Week 27 Past the Cross – (The Waiting Room)

Looking Through a New Lens
Week 27 (The Waiting Room)
By Terrie C

Allow me to start by saying that I hope Yom Kippur found you closer to God than you have ever been! May you go into Sukkot with joy in your heart and complete Shalom.  You and I have been made clean, what a reason to celebrate!

This post is late. It’s been a week of trying to wrap my mind around some concepts, and I like to savor the process now, instead of dread it, because I learn so much even before the “revelation” comes! Six months ago, when I first walked away from the cross, not having all the answers frustrated me. During my time in Christianity, there was a little formula to follow, neat and precise. Sinner’s prayer, invite someone into my heart and tell everyone  about it. Easy peasy. Done deal.  Here, on this side of that cross, there is a God who is simply uncontainable, and Who has invited me to walk in His Ways, the ones I understand and the ones I don’t. A wise sister has helped me to understand that I don’t have to know all of the answers today, and that I can trust God to reveal to me just what I need to know, when I need to know it. When my face is on Him and in His Word, I will grow in knowledge and understanding. Period. That’s how it works. This week, prayer has been on my mind.

Monday found me in the emergency room, awaiting x-rays for a physical problem I have been having for almost five years. The tests did not reveal the answers I thought they would, but I learned some things anyway that day, sitting in a wheelchair in the waiting room. I noticed that people can be mean, even to those trying to help them. I realize that no one is at their best when they are ill, but that is never a reason to be nasty and insultive to others. The main complaint, of course, was related to the wait time. A fellow came in with a chain saw kickback injury, and was escorted back to an exam room immediately. That’s what an emergency room is for. For those of us who were there because we have no other health care options, the wait will be long. Why make it worse on everyone, including ourselves, by being agitated? I made a mental note to always be aware of how I act when I’m waiting. It’s a good rule of thumb to check ourselves when we see others behaving badly.

I also  got to witness something I hadn’t yet, since looking through this new lens,  and it has stayed on my mind. A twenty-something guy was waiting to be seen, too, also “parked” in a wheelchair. I don’t know what he was there for, but it was obvious he was in considerable pain. His writhing was accompanied by some not so pleasant language, but that is not my point. I know all too well that some whoppers of words can come out of our mouths at a certain level of pain. We nice “religious” folk usually save those expressions for behind closed doors, don’t we? But I digress. There was a woman there who asked this guy if she could, and I quote, put her hands on him and pray. He and the lady he was with gave each other a discreet eye roll, but he answered the woman in the affirmative. Even in his pain, he was polite to her.

The prayer literally made me cringe. Calling on a name that isn’t God’s, this woman commanded the pain to be gone, and this young man to be healed, then and there. The prayer went on for about three minutes, ever praising that other name, and ever speaking authoritative statements. After the “amen” the woman went about her business, and the young man sat for an hour or so more, still writhing in pain. In the writings that call themselves the New Testament, believers are told they have the ability to heal others. I can’t help but wonder why they don’t question the results of these “commanding prayers “. I did, when I used to pray them. Do we have the authority to heal or don’t we? Torah says God is healer. Not us.

I couldn’t help but wonder what that man was thinking, too. Having been privy to the discussions he was having with the woman who escorted him into the waiting room that day, it was evident that they were not particularly religious, if at all. I have an idea what he might have thought of the prayer, though, , because I remember thinking about “healing prayers” before I was a believer, when a grandchild of mine was in the neonatal unit of a hospital, fighting for every breath. Back then I wondered why some of those children lived and some died, if prayer “really” worked. The young man might have thought, “God isn’t listening” or even that “God doesn’t care”. Did the woman who prayed also wonder why her prayer wasn’t answered? Did she wonder if her faith was too small? Or if she was asking for wrong reasons, like the passages she’s read indicate? I’m not sure what either of them thought, but I know what I was thinking. I was thinking that  when we try to step into authority that belongs to God alone, we are standing in muck.

