Most people reading this passage tend to focus in on the fruit that is produced. Okay...But a closer look will reveal that the Lord is really focusing on the tree. The fruit merely demonstrates the quality of the tree. We have all encountered this: there are trees whose fruit is healthy and delicious, and there are trees whose fruit is scarcely edible, or even useless.
The word contrite in Hebrew is 'dakah' which means one that is crushed to pieces. Paul wrote of being a 'living sacrifice' holy and acceptable to God. Being a living sacrifice means we often can walk off the altar. To be a continual living sacrifice we need to renew our minds day to day!
Rosh Hashanah traditionally marks the Jewish New Year. "Shanah" is a unique Hebrew word meaning "to repeat, revise, or go over again". As we begin the new year, with fall, then winter, spring, and summer, we remember the cyclical pattern of time in God's creation. The nature of life is to repeat itself -- to continue in a cycle, marked by Rosh HaShannah -- a New Year. Although time is moving in a direction toward a definite destiny determined by the Creator, it does so in cycles ... truly, "what goes around comes around".
Earlier this week, we celebrated the Biblical festival of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) otherwise known as Rosh Ha Shana. What's interesting about Rosh Ha Shana (the Jewish celebration of the New Year), is that it doesn't fall on the first day of the first month. It actually falls on the first day of the seventh month! It's difficult for outsiders to understand this concept, but if we study how the Jewish year begins and how God is outlining this age according to the Jewish feasts it all makes sense.
From Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur there are ten days. The Lord gave these days to Israel to prepare for His judgment. They became known as the Yamim Noraim – the "Days of Awe". It has been long believed that during these days one's final destiny was sealed concerning the Book of Life, God's eternal Book of Judgment. Thus every year the Jewish people have observed these days with great reverence and repentance so to be right with God and with men.
Tonight begins one of the highest holy days of all the feasts of the Bible, Rosh ha Shana (Head of the Year). According to Jewish tradition, Rosh haShana is the Day of Judgment, the day when the righteous have their names inscribed in the Book of Life and the wicked are judged for their transgressions. It is a day to commemorate the creation of the world, the creation of mankind, and the Akeida, the binding of Isaac to the altar. On this day only the ram’s horn (or the shofar) is blown in synagogues all over the world to commemorate the ram that was provided in lieu of Isaac’s life and call us to repentance.
When we see the word trumpet in the Bible, the Hebrew equivalent is "shofar". Shofars are those twisty brown ram's horns that have recently become quite the popular Christian decor. Well, forget decor -- we need to learn how to blow those things!! All around the world this season, the shofar is being blown among Jewish communities. While for most Jewish people today, it is tradition to hear the shofar blast, few know of Yeshua's (Jesus') soon return.
On the Hebrew calendar, we're at the end of the month of Elul. This particular month the shofar is sounded once a day as a call for the people to repent as we approach the Hebrew month of Tishri.
A few years ago, I was in a debate with an atheist who had a legal background, and the Lord gave me a revelation about the tactics of the enemy. At Yeshua's first coming, his tactic was to destroy the infant before He could grow up; [Revelation 12:4-5]. After the Lord's death and resurrection, Satan continued his direct assault by attacking the church through persecution, which lasted through the first three centuries. The tactics of the enemy were to destroy any "eyewitnesses" of God's goodness.
We are called to be servants, are we not? Well, what does a servant do? He (or she) carries out the will of his master. A servant doesn't tell his master what to do -- he performs whatever tasks the master requests of him. A servant doesn't choose what days or times it's most convenient to serve his master. A servant's function is simply to follow and obey his master’s instructions. A servant does not develop a vision for the master either. The master is the one with the vision -- and he wants his servants to be ready and available to carry out that vision and bring it to fruition.
Often in the Bible you will see the word wind or breath. The root meaning of these words, both in Hebrew and Greek, is almost always Spirit. It is important to keep in mind that we can never dictate which direction the wind will blow. It would be absurd to think we could! The wind blows as it will. And in the same way, the Spirit of God blows where it wishes. Well if this is so, how can we be filled with the Spirit? Must we jump up and catch it and just hope for the best? No.
In Biblical times, the economy of the world was largely agricultural, so the meaning of "yoke" was easy to comprehend. To plow a field, you would place a yoke on a cow, ox, or horse with a plow attached and drive the animal forward to break up the ground preparing a field for sowing.
"Exhausted but still in pursuit..." Well, now we know why the angel of YHVH addressed Gideon the way he did. With his small three hundred man army he had just decimated the army of Midian -- but the victory wasn’t complete, and so the Jewish general and his small, exhausted, hungry, band were determined to cross the Jordan and take care of 15,000 additional Midanite enemies and their leaders, Zebah and Zalmunna.
A prayer frequently heard at the conclusion of Orthodox Jewish services is "Ani Ma'amin" translated, "I believe." The full prayer is. "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach; and even though he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait each day for his coming."
After Yeshua’s (Jesus) resurrection, He showed himself to the apostles several times. Once, they were fishing, and Yeshua met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter was there, back at his craft, but swirling with inward emotions. The anguish of his recent denial, three times, exactly as Yeshua had predicted, mixed with the amazement and perplexity at the empty tomb, and finally the astounding relief and joy witnessing the risen Lord. Peter was on an emotional roller coaster for days, but the issue of his denial remained unresolved.
Just about every Hebrew prayer begins by saying, “Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha Olam” which, translated, means, Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe. Now think about it, King of the Universe! Wikipedia defines "universe" as, "the composition of all the planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, and all matter and energy". Hmm…that’s a lot to be king over!
William Wilberforce led a campaign against the British Parliament to abolish slavery in the late 1700's and early 1800's. During the course of his intense efforts, Wilberforce came to a desperate place of discouragement, feeling he had absolutely no more strength to continue. In this condition he was about to give up, when his elderly friend, John Wesley, lying on his deathbed, was informed of his friend William's distress.
The great pyramids of Egypt have become objects of fascination for many involved in the New Age teching. Some think they were built by aliens from outer space. Others say they are containers of cosmic power. All of them are trying to find the great "secret" of the pyramids. What they are, really, are structures of death, exaggerated tombstones, coffins. The pyramids were made for death. They were built to house a dead body, along with the useless riches of it's rotting corpse.
An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest. Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand. The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree. The tutor said to his young companion, 'Pull up the first plant.' The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers...
Since I started Worthy News in 1999 there is one thing I have not seen in 17 years -- a day that there wasn’t news to cover! I’ve not taken a so-called vacation since I started the ministry -- yet I don’t feel worn out or weary. Of course, my wife wants to take a vacation soon, so we will probably go somewhere this coming weekend. But while I was driving home at around 4 AM last night -- I was pondering it -- why don't I feel worn out?