I am going to apologize in advance. I will probably step on some toes here, and I HATE stepping on toes but I need to be up front and honest about where God has us and how we got to this place. I am not at all saying that anyone else should follow our path, this is where God has lead us, very clearly and surely. And truthfully– hrough many tears and ” but LORD I don’t WANT to”s. Just giving you a heads up. And may I say that one of the hardest parts of going Messianic (or Hebraic or however you want to call it– we are whole Bible including the Torah– not to be saved–that is only through Messiah who died and rose again but instead to show our love for the God who created the Torah in the first place including obedience to how He wants to be worshiped. That said there are as many vehement interpretations of Torah and how to obey as there are types of Evangelical Christian and we have spent the last few months wading through all sorts of information and prayerfully separating the chaff from the wheat. (There is so much more information still to go through but we are taking things one step at a time and applying as God leads not as people tell us we should. If you are female, you may remember what it was like to be pregnant and then have a new baby and everyone under the sun was giving you advice on how to do everythign and what was healthy and what wasn’t? Yeah, that is what it feels like.) As soon as we figure something out God moves us to something else and as Shamus said the other day, it is apparent He wants us to stay on the edge and set apart– and it is like that for everything– our work life, the foods we eat, the way we learn, the way we live, and our life in Christ.
Our first Passover has been an interesting experience. We are blessed that it falls the same week as the traditional Easter/Resurrection celebration this year as it makes things easier for our family– who all celebrate Easter/Resurrection Day. We never went in for the bunny (or Santa for that matter) so that simplified things a lot but this year we are not celebrating the Catholic church’s holiday either (and Easter is the Catholic church’s holiday even though other Christian denominations have taken it on. They are the ones who stopped celebrating Passover switching to Easter and changed the Sabbath day to Sunday and I left the Catholic church when I first married and see no reason to do things their way now. We figure if we are going to say that the Bible is true then we are going to live by it fully and leave off the traditions of man unless they are something that Jesus specifically did (or that the disciples continued after His death and resurrection).
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your God” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
This is the verse that the Lord has placed on my heart and this is what we are sticking to. The problem is that there is so much out there and as we are only now learning Hebrew slowly it is hard to be discerning. So, this is where we come back to tons of prayer and step by step obedience. As we obey in one thing He reveals another that we need to do. It is so much like back when we were baby Christians that it is just plain silly.
One of the things we did was clear out the yeast. Since we are on the GAPS diet this one wasn’t that hard except for Shamus, or it wasn’t until we started realizing how far the yeast has traveled in our house. You see before the GAPS diet saltines were a way of life. They were cheap and easy to get a hold of in a form that no one was allergic to and the kids had a habit of taking them into other rooms. There were cracker bits in every corner of the entire house and despite a deep cleaning and several sweepings I KNOW we didn’t get all the cracker crumbs. It was an amazing lesson for all of us. Every time we thought we found them all we would find more. It is the same way with sin, as soon as you think you have extricated it you find another area that is even harder to reach and deeper ingrained.
After we spent the day (I had cleaned prior but the girls were very sick all week so we really didn’t get to it till Sunday) scrubbing and cleaning and scrubbing some more I found out that the day we thought Passover started wasn’t the same for everyone. Some started on one date some another and I panicked thinking I had messed up, again. Then I found out that we were all right, it was just another of those you say po-tae-to I say po-tau-t0 questions and we just needed to stick with what we started and we were fine.
Choosing the calendar is the next thing on the list. Prayerfully and carefully choosing which calendar we are going by. So I am reading up on the calendar and learning about the hows and why’s of the different ones. Also looking at what others are using (but all of my friends seem to be using different calendars for different reasons.)
We did have parts of a traditional Seder–lamb, matzah (homemade), charoset, wine though we did not follow the traditional Seder prayers etc. We have not gotten that far and have not felt led in that at this point. We will see what God does in this area in the future, for now we are content to move as He leads.
The kids got multiple library books out on Passover and are more excited about celebrating this than they ever were about Easter/Resurrection Day. As they keeping saying, “It just makes sense, more so than any other holiday we have celebrated.”