Now, I commend the praying woman for trying to walk in what she believes are God’s commands, please don’t misunderstand me! While she was praying, I was praying for her, and for God’s plan to unfold in her life, whatever that plan  may be. But if she was trying to “win souls for the Kingdom” how successful do you think her attempt was? I’m thinking that man did not decide then and there to begin his own journey with The Creator (if he didn’t have a journey yet). The whole endeavor may have done nothing but affirm for him that God is unreachable and unattainable, or at the very least, ineffective. The well-meaning prayer warrior may have done more harm than good in the Name of God. Of course, I can not know this, I am pondering the incident only, thinking about how we should be praying for the strangers we encounter. Do we lay our hands on them and declare them healed? God forbid! The Torah gives specific details about health and healing, and they are all connected to obedience, and to the God who does what He wills.

I prayed for the young man, too, but he doesn’t know that. I prayed that whatever was happening to him would make him cry out to God, and that God would hear. I prayed that the man would see that there was more to life than what his eyes could see. I asked God to be merciful and compassionate, and to reveal Himself to this man in a way that would bring glory to God’s Name. Lastly, I asked God to be with the man, to strengthen him to endure what was happening physically, and to reveal any injury or illness that was happening spiritually. I ended the prayer with the same ending I always use when I pray for others, “May your will come to pass in his life, for your honor, glory and praise!” Did I do it right? I don’t know. I’m still in prayer kindergarten, standing before an omniscient God. I did the best I could with the knowledge I have today. Next year, God willing, I’ll have more.

The last lesson I have learned from this whole “Emergency Room” incident was that sometimes no news is not always good news. But with God, not good news can be the best news! Doesn’t make a lick of sense, does it? Let me clarify. My inconclusive test results indicated that something much more sinister than a malalignment was going on in my hips. The x-rays revealed great looking bones with no injury or masses pressing on them, yet I cannot walk for more than a minute without stopping to relieve the pain. The day after Yom Kippur, God gave me a huge nudge to check into some specific things, and the explanation to my angst came in less than an hour. Because I followed His prompting, I am now armed with information and a plan. The health decisions I had made in the years that I didn’t walk in obedience have manifested. I am reminded that God is not mocked, and we WILL reap what we sow. God could have delivered me from this consequence with great ease….He is God. But if He had, would I have learned anything about obedience and consequences? Probably not. I believe He is delivering me, though. By showing me the cost of my disobedience in the areas of clean eating and health care choices. As I learn to sow new seeds by making better choices, I can be sure I will see a different kind of harvest in my future! I came home sad on Monday that nobody could tell me what was wrong with me. Now I know I should have just sought God, instead, who is faithful to answer all of my questions…even the ones about hip pain!

I’ll “see” you  next week! Until then, I hope you will ponder why we prayer for others, and how we should be doing it. ~Shalom!

Advertisements

The Feast Of Sukkot By The Torah

FeastSukkot_Feast-of-Tabernacles4

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

Purpose: So that generation after generation of you will *know that I made the people of Isra’el live in **sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt (Leviticus 23:43).

When: begins Sunday, October 16 “…On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot…” (Leviticus 23:34).

How long: “…the feast of Sukkot (is) for seven days…” (Leviticus 23:34, Deuteronomy 16:13).

When does it Ends Sunday, October 23“…on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation …” (Leviticus 23:36).

It is a permanent regulation: You are to observe it as a feast to Adonai seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation (Leviticus 23:42).

Time Frame:

Day 1, (Sunday October 16, 2016):

There will be a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:35).

Do not do any kind of ordinary work (Leviticus 23:35).

Day of complete rest (Leviticus 23:39).

On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence Adonai your God (Leviticus 23:40).

For the seven days:

You are too ***live in sukkot for seven days (Leviticus 23:42).

You are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai (Leviticus 23:36, Ezra 3:4).

Take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence of Adonai your God for seven days (Leviticus 23:40).

