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Moadim – The Appointed Times

Moadim (The Appointed Times)

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

God created time. The natural beauty of the world declares the glory of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows His handiwork.” (Psalms 19:1) God’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 God’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 God and the Messiah”, so we approach this season in His freedom and love. God 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)

God’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. God’s Appointed Times have a great deal to teach all who have crowned Him Lord of their lives.

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“But what God foretold through the mouth of all His prophets—that His Messiah was to suffer—so He has fulfilled. Repent, therefore, and return—so your sins might be blotted out” Acts 3:18 – 19

Connecting the dots is a children’s game. As a child draws a line, connecting the dots sprinkled across the page of his or her coloring book, a picture is created. Similarly the verses of the Bible can be connected in reveal Yeshua as Messiah.

The 1st dot is God’s creation of man. The 2nd dot is sin entering the world in the Garden. Next, there are many dots of the Patriarchs, Judges, wondering prophets and kings. A picture of need is woven throughout. Humankind is in need of a Savior. Broken and sinful, man is incapable of saving himself.

The 1st dot in the apostolic writings is the genealogy of Messiah in Matthew. This dot connects to all the dots of the past. Yeshua is born from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And specifically from the tribe of Judah, in the lineage of David, which reveals the covenant of being a king/Savior. From this point the 4 historical accounts of the Gospels are filled with dot after dot, revealing the life and character of Yeshua. He came with truth and compassion, speaking accurate judgment; but offering forgiveness and mercy. As the line is drawn leading to Messiah’s death and resurrection, the picture is complete. Yeshua is our perfect Savior. He came to set us free and restore our relationship with God. Can you connect the dots in trust in Him today?

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Cars often reflect our lives

“For what was impossible for the Torah—since it was weakened on account of the flesh—God has done. Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin offering, He condemned sin in the flesh”Romans 8:3

The idea of the gasoline powered vehicle to be to be used for human and commercial transportation is a fabulous idea! In fact, a century of innovations and further inventions have made cars and trucks a permanent part of our everyday life. So why do we only tolerate them instead of loving them? It’s because cars break down and need repairs. Rubber wears out, metal breaks down, paint fades, wires break, and we crash these machines into one another. It’s not the idea of the vehicle that is bad; it’s the execution that breaks down.

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me—that is, in my flesh. For to will is present in me, but to do the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do; but the evil that I do not want, this I practice. But if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I doing it, but sin that dwells in me. (Romans 7:18 – 20) So it is with the Torah of God. “So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12), yet we have a hard time implementing the concept. Vehicles are weak because of their parts and humans are weak because of our fallen human nature. If vehicle  inventors ever create parts that last forever, they will do for vehicles what Yeshua did for us; be strong, not weak, in the flesh.

The next time your car is in the shop, thank God that Yeshua is the permanent perfect keeper of God’s Torah. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. The Torah tells me how crooked I am. Yeshua reveals the truth, sets me free, and tries to straighten me out. Live carefully!

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“Therefore submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Jacob 4:7

Comedian flip Wilson made this line famous: “The devil made me do it!” The characters in Wilson’s comedy routines often blamed the devil for leading them into trouble. While comedians are not usually a go-to source for biblical theology, Flip Wilson was partly right. The devil can’t make anyone do anything, but he can definitely tempt us and influence our choices. But we have defensive measures.

Yeshua’s encounter with Satan in the Judean wilderness is a proof text for the fact that Satan can tempt a child of God. This happened at the very beginning of Yeshua’s public ministry when a failure on His part would’ve been catastrophic. Satan tempted Yeshua 3 different times with 3 different enticements. But each time Yeshua rebuffed the offers and remain true to God’s word in God’s will. Though unsuccessful then, “And when the devil had completed every test, he departed from Him until another occasion.” (Luke 4:13) Jacob writes that if we do what Yeshua did: submit to God in obedient faith and resist the devil; Satan will flee from us. When we live clothed in the armor of God in obedient faith, Satan will be defeated. If you want to avoid sin, do not play games with temptation.

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The forest or the trees

“Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12

An arborist is a scientist who studies trees and other woody plants, usually individual specimens. A forester is a scientist who studies large swaths of woody plants, like a forest. The domain of a forester and arborist overlaps at times in the pursuit of the health of both trees and forests.

