Ripe Fruit

How do you know when you have ripe fruit?  We have all been the grocery store or the market sniffing peaches or thumping watermelons to make sure you taking home something ripe.  Why do we search so hard for ripe fruit?  Because ripe fruit tastes sweet!  It is the sweetness - the juiciness of that first bite that makes all tests in the produce section worth it.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! God has fruit.  With all the layers of His character that make Him who and what He is as Father, Son and Spirit- at His core He is just and He is sweet.  What flows from His core, He wants to flow out of ours.

We see them in Galatians 5:22 & 23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against these, there is no law.  This is the type of fruit you can load up on at the breakfast buffet with no guilt.  God's fruit is ripe- at the peak of perfection- and you can never over indulge.

But, when I am honest with myself, my fruit doesn't always look like His fruit.  Okay there are days when my joy looks ripe, but my patience has a bitter taste.

Ripe fruit-sweet fruit- is usually mature fruit.  Fruit that has started as a small seed.  It's been on the tree or the vine for the right amount of time. It's in good soil and has had the right balance of sunshine and rain.  The taste of the finished product is unmistakable. It cannot be duplicated with added sugar.

This is how the Spirit treats us. We are fruit in more ways than one.  He tends us like the master gardener He is.  He makes the adjustments-the pruning- in us to make our fruit ripen and our yield double. Not everything ripens in the same season, but at the end, we will be heavy leaden and overflowing with the attributes of the Almighty.

Sometimes the things that help us ripen and makes our fruit mature are challenges and heartaches that are not so sweet. In fact, they can be quite bitter.  I keep thinking of our brothers and sisters in a Charleston bible study who showed the fruit of God's spirit to a man filled with hate - a man who they did not know wanted them dead.  They opened their arms to him, welcomed him with love of Christ, studied scripture with him and prayed on his behalf.  Those nine people did not know that this bible study would be their last witness. However, it was a fruit filled witness. Their killer stated that he almost didn't go through with it because of how kind the people were to him.

He, like Felix, was almost persuaded. Whether our witness persuades our neighbors or our enemies is not the point - we must show forth His fruit regardless of the world's response. Those bible study members gave a fruit filled witness.  My prayer today is Lord ripen the fruit in me that is still too tart to taste so that those who meet me will see His glory.


