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Passover and Easter

Yesterday (3/28/2021), Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) around the world celebrated the first Passover when God Passed-Over the homes of anyone who followed God’s instructions to place the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes. This blood protected their firstborn from death. This plague of death was the final plague before Pharaoh’s heart was finally softened and he allowed the Israelites, the Jews, to leave Egypt as commanded by God.

We often forget that Gentiles participated in the first Passover. It is not improbable that some of them placed the blood on their doors as well. The band of people who left Egypt included many Gentiles who wanted to tag along because: they were already followers of the God of the Israelites; they were impressed by Pharaoh’s defeat; they realized the Egyptian gods were not gods and came to faith in the God of the Israelites; they were non-Israelite slaves who wanted to escape; or because they wanted to follow the crowd (Ex 12:38).

It is appropriate for all followers of Yeshua to celebrate Passover, Jew and Gentile alike. Without the first Passover there would not have been a second, Great Passover—Yeshua’s final Passover before He willingly shed His blood as the most important Passover Lamb in history.

With Good Friday and Easter occurring this coming Friday and Sunday (4/2 & 4/4/21), I want to remind us all that Good Friday and Easter were not added to the calendar until hundreds of years after His crucifixion. They are not the dates of Passover and we should be celebrating His ultimate sacrifice according to God’s schedule. (Refer to: “An Appointment with God–Passover.“)

Besides, Good Friday and Easter have pagan origins, as do many of our “Christian” holidays. I’m not going into those in this post. However, if the Easter season is when the congregation that you attend celebrates His sacrifice, please celebrate that and not the “Easter Bunny.”

When celebrating Yeshua’s last Passover, which we do every time we observe Communion, we must never forget the greatest event of all—His resurrection from death as promised by the prophets. Without His resurrection, the first Passover and His last would have had no meaning! It is His resurrection that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the Son of God, the promised Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of mankind!

He came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand and calling mankind to repentance. Because through His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, and His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of God, every man, woman, and child who repents of their sin (living in opposition to their Father God’s direction) will receive the Holy Spirt to help them in this life and will live in the presence of God their Father for eternity!

If you have never answered Yeshua’s call to repent and acknowledge Him as your Savior, do so now! If you did acknowledge Him at one time but have strayed from Him, repent and renew your relationship with Him now! It is never too early or too late to acknowledge Him. But what better time to do so than when celebrating His reason for coming to earth! God created you to have a relationship with Himself. Repenting and turning control of your life over to Him is not hard or complicated. Simply tell Him in your own words or use words similar to this simple prayer:

Father God, I am sorry for the many ways that I have ignored You and Your instructions. I thank You that because of Yeshua’s sacrifice and resurrection I have Your forgiveness. I give You my life. I will allow You to guide me as a member of Your family. Thank you, Father. Amen

After praying to give your life to Yeshua, or to rededicate it to Him, get a Bible and begin reading it daily. Start with the New Testament Book of John followed by the Book of Acts. Start talking to Him daily like you talk with a good friend (that’s called prayer). If you don’t have a place to worship, find one that teaches the full truth of the Bible. Among other things, that means that they teach repentance and honor the Jewish people as God’s chosen people.

Also, please contact me through my blog site and tell me of your decision to follow Yeshua. That way, I can pray for you. I promise you will not be put on some automated email list—a least not unless you subscribe to my blogJ)

May God richly bless you as we walk together as members of His family.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

What Do Passover and Easter Mean?

