It all started with a party. One that I wanted to go to and had never participated in before. Oh sure, I had lit a couple of candles once or twice and then forgot about it due to lack of meaning, but I had never gone to a Hanukkah party before. So I asked my husband who suggested I ask God.
I went to my Heavenly Father with my request and what He explained to me about Hanukkah is amazing, humbling and not at all what I was expecting. He told me I could go to the party and celebrate Hanukkah, but I had to do it on His terms, the way He wanted it to be celebrated. Thus started a new journey and the birth of a different way to keep this celebration.
This article is the explanation of what He told me and how we walked that out in our lives for eight days and how it has impacted our lives since then.
Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, nowadays usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanu'ka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as CHanukkah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a special candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: "guard" or "servant") is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others, and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The "shamash" symbolically supplies light that may be used for some secular purpose.
Origins of the holiday
From the Hebrew word for "dedication" or "consecration", Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the "miracle of the container of oil". According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.
Hanukkah is also mentioned in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. The first states:
"For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. Then Judah and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the rededication... should be observed... every year... for eight days."1 Mac. 4:56–59
According to 2 Maccabees,
"the Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths."
The book of Maccabees tells the amazing story of how a family of men decides to stand up for what they believe. It is much more than the re-dedication of the temple. It is men calling upon Yahweh to deliver them from the enemy. They believed in the salvation that Joshua, David and the kings of Israel who followed the true God witnessed. I have paraphrased the story from Maccabees 1 through Maccabees 6.
Alexander the Great conquers the known world at that time, becomes ill and dies. His kingdom is split in four among his generals and Antiochus the Illustrious ravages Egypt in the 143rd year and then goes up against Israel. In Israel there were wicked men who had turned the people away from Yahweh to follow the ways of the Heathens. A gymnasium was built in Jerusalem for exercise in which the participants were unclothed.
Antiochus goes into the temple, destroys much of it’s furnishings, removes all the gold, silver and hidden treasures and slaughters many people before going back to his own country. Israel mourns and is in confusion for two years. Antiochus sends his Chief Tax Collector with an army who deceives the people with lies and then destroys the city and many people in Israel. They built up the walls, took women and children captive and their livestock and gathered the spoils of Jerusalem. Innocent blood was shed around the temple and the holy place was defiled.
Jerusalem was abandoned by the Jewish people and strangers took it over. Antiochus made a law that all nations should serve his gods and obey his laws and abandon their former practices with the penalty of death for those who did not comply. The Sabbath, feast days, circumcision, worship at the temple, and reading the torah were all outlawed. Many in Israel obeyed, worshiped and sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. Those who would not bow to this decree went into hiding.
In the 145th year, King Antiochus sets up an idol in the temple and sacrifices to it on the altar of God and builds altars to idols in the cities of Judah. All of the scriptures are burned and anyone found with one or found following the Torah is put to death. Any woman who circumcised their children had their child killed and hung around their neck and those who did the circumcision were put to death. Anyone who would not eat unclean meat was put to death.
And there was a very great wrath upon the peopleMac. 1:67
A man named Mathathias who was a priest of the sons of Joarib lived in the mountains of Modin and he had five sons. John Gaddis, Simon Thasi, Judas Machabeus, Eleazar Abaron and Jonathon Apphus. They witnessed the destruction of the people and the temple and tore their garments and mourned. Emissaries from King Antiochus came to the city of Modin to force the people there to follow the new laws and many obeyed because they feared death. Mathathias and his sons refused to concede. The emissaries tried to cajole him and bribe him to obey because he was a well respected man in the city. Mathathias refused stating,
"I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers. God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: We will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice, and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way."Mac 2:20-22
He then kills a fellow Jew (who was about to sacrifice to an idol) and the man sent by King Antiochus. He tore down the altar with the same zeal of Phinees who slew Zamri. He then flees into the mountains with his sons leaving everything behind. Many people leave and go into the desert with their families and livestock. Antiochus hears about the people hiding out in the desert and goes to make war on them. The people refuse to obey Antiochus but also refuse to fight on the Sabbath and thus die; men, woman and children.