Day 8 (Sunday, October 23, 2016)

You are to have a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:36).

Bring an offering made by fire to Adonai (Leviticus 23:36).

It is a day of public assembly (Leviticus 23:36).

Do not do any kind of ordinary work (Leviticus 23:36).

Day of complete rest (Leviticus 23:39).

*Recommended Reading: Since we are to remember that Adonai brought the Israelites out of Egypt we should reflect on this each day of Sukkot.  Here is a recommended Tanakh reading:

Day 1 Leviticus 23:33-44 and Numbers 29:12-16 Explanation of Sukkot

Day 2 Exodus 12:29-13:16 Israel’s Exodus from Egypt

Day 3 Exodus 13:17-14:4 Israel’s Wilderness Detour and Exodus 14:5-14 The Egyptians Pursue Israel

Day 4 Exodus 14:15-15:21 Escape through the Red Sea

Day 5 Exodus 15:22 – 27 Bitter Water at Marah and Exodus 16:1 – 36 Manna and Quail from Heaven

Day 6 Exodus 17:1-7 Water from the Rock and Exodus 17: 8 – 16 Israel Defeats the Amalekites

Day 7 Exodus 18:1 – 27 Yitro’s (Jethro’s) Visit to Moses

Day 8 Nehemiah 8:13-18 Feast of Sukkot Restored

**Explaining a Sukkah:

Definition: Isaiah 4:6 A sukkah will give shade by day from the heat; it will also provide refuge and cover from storm and rain.

Materials: Nehemiah 8:15 and that they were to announce and pass the word in all their cities and in Yerushalayim, “Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed.”

26_bedouin_tent               0920-OPB-west-bank-sukkot_full_600

*** The word used for live is “yashab” which also means to sit, remain or dwell

The Credibility Of The New Testament

writing_20bible_20scroll_201

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies?fref=ts

By: William Jackson

If you asked most Christians when the books of the New Testament were canonized, or simply said “when was the New Testament (as we know it) officially followed”, the majority will answer shortly after it was penned, around the first century.  When you reply to their answer “No, the New Testament was accepted around the fourth century1”, you will receive mystified looks in retort.  What they even find more amazing is that the New Testament wasn’t inspired by the church’s desire to organize and scrutinize these crucial documents.  The inspiration of the New Testament canonization was from heretics.

In the beginning, Christianity had many different beliefs and understandings.  These various theologies with their unique interpretation of God and the Christian messiah caused other Christian sects to be formed and followed.  Creating much of Christianity’s mayhem was the additional books beyond what would be later known as the 27 books of the New Testament.  Many of these additional books were considered just as important.  There were at least fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen additional Epistles, a number of Apocalypse and Secret Books2.  Many Christian groups used a variety of all these books in their observances.

In about 144 CE Marcion, the son of a Bishop, started Marcionism.  This was another version of the Christian religion.  Marcion thought the Tanakh God was evil and inspired his flock to following a loving God full of grace, Jesus’ God of the New Testament.  Marcion was the first to canonize the New Testament out of a need to fit his new doctrine. He accepted only the gospel of Luke, and he accepted all of Paul’s writings but he would “cut out” any Old Testament quotes or anything else that contradicted his theological views3.  Ironically, the first canon of New Testaments books would come from this person the Orthodox Church would label a heretic.

Now enters Saint Irenaeus, a Bishop from France, who would gain a reputation for battling heresy. At this time heresy was anything that didn’t side with the Orthodox Church. He established the four gospels as the only gospels4.  It is understandable that Saint Irenaeus needed to establish a fix set of books to launch debates against heresy from, but the set of 27 (as we know) them were not combined, yet. The process of canonization would still take centuries.  Along the way Christian theologians would continue to filter books.

So, over a 180 years after Saint Irenaeus committed to the Gospels, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, completed the list of books that would become the New Testament canon (367 CE).  Thirty years after that, at the Councils of Carthage, Augustine of Hippo considered the canon to be completed.