A few weeks ago, I was watching a report on 60 Minutes. They were interviewing a pastor in the Syriac Christian Church in northern Iraq as he described the day that ISIS shut down his church and he had to flee for his life.  He had only five minutes to grab what he could and leave for good.  In the middle of the interview the pastor broke down and started weeping uncontrollably – not because he had to flee or that he nearly lost his life in the ordeal- but because of the things of God that he had to leave behind.  
He was the keeper of the records.  The Syriac Church is one of the oldest churches in the world having members in the original church of Antioch listed in the Book of Acts where we were first called Christians.  His local church in Iraq had records, church history and bibles that were nearly 2000 years old. Some of them in language Jesus taught in.  He was only able to save five books, and believed that the terrorist group had destroyed the rest.  So he wept, for even though he was out of danger, this pastor was still troubled.  He did not have peace about the decision he made.
Why am I focusing on a man who I have never met; crying over books I may never read?  Because his weeping made me think.  How often do we weep about the things of God? Do we really care about the things He cares about?  Do our hearts break over the same things that break His heart?  Are we focused on and weeping over the wrong things?  Today we are going to study about something that hurts the heart of GOD.  It hurts Him when we do not have peace.
Turn with me to the Gospel of John Chapter 14 verses 26 and 27.  We meet Jesus in these verses during the Passover season, sharing His last meal with His disciples and giving His last lessons before the cross.   The verses read 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Within twenty-four hours of saying those words, Jesus’ body was in a tomb. Theses verses were a part of what Jesus wanted His followers to hold on to as He walked through His darkest hour – that He would give them His peace.
What He gave to them, He has also given to us.  When the Son came into the world, it was not just so we might be redeemed by His sacrifice and have fullness of life. He also gave His life to restore our position in the family of GOD so that we would have full access to the privileges of son-ship.  Yes sons, not sons and daughters. In 1 John 3, we are all called sons.  (Now are we the sons of GOD….) It’s all about inheritance.  In this time, sons inherited from fathers. Daughters became wives who inherited from their husbands.  A daughter inherited from her father typically when there was an absence of sons.  In the kingdom of GOD, we are all called sons.  No one comes second. None of us disinherits the other.
So we who are His sons – His followers – we will reflect His DNA – the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians chapter 5 - Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The more we walk in this journey of faith, the more we should begin to look like our Daddy. (I know it’s easier to say the fruit than it is to live them.  There are many days when I look in the spiritual mirror and don’t see the resemblance that I should.)
But, Jesus looks like His Father. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He wants us to look like Them. He wants us to have peace and share in the family resemblance.  
What is peace?  Peace is more than just a state of calm.  The word for peace that Jesus would have used is Shalom - which has a more loaded meaning than the word we use.
According to Strong's Concordance (7965), Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.  The general meaning of the root word is the entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.  To give us, among other things, maturity, harmony, friendship, agreement, success and prosperity. 
That is lot to say with just one word.  Jesus confers us all of this when He gives us peace.
Shalom shares the same root word as Shulam, which means to be for paid in full.  The words are cousins. To have all the blessings of Shalom they must first be paid for.  Why does GOD hurt when we don’t have peace?; because He has paid for it.  In Isaiah 53, we learn that “the chastisement of our peace was upon Jesus and by His stripes we are healed.”  Shalom is a precious gift, paid for in blood, and we keep using the return policy.
How do we give our peace away?  When we are troubled and fearful about how things will turn out.  Jesus commanded His disciples (and us) to be neither troubled nor fearful.  Fear is the enemy of peace.  A troubled heart is the enemy of rest.  These two snatch the health, fullness and restoration that GOD’s peace gives us.  We become fearful and troubled when we try to straighten things out in our own strength.  
As we have learned, Shalom is to have completeness in GOD - to rest and rely not just on Him but also in Him. We cannot be whole without Him. Shalom is a reflection of our trust in Him. True peace is you giving God permission to complete you and allowing Him to do it.  We don’t have to fix anything. He does the perfecting - of our situation- and us Himself.  We just have to let go and not block His work.  Jesus told us His peace is different. His peace passes all understanding. It does not have an expiration date. It can’t good bad in the refrigerator. It won’t get freezer burn.  It’s fresh every day. Just eat it.  Let peace fill your belly.
When we let go and release our problem in His hands, The Holy Spirit can fill the empty places in us with peace.  Moreover, once you have been filled, let no man rob you of your peace.  Peace is too important – especially now - as the world and its system are in chaos. Sometimes it feels as if our homes, our communities, our world have been turned upside down.  But, there is no need to fear! Our hope and our peace are in the One who has already overcome the world!  As we both watch and pray, it is essential that we not lose our peace caught up in what we see.  It’s temporary.
Now that you are peace filled; and recognize the trouble around you, it is time for us to start waging peace.  I know we typically hear the phrase waging war. However, peace in Jesus’ time was a violent word, not a passive one.  In Greek, peace means to obtain quietness by removing what seeks to distract and destroy you. Peace is a command- a directive. We see Jesus use it this way when He told to the storm, “Peace be still.” The winds hushed and the storm disappeared. But peace was also a command when He greeted the disciples. When Jesus said, “Peace be unto you,” He was stopping forces seen and unseen from encroaching upon and distracting His followers. He removed those forces out of the way. When He greeted them with Shalom, it was a command that silenced the chaos in their minds and lives.  It hushed every distraction so that they could hear and discern.  We see Him speak it after He has healed saying, “go in peace” sending the healed and delivered back home with wholeness of mind. Because Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He has the authority to command peace into a situation; and because you are His, so do you.  It is one of the privileges of son-ship; what Daddy has you can have. Jesus looks like the Father. As Jesus is, so are we in this world. In this world, in this world. We don’t have to wait for the glory of His return to have true peace. We can have it right now.
Let no man, no force, rob you of your peace. Not only is peace a part of God’s DNA, it is a part of the armor we wear as Christians. Put on the whole armor of God and shod your feet with preparation of the gospel of peace. Wage peace.  Speak Shalom into your day and allow the Holy Spirit to feed you the promises of the Father and through His word.  Speak peace into the lives of those cannot speak it for themselves. Command peace through prayer as you walk through your neighborhood so that distractions can be removed, ears can be opened and salvation can take place in those homes. So many people in our lives cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to them because the chaos in their lives is too loud.  They need peace.  Bring His peace onto your job, into that committee meeting and even into the line at the grocery store.   You have, through Christ, what many people do not even realize they need.  If you want to give a gift in this season, give the gift that was given to you. Give Shalom.
In the days of the Old Testament tabernacle, the Father instructed that Aaron and his priestly descendents to bless His people in His name by speaking peace into their lives. That blessing is found in Numbers 6:24-26: YHWH bless you and keep you. YHWH make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. YHWH lift up His face upon you and give you SHALOM.  
The Father has always desired that we have peace. We have to be willing to embrace His peace and share it.
When I was at EJA, my teacher taped a prayer on the corner of my desk that read “Lord grant me the serenity (the peace) to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” It was on my desk because I thought that I had to fix everything, and when I couldn’t solve the issue, I would freeze in fear.  I know a little better now, and I am learning that I cannot fix anything on my own. It is the Almighty who does the fixing- the restoring.  What I need to do is let go. 
When we started this journey, I introduced you to a pastor who was weeping over an issue that he could not change.  No matter how troubled he was, he could not alter the situation. He needed to let go and exchange his troubled heart for God’s peace.  Is that you today?  Are you hearing that there is something in your life that you need to let go?  Or maybe you need the courage to speak peace into a situation? Or that you need take your hand off and allow God to change the hearts of those around you?  


