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Rabbi JB to Beth Messiah

In January, after 2 years of preparation, careful thought, prayer, dialogue and strategic planning, January is going to be the month we are fully trusting God to rekindle the fire He first began here two years ago. It will be the spiritual counterpart of Chanukah or Dedication as we receive the oil for the Menorah in the Temple and in the New Covenant Temple, WE ARE THAT TEMPLE!  The Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem was lit eternally and so it is with us.  Yeshua told us, “You are the Light of the World’.  January is launch month and a month of basic training.  It will be a month of receiving the Lord’s power, passion and wisdom to lead many to righteousness and make them disciples who also will lead many to righteousness and make disciples who will also lead many to righteousness and make disciples who will also lead many to righteousness and make disciples and so on and so on for the rest of our lives! This IS THE RACE WE ARE CALLED TO RUN! It’s when we will re-sharpen our swords and engage in spiritual boot camp. But we are trusting the Lord will work through us in a sustainable dimension so that we will grow in our commitment to be salt and light as a way of life going forward. Beginning January, we will go out into the harvest BUT CONTINUE sowing and reaping in February, March, April, May… until the end of the age.

We corporately are setting sail like our Messianic Jewish fathers before us, as a fishing boat. Our goal? To take Sarasota for the Lord, the Jewish people first. This is what January is all about.

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The Month of Elul

This week, Wednesday, August 23, we enter into the new month of Elul. It is the 6th month; a month of preparation for the 7th month (where the High Holy Days exist). This is much like the day of preparation before the weekly Shabbat. “The week does not carry Shabbat … Shabbat carries the week.” You get out of Shabbat what you put into Shabbat. You will get from the High Holy Days what you put into the High Holy Days. Just like most of you would try to get cleaned up and put on your best clothes to welcome the Shabbat; so, we should all work on getting cleaned up and prepared for the High Holy Days.

Since Shabbat is a special Day of rest, preparations normally occur throughout the week. Likewise the month of Elul is usually focused on the upcoming 7th month of the High Holy Days. As it is important to wear your best clothes on Shabbat; the High Holy Days also have traditional special dress. It is a blessing to be aware of God’s calendar. If we approach Shabbat like any other day, we are not setting it apart as God instructed us. Likewise, if we approach the 7th month, Tishrei, like any other month, we are not following God’s instructions to us.

I encourage you to focus, more than usual, on God in preparation for a special Season with Him during the High Holy Days. As it would be wise to prepare for a special Meeting with Him each and every Shabbat. Never approach God’s Special Times as anything less than special. It is His choice to set apart the 7th day of the week (Shabbat) as He also sets apart the 7th month (containing the High Holy Days.

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God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” Genesis 1:5

G-d created time. The natural beauty of the world declares the glory of G-d. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows His handiwork.” Psalms 19:1. G-d’s will is that we follow His directions. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10. The High Holy Days are a part of G-d’s plans for us as community. “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, and tell them: These are the appointed moadim of ADONAI, which you are to proclaim to be holy convocations — My moadim (designated times).” Leviticus 23:2. The High Holy Days should not be viewed from our perspective as having to do with our performance. As we all know “it’s all about G-d and the Messiah”, so we approach this season in His freedom and love. G-d is the Lord of time, since He created it. He knows best how we should use our time. “Make the most of your time because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16.

It is imperative that we come into the High Holy Days with an attitude of appreciation and freedom that we have in the Messiah. “Therefore, do not let anyone pass judgment on you in matters of food or drink, or in respect to a festival or new moon or Shabbat. These are a foreshadowing of things to come, but the reality is Messiah.” Colossians 2:16-17 It is appropriate, therefore, that we celebrate these festivals in a way that is consistent with our Messianic faith and exalts the Person of Yeshua. The moadim (appointed times) all find their fulfillment in Messiah. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.” Matthew 5:17.

G-d’s Moadim (Appointed Times) remind us that He is Lord of the calendar, the King of creation, and that He is to be worshiped every day. G-d’s Appointed Times have a great deal to teach all who have crowned Him Lord of their lives.