Here Comes the Groom

Weekly Sabbath Survey
 Here Comes the Groom —  3-11-2017
Wedding traditions: every culture and ethnicity has theirs. The clothing, the ceremony, the decor, the food. Some things have roots in superstition. Like it’s ‘bad luck’ for the groom to see the bride on their wedding day until she’s walking down the aisle. Others are cultural with roots way back, like jumping the broom and throwing the bride’s garter for the lucky single guy to catch or the bride’s bouquet for the young ladies.
By God’s own design, much of what we do at weddings mirrors His laws and His plan for us. None is more obvious than the Jewish wedding ceremony. Today it’s modernized and lost some of the rich symbolism which was once a part of the ceremony. A wedding in context of the Bible will give us a great picture. It’s easy because the Yemenite Jews in Israel today still have the old, old wedding traditions.
After two families make an agreement for betrothal, the parties all sign a legal contract of marriage. The wedding ceremony is a formality and celebration, but once the legal, binding contract is signed, the couple is already man and wife. No date is set. The couple each stay with their own parents, while the groom ‘prepares a place’ for them to live. They may see each other (like dating) if they live near. When his father says the place he’s made is ready, word is passed along so the village women can begin to prepare, but only the groom’s father can say exactly when. Does any of this sound familiar?
So when The Father decides the time is right, the groom gets himself bathed and dressed to meet his bride. When the groom and his friends start walking down the street toward the bride’s home, the single girls in the entourage go along carrying oil lamps, because the groom always arrives after sundown. Villagers join them as they go along, laughing and chattering with excitement. The best man runs ahead to the bride’s home, yelling all the way, “The groom is coming! The groom is coming!!!” During this time the preceding week or so, the bride has been in a constant state of readiness every day. She had her wedding clothes and jewelry laid out and ready. She bathed each afternoon in water perfumed with oils. All she had to do was slip out of her night dress, fix her hair, put on the wedding dress, veil and jewelry. Her married friends, her sisters and her mother help get her gussied up, and she is, of course, gorgeous. She is ready for her husband’s arrival. Rev. 19:7 says “The bride has made herself ready.”
As the groom’s party approaches the young men hoist him up seated in a chair so he arrives like a king of old. The people cheer for the groom. He is the centerpiece of the wedding. He shouts his wife’s name. She comes out and is seated in a chair beside him. The Rabbi addresses them with admonitions of love and respect for one another, and prayers that many children be born to them. Then, the dancing and feasting begins and goes on into the night. The men dance together in one circle, the women in another. At some point, the groom gives the bride one end of a scarf and he holds the other. With it stretched between them, they dance. She is still veiled. After they dance, she quietly slips away into the marriage tent which was set up by their friends and furnished with food, wine, sheets and pillows, whatever they might need. The groom waits a short while, giving the bride time to remove her wedding regalia and ‘slip into something more comfortable.’  When he comes to join her, the best man stands outside the tent’s door to make sure nobody bothers or teases them. The singing and dancing and rejoicing continues far into the night.
I have no idea when or how or why our customs changed to make the bride the star of the wedding. But no matter what our customs are, when Jesus returns for His bride, He will be coming as a mighty King for a bride that adores Him and has been making herself ready for a very long time. At that moment, every eye will be fastened on The Groom.
The first time I read that the bride MADE HERSELF READY, I realized I was just sitting around waiting for the Lord to change me (like a baby’s diaper!). Not good enough!! He does change us, but at my stage in development as a Believer, I knew that very day I had to start doing some things myself!! I might make heaven like I was, His blood and all that, but if I wanted more, if I wanted to be a part of The Bride, I needed to start preparing myself. I’m still working on it!
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to The Groom: for the marriage supper of The Lamb is come and his wife has made herself ready. He says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come Lord Jesus.  Revelation 19:7, 22:17  
Scroll down for photo of modern Jewish Yemenite Bride . . .