Mathathias and his group hear of it and mourn. They make a decision to fight on the Sabbath. People fled from Antiochus and joined with Mathathais and an army is raised. They begin to tear down altars, circumcise the children and destroy those who followed Antiochus. They took control of their nation from Antiochus.
Mathathias, before he dies of old age, calls his sons to him and says,
"Now hath pride and chastisement gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation: Now therefore, O my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. And call to remembrance the works of the fathers, which they have done in their generations: and you shall receive great glory, and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was reputed to him unto justice? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and he was made lord of Egypt. Phinees our father, by being fervent in the zeal of God, received the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. Jesus,(Joshua) whilst he fulfilled the word, was made ruler in Israel. Caleb, for bearing witness before the congregation, received an inheritance. David by his mercy obtained the throne of an everlasting kingdom. Elias, while he was full of zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. Ananias and Azarias and Misael by believing, were delivered out of the flame. Daniel in his innocency was delivered out of the mouth of the lions. And thus consider through all generations: that none that trust in him fail in strength. And fear not the words of a sinful man, for his glory is dung, and worms: To day he is lifted up, and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his earth; and his thought is come to nothing. You therefore, my sons, take courage, and behave manfully in the law: for by it you shall be glorious. And behold, I know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel: give ear to him always, and he shall be a father to you. And Judas Machabeus who is valiant and strong from his youth up, let him be the leader of your army, and he shall manage the war of the people. And you shall take to you all that observe the law: and revenge ye the wrong of your people. Render to the Gentiles their reward, and take heed to the precepts of the law." Mac 2:49-68
He blesses his sons and dies in the 146th year. All of Israel mourns for him.
Judas who is called Machabeus was a great warrior and fought against the enemies of Israel and destroyed the wicked. He had great fame and Israel loved him. Apollonius gathered a great army to make war against him and Judas and his army destroyed them. Seron, the captain of the army of Syria rose up against Judas with a great army. Judas went out to meet him with his small army and his men asked how they would defeat the Syrians.
Judas answered them saying,
"It is an easy matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few: and there is no difference in the sight of the God of heaven to deliver with a great multitude, or with a small company: For the success of war is not in the multitude of the army, but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us with an insolent multitude, and with pride, to destroy us, and our wives, and our children, and to take our spoils. But we will fight for our lives and our laws: And the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: but as for you, fear them not."Mac 3:18-22
Judas and his brethren route the Syrians and the fear of Israel fell on the nations around them. Word of his victories spread and Antiochus hears of it. He became angry and tries to raise an army but finds that he doesn’t have the money to pay for the military he desires. He goes to Persia to raise the money leaving his son and kingdom behind in the hands of Lysias. A great army is raised with horsemen and elephants and numerous soldiers. Merchants from other countries began to come in preparation of buying the children of Israel for slaves. The total annihilation of Israel is planned.
Judas and the people joined together to pray and read the books of the law. They call upon God to help them. Judas has only 3 thousand men who completely route the enemy with God’s help. Israel takes the spoils of the army and news makes it back to Lysias who is troubled as this was not what he had planned.
The next year he sends a bigger army who is routed by Judas and 10,000 men. Judas and his army decide to cleanse the temple in Jerusalem and repair it. They go up to mount Sion and find it utterly destroyed. They rent their garments, put ashes on their heads and mourn. Judas appoints men to fight the gentiles in the castle that was built in Jerusalem and priests to serve in the temple while they clean it. The stones that had been defiled were taken away as well as the altar stones. They rebuilt the altar according to scripture. They made new holy vessels and replaced all the missing furniture of the temple. They finished and dedicated the temple in the ninth month of the 148th year. They offered sacrifices on the new altar and worshiped.
And Judas, and his brethren, and all the church of Israel decreed, that the day of the dedication of the altar should be kept in its season from year to year for eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, with joy and gladness.Mac 4:59
Judas built up Jerusalem’s walls and put a garrison there to defend it.
The nations around Israel heard that the temple was rebuilt and were angry. Judas and his army fight many battles to protect the temple and are victorious. Miracles happen in battle and they are powerful and overthrow the armies around them. Antiochus hears of the defeat of his armies and becomes overwhelmed with grief. He dies in the year 149.
