Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Giddy Over Answered Prayer

Genesis 24 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  It details the account of Abraham sending his trusted servant to find a wife for his beloved son, Isaac.  

This servant fascinates me.  I see in him a tremendous level of faith, and even a degree of boldness, seasoned with humility, in his approach to Yahweh.  Genesis 24:12-14 records his prayer: 

And he said, “Yahweh, Elohim of my master Aḇraham, please cause her to meet before me this day, and show kindness to my master Aḇraham. See, I am standing here by the fountain of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar to let me drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and let me water your camels too,’ let her be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And let me know by this that You have shown kindness to my master.” (ISR) 

Did you notice the very specific request he made?  He asked Yahweh to orchestrate a certain encounter at a certain place, with a certain conversation to occur with the woman whom Yahweh had chosen to be Isaac's bride.  This speaks volumes to me! I believe it displayed a tremendous level of faith in Yahweh to make such a detailed request.  But Yahweh's response is also amazing: 

And it came to be, before he had ended speaking, that see, Rebekah, who was born to Bethu’ĕl, son of Milkah, the wife of Naḥor, Aḇraham’s brother, came out with her jar on her shoulder.
Genesis 24:15 (ISR) 

Yahweh began answering the servant's prayer before he could even finish asking!  How awesome to have an answer to prayer that quickly! 

But it was Genesis 24:21 that stood out to me this time.  

 And watching her, the man remained silent in order to know whether 
Yahweh had prospered his way or not.

The word for "watching her" is the Hebrew word מִשְׁתָּאֵ֖ה (mistaeh), which comes from the root שָׁאָה (sha'ah) .  The Strong's definition for this word is: gazing; to gaze, wonder. A primitive root (identical with sha-ah through the idea of whirling to giddiness) to stun, i.e. be astonished

Considering that Yahweh answered his prayer - his very specific prayer - before he could even finish asking, makes it easy for me to believe that this man would have been stunned, astonished, dare I say - even possibly giddy with amazement?! 
In my opinion, the English translation of this verse does not give a complete picture of what this servant was experiencing.  

I will admit that I do find it difficult to imagine that he was whirling with giddiness, but I can picture him standing there jaw dropped in stunned silence as he watched Rebekah not only bring him a drink, but go back and forth hauling gallon after gallon of water for ten camels!  Do you know how much water camels drink?! Neither do I! But I bet it is a lot!! So even though he likely was not bouncing, whirling, and/or skipping with delight, I still think that "And watching her" just doesn't cut it. 

So here is my translation attempt: 

"And standing there astonished, stunned in complete awe and wonder, holding his hand over his mouth, the man remained silent in order to know whether Yahweh had prospered his way or not." 

He was silently waiting because he needed to know whether or not this woman was from Abraham's family (see verses 1-4). This verse reminded me of Psalm 46:10:

 Be still, and know that I am Elohim; I am exalted among nations, I am exalted in the earth!

After the servant verified her family lineage, he then knew for certain that she was indeed the answer to his prayer! His reaction here is also understandable: 

 And the man bowed down his head and worshipped Yahweh.
Genesis 24:26 

 Halleluyah! So would I!

 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; 
knock, and it will be opened to you.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Taking Thoughts Captive - Part Two

In Taking Thoughts Captive - Part One, I attempted to explain what it means to "take our thoughts captive".  Basically it means that anytime we have a thought/belief, as Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) we need to make sure those thoughts/beliefs line up with the Word of Yahweh (God). I shared a few quotes from Dr. Neil T. Anderson, from his book The Bondage Breaker. I also shared one of the main verses that he frequently refers to - 2 Corinthians 10:5.

  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (KJV, emphasis mine)
In this part two of my post, I want to address the latter part of 2 Corinthians 10:5. What is the "obedience of Christ? I am going to share what I saw in my Bible study this week, and I hope that you will prayerfully consider it and test it with the Scriptures.  

In Deuteronomy 31:9-13, it states that all the people of Israel were supposed to have the Torah (aka Law) read to them at the Feast of Tabernacles every seven years, "that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law," (ESV) Personally, I prefer the ISR translation for this verse because it reads "guard to do all the Words of this Torah".  I think that the word "guard" is a better translation because the Hebrew word used is shamar, which means to " to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. Guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc". The word "guard" has a stronger emphasis than "do", don't you agree? 