When we study out this process that lasted over 300 years to galvanize books to become part of the Christian doctrine we have to factor in many of things.  For starters, Christianity had many theologies and the Orthodox (Catholic) Christians won out in the end.  As Winston Churchill once said “History is written by the victors.”  Secondly, politics had a lot of influence in the canonization process.  The Roman Emperor Constantine in an effort to stop end fighting forced a conclusion to many theologies at the counsel of Nicaea in 321.  Those Bishops that remained in power had the greatest influence on the canonization process.  Thirdly, the Councils of Carthage appears not to have been a conclusion. What the church terms as heresy would return in later years and other books would be added and subtracted from the bible (i.e. Apocrypha).  Also, when we investigate the current New Testament we discover that there have been verses added and removed6.   Unlike the Pentateuch given to Moses from God, the New Testament birth and life are very convoluted.

References

  1. M. J. Sawyer, Ph.D., Evangelicals and the Canon of the New Testament, Bible.org, June 3rd 2004
  1. Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, September 15, 2005
  1. Steve Rudd, The Canon of Marcion the heretic, The Canon of the Bible
  1. Daniel F. Lieuwen, The Emergence of the New Testament Canon, Orthodox Christian Information Center
  1. Lienhard, Joseph T., The “Arian” Controversy: Some Categories Reconsidered, Theological Studies, Vol. 48, Issue 3, Sep 87, 415-437
  1. Bart D. Ehrman, Top 10 Verses that were not Originally in the New Testament, Misquoting Jesus, 2005

Yom Kippur By The Torah

Gottlieb-Jews_Praying_in_the_Synagogue_on_Yom_Kippur

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By: William Jackson

Yom Kippur starts tonight at sunset.  There are many traditions associated with this holiday but it is important to understand how the Torah tells us to observe it.  These are 7 steps outlined in Leviticus that will keep us on track.

When: On the tenth day of the seventh month (Lev. 16:29, 23:27), starting on the evening of the 9th day (Lev. 23:32).

Purpose: On this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins (Lev. 16:30).

7 Requirements:

  1. A Permanent Regulation (Lev. 16:29, 31, 34. 23:30)
  1. You are to deny* yourselves (Lev. 16:29, 23:27, 29, 32)
  1. Not do any kind of work (Lev. 16:29, 23:28, 30)
  1. A Shabbat of complete rest (Lev. 16:31, 23:32)
  1. Have a holy convocation** (Lev. 23:27)
  1. You are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai (Lev. 23:27)
  1. You are to sound a blast on the shofar (Lev. 25:9)

* We often interpret “to deny yourself” as fasting but the word used is “Tə·‘an·nū” which means “you shall humble” or “ye shall afflict”. The route word is “anah” (6031) which means defile, humble, afflict, or deny. Conversely, the word “Tsom” (6685), means fasting, or too fast.  I feel when we are denying ourselves we are removing distractors so that we can focus on atoning for our sins.  I do not think it is an act of self-deprecation, it is an opportunity to remove ones diversions.  We should be fasting from more than food this day.

**The word used is “Miqra” (4744) which means a convocation, convoking, or reading.

“G’mar Hatimah Tovah”  May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life).

e3f081c38e2a004cc0bdb6e002fe0fce

Rise and Shine! (On Those in the Dark)

Rise and Shine
Rise and Shine! (On Those in the Dark)
By Terrie C

*Please Note: The length of this article will be smaller than usual in honor of the High Holy Days we are in right now. During this time, our main focus and priority should be on God, and His plan unfolding. I sincerely hope this Sacred Season will be meaningful and rewarding for each of you!