Judas and his brethren fight mightily for God and win. They give him credit for the victory and as a result return the worship of the one true God back to Israel and holy sacrifices are again burned on the temple altar; all because one family refused to bow down to the idols of the pagans. (2)
In late summer of 2009, my husband and I attended a prayer conference. We came away from the conference with two things: 1. Scripture is true. 2. I can do this because scripture says I can. So if you believe God is real and scripture is true then you can claim the promises in scripture for healing in your life. Not just physical, but spiritual and emotional healing as well. During that conference, listening prayer was briefly explained. Listening prayer is the idea that you could pray to God and then be still and listen for Him to answer. The answer could come in many forms: an audible voice, inner voice, song lyrics, scripture passages or another person sharing something with you. God can speak in many ways. The key was to be still and allow that time of quiet to listen for what God wanted you to do.
It was suggested that I try it since I claimed that God would help me find my keys when I misplaced them on occasion. Now at this point in my walk with my Heavenly Father I was not where I should have been. Having had a relationship with Him for thirty years did not mean that I was in any position to claim a close, powerful, intimate and holy relationship with my Heavenly Father. I was actually leaning on the proverbial fence. Doing enough to get by but still dabbling in my fleshly desires. The King of the Universe was not truly King of my heart. My husband’s request for me to start talking to this King of the universe was not met with an enthusiastic attitude from me. I knew that I did not have a daily devotional time that was a priority in my life. If I did open scripture, it was on the Sabbath or for my Bible study homework or the devotional I taught every week for my dance class. I relied on my knowledge from childhood, the sermons that I have heard, and the fact that I have been through the Bible cover to cover 15 times or so already.
The first day I sat down to talk to The King of the Universe, God mercifully spoke to me, a prodigal child who had ignored His holy presence in favor of living my life on my terms. He told me, "Peace I give you, My peace I leave you, let not your heart be troubled." That was the beginning of change in my life. I changed from looking at The King of the Universe as far away to learning that He is my Heavenly Father and He is right here, right now, intently interested in my life, my walk and my heart. His greatest desire is for my heart, your heart, all hearts, to be turned to Him. He wants us to follow after him and desire to be a servant for His glory.
Gradually my devotions have progressed to a point where I have a routine that I follow every morning. I begin with prayer asking that the scripture reading during which I take notes would teach me and be beneficial to my learning. Then I quote several psalms that give glory to Yahweh and seek repentance. I sing several songs to bring my mind to a place of focus on Him and being in His presence, and then I pray. I repent, ask for forgiveness and seek His face. Then and only then do I begin to write. I talk to him about issues, questions, things that are troubling me and sometimes I only write down Good Morning Heavenly Father before He begins to speak to me. He tells me that He loves me, gives me encouragement, correction, direction, instructions, explanations and secrets of the universe as my husband calls them. In the evening when my husband comes home, he thanks God for His words and reads my journal out loud. We discuss it, compare it to written scripture to make sure that it lines up with the truth and then implement any instructions that we have been given. His word is active, sharper than any two-edged sword and sometimes the correction hurts. I am not condemned but I am convicted. I have been sent to apologize to many people. I have had to humble myself repeatedly. I have repented of much and know that I have much to repent of yet. I have been encouraged to continue to press forward. I have been complimented, loved and cherished by the words My Heavenly Father has lavished upon me. Through my obedience to him and different instructions that He has given me, I have been healed of a congenital hip malformation that was extremely painful. I have been given arches in my formally flat feet and my feet have healed so that the pain in my heels does not prevent me from dancing, walking, and playing competitive volleyball. I have lost ten pounds and am at my ideal body weight because I am following the diet that He has given me to eat. I have a promise that other physical ailments in my body will heal as I continue on this path. The greatest promise that I am waiting for is the healing of my deaf left ear. God has told me that He will heal it when the time is right for Him to receive the greatest glory. It is not about my healings, it is about others seeing the power and might of an active, working King of the Universe, who is living in me. I am bringing Him glory by my walking out my healings, literally in my case, speaking of them to everyone I know and those I don’t, to say, "My God reigns, He is alive and working in my life. Don’t you want to know my God?" He is the focus, He is everything.
