Friday, April 22, 2016

New Covenant, Torah written in our hearts!

 Passover with some of our Feast Keeping friends! Halleluyah!  As the death angel passed over the homes that had their doors marked with the sacrificial blood of the lamb, so we are passed over from death unto life if our lives have been marked with the blood of the Sacrificial Lamb of God, Yeshua!
We have had such joy and blessing added to our lives since we have learned about the Lord's Feasts and the depth of their meanings!
Jesus, crucified on the Feast of Passover, he was without "leaven" (sin),  rose on the Feast of firstfruits!  In these two feasts alone, we can remember our being freed from bondage, (coming out of Egypt) and being freed from our slavery to sin by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.  And three days later, celebrating His actual Resurrection with the Feast of First Fruits!

There is so much history and so many miracles to recall in the re-telling of the story!  It is an amazing opportunity to teach each generation.  I really believe that these are the "HolyDays" (Holidays) we are to be celebrating as believers.  God told Moses that it was to be a perpetual feast throughout all their generations!  That means forever!
And as we drink the wine of the cup of Redemption, the 3rd cup after supper, this is the cup he lifted and said, this is my blood, shed for the sins of many, which ratifies the new covenant, each time you drink it (at Pesach) remember me. (Paraphrased )  Because it was a particular cup of wine, not just any old cup, but the cup of redemption. And the matzoh, the unleavened bread was His body without sin broken for us. Halleluyah!

I used to say that Easter was my favorite holiday, because of celebrating His Resurrection, BUT then about 4 or so years ago, I saw a teaching called Truth or Tradition and I learned how Easter is a totally pagan holiday filled with pagan traditions that we supposedly changed to mean Christian things. I thought, well, in my heart I was honoring God!  But, guess what?  It doesn't matter what it means to me, it only matters what it means to God!
The only thing that counts is; do we do what He wants us to do. I can not say I am a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in His Son, Jesus and then worship Him in my own made up way.  “Many will say in that Day, Lord, Lord, did we not preach in your name and in your name cast out demons? (These are people who think they are believers!)  And He will say, I never knew you, depart from me you workers of iniquity. Matt 7:21-23.  these are very scary verses to me! So, if you are doing things in the name of Jesus, how can he say, I never knew you?  And call them “you who work iniquity?” What is iniquity? We just think of it as sin, but the scripture uses several different words for sin, which refers to different types of sin.  Iniquity is one of the types of sins. Iniquity translated from the greek word “anomia” which is the condition of “lawlessness” Or, without law, so what law was Jesus referring to?  Roman law? no, Common law? No....God’s law? Torah? Yes.  So those who work iniquity are those who don’t keep God’s laws, precepts and statutes? Or rebelliousness against God’s ways.  Totally an attention getter for me!! ( Before you go on, you need to know that I am not saying you are not saved if you do Christmas and Easter! I know I was saved! ) Saved by the Grace of God through faith in the Son of God, but we are to be Holy as He is Holy and do  the good works of righteousness. We will even receive rewards for what we do!  So, we can not cast away works. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Anyway, back to the subject of how we chose to worship or honor God.....
He is the one who has said, this is how I want to be worshipped, and He does not want us to mix the Holy with the Profane.  We can not worship Him in the way the other nations worshipped their Gods and that is what we have done.
When I learned that, I had to make a choice,  Choose God's ways or continue on with the Traditions of men .  Jesus told the Pharisees that  laying aside the commandments, you hold to the traditions of men.

I actually was so convicted......well, I will tell you the story. 

It was during the Christmas season and I had my Christmas tree up and decorated.  I was not married to Gerry at the time, but we had been having Sabbaths together and he was learning a lot of new things with me because he had fairly recently become a believer.  Anyway, I had found this teaching called Truth or Tradition and we watched it together.  After it was over, we quite literally got up went straight to the tree and carried it outside, decorations and all and burned it!  I haven't looked back since.  Not saying it was easy, because there are a lot of very fond memories and emotions tied up with our Christmas traditions.  I was just totally convicted that unknowingly, I had been "worshipping" God in some very pagan ways!  And that is not what he wants.

I want to be all in, I want to do what He asks me to do. I want to please Him. I love Him and all that He has done for me.  I don't want to be unfaithful, it is a covenant that we are in with God, and keeping His ways are the sign that we are in covenant with Him.

I share, with humility, that I am sorry, I did not learn sooner in my life the things that I am learning now.  I thought I truly knew the Bible and probably was pretty proud of that.  But, I have been humbled to find out how little I know.  I do not share this little bit, with any condemnation towards anyone who does not see this because, it is not my place to condemn.  I think that I am finally able to share, however, where I am at in my spiritual journey.  And it truly is a journey, so much to learn and it is so exciting!