After reading Deuteronomy 31 this week, I had a thought and wrote it in my Bible study notebook (side note - in case this is your first time reading my posts - instead of God and Jesus, I use the Hebrew names Yahweh and Yeshua.  Also, instead of Law, I use Torah, which simply means "instructions", but is most commonly referred to as Law): 

If Yahweh commanded that the Torah be read to everyone every seven years during the Feast of Tabernacles, then obviously the Torah would be hearing the Words of Yahweh.  Yeshua repeatedly said that His words were not His own, but His Father's.  And He also said in John 5:46-47, "For if you believed Moses, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My words?" Yeshua equates His words with Moses' writings - Moses wrote the words of Yahweh! 

In Matthew 4:4, Yeshua says: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh." (ISR) Yeshua was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, and it was the Book of Deuteronomy from which He quoted the most during His ministry!  

I want to share with you more of the thread that I saw in my study: 

In Deuteronmy 18:18-19, Yahweh tells this prophecy concerning Yeshua to Moses: 

I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him. (ISR)

In John 3:34a, referring to Yeshua, John the Baptist says: "For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God." (ESV) 

Yeshua Himself said in John 7:16-19:

My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me? (ESV) 
Here Yeshua is again pointing to the Torah! 

John 12:44-50: 

And Jesus cried out and said, Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me." (ESV)

John 14:23-24:

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (ESV) 

And finally, in John 17 Yeshua is praying to the Father.  In verses 6-8 He says: 

 I have revealed Your Name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have guarded Your Word. Now they have come to know that all You gave to Me, is from You. Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, 
and they believed that You sent Me. (ISR)

According to this last passage in John, Yeshua was telling the Father that His disciples were indeed guarding the Torah! 

Yeshua consistently referred to the Torah. 

Yeshua personally guarded, or said differently - was obedient to the Torah!  

This, I believe, is the "obedience of Christ" that Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) was obedient to the Torah - the words of Yahweh.  We are to imitate our Messiah. Let it be said of me, "Father, Christy has guarded Your Word. Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to her, and she received them."

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2 ESV) 

A list of references in the Book of John alone that refer to Yeshua speaking the Father's Words (there might be more that I missed): 

John 3:32-34
John 5:19
John 6:38-40
John 7:16-17, 19 
John 8:28-32, 38-42 
John 12:44-50
John 14:10, 21, 23-25 
John 15:7-11, 14-20 
John 17:6-8 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Taking Thoughts Captive - Part One

"Nothing is more foundational to your freedom from Satan's bondage than understanding and affirming what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child.  Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life's circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself.  If you see yourself as the helpless victim of Satan and his schemes, you will probably live like a victim and be in bondage to his lies." 

This quote comes from the book, The Bondage Breaker, by Dr. Neil T. Anderson.  I have shared before how Dr. Neil Anderson's ministry, Freedom in Christ Ministries, helped me through some of my darkest times in dealing with depression (click here if you want to read those posts).  Basically what he teaches is that a person's actions reveal what they believe about themselves, and that in order to live freely, a person's thoughts about themselves need to line up with Yahweh's (God's) thoughts about them.  I wholeheartedly agree with that and I personally found freedom because of the work of Dr. Neil Anderson. Praise Yahweh for using people like him to bring healing to many people like me!  He frequently refers to 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says: 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (KJV, emphasis mine)

What does it mean to "bring into captivity every thought", or as some other translations say, "take every thought captive"?  Let me give you an example or two:

When a Follower of Yeshua (Jesus) is thinking something negative like, "I'm so fat and ugly!" they should replace that lie with the truth of the Word with something like, "I am God's workmanship - His handiwork- born anew in Christ to do His work", which is found in Ephesians 2:10.  Another common lie that many people believe is "Nobody loves me", which should be replaced with something like, "I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved" found in Colossians 3:12 and 1 Thessalonians 1:4. That is taking thoughts captive. It truly is liberating when you start focusing on what the Bible says about you rather than what you feel.  Our feelings can be so deceptive!  