The last time I posted, I went over some ways to shine God’s Light into the Darkest Hours that you and I have and will continue to have as long as we are still wearing these coats of flesh. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll find it right here, on the Center for Tanakh Based Studies site at:
https://center-for-tanakh-based-studies.com/2015/09/14/rise-and-shine-on-the-darkest-hours/.
It is imperative that we first understand darkness according to our own experiences, and that we can successfully accept God’s Light there, on ourselves, before we endeavor to step into someone else’s darkness. To be effective and to not cast shadows where we want to shine Light, we must be securely connected to the source of Light, our Heavenly Father, through prayer and Scripture study. Once armed with information and experience, we can have a positive effect on those who are suffering through their darkest hours!

If you’ve ever experienced someone’s well meaning attempts to make you feel better in your own darkness that fell flat, you may already have some pointers on what NOT to do. Every person’s experience in the darkness is as unique as each person, but there is still common ground, and ways that we can be helpful. We should prayerfully consider what we know about the person we would like to comfort, and what we know of the situation into which we want to shine God’s Light. We should pray for wisdom and guidance to proceed. Then, we can tailor the following helpful hints accordingly:

  • Affirm what the person is feeling: Darkness will most likely bring out the worst kinds of feelings. The person we want to comfort and shine God’s Light on may be angry, excessively sad, frustrated or even confused. Simple sentiments like, “How hard for you!” or “Your heart must be breaking!” are simple, yet profound affirmations for the one shrouded in darkness. “I hate that you have to go through this!” can be more effective than “I’m sorry.”
  • Do NOT say, “I know how you feel”: No one but the one in darkness knows all of the mixed emotions they are experiencing. Each person’s reaction to darkness is tailor made through their perceptions and experiences. In the darkness, it’s hard for the hurt to see past the moment they are in right then. We must only share our own experience if we are asked to. There may be a time later on, but usually, in the midst of darkness, we should stay focused on the hurting one.
  • Try to avoid cliches (especially spiritual ones): It’s hard sometimes to know just what to say when we are voyeurs to someone’s dark hours. Phrases like “God moves in mysterious ways” or “Don’t worry, God can bring good from this” are both true statements, but are often hard to believe by one who is drowning in darkness. Even devout believers occasionally encounter a life event that makes them question the sovereignty of God. Unless the hurting person is speaking with spiritual tones themselves, it would be wise for us not to give them “fix all” Scriptural advice, no matter how true it may be. If the hurt person is outwardly asking questions like “Why would God let this happen?” the best answer we can give is a simple “I don’t know”. Remember that trusting God is so much easier during a Shabbat dinner at a friend’s house than it is to trust Him when standing next to an open grave. We are there to shine His Light, not to force Him on the ones who need Him most.
  • Ask how you can help. Be specific: When tragedy strikes or darkness falls, the one hurting may not be able to attend to their own needs, or to the needs of those in their charge. They also may be too upset to think of the tasks that must be accomplished. Darkness often drops a veil akin to confusion, we can shine a little Light through it. Depending on our relationship with the one we’re shining God’s Light on, there is almost always a need we can meet. In the dark, things like meals, bill paying, housekeeping and errand running may fall to the wayside. We can make specific offers to help, based on what we know of their situation. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” is too general. “Do you need someone to take the kids to soccer, make some phone calls, pick up the dry cleaning or _______________” (fill in the blank) is a much better approach.
  • Be there: When all is said and done, the person who is enveloped in darkness holds the personal responsibility to “choose life” and pull up out of it. We are to shine that spark of light that tends to propel others toward it, toward God’s Light.  We are not to get pulled, instead, into the darkness. And so, as long as our help is helping, we can be an excellent source of comfort, assistance and inspiration for those who have chosen to move past the dark season. In whatever way the relationship calls for, we can determine in our hearts to make that visit, phone call, or whatever avenue we can take to ensure that the one who is hurting knows they are not alone.

We can, indeed, make a profound difference in someone’s darkness! We CAN shine God’s Light and love into the shadows. It’s easy to recall, isn’t it, those who have done just that for us? God is faithful, so faithful! Seasons of dark will come for us, for our loved ones and friends, our coworkers, and for the strangers whom God places in our path. He is a “full circle” kind of God. We will both have the need light and be light for as long we live.