When I began to keep the feasts of Yahweh written about in scripture nine years ago with my husband and his family, we did not keep Hanukkah or Purim. They were not given in the Torah and not seemingly mentioned in the New Testament. They were thought of as a Jewish feast, not a Biblical, God given feast. We did not condemn anyone who did celebrate them, we just didn’t feel it was something that we needed to do.
Over the years I have heard several sermons on the application of prophecy in Hanukkah, the wonderful story of taking back the temple, the perhaps true miracle of the oil lasting for eight days and the fact that Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament with Yeshua going up to the temple to celebrate the Feast of Dedication. Like our American 4th of July celebrating our declaration of freedom from England, the Feast of Dedication celebrated the reclaiming of the temple from pagan hands and dedicating it back to Yahweh.
I knew all this but I did not have any real connection. It didn’t mean anything to me. You light candles to remember but I did not have anything to remember. I didn’t care to play a dreidel game, I did not have children to shower presents on each night and I saw the whole thing as sort of a Jewish festival to rival Christmas. Eight days of presents and chocolate instead of one. I liked the chocolate part and the beauty of the candles but I had no connection.
When I wanted to go to the Hanukkah party it wasn’t because I wanted to celebrate Hanukkah, I wanted to go to a party. I would see a lot of friends from Sukkot again, there would be dancing and music, chocolate was sure to be a theme and it was a party. Who doesn’t want to go to a party? Okay, all of my husband’s family may not answer that question. They do not appreciate a good party as much as I do. So when I took the question to my Heavenly Father, I was expecting a yes, you may go, or a no, you may not. I was not expecting a declaration of intent. His intent of how this was to be celebrated. What dedication should look like.
By November when the invitations for the Hanukkah party were sent out, I had been journaling my conversations with my Heavenly Father during my devotion time on a daily basis. It is common for my husband to tell me to ask God about matters such as this when he doesn’t have an answer. So I took my request to God. Below is the conversation we had over several days. My part is in purple. Yahweh’s words are in blue.
Now why do you want to go to Hanukkah?
I would love to see people again, enjoy fellowship. Go to a party and have fun. I don’t know that we celebrate this the way Yeshua did but he did celebrate it. I don’t know if they had Hanukkiahs back then or not but I love the lights, beauty in the darkness. Memory of a miracle. I don’t know if there was a miracle. I am very sure you could do it and would, so the temple could be sanctified so I believe in the possibility and ability of it. It would be like a mini feast without all the work.
Ahh… do you want to celebrate Hanukkah? The 8 days of purification? That is what it is about.
8 days of repentance and prayer?
Yes. The candles keep track of the days. You pray and fast one meal that day and seek to purify your temple, your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. That would please me. That is how I would love to see Hanukkah celebrated. That gives me glory and pleasure. If you want to celebrate Hanukkah and go to the party – commit to do this for the week before. Sabbath to Sabbath. This is not Jewish tradition. This is my tradition. Purify your hearts, pray – then eat. Fast your lunch – pray together as a family or families and light your candles to burn through dinner which is the blessing that I give for obedience. If no one wants to do it with you that is fine. You and your husband decide to celebrate Hanukkah my way and go to the party and celebrate the cleansing or not celebrate Hanukkah at all. I don’t want worldly traditions creeping into your life. It doesn’t matter the influence, if it is not of me, based on Torah, don’t do it. Santa with presents, Hanukkah with presents – same difference in your heart. Neither honor me because the focus isn’t on me. I want to be the center of everything. You and your husband make it beautiful, meaningful together. Pray, seek my face on your knees. You have a week to prepare for it. Plan, be deliberate and share your victory in your life and relationship with each other to others. This is what I desire. Are you up for the challenge?
Wow. That is beautiful, an incredible picture. A true remembrance of cleaning out our temples. I like it! I would love to do this, even if I didn’t get to go to the party. How cool is this. I am excited about it.
Good. That is what I desire. Excitement for me. Enthusiasm to follow me. Good.
This is so cool...Okay, thank you so much heavenly father. You are awesome. We start Friday night with the Hanukkah?
