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Observing Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Observing Yom Kippur—Day of Atonement

“Afflict the soul” we are told in Leviticus 20:26 to observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement—O.K., how do I do that?

Maybe this just means a food fast from sundown to sundown.
If it does, the scripture could easily have said so, but, no, it says afflict. And it doesn’t say the flesh, which a food fast would affect, it says the soul. So, there must be more here than I have understood.

First, I’ll consider the word soul. This word has generally been accepted to mean mind, will and emotions. Obviously, we’re talking something more encompassing than flesh.

Now, let’s briefly consider the word afflict. This word is translated from the Hebrew word anah (עכה). Strong’s and other sources say the root word means to defile, as in to humble.

Now, it seems we’re getting somewhere. If I afflict my mind, will and emotions I’m going to do some serious checking on where I stand in the humility department of those areas.

As a starting point, it may just be me, but my pride factor comes up right away for review. Within the last ten days I experienced the Feast of Trumpets where I re embraced the giving of the Ten Commandments from Mt Sinai. The first of those commandments seems like the best place to start: you shall have no other god’s before Me.

Where, over this last year, have I elevated my mind, will and emotions?
Where have I been willing to take the credit? Could I possibly be raising myself up in pride as a god? Just how quickly and humbly do I admit Father’s hand in my activities of the last year?

After plowing that ground, I can continue down the commandment list: idols, vain speaking, Sabbath etc. I can give Holy Spirit a chance to “judge” the level of defilement and lack of humility of my soul—my mind, will and emotions—in the keeping or failure to keep the Commandments. Of course, Yeshu’s “amplified teaching” will guide my listening and measuring.

What a wonderful and wise provision of the Lord to give an opportunity for an annual assessment of the condition of my mind, will and emotions. Yom Kippur is not a big public celebration. It is a time to pull apart for a highly personal, introspective, intentional intimacy with Father. It is not a time of condemnation, but of rejoicing at the provision for confession, repentance and forgiveness we have through Messiah Yeshua.

To just let the day go by concentrating on not eating and waiting for sundown would be such a loss. Having embraced and reaffirmed the Ten Commandments at Yom Teruah (Trumpets) just a few days earlier, now on Yom Kippur I can “seal the deal” and really look forward to the fun and celebration of Sukkot (Booths) as a meaningful time of thanksgiving. A celebration of knowing I’m living in freedom, delivered from the bondage and confinement of my soul life.

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(Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement is observed on the tenth day of the seventh biblical month. This month has been given the name of Tishri. In 2018 on the Gregorian calendar used in the US it is Wednesday, September 19, but beginning at sundown on the 18th.)

The Voices in the Wilderness

The Voices in the Wilderness

Pain, suffering, disappointment,
“I’m going through the wilderness,” he said.

Heartbreak, sorrow, disillusionment,
“I’m going through the desert,” he said.

The wilderness, the desert—empty places of ultimate solitude.
Can God be there?

When the wind blows it brings no comfort—
only so many varied voices pulling at the hearing. 

Where are the ravens that fed Elijah?
Or, the angels who baked him bread?
Where is the burning bush that Moses saw? 

When do rocks start gushing water?
When does mana from heaven fall?

What ears hear the cry of prayer that leaves the lips?
What eyes see the knees bruised by rock and sand?
Has God forgotten those in the barren places?

The wilderness, the desert when will this journey end?
Can any comfort possibly be found?
What joy can replenish the parched spirit, the thirsting soul?

Has he misjudged his plight?
Did he not perceive there could be purpose beyond his need?
Can those wind-born voices be discerned as two?

Listen: one voice, plaintive, piteous would caress with defeat and
abandonment—the futility of life itself. 

Listen: there is another voice. Though also small, it assures, comforts and
understands—offering hope, promise, even more than mortal life. 

If he tunes in that latter voice, and concentrates on it alone . . .
the desert starts to bloom,
the wilderness reveals its beauty,
bareness vanishes. 

Words that bring healing gush forth,
now washed, cleansed and restored
the pain, the sorrow and isolation give way. 

The voice of promise grows stronger,
and the voice of defeat grows weaker.
The desert wilderness, no longer anguish, becomes provision. 

The voices in the wilderness give choice.
To which will he listen?
To which will he bend his will?
And which voice have you chosen?