Hope

I am the Lord. I will bring you out… (Deut 6:6-8)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead. (1 Pet 1:3)

Deliverance

…from your enslavement to the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose…
(Deut 6:6-8)

The Father has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:13-14)

Redemption

…and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God and you shall know that… (Deut 6:6-8)

He gave Himself for us to set us free (to redeem us, purchase our freedom) from every kind of lawlessness [from all violation of Torah] and to purify for Himself a people who are truly His, who are eager and enthusiastic about living a life that is good and filled with beneficial deeds. (Titus 2:14; Deut. 14:2; Ps 130:8; Ezek. 37:23)

Sanctification

…I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord! (Deut 6:6-8)

Praised be Adonai, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. In the Messiah He chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in His presence. (Eph 1:3-4)

Remembrance

Remember for the rest of your life the day you came out of the land of Egypt. (Deut 16:3)
So you shall remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God. (Num 15:40)

You should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of your Master and Savior. (2 Pet 3:2)

Love

The Lord! The Lord! A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. (Ex. 20:6, 34:6-7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 7:9)

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His loyal love endures forever. (1 Chron. 16:34)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)


Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

An Appointment with God—Passover

This year (2021) Passover is March 28, but it starts at sundown on March 27 because the Hebrew or Biblical day runs from sundown to sundown. Passover is then followed by a 7-day feast called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Over time, the two feasts have been grouped together and simply called Passover.

But, what is Passover, or Pesach (PAY-sach)? You may know it as something that the Jewish faith celebrates every year, but what and why are they celebrating?

Passover is one of the seven appointed times (meeting appointments with God) that He scheduled with the Israelites (Jewish people) in Lev. 23:1-2. Through each of these meetings, He reveals more of Himself and calls His followers into a deeper relationship with Him. All seven yearly Feasts or festivals commemorate His faithfulness and the many miracles of deliverance that He performed as He set Israel apart as His own special people. They serve to remind us of His holiness, our impurity, and that, despite the disparity between God and man, He wants us to be in fellowship with Him.

But, you ask, “I am a Gentile, why should I care, even if I follow Yeshua as my Savior?” Well, I’m a Gentile as well, so I’ll try to provide a brief answer to your question.

The fact that these festivals are part of the Old Testament, or better yet Bible Part 1, they are often considered as being irrelevant for New Testament, or Bible Part 2, believers.  However, they open up a complete understanding of the continuity of the Scriptures and just how central Yeshua is to all the festivals. And, Yeshua faithfully observed each of these seven festivals. If we are a follower or disciple of Yeshua shouldn’t we follow His example? After all, a disciple emulates his leader.

So, without digging deeper into that question (we’ll cover that in a future post), let’s move on to the subject of this article, the Feast of Passover. God introduced Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread in Ex. 12:1-20 and Lev 23:5-8. As you probably recall from Sunday school, the first Passover occurred, on the night of the last plague when God was releasing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. Now, He could have easily accomplished this very quickly without doing the “plague thing.” However, He wanted the Egyptians to know without a doubt that He was greater than every god they worshipped.  Each of the plagues was a direct assault on one of those gods. I encourage you to read the story of the plagues and the first Passover for yourself. It is found in Exodus 6:28-12:32.

The Passover was the defining moment in Jewish history. God called them out of slavery and delivered them from 400 years of bondage in Egypt to give them a land of their own and make them not only a people but a nation. Now, that is something to celebrate! It even surpasses our Fourth of July. 🙂

Even better, though, is that the Passover is prophetic of the coming of Yeshua. It presents a scene or a shadow of something yet to come. The Feast of Passover looks back to the liberation of Israel from the land of Egypt, and it looks forward to the saving work of the Messiah, Yeshua, our Passover Lamb. Because Yeshua came 2000 years ago, we, Jew and Gentile who follow Him, can celebrate Passover as a celebration of His death as our Passover Lamb and Resurrection as our Savior. There is nothing more worth celebrating than the sacrifice of Yeshua. It completed His purpose of proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand and His call for all mankind to repent of our sins and turn to Him, our once-and-for-all sacrificial Lamb.

The celebration of Passover is centered around a meal. What’s a “feast” without food? The story of the first Passover is retold with various food items as symbols of the suffering and sacrifice associated with the first Passover. Leaven is not permitted at the Passover meal and during the following 7-day Feast of Unleavened bread. Leaven, or yeast, symbolizes impurity, sin.  The Passover feast includes a specific remembrance service called a Seder (SEY-der). The order of the service is outlined in a booklet called a Haggadah (HAH-gah-dah), which means “telling”. It guides the service and prayers using the symbolic food items while it explains the significance of the event. A full-blown Passover Seder can last for hours, though most are only an hour or two.