Yes. You can fast lunch. Talk with your husband. Plan it out together. Write this down and share it with the others. Explain my reasoning and desire for a house cleaning in each one of you. My revival of your soul. You can have a revival anytime, you don’t need an evangelist or a prophet or a big name preacher to come to start one. You have everything necessary right now. A willing heart, a listening spirit and me. That is it. You can call it the Hanukkah Revival. (Like Azusa Street Revival. J )
You are funny. I don’t think this will go down in history books.
Why not? My presence is awesome. Why not? How much do you desire me? Think about that...Work on your relationship with me, with each other. Pray and talk about fears and deal with them. Discuss how to keep focus on me. These are the kinds of topics that I want you to bring to me on the 8 days. Figure it out tonight, email people with all the stuff and info. Ask for my guidance tonight as you make your lists. I will help you and give you ideas. Perhaps you can come up with symbols and scripture verses to add to it. That way next year you have a little guide that you can share. This is my Hanukkah revival – starts with you – one family. Be deliberate about it. Make it useable and beautiful. Work on it, improve it.
Ok, we will do that.
My husband and I sat down and prayerfully went over the instructions and constructed a list of the issues we were going to repent of on each day. We compiled scripture verses to support and add meaning to each topic. From this list we began our preparations for Hanukkah. The way the festival fell in 2009, the last day was on Friday evening, the beginning of the Sabbath. The party started Friday afternoon and ended after Sabbath on Saturday evening. Winter evenings start early here, so Sabbath started around 5:30 PM and ended the same time.
We fasted our lunch of each day: my husband at work and I at home. We found that we looked forward to the coming meal after the prayers of repentance and scripture reading. It was not a long drawn out prayer service, it was a simple coming before our Heavenly Father stating our sin, repenting for that sin and requesting forgiveness. Some days it only took a few minutes, other days involved tears and longer prayers. Since we do not have any children, the issue of if they are to fast or not was not addressed in our home. For each family it is a personal issue. I do have problems with fasting due to health issues, however, I have found that I have received mercy when I am fasting while following God’s request.
For each of the eight days, during Hanukkah, candles are lit to remember the time it took to purify the temple. Scripture has many examples of eight-day events. In Leviticus 8 and 9 it speaks about the length of time it took to purify the priests and tabernacle as being done in eight days. Hezekiah cleansed the temple grounds in eight days and another eight for the temple itself according to 2 Chronicles 29:17. In Leviticus 14: 1-10 it speaks of a leper being proclaimed as clean on the 7th day and on the 8th day he offers a sacrifice. Many of the cleansing issues in the scriptures have a seven day period in which the person or item is watched and on the eighth day, the sacrifice is given when the person or item is declared clean. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (considered one in the New Testament) are eight days long and Sukkot followed by the Last Great Day is also eight days.
We are called to be holy which means to be set apart. To be set apart from this world, be different.
For I am the LORD that brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.Lev 11:45
It is a marker of who we are, children of Yahweh. The world should see that we are different from them because we follow Yahweh. The Israelites were told repeatedly to be holy, to be set apart as a sign that they followed Yahweh and His instructions.
For I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall you defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creeps on the earth.Lev 11:44
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be you holy: for I am the LORD your God.Lev 20:7
During the New Testament time, the scriptures are repeated by Yeshua and the disciples.
Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.1 Peter 1:16
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.Matt 5:48
Here the word holy is equated with being perfect. Following Yahweh's instructions with everything in your being. To be as Yahweh is. No one can be perfect in every way but if our desire to follow Him is paramount in our lives, we focus on Him and being holy, that is to be perfect.
The call to be holy, set apart as a follower of Yahweh through His son Yeshua, is given to all people.
