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Eight days of Enlightenment
Posted by En Punto
Creating a Passion for God and Torah Boaz Michael
WE tell stories. They are an important part of our faith. They are a way of teaching-they are essential in the way we learn. Like Passover, Hanukkah is a time to recall the historical miracles of our faith. It is a time that we set aside to recall the past and relate it to our future. Each night affords us the time to delve ito our rich history and discuss the historical, prophetic practical and inspiring nature of this celebration of or people and our Faithful God.
One of the slogans that we share often at First Fruits of Zion is that we have a relationship with the Land, the People, and the /Scriptures of Israel. In Yeshua (Jesus) we have a new identity and have been made a part of His people-Israel. Our history goes back to our Father Abraham and through adoption we have now been made a part of his family's history. FFOZ has published many materials on the misunderstood relationship between Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the Messiah. At times this relationship has been construed as one of separation and distinction. We see it quite the opposite--we see it as defined by unity and oneness. We will leave the theological detail of this subject to the resources intended to tackle it. For now, let us encourage you to embrace this holiday as your holiday. Relate to it; fully participate in the songs, foods, and stories of Hanukkah, Do not hold back as if you're and invited guest at a cultural celebration of another people. In Yeshua, the Hanukkah story is your story.
HANUKKAH IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR CHRISTMAS
At times we allow or culture to define our lives. This has happened, in some cases, with Hanukkah. Hanukkah has been an easy transition holiday for those no longer celebrating Christmas. May we be so bold to suggest that this added influence clouds the days and nights of Hanukkah from their full meaning. Hanukkah is intended to be spiritual--not commercial. Gifts of knowledge are to be shared-not material gifts. The dreidel was made to spin-not the lives of those in preparation for the celebration.
I started celebrating Hanukkah when I was 16. I remember bragging that I would get gifts for eight days rather than just one. I used this to either one-up my friends or make a poke at their holiday. Yet, looking back, I do not recall any gifts that I received (and I received a lot of them). However, I do remember playing dreidels with my brothers, eating my mother's latkes, (potato pancakes) and the Hanukkah quietly burning in our family’s home. Those are the memories that I cherish. Conversely, I also have fond memories of Christmas. I remember family times, hot cider, and my older brother’s contagious excitement to open the gifts in the morning. With all this said we have worked to create an environment in our home of warm family memories, good foods, and dedicated times of laughter and sharing.
Focus your family on the spiritual nature of this time. Do not allow this time to be considered a convenient substitute for Christmas or the commercialism that it represents. Even though many secular Jews have done exactly this, keep this week spiritual. Stand with the intrinsic nature of this season and fight against assimilation.
Approach to Hanukkah
The following list includes a suggested traditional reading for Hanukkah that I came across several years ago, and our own suggested readings for each day of the celebration. This guide not only represents the time-honoured commemoration of Hanukkah but also gives you a tool to present and discuss the spiritual nature of this season with additional materials. While such a devotional guide is never used in the traditional celebration of Hanukkah, it does help create an environment of learning. More than anything we suggest that you tailor this holiday to relate to your family. There is no set structure for observing this historical event-flexibility should be your guide.
First Night-Genesis 1:5;14-18
Second Night--Isaiah 5:29-24
Third Night- Psalm 115:5-6; Job24:13,17;Job 18:5-6; Jeremiah 25:10; Ezekiel 32:8; and Isaiah 42:18
Fourth Night--Isaiah 42:5-7, 45:7, 42:16
Fifth Night--Daniel 9:17; Psalm 43:3, 36:10; 18:29; Proverbs 20:27; Psalm 56:14; Job 33:29-30
Sixth Night--Psalm 27:1; 104:1-2; 119:105; 19:9; Proverbs 6:23
Seventh Night --Proverbs 4:18; Psalm 97:11-12; Isaiah 9:1;
Exodus 10:23; Isaiah 60:1;2:5
Eight Night--Isaiah 30:26; Zechariah 14:6-7; Isaiah 60:19-20
In our experience, it is essential to separate these nights from our normal routines. With this in mind we have structured this guide to provide solid discussions of a spiritual nature that will take up at least an hour. We have also provided teachings for you to read, digest, and incorporate in your celebration with others. These teachings are specifically connected to the outline for each night and should give you some great background material for your discussions. Here is an overview of the week:
First Night----The Hanukkah Story
Second Night---Yeshua’s Call to be a Light
Third Night----The Menorah of Israel
Fourth Night---A Family with Vision
Fifth Night-----The Heavens are "Telling the Glory of God
Sixth Night-----Festival of Olive Oil
Seventh Night---Slaves to Righteousness
Eighth Night-----The Incense Altar and Menorah
1. Romans 4:16, "Your father is Abraham."
2. Please see Mystery of the Gospel by D. Thomas Lancaster and Fellowheirs by Tim Hegg. Toth books are available through FFOZ.
The Hanukkah story & Daniel and the Four Empires which is a continuation of the Hanukkah story are from the book called LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS HANUKKAH AND THE DISCIPLES OF YESHUA (JESUS) A FIRST FRUITS OF ZION ANTHOLOGY http://www.ffoz.org/
Psalm 141…Wednesday December 21st, 2011
A PRAYER FOR HELP WHEN FACING TEMPTATION
DAVID ASKS GOD TO PROTECT HIM and TO GIVE HIM WISDOM IN ACCEPTING CRITICISM
BE OPEN TO HONEST CRITICISM…GOD MAY BE SPEAKING TO YOU THROUGH OTHERS
Set a guard over my mouth O Lord
Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil
My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord
In You I take refuge---do not give me over to death
Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set
David asked God to help keep him from speaking evil
Jesus himself was silent before his accusers
Knowing the power of the tongue, we would do well to ask God to guard what we say so that our words will bring honor to his name
David asked God to guard his heart
Evil acts begin with evil desires
It isn’t enough to ask God to keep you away from temptation, make you stronger or change your circumstances
You must ask him to change you on the inside
AT THE LEVEL OF YOUR DESIRES
Criticism or advice must be given wisely and taken humble
BE STILL and KNOW THE REALITY OF GOD
Control how you react to criticism making it productive
IN STILLNESS HAVING A LISTENING EAR AND A RESPONSIVE HEART THUS ENCOUNTERS THAT WHICH GOD IS REACHING OUT TO SO ACCOMPLISH AND BRING TO PASS
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control
Gentleness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness.
Gentleness described the ability to act for the welfare of others.
The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control
Being filled with the Holy Spirit calls us as much to character as it does to charismatic activity.
The Holy Spirit’s fruit is to be grown in our lives every bit as much as His gifts may be shown thro us.
FRUIT AFFECTS THE CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR LIFE
Study by Charlotte…December 2011
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