I’ve said this before and here I am saying it again, this spring feast season, just like every feast season, has been one that has included a lot of reflection. It’s one of the many incredible aspects of walking in Yahweh’s ways. In total the spring feast season covers a span of 50 days. God gives us lots of time through each season to remember and practice His ways so even during those days that are not a Feast Day or a Shabbat we are still remembering who our Redeemer is and how we are called to live day in and day out. The Feasts provide reflection on what is working and in shalom and also what is not quite right in life and where we are out of step with in the Spirit.
It’s not just about the Feast days themselves. It’s what they bring out in a person. With each and every Feast season, with each and every Shabbat we should be brought back into alignment with Yahweh so we can face whatever comes with strength, integrity and joy.
In these past 6 years each Feast season has brought a time of stretching and challenge. I have found that I can choose to run from this responsibility and shove it under the proverbial carpet or face it head on and grow as I am called to do.
What has stood out to me in a very glaring type of way this Feast season is the cold love that has infiltrated families, communities and the world. The manipulative, self-absorbed, rarely giving without expectation kind of love. In our world we say we love, we really think we do but according to biblical standards it’s cold…it’s not true love. The problem is we are so used to this sort of counterfeit love we don’t know what the real thing looks like.
Technology, stress, family and social pressures and an overall hurried and harsh lifestyle are the norm now. There is almost a constant drive of competition and performance. Our culture puts a lot of value on achievement, appearance and success and this is not necessarily good. Relationships tend to suffer badly and while all looks good and well on the outside cold love is often lurking in the background.
What does cold love look like? I think it differs from person to person. I know it hits the hardest at our weakest points. Where is our greatest fear or source of pride? Where do we have the most hurt, bitterness and self-pity? What do we want to control and just can’t let go of? What questions do we run from? There you will find cold love and cold loves always hurts, remains stagnant and refuses to heal yet it always claims to be true…that is the deception. The only thing that brings the so much desired and welcome relief are the actions of real love.
So my constant thought this feast season has been how do I protect my heart and lead my family into the truth of love…real love? How do we live like 1 Corinthians 13 when it’s a really unpopular way to live? How can we stay out of the expectations and bondage to the culture around us? How do we continue to walk with our Savior yet maneuver through drama that tries to make it’s way into our lives?
So the collection of my musings over this feast season and what love truly looks like is maybe a little unconventional but that seems to be a theme in my life. Maybe I’ll share these thoughts in another post….maybe they are just for me.
I don’t have the full answer to all my questions at this point but through this Yahweh is showing me step by step and I have seen some really good fruit. One thing I do know. Yahweh is faithful and His desire is to see His people walk in freedom not in bondage to fear, pride or anything else that keeps us from fullness of life in Him. We are called to walk as Yeshua walked. I want to be a part of that.
So here are some more action shots of what we have been up to this year…
So it’s been about forever since I’ve posted pictures and given any updates. They say that time goes fast when you are having fun. I guess that pretty much sums it up. These are some picture from this last winter. There has really been a lot going on these last 3 months and so I will try to post more of the happenings later.
We are in the final week before the Spring Feasts begin. The final prep for the Passover meal, the day of Firstfruits and the week of Unleavened Bread is here. This means grocery shopping, getting the last of the leven out of the house and digging out all the awesome recipes we get to make for this time of the year.
I wanted to write about Shabbat again just because it is so special. I love hearing from my 5 year old on Sunday, “Is it Sabbath yet?” …”No sweetie…it was yesterday.” Then Wednesday, “Is it Sabbath yet?” “No, not yet but it’s coming.” Then he will ask again later in the week and eventually it’s a yes. What a blessing to have it come every 7th day.
God calls this day the special sign between Him and His people. It is so unfortunate that it was removed from the church. God’s people have missed so much in learning how to rest, how to hear His voice and experiencing what it is like to love God and bless Him and family on this day.
So, in this post I am going to tackle a question we get every so often. “What do you DO all day?” That’s a really good question. I think people have this idea that taking a day of rest means all you do is nap all day, and sometimes we do that, but not so much anymore.
So, here is what we usually do……
Shabbat begin’s on Friday night as we sit down to our evening meal. We’ve spent the day cleaning and cooking so we can just relax on Shabbat. Every Friday afternoon Scott starts a special meal of spicy and BBQ chicken, with cream cheese/sour cream mashed potatoes and green beans. The older girls take turned making the challah bread, a sweet braided bread. We set the table with our good plates and fancy cups. We have special drinks just for Friday nights. Even before we could honor God’s Shabbat I loved the idea of having a special family meal every week and so we did. It was a time to eat good food and a special dessert, drink fun drinks and reconnect as a family. Moving this into Shabbat was easy and exciting.
After supper we always have ice-cream and after that we gather the kids in a circle, say a blessing over them and we go on to play games, dance and/or visit. Then we head off to bed.
Shabbat morning we sleep in as late as we want, make some tea or coffee and have a leisurely breakfast. After breakfast and usually around 11:00 we get situated and take turns reading out of the Bible and talking about how it is applicable to life or what the passage is about. That usually takes about an hour. Then we might dance, sing, pray, take a walk, spend some time outside with our animals, snack on goodies, play games, work on a word study and lunch is in there somewhere also. Sometimes we other have people over for a visit or we go visit others. We might call someone we haven’t talked to in awhile to see what they are up to. We might go on-line and read for a little bit or go on FB and wish others a blessed Shabbat or post what is on our heart to connect with and encourage those who need it. Overall the day is a slow day. It’s very relaxed and usually after the day is all done we will make some popcorn sit down and watch a movie together as a family.
