16-19.

The Passover

The New Testament Passover service is one of the most personal of all the Christian festivals. It also teaches a great lesson in forgiveness.

imageThe Passover is to be observed in the evening, at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan (Abib) in accordance with the Hebrew calendar as preserved by the Jews. The New Covenant Passover symbols instituted by Jesus Christ on the night before He died—foot-washing, unleavened bread and wine—are part of this service. Christians follow Jesus Christ’s instruction and example by observing the Passover annually as a memorial of His death.”

Scriptural support: Exodus 12; Matthew 26:18-30; John 13:1-15; Luke 22:1-20; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7.

 

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Passover: First of Seven Annual Festivals

Leviticus 23:4-5    

“These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.”

imageLeviticus 23 lists all of God’s commanded appointments—His annual festivals and Sabbath days. The first of the annual festivals is the Passover, which the New Testament shows is a memorial of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.

Learn more about the Passover in “Passover: What Did Jesus Do for You?” Read more about all of the festivals and how they picture God’s plan of salvation in our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.

and 1 Corinthians 5:7.

7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Christ, Our Passover

1 Corinthians 5:7

image“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

The apostle Paul drew on the lessons of the spring festival season to encourage the Corinthian congregation to remove sin from their lives. Jesus Christ fulfilled the type of the Passover lamb whose blood protected the Israelite firstborn from death. After the Passover festival comes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, where yeast and other leavening become a symbol of sin.

Study more about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.

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Christ’s Fervent Desire

Luke 22:15

“Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.””

imageJesus Christ knew the terrible things He would suffer in the day ahead, but still He focused His mind on His disciples and using this last opportunity to teach them as much as He could. Much of His teaching on that Passover night is recorded for us in each of the Gospels, and especially in John 13 through 17. He set us an incredible example by focusing on God’s festival and God’s plan even when He had every excuse to focus on His trials and Himself. How can we do any less than to “do this in remembrance” of Him (verse 19), with fervent desire?

Study more about Passover in “Why Jesus Had to Die.”

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You Also Ought to Wash One Another’s Feet

John 13:14

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Washing feet was a sign of kind hospitality, generally assigned to the lowest slave. It was dirty work considering the dusty roads of the Holy Land. Yet our Creator and Savior was willing to lower Himself yet again as a powerful lesson we are to copy.

Washing feet as part of the New Testament Passover reminds us to always look for ways to serve, whether menial or major. The Christian life is a life of service, with a foot-washing attitude.

Study more about Passover in our article “Passover and Forgiveness

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Update:

Well, it was a lot easier just having two trash pickups this week, as we are running out of loose trash to sack up at Roni’s place (now mine).  We are picking up the several sheets of broken glass that are propped up around the buildings, hitting them with a hammer in a box to condense them, then sacking it up in tough feed sacks and getting all that dangerous stuff hauled away in the trash. 

When we tried to glue the Formica down on the mini-house (guest house) kitchen countertop it cracked so badly that we couldn’t use it.  It had been stored in the attic since I bought it two years ago and it must have got “old”.  We cut out the bad part and the rest of it might be able to be used elsewhere, but that meant a trip to Houston to buy more Formica.  My helper went with me, just to keep me company, but he slept all the way there and back with the passenger seat in the reclined position.  It didn’t take long to whiz down the freeway to N. Shepherd/Garden Oaks where 3 Formica dealers are located, and then scoot back to Conroe.  It was the stops in Conroe that took the time, so we didn’t get to work that day.

We started to work on the mini-house front door and storm door, that still isn’t quite finished as we still have to rehang the storm door.  Jay had installed them wrong, and so my helper wanted to correct all that.   We made the door frame ready to hang the two little closet doors that pull outwards, and installed the jamb for the bathroom door, and we will hang it next week.  On the days that we go down to Roni’s we don’t like to start a long job in the mini-house in case we can’t get it done before it’s time to quit at lunchtime.  After lunch I have to start my other job online and my helper goes to work at his friend’s place, or they go fishing on their boat.