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please)  September 2015
Comments are welcome. Subscribe or contact me at: RedHen1944@aol.com 

 

Which Field?

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Which Field?  —  3-4-2017
I have often encouraged others to see themselves as ‘in the ministry.’ All Born Again Believers are (should be) in something they know they are doing for the Lord. Taking care of elderly parent? Rearing children? Making an honest living for your family?  MINISTRY!!!  And there are other forms of ministry more recognized as such. At times, the difference lies in whether we realize what we do is ministry for the Lord. There are two “fields” where we work for Him.
The Wheat Field.  This is ministry done close to home, where enemies are bugs, lack of water, and the occasional cattle breakthrough which invades and damages your field.  Metaphorically these would be demonic interference, low level of Holy Spirit, and attacks of illness or accidents that harm people. But the worst problem is workers arguing with each other.This field is a ‘one another’ ministry. The workers occupy positions with titles defining the row they should hoe. Some teach and preach, others give comfort, and fellowship. Most of the Believers rarely venture away from the Wheat Field area.
The Battle Field.  Most (but not all) of this ministry takes place outside the confines of the fenced field. Much time away from home and family. This is the “out of the synagogue” minister Jesus talked about, beyond the four walls of The Building. Missionaries, street ministries, coffee houses, soup kitchens and other outreach. These deal with all manner of spiritual warfare with humans and devils, including at times workers from the Wheat Field who have wandered off and gotten lost in the Battlefield. This kind of ministry requires alone time with the Lord. Much prayer and study. In time these ministers “see” and “hear” truths from God like John on Patmos. They get their marching orders from God. Sometimes they bring lost lambs back to the Wheat Field. And they bring back words hard to hear, truth sometimes not believed by the Wheat People. There is a difference between “doing work” and “doing battle.” Neither ministry is easy, but warfare is the most brutal.
Some go back and forth between the two fields, working one and then rotating back to the other. But most of us have a calling and if we obey, we will stay put most of the time in that calling. It’s as the Lord leads. We grow, and eventually age naturally, so the Lord may move us into a difference venue. But for some, the Battlefield, its solitude and simplicity, is a way of life forever. Hudson Taylor in China and Amy Carmichael in India were dedicated, called to foreign missions people. They died on the Battlefield. (I urge you to research these miracle working people who overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.)
There are Battle Field workers who serve right at home. They work in their own native country, but outside the confines of organization and walls. They have contact with other Believers, but maintain their calling away from meetings and such. Some who serve this way do so a few years, even many years, then return to the old home grounds of the Wheat Field for a comfy retirement of sorts. (Servants of God never really retire!) They dispense wisdom and cheer on the younger folks. Some of them are like the old water wagon fire horses of long ago. These horses lived out their golden years in a nice pasture behind the Fire House. Whenever the fire bell started clanging, they ran to the gate with the other horses, but when they were left behind as the younger horses were chosen, when the wagons pulled away into the street the old horses would run around, bucking, pitching, snorting, stomping the ground and whinnying. They were still ready to get to the fire if they could. In their hearts they were fire horses until they died. I have known several older Godly ministers who were just like that! If someone gave them a chance to ‘say a few words’, they were always ready!
The final question here is: Do you, dear reader, know which field you are called into? There is a limited number of spiritual hoes in the Wheat Field. Many people sit around chatting with one another, but doing no actual work. If your title is “Most Faithful Pew-sitter” you need to reconsider the meaning of “ministry.”  If there is no place for you to help inside (no hoe for you), you might ask God if He is calling you outside! (Bridge ministry?  Nursing Home?)
Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  Mark 16:15, Luke 9:2 
 
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please)    September 2015
Comments are welcome. Subscribe or contact me at: RedHen1944@aol.com 

 