The Last Supper or Things that Get Lost in Translation

The season is fast approaching that we will celebrate the sacrifice and victory of our Savior upon the cross. Yes beloved I realize that it is February and for many of us there is snow on the ground.  Yet all I can think of is spring.  We exist in the present, yet we prepare for the future. It will be here before you and I know it, and I want my mind renewed and ready for all the blessings that God has in store for us in this upcoming season. 

Jesus shared His last pre-cross meal with His disciples during this spring season nearly 2000 years ago.  This meal still causes believers to ponder and cry out as the ancient Israelites did when GOD gave them their first meal in the wilderness – Manna – What is it?

It is a valid question.  We should examine and understand the gifts that have been placed into our hands.

 As I began to study and prepare for this lesson, I went online and learned that many believers are still having this discussion about the last supper of Jesus.

 Is it Communion?  Is it the Passover? Or is it something else?  When I partake of the bread and wine what am I doing and what I am joining myself to? Was Jesus giving us something new on that faithful night with the disciples? Or was He doing something even more precious?

We have an awaiting bridegroom who desperately wants to reveal his true self to his bride.   Now, just like anyone in a relationship you don’t want to give away the treasure of who you really are to someone who does not value that gift.  So here is what Yeshua decided to do. He wrapped himself and His plan into a puzzle and those who truly value Him would seek Him and this type of embrace from Him.

We have the honor of Kings, to seek out the intimate things of GOD.

Today, we are going to delve into the world of history and custom; emblems and patterns; truth and tradition.  However, the heart of Jesus’ last meal is something far more precious than the parts.  This meal is about courtship, betrothal and provision. 

First things first, let’s set the context.  The Last Supper is a meal, so let’s set the table.

Who is partaking in this Last Supper –                             Jesus and His disciples

Where is taking place –                                                      The Upper Room, Jerusalem

When is it taking place –                                                    14th of Nisan (the 1st month of the Biblical year)

approx. 30 C.E. (1st century) evening

What are they eating – a regular meal? -                        No. Jesus is specific.

In Luke 22:8 - Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."

Jesus says again in Luke: 22 14 -16, 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve[a] apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus called His last meal the Passover.

What is the Passover?

Passover is the reliving of the Israelites last night of slavery to the Egyptians. The night the death angel went through Egypt to kill the uncovered First Born.  This was the only plague that the Israelites had instructions to follow and a choice in whether or not each house would participate.  Blood was smeared on the doorpost and lentil of each home, a lamb inspected, killed & roasted; bread was baked with haste –without leaven - and a meal eaten. If the Israelites did not follow the instructions given by God and accept the sacrifice of the Lamb, they would have the same fate as the Egyptians.

The meal became known as the Seder, which means order. Out of the chaos of bondage comes the order that emanates from deliverance. There are three major foods at this meal were- bread, lamb and the fruit of the vine.

During the Passover meal a child usually asks “Why is this night different from all others?”

Why?  This is the night of the four I wills of God.

Exodus 6:6&7

“Tell the Israelites, ‘I am Yahweh. I will bring you out from under the oppression of the Egyptians, and I will free you from slavery. I will rescue you with my powerful arm and with mighty acts of judgment. Then I will make you my people, and I will be your Elohim. You will know that I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians.