I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Rom 12:1-2
To become holy, pure, free of sin, we have to repent of that which is wrong. Things that pull us away from Yahweh and make us look like the world. These eight days are an intentional internal cleansing of our hearts and spirits to renew us. We desire to reset ourselves apart from the world through repentance.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1John 1:9
To facilitate our week of repentance, we described different issues in our lives. This is the list that is applicable to my family. There is no right or wrong list and lists may be different for each person or family who decide to participate in this repentance. We prayerfully constructed our list and discussed it. We then found scripture that supported the topic of repentance for that day. I am going to go through each day with the logic behind why we chose that issue and provide the scripture verses that speak to each one. We started at the center with the status of our heart and worked our way out through the different relationships we experience. We cannot change the outside without first truly changing on the inside. To use the analogy of the temple during Judas time, if the foundation of the temple was corrupt, the stones were defiled with unholy sacrifices and broken, even if you were to white wash the outer walls, the temple would not be holy or even stable. The damaged wall may cave in. What Yahweh had instructed for holy could not be with the sin and defiled parts. So in this manner we dealt with the structure of our relationship with Yahweh first before addressing the outer "walls" of our relationships with those around us and finally the world at large.
We would bring each topic up before Yahweh and pray. When we finished we would light the Shamash candle, the servant or ninth candle, and use that to light the specific number of candles for the day. As more candles were lit, the greater the light the hanukkiah would give. As more of our heart was turned over to Yahweh in repentance, more of his light should show through our lives. The picture of the full hanukkiah lit on the last day is a beautiful and a wonderful physical display of what we desire for our Heavenly Father to be in our lives.
Hanukkah is the dedication of the temple, returning it back to holiness from the defiled, ruined mess that the Gentiles put it in. The world, choices you make that do not follow Yahweh and His word, bring sin into our life. Sin is transgression of the instructions that God has given us in his word. When we disobey, we sin. A small sin or a large sin are the same in Yahweh’s eyes, they separate us from Him. It is only through the blood of his son Yeshua who died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins that we can be cleansed of them.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,Rev 1:5
Yeshua did the work, we need to make the choice to take the free gift of salvation. Salvation is not a one time decision. It is a decision made every day, every hour and every minute. Will I serve Christ or this world? When we decide to follow after God and turn away from sin, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness and dwells in our hearts, our physical temple.
…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,1Cor 6:19
We all sin every day despite the wonderful presence of Yeshua in our hearts and the Holy Spirit’s guiding in our life. Thus we need to repent of our sins again. Not to receive salvation again but to continually strive to remain in his presence. God cannot dwell where there is sin.
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1: 4-9
Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance,Matt 3:8
This psalm is a good reminder of what a righteous person looks and acts like.
Psalm 15 A Psalm of David.
LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the LORD;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
If there is sin in our lives it is because we have made the choice to put something besides Yahweh first in our lives. Any choice that breaks His commandments is sin. We make choices based on our fleshly desires, anger, hurt caused by other people, and problems that we encounter. Anything that takes our eyes and focus off of Yahweh is an idol in our life and takes Him out of our center of attention. Full focus on Him all the time is what He desires.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matt 6:33
To Make Yahweh the focus all the time requires that we engage purposely in putting Him as our focus. These scriptures speak to how to do this seemingly impossible task.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.1 Cor 10:31-33
We may not be able to pray every moment that we are alive. We do need to sleep occasionally, eat and talk to other people. The idea is that while we are engaged in other activities we are mindful still of where our focus is. Not only will this change our mind set and attitude, but it will help with difficult events in our life too. If we are focused on Yahweh, we will immediately think to bring a difficult person or circumstance to him, rather than give in to worry, anger or defensiveness. How different will our witness be when Yahweh is our continual focus?
Fear in our lives may be caused by many different sources, but has the same root, we do not trust that Yahweh is in charge. Fear of anything; sickness, losing your job, heights, spiders, what might happen if…. is not putting your trust in God. Worry is a symptom of fear. We would not worry if we were confident in the outcome of a situation. When we are afraid that something might go wrong, we do not have our confidence in Yahweh.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.Heb 11:6
Here are some scriptures that define faith.