Until we meet again, Rise and Shine!

How A Jewish King Does Teshuvah

thNSNVQWZ5

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By: William Jackson

Yom Kippur is just days away and as we know this is a Shabbat that is commanded to be observe “…through all your generations, no matter where you live” (Leviticus 23:31).  Leviticus even warns us if we don’t observe the requirements for this Holey Day we could be “cut-off” or even destroyed, (Leviticus 23:29-30).  Some pretty serious stuff, huh.  The central theme to this Holiday is atonement of our sins (Leviticus 23:28).  This is not a very appealing topic for many of us, especially the shame we feel when we reflect on our sins.  However, this painful process, if it is done right, will bring us even closer to the Creator. Maybe this is why God demands that we will observe this holiday.  So let’s take a look at two Kings of Israel for examples of what it means to atone for one sins and what it means not to atone for sin.

110_05_0016_BiblePaintings

King Saul:

As we read 1 Samuel 15 King Saul provides us with an excellent blueprint on how not to atone for sin. Here’s a brief outline1:

God ordered King Saul to “attack ‘Amalek, and completely destroy everything they have” (1 Samuel 15:3).

Saul disobeyed God by sparing the Amalek King and some cattle (1 Samuel 15:9).

God regrets making Saul King because of his disobedience (1 Samuel 15:11).

In addition to Saul disobedience, he builds a monument to himself (1 Samuel 15:12).

The Prophet Samuel addresses King Saul disobedience to him but Saul makes excuses for his insubordination (1 Samuel 15:13-15).

Saul continues to defend his denial (1 Samuel 15:20).

The Prophet Samuel then tells King Saul that God is taking away his kingdom because of his defiance (1 Samuel 15:23).

At this point Saul begs for forgiveness but it is too late (1 Samuel 15:24-26).

Yes, we do know that God is merciful and slow to anger (Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 86:15) but the story of King Saul and the Amaleks shows us that God will not wait forever for us to repent.  Yom Kippur gives us a reason to get right before our sovereignty is taken away.

stdas0216

King David:

As we know David seduced Bathsheba, a married woman.  After impregnating her, he arranged for her husband “Uriah” to be killed unknowingly on the field of battle.  As heinous and obvious as this crime was, King David did not come to the realization of what he done, he was in denial, (2 Samuel 11).  Like with King Saul, it took a Prophet’s intersection.  This time it was the Prophet Nathan (Natan) telling King David.  Strategically, Nathan conveyed a parable that mirrored David’s sin for him to get it, (2 Samuel 12:1-12).  Once David got it, he confessed it, and God forgave him (2 Samuel 12:13).

Forgiveness doesn’t dismiss punishments:

From this lesson we need to remember that forgiveness does not mean we don’t pay the consequences.  King David did suffer penalties for his sin (2 Samuel 12:14).  Remember Numbers 5:7 tells us that when guilty of a crime we are to confess and “then” we are to pay restitution.  Maybe this is the appeal to Christianity, somebody else paying for your sins2.  This sounds very attractive but cannot be the plan of a just God, (Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 61:8, Job 34:17).

Conclusion:

As we can see with both these Kings, we are pretty good at seeing other people in sin but no so much when it is ourselves.  What both had in common is that it took an outsider to bring their sins t their attention.  Many of us say we are our own worse judge but when a Prophet, a coworker or loved one comes to us with an observation maybe we should slow down and allow their comments to resonate before we defend or deflect them. Remember, we cannot do Teshuvah (turning from sin and returning to God3) or establish step one of the twelve steps to recovery if we don’t admit that we have a problem4.  Most of us start off in denial.  For Yom Kippur let’s have the heart of David and not the mind of Saul.