 Four cups of wine were drunk at the Passover meal based upon those verses.


  • The Cup of Sanctification – based on God’s statement, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”
  • The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance- based on God’s statement, “I will deliver you from slavery to them”
  • The Cup of Redemption – based on God’s statement, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm”
  • The Cup of Praise or Restoration – based on God’s statement, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God”


Do this as my Zikaron.

Not remembrance but reliving.  Every subsequent Passover was to be eaten by the participants as if they were eating with Moses and the 1st generation of Israelites leaving Egypt.  It was not, to memorialize what had been done but to relive – to gain the personal experience of the hand of God delivering the person from bondage.  That was the mind-set that the disciples were coming to the Passover table with Jesus on the evening of the 14th of Nisan.

Everything was established in the beginning; but everything was not revealed.

For the Israelites to Passover and be delivered they had to make a choice. To have their breakthrough they had to partake of the Messiah.  Did they know it was Him? No, they just had a puzzle piece – not the big picture.

What the disciples and the previous generations did not know was that Jesus was the creator of the Passover. He was the first to set this table; and with Jesus leading the Seder meal the hidden things were about to become visible. 

The table is set and the guests are seated. Let’s start.

The Modern Passover meal takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete (It will probably take that long to teach it.) and as in Jesus’ day it is in two parts - dinner when the first two cups are drunk and desert when the last two cups are drunk.  Jesus followed this pattern, but for the sake time we are going to focus on desert.  Desert is where the fun stuff happens.

The third cup, the cup of Redemption is eaten -after supper- with desert.  We have a special desert at this meal call the Afikomen.  It is a matzoth - pierced, covered in stripes and without leaven- which is pulled from the middle of a stack of three matzos. Desert is broken in half, wrapped in a towel or napkin and hidden in the room. When it was time for desert the children were sent to look for it and when it was found the kids held it for ransom. The Leader must buy it back from them in order to go forward with the meal.  To find the Afikomen was to find great treasure.

To seek and find the Messiah is precious thing. It is a thing to be cherished as the Messiah Cherishes you.  The Afikomen is the last morsel of food given at the Seder.  Once Jesus receives the Afikomen in His hands, He says the words that we know so well.

Luke 22:19b “This is My body which is given [broken] for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

He then takes the cup – the 3rd cup - the cup of Redemption

20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. 

Was Jesus doing something new?  No. He was bringing wholeness to what He started in the beginning.  Remember Jesus is the author of the Passover. What Moses received; Jesus gave him and He gave it with eternal purpose. But He did not tell Moses everything. The Afikomen and the cup of Redemption have always been a part of the Passover Seder. Their meaning has been the same from the beginning, but the meaning (just like the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle) was veiled.  Jesus was ripping up the curtain that clouded their understanding so all could see.

Jesus was saying, “I am more than just your rabbi.  I am the bread that came down from Heaven. I am the manna that fed you in wilderness. I am the one who promised to redeem you from the foundation of the world. I promised it to Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and I am here to do what I promised. Peter gets it later on calling Jesus in his letter, the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world.  This moment had been planned from before the beginning of the world.  The Passover is a love note written in code to His beloved and Jesus is decoding the message.

Jesus says, “This do in remembrance of me.” Remembrance in the Greek of this verse is Anamnesis-which is the Hebrew Zikaron. Jesus was saying the next time you do this and every time after, Do this with revelatory knowledge. Relive this moment with me.

Afikomen is a Greek word that entered in to the language of the Passover in the late first century.  It means, “He is here.”  So why is a gentile word grafted onto a Hebrew ceremony?  It’s all about language. Biblical Hebrew has no present tense. In it the future and the past are only separated from the present by a second. You are entering the future and leaving the past all of time. So in Biblical Hebrew a thing is either perfect or imperfect; complete or yet to be completed. Akifomen is used to state that Messiah Jesus- our Passover- dwells in the midst of your reliving of this meal.

Back to the table.

After taking the 3rd cup, they sang a Song of Praise and ended the meal leaving the fourth cup (on your chart) untouched.

Why end the meal with the 3rd Cup?

The 3rd cup of Redemption has another name.  The cup of Betrothal.

The church has another name what is it?  The Bride of Christ.

What is another name for Jesus? The Bridegroom.