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
January 10, 2018

Celebrating the Future–Yom Teruah–Feast of Trumpets

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Celebrating the Future
Yom Teruah—the Feast of Trumpets

Today, September 20, 2017, at sundown, begins the lunar month of Tishri. Scripture, in Leviticus 23:23 and in Numbers 29 commands a day of rest, a Sabbath. This pause in our otherwise daily routine is for Yahweh’s children to remember and consider the momentous sounding of the shofar (trumpet) at Mt Sinai. It occurred during the early months after Israel’s departure from slavery’s bondage in Egypt. It was this intense sounding (teruah) of the shofar that announced God’s appearance before the gathered Israelites (native born and stranger). A blast of preparation for the unparalleled giving of the Ten Commandments and the Law (Torah). An event signaling the creation of a nation—a nation which was to be a light to the world. 

With the coming of Messiah, the Living Word, the Light of the World, the observance of Yom Teruah now celebrates our anticipation of Messiah’s return.  The sound of the trumpet (shofar) announces the descending of Messiah and the ascending of the saints, living and dead, to meet Him in the clouds and to usher Him into the coming of His Kingdom on earth. At this time Yeshua will bring forth the Torah from Zion. The nations of the earth will, for a thousand years, acknowledge the government of God. The saints will rule and reign in glorified bodies. 

Join me in joyous celebration, rest and prayerful anticipation of the coming trumpet call. Sound the shofar with enthusiasm—listening for that glorious response from heaven. 

My Thoughts on Yom Teruah

My thoughts on Yom Teruah
Yom Teruah (Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah) is the fourth of seven annual appointments (feasts) which the Lord has set to intentionally meet with His people. During the Gregorian (Western) calendar year of 2016 the feast is celebrated beginning at sundown October 2. This is the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Each annual celebration renews in me a desire to more fully understand and embrace this feast.

First I will make a brief observation that this is my Messianic sense of the feast. I say “my” Messianic sense to be sure it is understood as being my experience and not necessarily a belief of others who profess a Messianic understanding.

Next, just to be clear, as a self-proclaimed Messianic, I am saying I believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is God come in the flesh, the promised Messiah. His shed blood, death and resurrection are God’s provision (grace) which enables me to keep God’s Word-Torah. This standard of conduct was recorded by Moses and amplified by Yeshua and the Apostles. My keeping of Torah frees me from the curse which would otherwise result from my imperfect ability to keep the commands.

The instructions to keep this fall feast are sparse—we are told to keep it annually as a memorial observed as a Sabbath (Lev 23:24 and Num 29:1). In Judaism it is kept as a New Year observance. It also ushers in the Ten Days of Awe in preparation for the next feast, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

The word “memorial” used in the scripture connotes something that has happened which you want to remember. It may call for a resolution to remember so that it will not happen again. My brief word study of scripture brought up the first mention of trumpet as being at Mt. Sinai (Ex19, especially verse 13 and following). This was the mighty sustained, ear-piercing, rock-splitting shofar blast, trumpet blast, to announce God descending onto the mountain to speak to those gathered at its base. It is His first tangible appearance since He indirectly manifested through His miracles in Egypt. This Egypt scenario had resulted in the Israelites being freed and brought to this location before the mountain. The outcome of God’s visit from the mountain is recorded in Exodus 20:19—the people speaking: “You (Moses) speak with us (those assembled), and we will hear; but let not God speak with us lest we die.” Thus began 1500 years of indirect communication through priests, prophets and others (donkeys, for example) before the appearance of God come in the flesh—Yeshua!

I believe that year after year I and my generations have been called by the shofar blast on Yom Teruah to personally embrace and reaffirm the indwelling presence of Creator God—a memorial, if you will, to remind me not to reject Father’s desire to live big in me.

This celebration becomes then an annual heart check for stoniness—yet at the same time a day of unbounded joy because my God wants, desires and has provided for this personal, indwelling relationship through Messiah Yeshua.

What a blend of introspection, repentance, joy and celebration—let the shofar sound!

Poetry Reading Intro

Poetry Reading Intro
An explanation of what is−and what is not

I do not read with breathless anticipation
Every golden word I’ve penned.
No, I desire that the verses’ erudition
Be vehicle for their illumination.
With spirit alert, listen, as from a faithful friend.

I disparage not the poets grand
Who write with crafted grace−
Whose very words of sky and even sand
Paint views as flames from passion fanned.
May my words all be with such fiery trace.

I may not be right-brained−leaning to the left.
Perhaps my desire to paint with words
A truth to aptly fill some spiritual cleft−
Make them too literal−emotion-bereft;
Beat enough though, most milk makes curds.

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
February 26, 2016

Comment:
The above poem was written as an introduction to public reading of my poems.
I am considering producing youtube videos where I read the poems.
The readings would also be posted to my blog.
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