Parable of the Hen’s Egg

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Parable of the Hen’s Egg —  1-28-2017
Hens Acre Farm has around 30 laying hens and 2 roosters. They’re a blessing. Not just for the eggs but because the Lord teaches me things through them. They have a little society operating in the flock, like a village. The white rooster is the mayor, and the ol’ red roo is mayor emeritus. A dear friend encouraged me to write about the comparison of God’s ministry and the work of the laying hen. While these ladies may ‘go broody’ and want to hatch babies, this is not their primary function. They are here to produce eggs. As Christians, some of us are just automatically drawn to Baby Christians. They may actually be children or they can be newly Born Again adults. Either way, the work is intense and many times, the hours are long. If we had to name this type of chicken, they would be the shepherds, caretakers, Sunday School teachers. They are continually taking care of people.
A minister/preacher with the call to produce fruit, would be like a laying hen. Not the motherly type so much, but a producer of food. They preach the sermons, write the books, do the Bible studies. They are more about God and His Word than dealing with people and their problems (although they do some of that, too.) The problem with the ‘laying hen’ ministry is our society is very results oriented. We put in our dollar, push the right button, and expect a Coke to drop out. When I was preaching I could see who was paying attention and who was snoozing or zoning out. I would find the ones who were making eye contact and look from one to the other. I wanted results and those people with open eyes were it. Now that I’m writing most of what God gives me to say, there isn’t always apparent results. (I counsel and mentor by telephone, e-mail and in person, so get results those ways.)  But this writing thing is kind of a shot in the dark. Many times, I don’t know if I have hit anything! Thinking too much about results can lead to discouragement, even depression. You get the blues. Start thinking, what’s the use??  Is there even anybody out there?
The laying hen begins her day with search for food. The Believer Hen (you guys pretend here) must be well nourished (in God’s Word) to produce the most “eggs” and most nutritious. If I write something that isn’t God-breathed, it will not help anybody. Once the hen has the inspiration for laying her egg, she finds a quiet place (usually a nest box provided by the farmer) and sits for a spell. Once she lays her egg, she soon jumps out of the nest and begins to cackle. This is her happy dance, the moment of joy at producing her egg. Bock, bock, bock, pea-gock!  She wanders into the yard does a couple more bock, bocks, and then starts foraging for food again. The other chickens pay no attention to her, she’s celebrating on her own.
In the ministry, we do the same thing. We hear from God, get in quiet place to pray about what we will say or write. When we ‘deliver’ our message, we have a moment of euphoria, a joy at having produced something for the Lord. The hen has no idea what happens to her egg. In fact she has already forgotten about it before it has cooled off. She did her thing and moved on. The next day she does it all again. This is where we mess up. Getting too mentally involved with what good we did or didn’t do. What has happened to that person in a cafe we prayed with for salvation?  Did anybody read what we wrote?  Did somebody that really needed it actually “get it” for the first time? Did 50% of the congregation sleep through my sermon? And there we are, depressed and feeling useless because we don’t know what the Divine Farmer did with our egg.
The cure is to get back in there and write another egg!! Or, prepare for the next speaking engagement. Get with the Lord for inspiration on what comes next for you. Press quickly on to the next thing God tells you to do. Don’t just sit there and worry yourself sick over whether your ministry is of any value. If God called you, your ministry is valuable.
One more thing: when the hen has laid her clutch, which is all the eggs her body had ready to produce in a cycle, she takes a REST. Setting hens want to hatch the babies at this time. They rest sitting on their eggs. The laying hen (not setter) stops laying, and she will lose feathers (called molting). She makes new feathers while resting from making eggs. If God made even chickens to rest from their ministry, why do we think we can go on and on forever without rest? We get ministry burnout. People in ordained-by-man ministry do this all the time. The amateurs have a better track record, I think. Maybe because we go on without man’s approval and maybe even his disapproval, we have a lesser need for the applause as time goes on. Even Jesus rested from constant ministry, drawing Himself away from the crowds.
Take my yoke [of ministry] upon you, and let me teach you: for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for the yoke I give fits comfortably and the burden I give is light. Matthew 11:29-30

