Monday, September 28, 2009

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

I wish I would have been able to get to post this yesterday, but alas, I was not able.

Today is the day that Jews and many Christians observe Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement. God gave instructions to the Hebrews in Leviticus:

Chapter 16:
29 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves [b] and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you- 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.

Chapter 23:
26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, [d] and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."

Most Christians do not observe any of the Jewish holy days, holidays, or festivals. A few observe some of them. Yom Kippur is one of those holy days that is right for Christians to observe. Once a year (at least) it is right for us to deny ourselves (fast) and spend time with God in earnest prayer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama's Blasphemy

President Obama's statement to a group of Rabbis as reported by Politico on August 19:

"We are God's partners in matters of life and death."

I do not wish to say anything further right now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Isaiah 43

First, let me apologize for my failure to write recently. Sometimes the time or muse just is not there.

I haven't written much in these spaces about matters of faith. Today I am going to do a little of that. I was very delighted with my churches contemporary worship service today. The word was brought straight from scripture all throughout the service.Mrs. Okra is very stand-off-ish when it comes to practices such as responsive readings. The sermon was a breakdown of the importance of the Truth contained in The Apostles' Creed. When Mrs. Okra recognized that we were going to be reciting the Creed, she was not so excited. I believe that the Apostles' Creed is very important to the Christian church across the world. It states precisely the elements that unite and save us as Christians. Pastor Fleming, in examining the parts of the Creed, not only alluded to various scriptures, but directly quoted countless times the scriptures that are not just the capstones of the Creed, but are the entirety of it.

Pastor Fleming preached the same message at all the services and the music at the traditional service was fantastic. The minister of music, Andy Bayles, blessed the congregation with his performing of "Amazing Grace." The anthem, Hayes' arrangement of "In Christ Alone," was powerful, and the words are perfect. "I am his and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!" It goes on so wonderfully.

It was the contemporary service, however, that resurrected my muse. We closed with "My God Reigns," which is a proud proclamation of the fact that we serve the victor. Ms. Amy Hoyle blessed us with a great musical selection and proclaimed beautifully that, "The Love of the Lord Endures."

It was the praise and worship that first inspired me. One of the songs that we sang together was "Isaiah 43." I am fond of this song, not because of its sirring music, for the music is not particularly profound, but because it is ALL SCRIPTURE. Not only is it all scripture, but it is scripture that bore meaning to the Israelites in Persia 700 years before the birth of Christ, to the early Christians, and to the Jews and Christians of today. Isaiah 43 speaks of how the Israelites were ransomed by God because the Persians were given the people from Egypt, Cush, and Arabia to take the place of the Israelite captives. Hell was given the spotless Christ to take the place of us people (who deserved what Christ received) so that we can live forever with God. Christ did go on to defeat his Captivator on the third day.

The 43rd chapter of Isaiah tells us, as it did the Israelites, not to fear. God has redeemed us and is with us. He calls us by name. We are His. When we pass through the waters, the waves will not overcome us. When we walk through the fire, we will not be burned and the flames will not consume us. When we face trials, He is with us. Do not fear, for He is the Lord.