Several years back I began to pray a prayer of King David's, :LORD, open my eyes that I might see the wonderful things in your law.”  I prayed that prayer every time I picked up the Bible to read, only then, I never really thought about law meaning "Torah" but that is the translation from the Hebrew. The wonderful things in your Torah.  Also, after Larry died, I began praying Psalm 86, which I love!  But, verses 11- 13 were especially my prayer. "Lord, teach me your way, so that I can live by your truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will thank you Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify your name forever.  For your grace toward me is so great!  You have rescued me from the lowest part of Sh'ol.  Later, I found in another translation, that part of verse 11 “Unite my heart to fear thy name,“ means to make me single hearted for you! (No other Gods before me!) Unknowing to me, I had a lot of other "gods" before Him!  He quite literally had to take away all that I loved more than Him, so that I would become single hearted.  There was no one I loved more than my family, my husband, my children, and my grandchildren.  But, God did not want me to even put them before Him!  And this was my hardest test, the hardest letting go, the love of my Mother heart!  The most painful.  But, God is good and has a plan and I am learning to trust Him.  My prayer is for restoration of those relationships in the right order.

The newest thing I have changed in my life is probably looked upon as radical. I will share how this change came about also.  First, I want to say, that there is a pretty large "Hebrew Roots" movement in the process.  There is also the "Messianic Jewish" movement, they differ in a couple of aspects.  The Messianc's hold to a lot of the "Jewish" traditions, prayers, rituals etc.... whereas the Hebrew Roots are more, just stick to the Bible and not to add as the Jews did or to take away as the Christian did.  To keep Torah as God gave it to Moses, not all the oral traditions that were added on to the Torah, often called Rabbinical Torah or Oral Torah, and that is what Jesus condemned the Pharisee's for, Jesus kept Torah perfectly, the way the Father gave it, All the man made additions that had been added put burdens on people.  Jesus said, my yoke is easy and my burden is light, take my yoke upon you and learn of me.  Having said that, there is nothing wrong with some traditions IF they do not go against God’s word!

When you come into covenant with God, through Jesus, it is like a marriage contract, a covenant.  The commandments are the ketuba or the marriage contract.  When Israel was in the dessert about to receive the commandments of God, the ketuba, God told them,
 " You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, And how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.
Now, if you will really hear my voice and keep my covenant,
Then, out of all the nations, You will be my treasured possession.
Although the whole earth is mine,
You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."  Exodus 19:4-6

Israel then responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said."

God chose Israel to be His people, His chosen bride, HE made a covenant with them.  They went into covenant with Him. This covenant, had a contract, the contract stated the obligations of the Groom and the obligations of the Bride. God said here is what I will do for you and here is what you will do for me.  Out of all the people, all the nations, God chose Israel, he actually created this nation by calling out Abraham and then He chose them for himself.  God has not made a covenant with any other nation on the face of this earth!  And, if we who are of the other nations want to be a part of God's people then we have to enter into covenant with Him also.  Which we can do. We agree that we will hear God's voice and obey Him.  Ruth is the perfect example of a gentile who came into covenant and became one of God's chosen people.  And she said, Your God will be my God and Your people will be my people.  She left behind her other life.