Our life in the Kingdom is made up of 2 similar domains; individual days and life as a whole. Unfortunately, we often get so caught up in the pressures of each day that we sometimes fail to step back and look at our spiritual life as a whole. Questions need to be asked. Since coming to know Messiah, have you grown spiritually and emotionally? What differences can you see in your life in Yeshua, over the last few months or years? What areas of your life in Yeshua need attention? Paul talked about: “Practice these things—be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be clear to all.” (1 Timothy 4: 15)

Are you a spiritual arborist or a forester? Are you focusing more on the trees or the forest? Ask God for His help in showing you how to measure your maturity. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. It takes time and effort to be holy.

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The heart of man plans his course, but Adonai directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Think for a moment about all the plans you have in place right now: you took a moment to read this blog; you plan to take care the chores and tasks ahead of you; you plan to do certain things this week; you plan to accomplish some family obligations soon; you plan to take care of your commitment to be involved at Beth Messiah. We live with plans; from the small, to the sacred, and everywhere in between.

Scripture commends plan making – especially Proverbs. “Trust in Adonai with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5 – 6). “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the tongue’s answer is from Adonai. All a man’s ways are pure in his own eyes, but Adonai weighs the motives. Commit whatever you do to Adonai, and your plans will succeed. Adonai works everything out for his own purpose—even the wicked for a day of disaster.” (Proverbs 16:1 – 4). “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of Adonai will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21). Yet, for we human planners, there is one caveat when it comes to making plans. God’s plans always take precedence over ours. Every plan we make should carry the conscious addendum, “as the Lord directs.” In a parable the apostle Jacob taught, planners are told to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”  (Jacob 4:15).

So, as you make any of your plans for the future; allow God to direct your steps. And trust that if he changes your plans, is a chance to walk by faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

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True faith is ever connected with hope.

For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

It’s easy to understand why God spoke the words of this Scripture through the Prophet to His people. Jeremiah wrote during the time when Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians. We could see nothing but disaster on the horizon; we wondered if all God’s covenant promises had become null and void. So God spoke to Jeremiah to tell the people that His thoughts were not on evil toward them, that He had a hopeful future in mind.

We may not look at our window and see invading Babylonians on the horizon, but we may see something that seems just as hopeless. We can cling to God’s promise to Israel because it’s a reflection of His character. He “is able to do far beyond all that we ask or imagine, by means of His power that works in us,” (Ephesians 3:20). We are called in those difficult moments to “Trust in Adonai with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him,and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5 – 6).

If you feel besieged by life today, lean on the God of peace, the God of hope and the future. The same God, who has a plan for Israel, has a plan for you. Trust that He will direct your path.

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Growing Warmer, Not Colder

“Now in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet. His illness was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Adonai but physicians”.  2 Chronicles 16:12

The story of King Asa occupies 3 chapters in 2 Chronicles. In chapter 14, he’s seen trusting in God, instituting revival and rejoicing in victory. In chapter 15, he hears and he heads the prophetic message. But several years pass, and by chapter 16 Asa wants nothing to do with the Lord. Somehow he had lost the fire and faith of his earlier walk with God.

Why? Perhaps he stopped reading the Scriptures. Maybe his life became too busy for prayer. He might have allowed resentments to fester in his heart. Perhaps he fell into sin and his conscious was gradually dulled.

Whatever happened, Asa serves as a warning to us. We must keep close to God every day, being quick to confess and turn from all known sin. Our heart should break when we do wrong, knowing it was our sins that caused Yeshua to suffer. We should keep a tender heart, one that is growing warmer, not colder. Ask God today for a tender conscious and a closer walk with Him. Live carefully and spread the good news!

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Ready to Speak

And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would pray to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today would be such as I am—except for these chains!”  Acts 26:29

The American pop artist Andy Warhol wrote in 1968, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” From that statement came the now famous reference to “15 minutes of fame” – a moment when someone finds himself in the spotlight. What would we do or say if we suddenly found ourselves with a captive audience?

That is, if you had one thing you could tell the world, what would it be? Spotlights can cause some people to lose their nerve and freeze, but not so with Paul. On several occasions he found himself standing before authorities with a captive audience, he never failed to declare the good news of the Messiah Yeshua and encouraging those listening to believe in Him.

“When they had brought them, they placed them before the Sanhedrin. The kohen gadol (high priest) questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name—and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring on us the blood of this Man!” Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men”.  Acts 5:27 – 29

God has given us a calling to share the truth of Messiah in the world that is desperate for the Truth. Beth Messiah has a special anointing to take the Good News of the Messiah out to the world.

Regardless of the size and place of the opportunities God gives you, be prepared to speak of the hope that lies within you.

“Sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you”. 1 Peter 3:15

You are a witness whether you want to be or not.