I have two granddaughters, (the third was killed by a drunk driver), and I don’t know if they have ever even met, but both got new puppies this week.  Kimberley has a little female pug pup, and Michelle got a little female schnauzer.  So I have more great-grands, girls this time, as I already have three human great-grandsons!

For the church potluck I took some spaghetti and meat sauce in one crockpot, and cabbgae cooked in onion sauce in another.  Both had been made a month ago and frozen, so I defosted them because I didn’t have time to cook anything.   Friday was one of those days when everybody interrupted me when I wanted to get ‘a cookin’.  I always have my dishes ready before the Saturday Sabbath.

The pastor’s wife still hasn’t been able to get out of her house with her bad knee, but she assures us that she will be at church for the Passover Bread and Wine on Monday night.  Then Tuesday will be a our Passover Supper (Seder) and Wednesday will be a Holy Day, and no work will be done. Then the Wave Sheath Offering on Sunday the 16th.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread is from the 12th to the 18th, but not all those days are Holy Days.

One of the ladies comes to church with her helper, and they were having trouble with their truck not accelerating properly.  The lady stayed at the church for the service while the helper took the truck into Conroe to have it checked out.  When she returned, she was so happy….. the floor mat had bunched up under the pedal and that was causing the poor performance.   Whatever next ?! She was so sorry that she had missed the service, but got back in time to enjoy the potluck.

The Bible readings were Lev. 1:1-6:17, Isa. 43:21-44:23 and Heb. 9:23-10:10.  The Teaching was about “The New Passover, Our Christ”, but I couldn’t really hear it while I was in the kitchen getting the frozen veggies ready, as the lady who was helping me was talking so much.

Another great day, and I thank God for each and every day.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Easter or Passover, Which Is Christian? Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter, What Do They Know? Update.

 

For Scripture Sunday”:

Easter or Passover,  Which Is Christian?

“Many believe that God's endorsement of Passover ended with Christ's death—and that He has since replaced it with the observance of Easter as a celebration of Christ's resurrection. But is that so?

Easter eggs and a small cup of wine.iStockphoto

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

In April of this year, a billion or more people who identify themselves as Christian will celebrate Easter. The week before, a far smaller number will observe Passover.

How do these two scenarios compare? On the one hand, we have a fun-filled Easter egg hunt, Easter bunnies galore and an Easter Sunday sunrise service. On the other, a solemn Passover service that typically includes participants washing one another’s feet and partaking of unleavened bread and wine.

Easter seems more fun, more joyous; Passover seems old-fashioned and more serious. These are some differences that are obvious on the surface. Many other differences aren’t so obvious.

My own Easter story

My earliest recollections of Easter included searching for colored eggs that I helped paint and my mother hid. Since I loved hard-boiled eggs, finding and eating those colorfully decorated eggs was fun and quite a treat!

I never questioned the Easter season with its Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. This was supposed to be the most holy holiday of the year, but to me it was more about fun—just as merchants hoped it would be.

It wasn’t until my early 20s that I learned about the so-called “Jewish” Passover. The ministers I’d known earlier had given me no hint that Passover was something for Christians.

I now found this curious, since my Bible clearly showed that Jesus, a Jew, observed the Passover with His closest followers and instructed them, and us, to continue to keep it until His return (Matthew 26:26-29). I was also surprised to read that the apostle Paul explicitly told Church members in the Greek port city of Corinth—most of whom were not and never had been Jewish—to observe the Passover as a reminder and memorial of Jesus Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

The Passover has great meaning for Christians, being as current and relevant today as it was when Jesus instituted its symbols and told His followers, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

And try as I might, I couldn’t find anything in the Bible mentioning the apostles or early Church celebrating Easter. No eggs or rabbits anywhere. I even found that the one place where the word Easter is found in the Bible—Acts 12:4 in the King James Version—the original word there is actually Pascha, the Greek word for Passover!

I was at a loss to explain this. How was it that millions upon millions of people celebrated a holiday that clearly isn’t found in the Bible, while dutifully ignoring a holy observance that is in the Scriptures?

A valid replacement?

