Tag : change
Tag : change
Passover begins tonight night at Sundown. This is a remembrance of a time when Jews were enslaved in Egypt but to start the process of deliverance, God delivered ten plagues so the Egyptian Pharaoh would be convinced to free the Jewish people. The last plague was the death of the first born child. God’s chosen ones were instructed to take the blood of an unblemished lamb and paint it over their doorframe so the angel of death would pass over their house—and he did. After this act of mercy, God issued a commandment to the Jews to never forget how He acted on their behalf.
“Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ Then the people bowed down and worshiped” (Exodus 12:24–27).
Since being called back to my Jewish roots in 2014, many things have changed in my life but a couple of the most radical changes occurred during last year’s Passover remembrance.
All this began in December 2014 at a shop named “Shorashim” (Meaning in English is “Roots”) in Israel six years ago when God whispered in my ear that even though my Jewish father died before I was born, my Jewish roots never died. I was perplexed. What did that mean? Was I supposed to attend a Messianic synagogue? Take Hebrew?
While it took a couple of years, I now attend a monthly Shabbat service at our church and I am finishing up Hebrew at The King’s University. Yes, I can now read Hebrew passages in the Bible. It is thrilling! But last Passover, I fasted not only from pork, which I now do during every Jewish festival, but also from bread. It was during that time that I:
It was a powerful Passover during a very difficult season. But this Passover, we are in a different place, aren’t we? We are starting to come out of the Pandemic, and here in Texas it’s feeling a little more normal. Regardless, tonight I will begin another fast for seven days. Here’s what I know applies to all of us. When we fast out of obedience, or to seek answers, God is faithful. Sometimes He will shift our direction in a very exciting way when we take the time to put aside our own agenda and listen. If I had not fasted last Passover, it would have been “business as usual” and I would have missed an exciting turn of events in my life. This Passover, or maybe it’s Easter week for you, consider going even deeper with God through a fast and be prepared for him to reveal his magnificent plan for your life.
2020 seems like something out of a science fiction movie and I’m still asking myself Was it all a bad dream? Will I wake up soon?
But we all know the Global Pandemic, now knocking on 2021’s door, is real. And despite the severity of COVID-19, it still provided many lessons, life changes and revelations about what is important. As I reflect on how this pandemic affected me, I am praying you will take the time to do some deep thinking today about how your life changed through one of our world’s greatest trials.
I learned we are not in control. While I’ve known this for a long time, it was eye-opening to see that the entire world can be taken down. Ironically, as I end my year in the Chronological Bible, I am finishing in Revelation. Revelation is a book in the Bible about the end of the world as we know it. After experiencing this worldwide viral outbreak, Revelation seems even more fathomable.
I learned I really love people. I miss getting together with friends at lunch. I am longing for our church small group to meet in person again. For many months, our church only met online and I felt a void in my life without corporate worship. God designed people for community and when you are extroverted, the isolation is even more difficult.
I found out God shifts our direction while in isolation. If it had not been for the pandemic, I would not have written an apologetics book about Jewish roots designed to reach my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would never have entered school again to work on a Doctor of Ministry.
I would not be teaching online to the Pakistani people and seeing scores of Pakistanis give their lives to Christ. I would have been too busy working in our Pearls of Promise ministry to see this detour. Often, it is in the silence that God speaks the loudest.
I realized I needed to slow down. I had been moving so fast speaking, writing and planning and participating in events, that I did not realize I was exhausted. I needed a hard stop to refuel and spend some downtime at home. This was a type of reset in my life.
I had to make a choice—will I be faithful or fearful? Before the pandemic, I was slightly claustrophobic. I did not like anything over my nose, so wearing a mask was my worst nightmare. However, I learned that through prayer, I could do it. And that’s the way it is for every aspect of what is going on. Every morning, I ask God for the strength to get through the day, and I pray for His protection over my family from COVID-19. So far, we have all escaped the wrath of this virus.
God does his most life-changing work during the worst of situations.
Paul wrote most of the Bible while in chains. The apostle John received his revelation about end times in exile. The Israelites witnessed the greatest power and presence of God while in the wilderness.
And I believe as we continue to seek His help during this global pandemic, He will continue to perform a magnificent work in all of us believers as well.
I heard it said that not all positive change feels positive in the beginning. That is where I find myself in my life now. Maybe you are in the same place too. In my life, jobs are changing, moving is inevitable, and a season in life is ending while another begins. But what if we could challenge ourselves to find the blessings in changes we may not have wanted?
My friend, Moina, and I have been going through some really tough changes in our lives. We both lost loved ones, both our husbands had major health issues, and both our children have grown from at-home to on their way to adulthood. These changes could have crushed our hope and our faith, but Moina and I didn’t want that to happen to us!
After crying to each other over all we have survived, we decided to make a pact. We promised to text each other daily with three things we are grateful for. We started with our husbands, family, health, homes, jobs—and slowly we have gotten to the point where we have to really ponder what we are truly grateful for.
Just today, I texted I am grateful we have choices. I am grateful that things never stay the same. I am grateful for books. I was talking with my husband about the up-and-coming move and the options we had and then went to enjoy a lovely book. She texted she was grateful for the Colorado skies, warm sun, and the beautiful mountains. I’m sure she was driving to work and was feeling blessed to live under the mountains that inspired the phrase “purple mountains majesty.”
Over the last month of texting back and forth, all our problems have disappeared…NOT! But, what has happened is a change in our hearts. While I can’t speak for Moina, I can say that my heart is open to change. My heart is loving the opportunity to tackle whatever comes with gratitude. Mostly, my heart is happy. My body is tired, but that’s another story.
Gratitude brings to light our blessings, big and small. Gratitude can help anyone see the positive in changes, even when changing doesn’t seem like a blessing, at first.
Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18)
You are invited to join us for this month’s POP Chat on ZOOM, Wednesday September 30th at 6:30 p.m. Our guest speaker is KCBI (Dallas) Morning Show Host, Author, and Popular Speaker, Rebecca Carrell, who will be presenting the message, “You Become What You Behold.”
Our Worship Leader for this month’s event will be Author and Radio Host on the Fishbowl Radio Network, Donna Renay Patrick. Donna is on the Music Staff at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Denton, Texas.
To sign up, just click on the link! https://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z