I noticed an example of this in my Bible study this week in Deuteronomy 29:16-21

You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them. Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity,in accordance with all the curses of the covenant 
written in this Book of the Law. 
(ESV, emphasis mine)  

This is also echoed in Jeremiah 23:16-17: 

 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
(ESV, emphasis mine) 

How often do you hear the advice to "Follow your heart"? Yeah, not the best idea! Our hearts, our feelings, can be so deceptive!   See Jeremiah 17:9

What I read in Deuteronomy and in Jeremiah was a warning for someone not to do what they wanted to do, what they might feel was alright to do, even though it went against the Word of Yahweh.  That person's feelings and subsequent actions based on those feelings will cause them to be on the receiving end of the anger of Yahweh! Like I said before, our feelings can be so deceptive!  

I know that can cause discomfort to think about.  After all, most of us have been told that God is love, and that He always forgives.  I also know that those passages I just quoted are found in what many call the "Old Testament", and many people will discount the merit of those words because they think they are no longer relevant.  So if that is the case, what do we see in the "New Testament"?  

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
 Hebrews 6:4-8 (ESV, emphasis mine)

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:26-31 (ESV, emphasis mine) 

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:20-22 (ESV, emphasis mine) 

Dr. Anderson also wrote in The Bondage Breaker:
"If what we think does not reflect truth, then what we feel does not reflect reality."  

It is imperative that we have a clear understanding of what truth is.

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17 

 "For you are God, O Sovereign LORD. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant." 2 Samuel 7:28 

"Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Your Law (Torah) is truth." Psalm 119:142

Some people might think I'm crazy or weird because I get excited when I see these things in the Bible!  Yes, it can be unsettling sometimes to be confronted with the truth, but I look at it as my Father wanting me to know Him better and to better know how to live in a way that pleases Him. 

I hope I have clearly explained what it means to take our thoughts captive. There is more that I want to share, but I will wait and share the rest in a part two, where I will address the latter part of 2 Corinthians 10:5, where it says to take our thoughts captive, "into the obedience of Christ."




Thursday, August 24, 2017

Perfect - What does it really mean?

Within the last two weeks or so, I have heard more than one person saying: "God doesn't expect us to be perfect", "I'm not perfect, just forgiven", or something similar.  Just recently, I personally said something like this in my last post. I was referring to my fellowship, and I said, " None of us are perfect, but we are all striving for perfection (Philippians 3:12)." But it was when I read this quote on Twitter, that I really started to think about what was being said:  

"Jesus doesn't expect followers to be perfect, but He does call us to be authentic."   
(emphasis mine)

That just didn't sit well with me; I couldn't help but think about a Princess Bride quote:     


But all kidding aside, after reading that quote, and after giving it some thought, I challenged the author with the verse from Matthew 5:48:

 **Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (KJV)

By the way, when I say I "challenged" the author, I did not mean in a rude way, I was just hoping to have dialogue, which we did, albeit very limited because, after all, it was on Twitter. The author clarified his reasoning, and it helped a little, but I kept thinking about the word "perfect", and how, generally speaking, it isn't understood to be doable.  Personally, I used to have the understanding of "perfect" as always and only meaning "without flaw" or "without sin".  Because I perceived it as unattainable, being perfect seemed to be a somewhat vague notion to me (the same thing with being "holy").  

So, what does it really mean to be "perfect"? 

According to the list I found on site, the first time the word "perfect" is used is found in Genesis 6:9, which reads: 

 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (KJV)

The English word for "perfect" here is the Hebrew word tamiym, which means: 
  1. complete, whole, entire, sound
    1. complete, whole, entire
    2. whole, sound, healthful
    3. complete, entire (of time)
    4. sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity
    5. what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact (neuter adj/subst) 

The next use of the word is in Genesis 17:1: 

 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (KJV)

Both of those verses are referring to men being perfect.  Hmmm!  Well, that makes sense because according to Yeshua, we have been commanded to "be perfect", and if perfect means complete, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity, in accord with truth and fact - well then, that sounds doable to me!  

Is tamiym the only Hebrew word for perfect?  I did find another one in 1 Kings 11:4

 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, 
as was the heart of David his father. (KJV)

Here, the Hebrew word shalem is used, and it means: 

  1. complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace
    1. complete
      1. full, perfect
      2. finished
    2. safe, unharmed
    3. peace (of covenant of peace, mind)
      1. perfect, complete (of keeping covenant relation)


I find this verse referring to Solomon very interesting, because it says that Solomon was not perfect, which according to this definition it means that Solomon was not complete, safe, peaceful, or whole. He was not complete of keeping covenant relation. 