Have you ever compared the meanings and symbols of Passover and Easter? Have you ever asked what God thinks of the two?

Either we obey God or we don’t. He sanctioned the true Christian Passover and not the pre-Christian and man-made tradition called Easter. Are you willing to follow what He says?”

Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/easter-or-passover-which-is-christian     3 comments 

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Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter,  What Do They Know?

“Easter is the most important holiday for hundreds of millions of believers around the world. Yet thousands of Christians don't observe it. Do they know something that others don't?

An open Bible with a pen resting on the page and a notebook with notes.Aaron Burden/Unsplash

If you want to be a true disciple of Christ Jesus, you need to carefully examine whether your beliefs agree with the Bible.

Every spring, the anticipation and excitement of Easter is electrifying for many people. Churches prepare elaborate Easter programs that illustrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Parents take time to color Easter eggs and hide them so their children can hunt for them.

If Easter isn’t found in the Bible, where exactly did it come from? And just exactly what does the name Easter mean?

It’s typical for TV movies this time of year to depict Easter as an enjoyable occasion of renewed happiness. Television advertisements and commercial businesses also get very involved with Easter as they offer colorful Easter baskets, Easter costumes and chocolate rabbits to celebrate this great religious event.

It was only natural to the peoples of the ancient Middle East to incorporate symbols of fertility—such as eggs and rabbits, which reproduce in great numbers—into those pagan celebrations for their gods. As The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes above, Easter eggs and the Easter rabbit are simply a continuation of these ancient spring fertility rites.

Nineteenth-century Scottish Protestant clergyman Alexander Hislop’s work The Two Babylons is still considered a definitive work on pagan customs that survive in today’s religious practices.

On Easter, he wrote: “What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by [early archaeologist Sir Austen Henry] Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar” (1959, p. 103).

The name Easter, then, comes not from the Bible. Instead its roots go far back to the ancient pre-Christian Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, known in the Bible as Astarte or Ashtoreth.”

More at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/christians-who-dont-celebrate-easter-what-do-they-know       8 comments

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Update:

This is the last week that we will have four trash pick-ups at Roni’s old place (now mine).  It was just too much to keep up with that, and most of the garbage has been thrown away, so we are back down to two pick-ups.  My helper and I got the last of the paneling up in the mini-house (guest house).  Now it needs to be painted, but we have more important things to do to make the place functional.  We have everything ready to install the kitchen Formica now, then the sink, stove and the kitchen plumbing. 

We found a large solid oak headboard at Roni’s which we are going to slice up with my table saw and make it into trim for doors and windows in the Mini-house.  Also there is a great big wooden shelf unit that is 6’ high and 4’ wide that we can use in the workshop.  That will be so much better than using metal, plastic or fiberboard shelves. 

For the church potluck I made Corned Beef and Cabbage, and German Potato Salad, (made with Turkey Bacon) served it in crockpots. (German Potato Salad is supposed to be served warm.) The pastor’s wife’s knee still isn’t better, so I had to get the rest of the other dishes ready for serving.  One of the elders always brings a large crockpot ready-dish, like I do, but my crockpots are smaller.  We prepare it on Friday (Preparation  Day) and then just plug it in when we get there.  But some folks bring things that have to be cooked, which is not really right, as it is the Sabbath, and we shouldn’t be working on the Sabbath.   Actual cooking is not supposed to be done on the Sabbath, it is supposed to be done the previous day.

“This emphasis on people ceasing work on the Sabbath is foremost in the primary commandment that instructs us how to keep the Sabbath:  “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.”  Deut 5:12  

Now you must feed and water your animals on the Sabbath, and if you have to get your oxen out of a ditch, that is expected, too.

“The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?” Luke 13:15.

And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” Luke 14:5.

The Bible readings were Exo. 38:21-40:38, 1 Kings 7:51-8-21 and Rev. 15:5-8.  The Teaching was “Saints Fellowship”, about the fellowship between people of the congregation.  1 John 1-3,6,7 is about fellowship with the Father, his Son, and others.

The weather was mild and it was an enjoyable day.