To hear and obey is to Shema....the story of the man who builds his house on the rock or the sand. We can hear but not obey and thus build on sand, or we can hear and obey and thus build on the Rock. 
Jesus also invoked this covenant imagery when he speaks of Gentile inclusion. In John 10:16 "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep fold.  I must bring them also.  They too will hear my voice , and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
There is only one flock and participation in the flock is based upon listening to the shepherd's voice.   The point I am trying to bring out here is what Peter states when he was talking to the Gentile believers, he said, you once lived as the gentiles did in ignorance, but now, after their conversion they are "born again" God's Chosen, strangers in the world" they are like "new born babes" , not on the basis of their own nationality, but on the basis of the "imperishable seed" planted in them through the "living and enduring word of God."   As a result they are no longer considered Gentiles, but are to live exemplary lives "among the gentiles" but, they themselves are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God."  All of these titles used by Peter are straight from the O.T. and are used only of the nation of Israel.  IN fact they were the terms used in the covenant He made with them on Mt. Sinai.  WE ARE GRAFTED in to ISRAEL, God’s chosen people! Or adopted if you will as sons and heirs!!   So, meet Leslie the Israelite!  This is why I do not see the doctrine of  predestination as it is taught by churches, because, I think it is taught in a false way.  Yes, there is an elect, a chosen people, they were chosen before the foundation of the world.  Yet, Christ died so that all might  be drawn to Him and become one of his chosen people.  He would that none should perish but that all should come! That they too might enter into covenant with him and hear his voice and obey, and be grafted into his Holy Nation, Holy People, Royal Priesthood, etc.....  God chose Israel, not all Jews are a part of the covenant, because it is not the blood flowing in your veins that makes you Israel.  It is the circumcised heart!  Don't confuse being a Jew with being in covenant with God.  Just like some foreigners think that if you live in America you are a Christian...not true.
Peter quotes Hosea, "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."  Israel had broken covenant with God and God said, "you are not my people and I am not your God."  He compared them to an unfaithful wife. He told them also, there would be a day that they would return to him and that it would be said to them in the same place that they will be called “sons of the living God.”  That is what Peter was trying to tell the Gentile converts. It is also said that many of the "Gentiles" of the area were from the dispersed tribes and had lost their identity as Jews.
So anyway, all that to explain that I believe I am grafted into God's chosen people and that does not make me a Jew, but it does make me an Israelite.  A part of the set apart people, (it is good to note that Holy simply means “set apart”).  We become people who are in covenant with God and who chose to hear his voice and obey.  So, I am trying to do what the Bible says, not what the Jews do, but what does God say and what does he want.  Starting with the 10 commandments, and even more specifically the ones that Jesus said were the most important, because on those two hang all of the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings!
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and strength, (resources). and the 2nd, Love your neighbor as yourself.

I love simple and to the point.  If we followed this, life would be so good!  So, this is what I  have been trying to focus on.  For me, it mostly involves guarding my tongue!!!
But, the newest thing I have added is starting to wear tzit tzits.  Now, I know that many of you will automatically think, oh, she's trying to look Jewish.  This is false.  First of all, Jewish women don't wear tzit tzits.  When I first heard that God instructed His people to wear tzit tzits on the corners of their garments, and I met believers who actually did it, I thought, well, that's pretty extreme. I think it's just a cultural thing, like head coverings, they are just trying to look Jewish. So, I ignored it and put it to the back of my mind thinking, it's not that important.
So, later, (about 2 years later) ,While reading that Torah portion again, I thought, well, I'd better do some research on this, because, God does say to do it so that they will be a reminder to us to keep his commandments and not to go after the ways of our  own hearts.  Also, the woman who was healed of her was the tzit tzits of Jesus’ garment that she touched, it is also translated wings in some places. So, Jesus wore them and I thought I should learn more about them.

There is a very cool website put out by Psalm 119 Ministries called. and they have a lot of subjects on there to hear and read about.  They say, test everything, like the Bereans, you test by scripture....all scripture in context.  So, they take a subject and go through the entire Bible with it.  To make a long story shorter, I realized after the study that this is a commandment of God and it's purpose is to help us to keep the commandments.  So, even though I really didn't want to wear them, because, I didn't want to look different than other people and I knew I would probably be laughed at, I decided I wanted to keep this commandment. When I put them on, I pray, Oh, Father, help me today to follow after you with a whole heart and to keep your ways rather than my ways.  It truly is an awesome reminder! It really does help! I like to think of them as the original "WWJD" bracelet.  And I like to wear them as stylishly as possible.  I want to make some more colors! With the blue ribbon of course!   is a great site for looking into some of the "harder" torah instructions.  What a lot of people do not realize is that many of the instructions could only be followed when God himself was leading the people. One such thing that is often brought up to people who try and follow Torah is: well, do you stone a rebellious child?  Anyway, it's a good question and I could answer it, but it's better if you go look it up yourself because then I don't have so much to type. No need, to reinvent the wheel!

What I am finding out is that most of Gods instructions were given for a good reason.  Either, to protect your health, to show you how to treat others, to teach us how God wants us to Honor Him, how to prosper in the land, for instance; the instructions not to plant two different seeds in the fields was to keep the seed pure.  If the seeds cross pollinate, you will not get true seed to plant the next year. I’ve been reading a seed saving book and it is very easy to contaminate your seed and get a hybrid! The creator knows all that’s why he wrote the manual!

I have been wanting to share about the changes in my life, but have not really known how, because I don’t want to be preachy or act like I know more than anyone else, I absolutely do not.  I’m just trying to learn and grow and that has brought about a few changes.

So, now I feel like it is time to put it out there for anyone who is interested or cares.  My prayer is that we will all have "hearing ears, seeing eyes, and humble and contrite hearts".  For God loves a humble and contrite heart. If I am humble I can be taught, when I am proud, I know it all, and this I do know.....I have much to learn.

Little Lana was not too sure about having horseradish on her matzoh!