So how does someone become perfect? Would Yeshua tell us to do something that was unattainable?  

I found this picture using my Logos (free) software.  I thought it was a good one to use because the circle in the center reminds me of a target - a mark.  For most of my spiritual life, I heard the definition of sin as "missing the mark".  But the thing is, it was never explained to me what the mark was!  Since I didn't know what the mark, or the target, was, I never really knew if I was even getting close, let alone hitting the target!  

Again, let me refer to the Princess Bride quote, " I do not think it means what you think it means!"  

So what is sin?  

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:  
for sin is the transgression of the law. 
1 John 3:4 (KJV) 

So, imagine with me, if you will, that in the center of the blue circle on the picture above, is the word Law (or, as I prefer, Torah).  THAT is the mark/target!  

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: 
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 
Psalm 19:7 (KJV)

 As for God, his way is perfect
the word of the LORD is tried: 
he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Blessed are the perfect in the way
Who walk in the Torah of Yahweh. 

Something else I looked at during my word study was that the Hebrew word tamiym used in Genesis 6:9, was translated in Greek as teleios (see the LXX Septuagint): 
Genesis 6:9  αὗται δὲ αἱ γενέσεις Νωε Νωε ἄνθρωπος δίκαιος τέλειος ὢν ἐν τῇ γενεᾷ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ εὐηρέστησεν Νωε

Teleios is the word that is used in Matthew 5:48: 

 Matthew 5:48  ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι ὡς πατὴρ ὑμῶν οὐράνιος τέλειός ἐστιν

Teleios means: 

  1. brought to its end, finished
  2. wanting nothing necessary to completeness
  3. perfect
  4. that which is perfect
    1. consummate human integrity and virtue
    2. of men
      1. full grown, adult, of full age, mature

And according to this resource

Cognate: 5046 téleios (an adjective, derived from 5056 /télos, "consummated goal") – mature (consummated) from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal, i.e. developed into a consummating completion by fulfilling the necessary process (spiritual journey). See 5056 (telos).
[This root (tel-) means "reaching the end (aim)." It is well-illustrated with the old pirate's telescope, unfolding (extending out) one stage at a time to function at full-strength (capacity effectiveness).]           (emphasis mine)
For Christ is the end (teleios) of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 
Romans 10:4 (KJV)

Or a better translation (in my opinion) is: 

For Messiah is the goal (teleios) of the ‘Torah unto righteousness’ to everyone who believes. Romans 10:5 (ISR) 

Referring back to Noah and Moses in the Genesis verses, both of the verses said that they "walked", or were to "walk" with Yahweh.  The verses in Psalms talked about the way of Yahweh, and equated it with Yahweh's Torah.  

So, if I am understanding all of this correctly (and I am open to correction if not), then being perfect is not a vague notion that I will never attain.  If the target is the Torah, and the target is Messiah, and if I walk in His ways, I believe that through Yeshua my Messiah,  I can be perfect (tamiym)- complete, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity, in accord with truth and fact.  And when I abide in Yeshua (John 15), I can be perfect (shalem) - complete, safe, peaceful, or whole, and complete of keeping covenant relation. I can be perfect (teleios) as my Father in heaven is perfect!

I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me! 

**Yeshua was quoting Deuteronomy 18:13 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

What ARE We Doing?

A couple of years or so ago, my family and I left the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) that we had been members of for 25 years.  It was not an easy decision, because it had been one of the biggest parts of our lives, and the only church that our children had ever known.  But after having seen things in Scripture that differed with the beliefs and practices of the SBC, and after the Father had released us from our current responsibilities within the congregation, we realized that He was telling us it was time to move on. 

Since our departure, we have sporadically been asked, or we have heard of people asking - what ARE we doing?  Or some may ask, where we are now "going to church".   I am more than happy to share with you what we are doing!