The bible says that God’s feast days are to be full of rest, fun, rejoicing and feasting. In others words, learning about Him. We serve a joyful God who is perfect in every way. That is so something to celebrate. Whenever we hear, “Don’t you know? You don’t have to do that anymore?” we always reply. “It’s not a have-to…..it’s a get-to.”
During the time before Yeshua (Jesus) began His ministry, it appears God’s people had once again become entrenched in a religious system of man made rules and tradition that held more importance than the Word of God. By not having the faith to believe in God’s Word and Salvation, they missed out on the many blessings and freedoms available to them. They chose to live by their own version of salvation. The appearance of faith was there but the substance was not. They had been conditioned to think contrary to the Word of God yet fully believed they were walking with Him and that their hearts were true to Him. The scriptures say something different. The people drew near to God with their lips but their hearts were actually far from Him.
Yeshua came as a man. He was living and teaching what the law of God really held. Taking out all the additions and subtractions man had made. His people had a part in choosing to release tradition that wasn’t of God and embrace Yeshua who would teach and bring the people back to the ancient ways of blessing. He would bring them back to the inheritance of the promises He established long ago and teach them to let go of the heavy yoke of lies that religion had placed on them.
It is the same today. It’s been 2,000 years since Messiah walked and taught on the earth. Many promises and blessings have been lost and truth denied. In searching scripture, much of what has been lost can be regained if we have the faith to believe God means what He says. The people of God can become very alive again with the truth of the gospel that sets captives free.
We are in the midst of the 40 days of preparation before the Spring Feasts begin. I love this time of year. With every feast season comes a time of refreshment and growth. I can’t help but reflect and desire to grow and know my Creator and Savior more. Sometimes I try to remember what it was like to not have this time of year. The emptiness I felt in trying to fit the story of salvation into the cultural holiday of Easter was very difficult for me. I never pulled it off well. Bunnys, candy baskets, ham dinners and colored eggs seemed to dull this incredible story of rescue that only God could do. The fullness and fulfillment of the Spring Feasts took care of all of that for me. God knows best when He writes a story and I had no need to fit Him into something He never established. He created the feasts for very specific reasons and they are very special times He has arranged to meet with His people.
These are not Jewish holidays, although many Jews do keep them. They are God’s holy days that were removed from the faith by Christian Church Fathers in very deliberate and forceful ways. Many early believers lost their lives or at the very least were expelled from the church and cursed for continuing to stand firm in the biblical faith and keep these days. Is it any wonder we don’t see them in the Christian church anymore? It’s only for our benefit to search them out and find what a rich inheritance was removed from the gospel story so long ago but can be reclaimed and lived out today.
We love to live out the promises God has given us and as this Feast season begins we hope to post more often to show you what we are up to. Celebrating these ancient ways are wonderful but more than that they tell a story so we remember our God, so we remember how he feels love and honor and so we remember just how incredible and awesome He is.
I plan to start a series of posts about my journey with God. It’s just something I want to do. Writing has an amazing way of putting things in perspective for me.
To begin, there have been times in my walk with God where there have been mistakes and stagnant muck. I held strongly to traditions, false doctrine and twisted scripture. Where in my ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy I was not faithful, God in His mercy always is. I was not consumed. He continued to lead and work in my life even in the midst of all this. They say hind sight is 20/20. I have found that to be so true. Where I have chosen not to follow God’s path, He allowed me to venture outside of His covering and discover it is really not a good place to be.
There have been many times I have literally only stumbled forward in this walk. There really hasn’t been many leaps and bounds. There are times where it may appear that I made major changes in my relationship with God but that would be purely from outside perception. Going back to scripture and letting go of all the burdens of man, then making changes seemed to take years of steady progression as He brought both me and my family into faith and trust.
Whenever I discovered there was no fruit or negative fruit in a particular area of my life I was forced to ask….what am I missing? I knew I was covered by grace and had eternal salvation but why was life so often full of drama and hard here on earth? Was I to just “hang on” and live some sort of mediocre life until Christ returns or I die? Where is the joy and freedom in that?
It all came down to a matter of perspective for me. Do I have the faith to believe God means what He says? Do I really have that faith? Do I live my life according to my heart and understanding or do I search the scriptures to find out what blesses and protects the heart of my Creator and Savior?
One night 4 years ago I decided to jump with my eyes wide open….in faith. To believe God when He said. “If you love me keep my commandments” I let go of every heavy and oppressive doctrine of man within my belief system and chose to follow only what God says and study what Yeshua (Jesus) taught and lived. I moved from being a believer in Yeshua to a disciple. I was a person that came into the realization of what covenant means and devoted my life to mirroring Yeshua as much as I possibly could. Extreme you say? Maybe, but that is what disciples are called to. Worth it? Always.
The life of a disciple of Messiah is nothing less than amazing as I choose to grow according to His way and let go of my way of “what things mean to me”. My God is preparing His Kingdom. I am in covenant with Him by accepting His blood and life sacrifice as atonement for me and I know I am His. He is my Redeemer and Master. He calls the shots. He is the King I am His servant….not the other way around. I am no longer my own. There are some things I no longer get to choose. Saved by grace…. yes, obey by picking and choosing according to my own understanding and heart…no. I must always remember that. I am not called to walk according to the darkness of man’s doctrine or expectations. I am called to walk in the light as Yeshua walked. It’s as simple as that.
“God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua His Son, purifies us from all sin.” I John 1:5-7