VIDEO The Feast of Tabernacles, The Holidays of God

July 12, 2012

Throughout the Jewish world, shelters called booths or tabernacles are holiday symbols of one of the most important insights of life. Professor Shalom Rosenberg says: “Everyone can see the picturesque side of Tabernacles, and everyone enjoy it. But there are not many people that understand the inner meaning of Tabernacles.”

The Holidays of God… Comparing Jewish and Christian Perspectives on The Feast of Tabernacles

Consider the Poor – The “Go” of Renunciation

Consider the Poor
feeding  soup

The righteous considers the cause of the poor. —nkjv Proverbs 29:7

The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighborhood. He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference.

He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday. Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible. Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment. These “Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched the lives of thousands of boys and girls. By 1831, Sunday schools in Great Britain reached more than a million children—all because one man understood this truth: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor” (Prov. 29:7 nkjv).

It’s no secret that Jesus cares greatly for those who struggle. In Matthew 25, He suggests that followers of Christ show a readiness for the Lord’s return by helping the hungry to get food, helping the thirsty to get a drink, helping the homeless to find a home, helping the naked to get clothes, and helping the sick or imprisoned to receive comfort (vv. 35-36).

As we bear witness that Christ is in our hearts, we honor our compassionate Savior by considering those on God’s heart.

Awaken my heart, Lord, to those You care about, including the poor and helpless, the hungry and homeless, the troubled and hopeless in our world.

Open your heart to God to learn compassion, and open your hand to give help.

By Dave Branon

The “Go” of Renunciation
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…someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” —Luke 9:57

Our Lord’s attitude toward this man was one of severe discouragement, “for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). We would have said, “I can’t imagine why He lost the opportunity of winning that man! Imagine being so cold to him and turning him away so discouraged!” Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord’s answers were not based on some whim or impulsive thought, but on the knowledge of “what was in man.” If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of its death.

Luke 9:58. These words destroy the argument of serving Jesus Christ because it is a pleasant thing to do. And the strictness of the rejection that He demands of me allows for nothing to remain in my life but my Lord, myself, and a sense of desperate hope. He says that I must let everyone else come or go, and that I must be guided solely by my relationship to Him. And He says, “…the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Luke 9:59. This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor did he want to show a lack of respect for his father. We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost.

Luke 9:61. The person who says, “Lord, I will follow You, but…,” is the person who is intensely ready to go, but never goes. This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes; good-byes, as we often use them, are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.

We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be. Conformed to His Image, 354 L

Oswald Chambers

Jesus Christ, Son of God

John 1:1-2

Have you ever heard someone deny that Jesus claimed to be God? Such a statement simply does not make sense. Repeatedly, Jesus placed Himself on equal footing with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30; John 14:6-14). Scripture gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ eternal, intimate relationship with the heavenly Father.

Why is it important for us to believe this? Because Jesus did something that had never been done before: He enabled men and women to see God in a new way. In Colossians 1:15, Paul explains that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” No one has ever looked upon the face of the Almighty. In the Old Testament, some people were confronted with God, but they were never able to look fully upon His glory. In fact, even Moses, who is called a friend of God (Ex. 33:11), could not look directly at Him. At best, Moses had the opportunity to look upon God’s back as He passed by, but never saw His face (Ex. 33:18-23).

The reason Jesus came, however, was to bridge the gap between God’s glory and mankind’s sinful nature. In the original Greek text, the word for “image” is directly related to the English word icon. Just as an icon on your computer screen directs you to the main program, Jesus directs believers to the fullness of God’s glory. As the “icon,” Jesus is the exact, flawless replica of God. Therefore, Jesus could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

What has Jesus taught you about the Father? How can you share that insight with someone today?

The Discerner

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Word of God (both the written Word and the living Word, Jesus Christ) is “living and energizing” and is the double-edged sword of the Spirit, piercing into the deepest recesses of body, soul, and spirit, where it “discerns” even the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.

This discernment, however, is more than just understanding or insight. The Greek word for “discerner” is kritikos and is used only this one time in the Bible. Our word “critic” is derived from it, and this is an important dimension of its meaning. Its discernment is a critical, judging discernment—one which convicts and corrects, as well as one which understands.

It is paradoxical that men today presume to become critics of the Bible when it should really be the other way around. There are textual critics who sort through the various ancient manuscripts of the Bible, trying to arrive at the original text; there are the “higher critics” who critique vocabularies and concepts, trying to show that the traditional authors did not actually write the books attributed to them; and then there are many other purely destructive critics who criticize the Bible’s miracles, morals, and everything else, hoping thereby to justify their rebellion against the Word.

But the Bible still stands! It stands in judgment on our lives and our subconscious motives. It will have the final word when “the books [are] opened . . . and the dead [are] judged out of those things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12). It is far better to heed the constructive criticism of the Word now than to hear its condemnation later. HMM

Doing the Will of God

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

We urgently need a new kind of reformation throughout our Christian churches—a reformation that will cause us not only to accept the will of God but to actively seek it and adore it!…

The reformation we need now can best be described in terms of spiritual perfection—which reduced to its simplest form is no more and no less than doing the will of God! This would expose us all at the point of our need, no matter how sound we think we are in doctrine and no matter how great our reputations.

I long for the positive and genuine renewal which would come if the will of God could be totally accomplished in our lives. Everything that is unspiritual would, and all that is not Christlike would vanish, and all that is not according to the New Testament would be rejected….

Do we voluntarily and actively observe God’s commandments, making positive changes in our lives as God may indicate in order to bring the entire life into accord with the New Testament?

Oh, Lord, “I long for the positive and genuine renewal which would come if the will of God could be totally accomplished in our lives.” Let it begin in me… today. Amen.

Christlike Conduct: The Goal of Christian Faith

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect. James 2:22

Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it.

The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured. Fruit, not trees, is what God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christlike conduct is the end of the Christian faith! To oppose faith to works is to make the fruit the enemy to the tree; yet that is exactly what we have managed to do and the consequences have been disastrous!

In practice we may detect the subtle (and often unconscious) substitution when we hear a Christian assure someone that he will “pray over his problem,” knowing full well that he intends to use prayer as a substitute for service. It is much easier to pray that a poor friend’s needs may be supplied than to supply them! The mystical John noted the incongruity involved in substituting religion for action: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

A proper understanding of our spiritual foundation will destroy the false and artificial “either/or.” Then we will have not less faith but more godly works; not less praying but more serving; not fewer words but more holy deeds; not weaker profession but more courageous possession; not a religion as a substitute for action but religion in faith-filled action! And what is that but to say that we will have come again to the teaching of the New Testament?

No Place for Fantasy

I… am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 TIMOTHY 1:12

Let me tell you about the true Christian, the Bible Christian, and his view of this troubled and uncertain world in which he lives.

He is not the worldly-wise, smiling optimist who draws his comfort from a denial of the facts or bases his hopes on false expectation of peaceful intentions among nations.

Rather, he is of all men the truest realist. He will have nothing to do with fantasy—he wants to know the facts—and he does not hesitate to face up to any truth wherever he finds it.

He knows the world is lost on a wide area, and that the Christian alone knows the way to the desired haven. For in the Bible, and there only, is found the chart to tell us where we are in this rough and unknown ocean.

He knows that the day when Christians should meekly apologize is over; that they can get the world’s attention not by trying to compromise and please, but by boldly declaring the truth of divine revelation with the affirmative signature, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Lord, I pray that Your Word will penetrate the minds and hearts of many unbelievers today. There’s no time to wait.