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  August 2016

 

Hebrew Perspective Part # One

Weekly Sabbath Survey
Hebrew Perspective – Part One  —  1-7-2017
From time to time, readers question the whole Jewish thing I do. I’ve been asked if I’m Jewish or wanting to become a Jew. I’m not Jewish by birth, but by being a grafted in Believer in the Jewish Messiah. I believe we don’t have to necessarily change our Earthly affiliations. God will show us. I honestly no longer identify with a building or have any interest in belonging to a “church” or synagogue. I “belong” to Jesus and to His people wherever they are. I believe a church is where two or three are gathered in His name. I’m most interested in attaining “the mind of Christ” which happens to be a Jewish mind. I can’t change my Gentile DNA, but I believe I can become a spiritual Hebrew. I can be Messianic rather than what most “Christians” are today. It is true, of all the changes we make in life, changing our MIND is one of the most difficult. But right here at the beginning of a new year seems the perfect time for me to throw out a challenge concerning that whole mind changing thing. Especially in the case of considering a more Hebrew-type of faith and practice.
Here’s what we are up against: It is a matter of where our ‘faith’ came from. It has its roots in the first followers of Jesus. But it morphed with the years, changed, and in time came to be called “Christianity”.  I think of Christianity as an olive tree. It has roots and top branches that should produce good olives. But we continually DENY and IGNORE our roots in an ancient Hebrew culture and faith. So our roots now draw from another source besides Jewish. We’ve got a MIX. And many of us don’t seem to see that as a problem. The fruit we make is something less than the Jewish olives of the First Century “Believers in The Way.” Our olives are still wild because we are not fully grafted into the cultivated Jewish olive tree. Our olives (our spiritual accomplishments) are small. The material success of some churches and mega ministries is dubious at best.) The Age we are in now demands better!

If the roots aren’t right, the fruit isn’t either. We have an unstable foundation and keep building on it anyway. We get our building up, but is isn’t right. Even if we just forget about the whole Jewish thing, how can any of us say Christianity or more correctly “Churchianity” is NOT One Big Mess? The foundation is made up of our fundamental beliefs. If we believe Christianity is the religion Jesus started, or His human form was something other than a totally observant Torah-keeping Jew, or any number of other false beliefs, we are off into the woods as lost as Hansel and Gretel.

I often refer to “The Gentile Mind Set” or “The Greco-Roman Belief System.” I was reading a book recently and the author called it “The Western Cultural Perspective.” It means the faith we claim as our own began as part of an ancient Asian culture. It came from a God who said He is the same yesterday, today and forever. But rather than go over to that faith in our thinking and practice, we high-jacked it from the first Believers, and drug it over to our side of the planet. It went from the Middle East to Western Europe, courtesy of Constantine and the Roman Empire. There, the faith of Jesus was mingled with Celtic, Stonehenge and other pagan beliefs. We read the Sacred Text, think of it and understand it like Westerners. Over a lot of time, we have crafted it into something in our minds that bears only some resemblance to what and who Jesus and His friends were. (I know this is an awful truth for some of us to hear!)
The Scriptures, both Old and New, should be interpreted according to ancient Hebrew understanding. (This is the way Jesus and His first followers understood it and lived it.) The Holy Book is not Greek. The Greek methods of study are simply inadequate. Some scholars in various disciplines have come to believe Hebrew may be the original language of Earth. It is very much a spiritual language. But the battle is uphill to make sense of a spiritual document by reading it like it is Greek philosophy or a Roman legal agreement. We have modern translations that in some places skew the text even worse than the older versions did.
Jewish scholars can study their Torah at four levels understanding. Greeks (that’s us) study their Bibles at one, maybe two levels. With the Jews, ALL are expected to study the Scriptures. A person may stop at whatever level they wish and go no further. With us, it’s two levels: clergy and laity. Some Bible scholars among us get up to other levels. Seminarians are taught that lay people only get confused if they study too much. So there’s no shame in using your Bible once a week to look up the sermon verse. The failure to make room for the various levels makes for SO MUCH arguing among us. Both persons may be right, just at different levels of understanding. But our system doesn’t allow for that. We all have to believe alike (which is usually whatever the preacher is saying), or one of us has to leave and, of course, start another church!
Part Two next week