Currently on Friday nights we are hosting a gathering for praise and worship.  We get together for a meal and fellowship, and afterwards we sing songs, share praises that have occurred throughout the week, and/or we share a passage of Scripture that has been meaningful to us. Father has gifted Dwight, Haley, Dawson, and others within the group with musical talents, so they lead us with guitars, piano, percussion, and even at times a shofar!  And if we had the space, there would definitely be dancing!

Praise Yah! Praise Ěl in His set-apart place; Praise Him in His mighty expanse!
Praise Him for His mighty acts; 
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the blowing of the ram’s horn; 
Praise Him with the harp and lyre!

Praise Him with tambourine and dance; 
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with sounding cymbals; 
Praise Him with resounding cymbals!

Let all that have breath praise Yah. 
Praise Yah!
Psalm 150 (ISR) 

This is our way of bringing in the Sabbath together!

A typical Sabbath gathering at our house

"Six days work is done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a set-apart gathering. You do no work, it is a Sabbath to יהוה in all your dwellings." Leviticus 23:3 (ISR)

Sabbath morning, Dwight, Haley, Dawson, and I typically sleep in and relax.  The four of us will usually watch a Bible teaching video together, and then we get ready to go to Bible study later in the day.  We have a pretty good sized group, so we try to alternate where we meet.  Our meetings consist of prayer, and reading and discussing the Torah portion (Torah simply means Instructions, and consists of Genesis-Deuteronomy). Our group is currently following the three year schedule, which means we are just going through the Bible passages at a much slower pace.  This gives us more opportunity to slow down and take in some details that we might otherwise overlook.  We also read and discuss passages from the Prophets and the New Testament.

After our Bible study time, we stay and eat a meal together and fellowship into the night.  We frequently play cards or just sit around and talk.  

In addition to our Sabbath gatherings, our fellowship gets together for Yahweh's other Appointed Times (Leviticus 23).   And Yahweh spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of Yahweh, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these:"  (Lev 23:1-2, ISR)

I emphasized "My appointed times" because so many people (including myself until a few years ago) think that the Feasts are the "Jewish Feasts".  However, Father makes it clear that they are HIS, and this commandment was given to all of Israel, not just the tribe of Judah (Jews).  

Sometimes His Appointed Times are referred to as feasts, festivals, or in Hebrew, moedim.  I have written about them, so please read those posts as well (check out the "labels").  Observing the Father's Appointed Times has been one of the most rewarding aspects of our faith walk! This is when  we get together with the larger Body of Messiah to celebrate His appointed times, remembering what our Messiah has done, and looking forward to what He has yet to do! Last year at Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), we met with around 200+ Believers! It was amazing!  

Dwight reading Scripture at Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles)

A few months ago, some of the ladies in our group decided to start meeting each month to celebrate the New Moon .  This is an appointed time that I had not really realized we were to  observe until recently, but it has also proved to be very rewarding. My desire in starting this gathering was to have ladies of all ages get together to continue to learn the Father's Word, encourage each other, and minister to others outside of our group.  So far we have held a Baby Shower for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (aka Choose Life). There are other ministries that we hope to eventually reach out to and bless. I really hope that we can continue to develop strong relationships with one another and that the younger women/girls, will see how we walk out the Father's Instructions in our lives.  This is still a work in progress, and so far each meeting has been different - which I think is a good thing - as we all have our different personalities and gifts.

 Me blowing a shofar for New Moon
Our small group, fellowship, whatever you want to call us, is a tight-knit group.  We are "doing life together", and it has been a huge blessing! None of us are perfect, but we are all striving for perfection (Philippians 3:12). We are here to help one another with prayer support, encouragement, as well as help with physical needs when they arise.  We also keep each other from looking to the left or right, and stay on the way: 

 Only be strong and very courageous, to guard to do according to all the Torah which Mosheh My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it right or left, so that you act wisely wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7 (ISR) 

Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide – and the way is broad – that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it. Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard-pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

So, there you go. That is what we are doing.

See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity –
Like the precious oil on the head, Running down on the beard, 
The beard of Aharon, Running down on the collar of his robes –

Like the dew of Ḥermon, That comes down on the mountains of Tsiyon. 
For there Yahweh commanded the blessing, 
Life forever!
Psalm 133 (ISR) 

For more information on Yahweh's Feasts, check out the following:

Video series covering who is Israel 

Video on The Lost Sheep of Israel