Jesus was given three gifts at His birth - (gold, frankincense, myrrh) – and they reveal Him as four different things -  Prophet, Priest, King & Bridegroom.

Jesus is operating as the Bridegroom and is following the custom of the Bridegroom as set forth in Judean tradition.  At the table with the disciples, He recites the Betrothal promise that every Hebrew man said to his bride before going away to prepare the honeymoon chamber.

John 14 1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The Groom would leave to prepare a place fitting to establish His wife. 

Jesus was in the midst of a transition – His transition from rabbi to the suffering servant foretold in Isaiah chapter 53.  Jesus left the table to render payment of the Bride’s price to Bride’s father or guardian. 

Jesus paid a Bride’s price, but He does something interesting. According to Deuteronomy, a bride’s price is required when the groom violates the bride and the bride is no longer virginal.  The perspective groom pays a virgins price of 50 shekels for the privilege of obtaining her as a wife and He can never divorce her.

But Jesus didn’t violate His bride. He had been faithful and gentlemanly to her from the beginning.  It is she who had not been faithful to Him. Because of our break away from God at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis, we emancipated ourselves from the Almighty’s covering and submitted ourselves to a new guardian – the prince of this world, Satan.  Not knowing we were entering bondage by joining him. Usually when the bride was found unfaithful, the marriage does not happen, she is stoned to death.  Our groom Jesus said I want her anyway and I will pay to restore her purity.

Jesus now has to pay the price – the blood on the cross- to get us, His bride-back. To ransom or redeem us; just like the Afikomen desert after the Passover meal.  He pays it to the representative of the world’s system the Roman Authorities in the form of crucifixion.

Now, right now, He is preparing a honeymoon chamber fit for His Virginal Bride.

Sometimes it took months to prepare a honeymoon chamber and only the groom’s father could give the final okay that the chamber was ready and that the groom could go back and collect his bride. 

The four cup of Passover, the cup of Restoration could not be drunk by Jesus until the Bride was in her rightful place. Full restoration is the Bride at Jesus side at the wedding feast when He returns in splendor.

Until then, we practice, we prepare and make ready for that day. We relive the betrothal meal of the Passover with Him until the wedding is upon us.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

Jesus is in the business of keeping promises down to the smallest detail. He will fulfill every promise He has given in His word. Whether given in word or in picture puzzle.  No “I will of God” will be left unanswered. The wedding feast is being prepared. He who shall come will come and will not tarry.

Bride be ready.

Be Blessed.

Adopted - Notes on Galatians Chapter 4

Today we are going to hang out with our favorite tent maker. Paul in Galatians chapter 4

(My approach is a little different, I love bringing the bible to life in its cultural context. But if you will allow me, I’d like to share with you some of the things I observed studying this scripture.)

First our author the tent maker.  I find it interesting that the type of tent Paul made him an ideal candidate for his work in ministry.  He made prayer tents, now called prayer shawls or tallit, an essential part of the payer life of any male Jewish believer of his time.  Paul made sure that a believer was covered in prayer; and that seems to foreshadow his later spiritual covering and guidance over many churches such as Galatia.

Being in the world but not of it. Few people understood this better than Paul (Saul of Tarsus) A Jew who grew up in the Diaspora.  Born in Tarsus he is a Roman citizen able to call upon the authority of Caesar. If he had born in Judea he would not had immediate access to citizenship.  He would have been born in a land, but not a part of the empire designed to be oppressed.  Instead Paul has rights, privileges and promises provided to a citizen of Rome.  Yet he was not truly a Roman, He was a servant of the one true God and could not adopt their ways.

He dwelt in two worlds just like any modern believer - a Kingdom citizen dwelling a sinful world system.

Tip on the tight rope

Sometime it feels like you are walking a tightrope when you dwell in two worlds. There are days when you fit and days when you don’t. Hardly ever do you feel as if you belong in both places at the same time.  We dwell on earth, but we belong to a Divine Kingdom where our Lord is King. Everything about the world system we live in is different from the plan our King designed for us to live in. His Kingdom is different.  His timing is different. His justice is difference. His grace is different.  Yet we live here in a flawed place preparing for a time when we will be forever in His Kingdom without confusion or distraction.

Why am I talking about this in relation to Galatians 4?  Because when tippin’n on the tightrope between these two worlds it is easy to forget who we are and what our position is.  Paul comes to remind us of our place – we are all adopted.