  1. Marilyn Rodriguez, Why would God forgive David and not Saul? Encourage Me Lord!!!, April 12, 2012
  2. Ken Currie, Jesus Paid It All, All to Him I Owe, Bethlehem Baptist Church, May 30, 2010
  3. Ariela Pelaia, What is Teshuvah? About Religion
  4. Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book Trade Edition, 1939

Week 26 Past the Cross – (I Stand With Israel)

Looking Through a New Lens
Week 26 Past the Cross – (I Stand With Israel)
By Terrie C

This week’s post is shorter than normal. We are in smack in the middle of the High Holy Days, and that’s where our thoughts should be. I only interrupt them for a moment, thinking about what “Standing with Israel” really looks like. May you and yours be richly blessed during these Fall Feasts!

Tuesday marked my 26th week since walking past the cross. The cycle of Feasts this year have been so much more important to me because of this new path I’m on. Like everything in Scripture, I am viewing the Feasts through a new lens. No more taping a picture of a “son of man” over them. Psalm 146 clearly states that there is no help from a prince, or in the “son of man”. It’s YHVH who is God, and the Feasts and Holy Days are for His glory and according to His plan. I’ve seen so many posts on Facebook that declare one “Stands with Israel”. But just what do they mean by that? For me, it is a very literal thing. Standing with them, not just in support of or in prayer for them. With them. For this New Year on the Biblical Calendar, I have purposed in my heart to be more aware of where I stand and why I stand with Israel. I’m going to do it like it’s done in Scripture.  As per the Eighth Chapter of Zechariah, I have grabbed hold of the Tzitzit of a Jew. I stand behind Israel’s right to walk in the Torah they were entrusted with, and their right to exist as a Nation. I am a sojourner in a foreign land, looking to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His eternal Ways.

This year, I have purposed to Stand With Israel in new ways that draw me ever near to their God, who is my God. I have placed Jerusalem on my ipad’s clock, right next to “Florida time”. For any Holy Day that arrives this year, I am going to adjust for the time difference, and take a moment to mark exactly when they are blowing the Shofars in Israel. Imagine how it must sound in God’s ears, when He hears from all of His Children at once! I know getting my four (adult) children to sync their calendars for us all to gather on one day is really special! Imagine how much more so for our Heavenly Father! Oh, I will still observe all “sunset” festivities on my time, but to know that Israel is doing it seven hours ahead of me makes me want to share a Shofar blast with my brothers Judah, Israel, and all sojourners (like me) that stand with them!

This is the year that I have come to agree with God regarding all the things He says about Himself in the Tanak, giving glory only to Him. I hope that you will take time to learn what He says about Himself, and spend much time contemplating it. When I began to study it out, I had hundreds of Scriptures to refer to! The following is a (very) condensed list of what He has to say about who He is, and how I shall perceive Him:

  • He is One (Deuteronomy 6)
  • He is Redeemer (Isaiah 47)
  • He is Healer (Exodus 15)
  • He is Salvation (Psalm 68)
  • He is the only Savior (Isaiah 43)
  • He is unequal to any (Isaiah 40)
  • He shares His Glory with no one (Isaiah 42)
  • His is the Name I am to call on (Psalm 91)
  • He is Deliverer (Psalm 18)
  • He is Judge of all the Earth (Genesis 18)

My days of idolatry are behind me. My days of calling on any other name are over. There is no mediator to cover my sin, so says the Second Chapter in 1 Samuel.  I repent, I walk right before Him, and I am forgiven, according to Ezekiel 18. The next Holy Day, Yom Kippur, is the day atoning our sin before Him is the culmination of this process.

The Shofar blasts for Rosh Hashana are still reverberating through my spirit, waking that which has been slumbering in me, and calling me to remember the One who delivered His Children from Egypt, and presented them with His perfect Torah at Sinai.

I hope that if you proclaim to stand with Israel, too, that God will take us both into the deeper implications of that statement! He has a plan for Israel, and for all who stand therewith. I can #bestillandknow that “Am Israel Chai”… Israel Lives!