In future posts, I plan to cover the meaning of the symbolic items in a modern-day Seder, Yeshua’s last Seder before His crucifixion, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Scriptures related to Passover:

Exodus 12:1-20, 39; Leviticus 23:4-8; Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Luke 22:1, 7; Acts 20:6; 1 Cor 5:7-8; Hebrews 11:28

For further study:

Arlene Bridges Samuels, “Passover and Easter”, The Christian Broadcasting Network
Barney Kasdan, “God’s Appointed Times”, Lederer Books
Jewish Voice Ministries, International, “The Spring Feasts and Purim”, JVI Publications
Kevin Howard, Marin Rosenthal, “The Feasts of the Lord”, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thought for Today

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.

Samuel Chadwick

So, make him tremble all the time. Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:17)

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Can You Hear Me?

In the world in which we live, many voices are vying for our attention. There is the voice of our flesh, the voice of our enemy, the devil, and the voice of the media—many voices speaking seemingly at the same time. 

Amidst the clamor for our attention, are we missing the most important Voice of all-our Daddy God? I believe that sometimes He is so desperate for us to hear His Voice that He has to “yell” by bringing undesirable circumstances into our lives! I believe that this grieves His Heart. However, His love for us is so great that He wants to share the secrets of His Heart if we will only listen to His Voice! 

Have you ever just sat quietly with the Father and asked Him what He has to say to you? I believe His Word for today is “Be still and know that I AM God.”

Quiet all the other voices and let your Daddy share His Heart and secrets with you. Another benefit will be that His Presence will bring the fullness of His Joy to your heart!

This post was written by my wife, Sue.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

What are You Made For?

 “We are wired to shape the world around us.” (Rabbi S. Klayman)

Yes, you and I were created by God to shape and mold, to influence our family, our friends, our neighbors, and even our government. I ask myself, “Self, what are you molding through your life?” I ask you the same question. Are you making a place for God to dwell through the way you live for God? Are you influencing your world for Him? Or, are you exalting thoughts, activities, and actions that are contrary to God?

Everything you do, and I mean everything, can make a place for God’s Presence, thus making His Presence available to others. Commit today, this very moment, to live your life in such a way that He shines through you. 

If He isn’t the focus of your life, if you have never acknowledged Yeshua as your Savior and the Lord of your life, do so now. It will be the best decision you ever make in your life.

Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ. For the one who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there are no exceptions. Col 3:23-25 NET

But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. James 1:22 NET

Therefore be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15-16 NET

…And each one must be careful how he builds. 1 Cor 3:10b NET

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Without a Doubt!

From my journal, March 6, 2021

Oh Lord may we know without a doubt that You are God! (Ezek. 36:35). We, Your followers, call You God, but how many of us really take that as fact? How many, myself included, really know beyond any shadow of a doubt that You are God, the living God? We may proclaim it, but do we really live it?

Beyond Your followers, the rest of mankind must see and know that You are God—the only God! As I originally wrote that last sentence, I sensed Him saying “It isn’t quite time, but it will be soon.” Lord, let it be so. May all Your followers not only proclaim that You are God in word but in deed as well. May You also reveal Yourself to all mankind in no uncertain terms!

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Staying on Course

Are you staying on course, as you travel through 2021? Are you following your own way, determining your own path? Are you making the right decisions? Do you wish you had a map and a guide? One is available to you..read on…

The following Stepping Stones devotional is shared with permission.

Map to the Promised Land

March 1, 2021

Transformational Thought

Hopefully, as you have been with us, you have recognized an area we emphasize consistently: decision-making. All of life comes down to choices and decisions. Every day, we come to many forks in the roads of our daily walk that call for decisions. Amazing as it seems, we make more than 80,000 decisions each day. And that is actually a conservative estimate according to most scientists. 