Paul calls us slaves, but he also calls us sons.  (I will tend to use the term son more than the term heir because there were rules at that prevented a daughter from inheriting when there were sons in the family to inherit. Though you maybe female- in this context, you are a son.) 

The Roman Empire had a strict class system and one of the few ways that a slave could move up from his station was to be adopted by a wealthy master/benefactor. There were special slave-made-son adoptions.  In this set up the Father asks the slave to become his heir and the slave has to agree (or choose) to accept this new position.  The formal adoption is done in a public ceremony before witnesses.

These adoptions were allowed when a natural born was estranged from the Father or disowned by the Father (or there was no son at all).   The change in the slave’s social standing is immediate and permanent.  The son becomes patria potestas, the power of the father.  Everything the Father has; is now the new son’s without restraint.  We can eat from the Master’s Table as heirs.  We are family –and can call Him Abba- on day one.

 A natural born son could be disowned at any time by the Father; but an adopted son could never be disowned or put aside in favor of another child – even if the natural born son is restored.  The adopted son’s position in the family and as an heir was secure and could not be taken.

Does this sound familiar?  Our Father chose each of us to be His heirs and He give us the option to say yes.  Yet sin was in the way of harmony and Christ chose to become estranged (separated) from the Father so that we can have access to everything the Father has for us.  He saved us without breaking His principles or the law of the age.

No matter what we have done or said; how terrible we think the situation we find ourselves; The Father can never says to us – the adopted son – “I no longer want to be your Daddy”.


Thoughts on the New Year

Happy New Year!

 Well kind of.  It is indeed January 2014, the start of a new year on the Gregorian secular calendar. And yes I am happy that God has allowed me to see a new day and year.  But…. May I share with you my dilemma?

 I live in a secular world that honors a calendar that its leaders came up with more than millennia ago.  However, though I live here I am not from here.  I am from a Divine kingdom whose ruler is the Almighty God that I worship.  His rules and calendar are different from the place in which I dwell. 

My life in this world and my challenge navigating its rules is a temporary condition. One day my life here will end. However one day I will dwell in the Divine Kingdom of my Creator forever and I want to be prepared for that eternal life.  So here comes my issue… whose calendar should motivate my choices and how I spend my time?

I have always had trouble with time.  It is my most valuable resource and how I spend my time- and with whom- give the casual observer a picture into what I consider important.  I only get twenty-four hours per day (hopefully eight of them I will spend sleeping) and none of them can be saved or reused at a later date.

I’m not talking about whether or not to celebrate a new year but whether in my daily life which calendar is the one that transforms my life and my future.  Yes I stayed awake with my family to watch the ball drop in Times Square and I watched the people in the square so full of excitement and expectation for a new beginning.  But as I looked out of the window and into the night’s sky at nature I realized nothing had altered. It was still a cold dark winter night (well its winter in my hemisphere)

You see in this Divine Kingdom I come from when my Creator says “Behold I make all things new” things change – His words are powerful and just His voice is enough to speak worlds into existence. When He simply speaks nature and the atmosphere begin to alter and make accommodation for what my God is about to do. When His new year comes nothing remains the same.

My God is so sweet He actually gives us more than one New Year a civil and a scared but I will stick with the civil year.  The Biblical civil New Year begins around September or October and three major feasts are celebrated during this time - the feast of trumpets, the Day of Atonement and feast of tabernacles.  A time of pronouncement, a day of restoration and a time of refreshing.  These feasts coincide with the fall harvest season.  A time when life’s cycle begins again.  The land releases its bounty and prepares for rest.  The Creator releases peace into my life and gives me another moment to rest in Him.  God pronounces blessing over my life; restores our relationship; and refreshes my soul, body and physical needs.  He takes the time to fill me until my cup runs over and I do not have room for any distraction. It is a time when He chooses to overwhelm me with His love for me. It’s a date I cannot miss.

You see, if you have said yes to Jesus Christ you are from the same Divine Kingdom that I am. The bounty He gives each New Year He wants to give to you.  He wants us to be fully satisfied; resting in Him.  He wants to recharge and restore you before you move out into your next season.

If you want to understand why He moves the way He moves you have to look at the way He chose to divide time and understand time on His terms.  Understanding His timing makes a new year fresh and full of expectation and a Sabbath rest more peaceful. As my music teacher always taught me, “Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent.”  Let us practice now for the eternal life we crave.

Be Blessed