Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness

 

For Scripture Sunday.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness

"How does God want us to respond to Christ’s awesome, merciful sacrifice for us? The Feast of Unleavened Bread shows us how to respond.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Pursuing a Life of Righteousness

The troubles and suffering in this world are caused by sin—the breaking of God’s holy, good and beneficial laws. Jesus Christ was willing to give His life to save us from sin’s death penalty. His sacrifice was the first step in God’s plan to save us from sin and death, and it makes all the other steps possible.

But how does God want us to respond to that awesome, merciful sacrifice? Would He be pleased, having broken us free from enslavement to sin (as the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt), to have us willingly go back to sin again? Or would He much rather have us learn to look at sin as He does and to strive with His help to avoid it at all costs?

The Feast of Unleavened Bread comes immediately after the Passover and teaches us lessons about how we should respond to Jesus Christ’s gracious sacrifice.

Deliverance from slavery to sin

After years of harsh slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were overjoyed to leave Egypt during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Egypt and its leader, Pharaoh, serve as a symbol of sin and Satan.

But soon Pharaoh pursued the Israelites, trapping them at the Red Sea. He didn’t want them to be free, just as Satan doesn’t want us to escape from his clutches. Israel was helpless, as are we. Our strength is not sufficient.

But God provided the Israelites a way to escape—directly through the Red Sea! And He offers us a way out through His miraculous help. The apostle Paul explained that the Red Sea served as a type of baptism, the beginning of the conversion process made possible by God’s help (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

What leaven pictures

The Feast of Unleavened Bread gets its name from the requirement to get rid of and avoid leavened bread and eat unleavened bread for these seven days (Exodus 12:15). During this time leaven is used as another symbol of sin.

Leaven is an ingredient that produces fermentation or a chemical process to make dough rise. Leavening includes yeast and chemical leavening agents, such as baking powder, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and potassium bicarbonate. Leavening can be found in such things as bread, cookies, cake, crackers, cereals and pies.

Since leaven typically puffs things up, it is associated with that root of many sins, pride. Some of the other spiritually damaging sins that leaven pictures in the Bible are malice, wickedness, hypocrisy and wrong teachings (1 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 12:1; Matthew 16:11-12).

Yeast also spreads and permeates the dough unseen. Paul used this characteristic to point out the danger of sin to the church in Corinth, probably during the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7).

Removing leaven from our homes gives us an object lesson in the work and challenge involved in removing sin from our lives. Hard-to-find leaven reminds us that we need to carefully examine our lives for sin, repent and seek God’s help to remove it.

Out with the bad and in with the good

In addition to putting out sin, we are to replace it with good thoughts and actions—symbolized by the eating of unleavened bread.

Paul continued his letter to the Corinthians this way: “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Paul’s clear statement to the Corinthian Christians, “Let us keep the feast,” should answer the critics who consider these wonderful and meaningful festivals to be out-of-date or only for the Jews. He also clearly shows the need to remove the bad (malice and wickedness) and replace it with good (sincerity and truth).

We are to prepare for the Feast of Unleavened Bread by removing physical leaven and spiritual leaven—sin. During the festival, the focus shifts from ridding ourselves of something to taking in or “eating” something. The clear instruction for those seven days is to learn the spiritual lessons of eating unleavened bread (Exodus 12:14-20; 13:6-7; Leviticus 23:6), which is symbolic of living sin-free just like Jesus Christ. We are to eat of “the bread of life,” as Jesus explained in John 6:27-63.

So, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time to concentrate on putting the righteousness of Jesus Christ (the true “bread of life”) into our lives (Galatians 2:20). Naturally, the more we do that, the more sin will be kept out. To overcome sin, we must “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). In other words, the more Christ is living in us and the more we are living righteously, the less opportunity there will be for the leaven of sin to find a place in our lives. Living by—eating fully of—the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is the key to purging out the “old leaven” of sin.

But though our response to sin should be vehement repentance, a desire to “sin no more” and to put on righteousness, we discover quickly that we can’t do it on our own (2 Corinthians 7:10-11; John 8:11; Romans 7:23-25). We must have God’s help.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread reminds us that submitting to our Deliverer is the only right response to Jesus’ gracious sacrifice. We are not saved by good works, yet we’re “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). A thankful, forgiven Christian will seek His help to not return to the slavery of sin.

The next step in God’s plan of salvation is pictured by the Feast of Pentecost."   From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/feast-of-unleavened-bread/  By Mike Bennett

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Update:

The arrest warrants for the burglars is still held up at the DA's office, so they are still at large. 

No wonder I haven't been feeling well!  More doctor visits and more meds.  They found out that I had infected sinuses, upper respiratory infection, and bladder infection.  Golly!  How the meds had messed up my immune system, I have had more go wrong with me since I had the surgery than I have in the last 78+ years!!

Tonight,  Ray and I will be going over to the church for the start of the Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread.  So I am trying to get everything ready for the "High Days".

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How Christian is Easter? Update.

 

For "Scripture Sunday":

How Christian is Easter?

"Easter customs mix pagan myths, rituals, symbols and practices with just a little truth. What's wrong with this picture?"

Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/mans-holidays/how-christian-easter

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Update:

I was hoping to tell y'all good news.  We were told that the burglars would be picked up last Monday, but the paperwork is still held up in the DA's office.

Another med, an allergy med, that the doctors put me on, made my heart skip beats for a while, and so the cardiologist put a heart monitor on me for 24 hours.  No results of that yet. 

Ray and I went to church yesterday, just as we have ever since I got out of the hospital, and it was a great day.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Easter Doesn't Tell You. Recap of The Last Couple of Weeks.

 

For "Scripture Sunday":

The program on WGN TV this morning:

"What Easter Doesn't Tell You."

Something critical is missing in the story of Easter and it has everything to do with your salvation. Learn more.

Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/doctrinal-beliefs/what-easter-doesnt-tell-you

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Yesterday:

Ray and I went to church.   He is driving me most places, as I am still scared of the driver's side air bag.  Already being height challenged, the steering wheel is close to my chest, and if that air bag went off hitting the place where I was sawn open, and then wired and glued shut, I don't know what I would do. 

Each day I am getting stronger, but still not up to par.  After all those years of being tied down to this computer from morning to night for my work, I still have a bit of an aversion to it.  It is a relief not to have to be on it all the time. 

We have tackled some jobs, got the Heat/AC that blew cold air in the heat mode out and returned to the store, and installed one that works like it should.  The patio door on the guest house had somehow got out of square.  Ray and I undid the screws on the right side of the frame and dropped that side down, so the door closes properly now.  The washing machine that I bought used, in 1994, finally gave up, and I have another one, a Roper this time, in my van, but Jay hasn't been here to help us move them around.

Ray and I went to see the detective that is handling my robbery case, and he says that it sometimes takes three months to get things in gear, as they are short staffed…..  But when a neighbor had to call an ambulance, two cop cars, an ambulance and a great big fire truck with six firemen on board responded, just to pick up one little old lady!! 

Jay went to church with us the week before, but he didn't yesterday.

The sermon was about how important it is that we observe Passover, as we are directed all through the Bible.

After church, Ray went to Petco as it was his turn to tend to the cats at our SPCA Cat Habitat. Right now it is housing the kittens that he cared for here, while I was in the hospital, so it was a happy reunion for the kittens and Ray.  One has already been adopted.  The others will be there for two more weeks, and if not adopted they will be back here, until it is their turn to go back to DSCF0062-001 the Habitat. 

I still have Nala, my foster cat, and my 'new', old, black cat, Ava.

Ray really likes this little church, and we stayed for the potluck and fellowship afterwards, which made it a great day.