Thankfully, we aren’t puppets with someone else controlling the strings. Fortunately, and unfortunately, God gave us free will to make our own decisions. Being loving and desiring that we not be overwhelmed at each fork, God also gave us the Best Instruction Book for Living Everyday, the BIBLE. You see, God is all about helping us make great choices so we can enjoy maximum growth and fulfillment. The biggest decisions we have to make is whether we will: 1) trust Him to guide us, and 2) trust the guidance He gives us. 

The Bible promises us that if we follow God, all things will work together for our and His good. I have found this to be so true. As I trust Jesus to help me make the right choices, I know without a doubt, that no matter how things may look right now, in the end they will work out for the best. His way is always the best way, and His timing is the best timing. 

So why should you trust God? First of all, He loves you more than you love yourself. He sacrificed more for you than you ever have or ever will sacrifice for yourself. In fact, He loves you so much that He gave up heaven. He then painfully died on the cross—for you. His love is perfect, and nothing can ever separate you from that love. You are that important to Him. 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 

Second, He knows what is best. He knows what is best for you in the here and now. And more importantly, He knows what is best for you for your future. He sees the whole picture—a perspective none of us can ever have. Today’s scripture beautifully expresses the blessing of trusting Him in all your plans and decisions.

And lastly, God is able. He has the power over all things to work out circumstances for your growth. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

Today, you will be on the verge of making some knee-jerk decisions that won’t be good ones. Instead, try this. Stop for five seconds and choose to trust His way when you get to that fork in your road. “Why?” you may ask. Well, we laid out our case above. But if that didn’t convince you, look at your own track record. Really, what else are you going to trust? Yourself, other people, material things, your looks, your sparkling wit, your health, your job, the economy, our world leaders, your bank account? Has that strategy really delivered the abundant life and Promised Land Living you’ve been yearning for? Trust Him. You will never regret it. Whether you trust God at today’s forks in-your-road of life or you trust your me-centered gut for guidance, it’s your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I thought I knew more than You. I know that You love me and want only what is best for me. I have finally realized that I make many mistakes and You don’t. And I know that no matter how things may look, Your way is always the best way. Help me to trust You more and choose to do things Your way. Even when I feel pressure to follow my own will, strengthen me to follow Your will instead. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the one I trust completely, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!

The Truth

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.” Psalm 119:1-3

“The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is WITHIN REACH. The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.” Deuteronomy 30:9a, 10-11,14-16

The post Map to the Promised Land appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

Thought for Today

Wherever I walk, whatever comes my way,
I have no fear
because You, the Lord of my life,
are with me!
Your rod and staff guide and comfort me!!

(From ps 23)

As a follower of Yeshua, you have no reason to fear or worry because He is by your side every step of the way! Let this be your declaration today and every day!

Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Dining with the Master

By my wife, Sue

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dine with the President or someone else of importance?

As I was reading today, my attention was drawn to the thought of dining with Jesus. Wow! Dining with the One who created us; the One who loves us more than anyone else and who showed that love by dying for us! What a privilege! The mind-blowing reality is that we can do just that—dine with Jesus.

In the Old Covenant, the high priest was the only one who could go into the Holy of Holies and then only once a year. Even then it was only those priests who were qualified who could enter the Holy of Holies. All the other priests lived out their lives having never served in that capacity.

But in the New Covenant, according to 1 Pet 2:9, we belong to the royal priesthood and because of the blood of Jesus we are permitted, no invited, to enter into the most Holy place!

Jesus invites us through intercession to join Him at a table set for two. He says in Rev. 3:20, that He’s standing at the door waiting for us to join Him. He desires us to come hungry so that we can be fed from His bountiful table. He has a variety of “food” from which to choose. One day it may be a revelation, the next day it may be reassurance. Another day we may partake of promises that we need to sustain us; and, of course, there is always a supply of the Bread of Life! Our nourishment is awaiting us.

Won’t you go beyond the veil and enter the Holy of Holies to the place of intimacy where you can dine with your Master at the table set for two?

Enter in! He’s waiting for you!

Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

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