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  August 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing

 

Snag

Weekly Sabbath Survey
The Hate Snag —  12-31-2017
Snag.  a rough, sharp or jagged part of something on which clothing or skin may be caught, possibly causing damage; a concealed or unexpected difficulty or obstacle which impedes forward progress.
Snare. a contrivance often consisting of a noose for entangling birds or small mammals; a trap; something by which one is impeded, captured, or involved in difficulties; something deceptively attractive.
Most of us outdoorsy types have been working in the yard or around the barn and gotten our sweater or shirt hung on a fence wire or stray a nail. Or, we caught ourselves between two strands of barbwire as we crawled through the three-wire strand fence. If you are moving pretty fast, a tear results and the offending barb or snag may cause a painful scratch. It may be a case in which you cannot easily free yourself after being snagged. You may untangle yourself or get help and keep going, but damage has been done.
All Believers should be aware of the perils of wandering away from the path of righteousness and getting into spiritual trouble. Today’s subject is about being snagged by hate. Snagged is a forerunner of being fully snared, and maybe captured by an attractive deception. For Born Again people, it is difficult, if not impossible at times, for us to recognize that we are snagged by hate and/or unforgiveness or some other negative thing. We are busy feeling offended or having hurt feelings, and so deceived we don’t see our emotions have descended into that unforgiving Hate Place. It takes a good friend telling us, or the Lord’s mercy through Holy Spirit, for us to understand just how far we are off the mark.
If we persist in weeks, months, or even years of “snagged and proud of it” we will go on down into snared. The difference is the definition above with the word ‘noose’.  Who can deny this is a bad spot to be in?  Bitterness isn’t far away now, and neither is the danger of losing out on what God has for us. I heard a preacher say, “Hating another person is like taking poison yourself and hoping the other person dies.”  It is spiritual poison for us to have these very caustic feelings toward even our worst enemies.
Most of us who have been in church for any length of time, or even in our own family, have had the opportunity to observe persons overshadowed by bitterness. It shows on their face, and comes out of their mouth in what they say. When I was younger, I wondered what was wrong with some people. Why did they appear to be slightly angry, frowning ALL the time. Even their laughter sounded hollow. No real joy in it. The Lord opened my eyes to spiritual things that cannot be observed any other way. Hurts and disappointments, things done to us by other people and the buried unforgiveness that snags us so easily. No one is immune to this. And it can happen over and over, even though we have been through it before. In my own case, my latest time of testing was a few years ago over a deep and hateful dislike for a political figure. When I saw him on TV, something angry rose up inside me. And when I spoke of this person in conversation, in time it sounded venomous even to me! It took a slap upside the head from the Good Lord to make me SEE. I was freed and am no longer snagged nor snared by it. (Still don’t like the guy, but no HATE.)
Am I talking heaven or hell? I should never judge that part. We can’t even know our own heart without a ‘God Reveal.’ But my thought is, why risk it? The weird and sick “enjoyment” of keeping hate around like a dangerous pet snake is NOT worth the risk it poses for missing eternal life!! Remember the ‘deceptively attractive’ part of this process?  It somehow seems good to us to keep hating. We must wake up! Repent. Put all bitter angry hateful feelings away from us like poisoned food an enemy has offered us.
In this I can testify: I have been snagged. I have been snared. I have even felt the noose! (loosely)  But I have been set free. Jesus came to set the captives free!!  And He does it for us over and over again.
Our soul escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers. The snare is broken and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:7-8

 

Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah                                                     
Copyright  July 2016
WSS’s are posted and archived for viewing