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.James 1:6
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.Romans 10:17
for we walk by faith, not by sight—2Corinthinans 5:7
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;Ephesians 2:8
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Ephesians 6:16
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.Hebrews 11:1-3
We are now working on things that affect both our relationship with Yahweh and those around us. Actions display our selfishness. Disobedience is an action, a choice that we follow through with against Yahweh’s wishes.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of deathProv 16:25
Our old flesh man desires to be in charge. We are pulled to want the best for ourselves at the expense of others. It is said to be human nature. We are not to have the characteristics of human nature, we are called to take on the character of God whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control, and kindness. Selfishness is the direct opposite of this. Disobedience is sin, an action that goes against scripture and what Yahweh desires for us. Even though we may think that we have our own best interest in mind, when we make a selfish decision, it does not bring a blessing in our life. It brings a curse. If we were truly looking out for number one (ourselves), we would find that following Yahweh and doing His will is the best way to "get ahead" in the blessings department. The issue is that what the world considers to be good and desirable is not what Yahweh knows is good and a blessing for us.
Choose life and blessings by following Yahweh's instructions.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.James 3:16
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.Proverbs 10:19
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.Romans 7: 7-8
But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.James 2:9
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.James 4:17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.1John 2:15-17
We have hopefully covered much ground in drawing closer to Yahweh. Now we desire to mend any issues in our relationships with those closest to us: our spouses, parents, siblings and children. You may have a relationship with someone in each of these categories or just a few. These are the most important relationships you have besides the one with your Heavenly Father. They affect you the most, often provoke the most action or reaction from you, and can be the greatest source of love, affection and support you have. It is truly necessary to have strong relationships with these people. There are blessings attached to correct attitudes and actions in these relationships. Curses can be brought down upon oneself as well, those declared by God for breaking his word, and those earned when true love and dedication to the other person in the relationship is not displayed.
The inner circle of people closest to you is the relationships that we are dealing with on this day. If you are a grown adult, you still need to repent of any issues that may separate you from your parents. This day is to focus on your immediate family, your parents and siblings, a spouse and your children.
Often these relationships are the most difficult to maintain and mend when broken. The most intense feelings and emotions are triggered by events in these relationships. It is very difficult to remain in peaceful harmony when Yahweh is not at the center.
Each relationship is different. The relationship with your spouse is different from that of your parents. The Heavenly father spoke of these separate relationships and the different ways you are to behave and respond to the people in them.
This is the closest relationship you will have on this planet as an adult. If it is not, there are some serious issues that need to be addressed in your marriage. Take some time to think about what you desire in your marriage. Truly desire to be the person who blesses your spouse every day. The person they would rather be with than anyone else in the world. There are many scriptures about this relationship because Yahweh sees it as so important.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.Eph 5:28
The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.1Corinthians 7:3
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.Ephesians 5:22, 24
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,1Peter 3:1
For your parents, you are to honor and respect them. This is not contingent on the character, belief system or worthiness of your mother or father. It merely states that you are to honor them.
Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you.Exod 20:12
As a parent you have responsibilities toward your children. Examine yourself and see if there may be any sin or issues you need to deal with toward your children. You are their role model, their caregiver and teacher. How you interact with your child will have lasting effect on them and future generations.
he said to them, "Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.Deuteronomy 32:46
"You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.Deuteronomy 11:19
"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 18:3
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.Ephesians 6:4
… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Matt 22:39
This is the next layer of people in our relationships: the neighbor next door, friends, classmates, roommates, aunts and uncles, cousins, the mail person, acquaintances. People who you have made connections with that are not your inner circle. Some of your friendships with people may be closer than family and that is ok but they are included in this circle.
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,Matthew 5:44
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"Luke 10:25-29
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.Romans 13:8-11
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, SO THAT HE WILL HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH ONE WHO HAS NEED. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, TENDER-HEARTED, FORGIVING EACH OTHER, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:25-32
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER, and FORGIVING EACH OTHER, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.Colossians 3:12-14
Stewardship is used in a general way to refer to a responsibility, to take care of something owned by someone else. It is also doing something willingly without getting paid. Some religions consider humans to be stewards of the earth. (3)
Stewardship of the earth in our present day culture can bring to mind the negative connotation sometimes associated with people who are "tree-huggers" and who demand that everyone should stop driving cars and eating meat because of the threat of global warming.
However, the first job given to man in scriptures is that of a gardener. Yahweh places Adam in the garden and puts him in charge of it.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.Gen 2:15
The plants, animals and land are his to take care of. We have been given a great gift with this beautiful world that is unique in our solar system. We have been made stewards of it.