Finally, today, after much prayer and watching several videos about the origins of various traditions, namely this and this–the firs tone is there as well but wasn’t nearly as interesting. I knew most of these things from previous research but God convicted us all after watching these. This is especially true as we just went through Judges, Chronicles, and Kings and over and over again heard about how despite worshiping God they “did not take down the high places”. All of us had wondered aloud about this. Why didn’t they destroy the high places, especially if they weren’t worshiping there. Yesterday it finally occurred to us. They were holding onto them because they were family traditions. They weren’t hurting anything, they were just there, just like the idols that Rachel stole from her father’s house, and all the other idols that at first were just held onto and later became worshiped. Today, after much prayer and discussion (and extreme conviction) we threw out all the extras– the Christmas decorations and very few Easter decorations. We kept lights– we plan to use blue and white lights for Hanukkah and have promised the kids a real menorah and dreidel and presents for each of the 8 days– they are thrilled beyond belief and happily went through and removed the Santas, Christmas trees, and other Christmas decorations from the household. It took a bit of tears on our part, especially mine as my mother adored Christmas and LOVED Santa, but all the more reason to remove them. My kids never did Santa or the Bunny– we didn’t want to confuse them since Santa is so similar to Jesus, but he crept in and we had plenty of them around. They seem innocuous but we have seen too many children confused by them (in fact I know a child who thought Santa was God) and we don’t want to add anything to God’s plan for worship. Just like the yeast it is amazing to see all the places we found the decorations– we searched the house top to bottom and I am sure I still have missed quite a few. So, as hard as it was, and as much as I know it will cause division, again– I swear everything we do causes division, it is done and we are doing it. The most amazing thing was once we go past the initial “don’t wanna” it was relieving, even exciting and definitely freeing. We didn’t give any of it away, we just tossed or burned it as material demanded. And like I said, it was amazing to see how happy the kids were to do it–I didn’t expect that, I expected a fight or at least a few tears (there were a few but they were more about getting rid of things of my mother’s not about the celebrations or decorations themselves.)
This is not to say that we are telling anyone else to give up these things, it is what God has lead us to do. As far as family goes, we are not celebrating but plan to get together per usual with family members around these holidays and will do gifts as they are called for (our gifts are always small anyway and the kids have never been used to piles of gifts at Christmas so that is not a problem.)
God is calling us to remove the high places in our lives, and get rid of our ancestors idols and this was an area that we felt led to do so. No idea what He gives us next but it should be interesting. We’ll just take things one step at a time–anything more would be too exhausting. (And in case you are wondering–Shamus is 100% on board with all of this, I am just writing from my own and the kids point of view because he wasn’t actively involved in the great purging.)
The cool thing is that God blessed us amazingly today during our obedience. After several hours and 5 huge garbage bags full of stuff and even more burning, we got a knock on the door. It was the mailman bearing the sample of the card game I worked on (you can see it here) AND a box from a friend containing 2 laptops (one a tablet!!! and the other a gaming laptop!), 2 cameras, 2 memory cards, batteries and charger, and a mini tripod! And then, as we were working some more a neighbor (the one who mows the back half of our property) came over and asked if we wanted the crab apple trees out back cut down and said he would do it!!! YES! This is something we have wanted to do and have just been unable to do due to lack of funds.
So, God blessed us in our obedience to Him. Some would say, well those things would have happened anyway– whatever. I haven’t talked to this neighbor in over a year and though I knew the laptops were likely coming they weren’t supposed to come for sometime–I was just expecting the card game to come in the next few days. And I didn’t know about the other things that came–which are amazing and a replacement for several broken items in the house.
Here are some of the sites that have been included in my research (don’t agree 100% with all –just some of the stuff I have run across and find interesting.) There are tons more, these were just the ones I had open this morning while reading and praying over decisions.
Again, this is where we are and where He has led us. We don’t expect you to do the same, it is just where He has led us. And just like doing the GAPS diet it is HARD but the goal is not to take the easy way but to go where He leads us. And it is nothing if not interesting and definitely an adventure. 🙂