O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! who have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings have you ordained strength because of your enemies, that you might still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
While I may not declare that no one should ever drive a car again, I do believe that we can be much more careful of how, where and how often we drive. A little less road rage is beneficial in many ways, the least being that your car will last longer and the greatest being your witness will be improved. Planning all the driving errands efficiently and on the same day if possible conserves gas and time.
Turning off the water while brushing your teeth saves several gallons of water that would otherwise be wasted. Recycling, picking up trash that we see lying on the ground and picking up after your dog are excellent ways that we can be a witness without ever opening our mouth. We give value to the land we live on, work in and play on when we truly care for it.
And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and wise STEWARD, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the unfaithful. And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes ; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes . And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.Luke 24:42-48
Stewardship covers more than our physical possessions. It covers abstract concepts too. Time management, the gifts and abilities that Yahweh has blessed you with, friendships, relationships and verbal commitments, are all examples of things that we have in our life that without good stewardship can be wasted, betrayed or neglected. This too is important to Yahweh.
As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.1Pet 4:10
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.Luke 16: 10
‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;Lev 4:13
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.Eccl 12:14
Yahweh considers the violation of His instructions as sin, even if we do not recognize it as such. In His eyes we are impure. He knows our innermost parts. He created us and knows our thoughts. Nothing is hidden from Him.
Are the consolations of God small with you? is there any secret thing with you?Job 15:11
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.Ps 90:8
King David recognized that he had sin in his heart that he did not recognize yet. In the Psalms he prayed in repentance for forgiveness for the sins that he did not know about. He desired to be like Yahweh, to have his heart reflect Yahweh's in all matters, even those that were yet hidden from him.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. WHO CAN DISCERN HIS ERRORS? ACQUIT ME OF HIDDEN FAULTS. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.Psalm 19:9-14
In this day of repentance perhaps pray the Psalms. Ask for sins to be revealed to you in the matters of your heart. Things that you were taught as a child or in church, that do not conform to scripture, traditions that do not glorify Yahweh, personal beliefs that do not have a basis in truth but supersede scripture in your mind. This is often referred to as baggage. Suitcases of mental "junk" left over from before you dedicated your life to Yahweh.
Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God.1Cor 4:5
He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.Dan 2:22
Yahweh is faithful to reveal to us our sin. He desires us to be holy, to repent and to be able to come into his presence holy and righteousness. Yeshua spoke a warning about hidden sin and is recorded twice in the New Testament.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.Mark 4:22
For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.Luke 8:17
One thing that God promised to me was that this experience would change our lives. After Hanukkah, I found that my husband and I started to have some issues in our marriage. Disagreement, struggles with being heard and listened to for both parties. I went to Yahweh with my concerns and pain and He explained to me that we had changed. Thus, the old ways of communication: our passive ignoring of issues, incorrect ways of dealing with each other that were not honorable, not respecting or loving each other as we ought to, were no longer acceptable. We were going through marriage therapy. It took almost a month after Hanukkah to work through many issues and we still have things to discuss. However it has made our marriage stronger. We know more about how the other thinks and what we can do to serve each other. Every part of your life will change if you truly give it to Yahweh.
This walk that I am on is amazing. I am learning, growing, being stretched and know that I am loved even when I think I am unlovable. I am a new creation, old things are passed away, behold, all things (me) are made new. I stand on that promise for it is my strength when I am attacked by feelings of inadequacy. I am not enough on my own but greater is He that dwells in me than he that is in the world. I am enough because He is enough and He dwells in me and is my strength and peace.
May this short article bring you closer to Yahweh and enrich your relationship with Him and others.
1. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah
2. The Official Website of St. Takla Haymanout Coptic Orthodox Church http://st-takla.org/pub_Deuterocanon/Deuterocanon-Apocrypha_El-Asfar_El-Kanoneya_El-Tanya__8-First-of-Maccabees.html
3. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewardship
Pray over and fill out this 8 day worksheet with issues to repent of that are specific to you / your family.
HOME : Index of Articles : FEEDBACK