The Clarion, Dec. 2021

Volume 2, Issue 12    www.judeochristianclarion.com               December, 2021

                                                     


Welcome

December is a great month because it is the month of lights. There is Hanukkah and Christmas. Though Hanukkah began in November it will end here in December. What a special time because God is the God of light. Yeshua said that “He was the Light of the world” and so are we. This is  just as important as celebrating that great victory and miracle of Hanukkah. This is especially as important as the birth of Messiah because He is Light. The time of Messiah’s birth is celebrated during the Feast of Booths, the feast day’s theme is “God with Us”. But because this is a time of Light, we celebrate the fact the Messiah is Light.

Genesis 1:1-3 says this, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

If God didn’t think that Light wasn’t important, He would not have created it first. But He did, because He did not like the darkness and so He separated Himself from the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says this, You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…Shine on everyone and have a Blessed Season of Light.


For God so Loved Us

I think more often than not we quote John 3:16, “ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life,” and we do not really think about the true meaning of this verse.

Let’s break this all down and take a closer look at this Scripture.

We know that God is love. 1 John 4:16 tells us that. But that does not tell the whole story.  The story goes back even before Creation.  It was God’s love that caused Him to create. Like any good project, you have to plan and that is just what our Creator did. Even before the foundation of the world God knew you and I. He not only knew us, but He had a plan for each of our lives. And that plan was to send His Son into the world to save us. Yes, God knew that man would fall and that He would need to be saved. Let’s look closer at His plan. Ephesians 1:3-12 says  this, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Messiah Yeshua, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Messiah Yeshua to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace  which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him,  regarding His plan of the fullness of the times, to bring all things together in Messiah, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the plan of His will,  to the end that we who were the first to hope in the Messiah would be to the praise of His glory.”

Did you see it? He chose us before the foundation of the world. In love He predestined us to be His adopted children. Regarding His plan, in just the right time, will bring all things together in Messiah. We haven’t even reached that point yet, when Messiah will rule over all eternity.  And in accordance to His plan we have obtained an inheritance because of having been predestined. All of this before He even began to create. But there is more. Before God could create He had to pull back part of Himself to have a place for us. In our Bible Study, “In the Beginning,” I compared it to Isaiah 6:1, which speaks of the train of God’s robe filling the Temple. Now imagine the train of His robe that filled the Temple, as God being everywhere, and so He had to pull back on His train to leave some space in the Temple for us. Now Isaiah tells us that God was high and lifted up and His glory filled the Temple, so for God to diminish Himself took an act of love.

This was all before He created. There was  nothing but love on God’s part for us. He did not even withhold Himself for us. Now going forward we see that God sent His only begotten Son. Yeshua is the Word made flesh. Yershua said, “I and the Father are one,” John:10:30. 

Hebrews 1:1-4 tells us, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.  So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”

And John 1:1-4 also says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” 

1 Peter 1: 20 tells us, “ He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.” 

Well the time came and God sent His Son in the likeness of man to dwell among us as Phillipians 2:5-7 tell us,  “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Messiah Yeshua, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men.”

Once again we see God in His love for us sending His Son, a part of Himself, emptied and a bond-servant, leaving behind all of His glory that He knew before the foundation of the world. Once again God diminishes Himself for us. Yeshua was tempted as a man, grew tired as a man and felt sorrow and pain like a man. 

For God so loved us that He sent His only begotten Son, so man would not perish.

1 John 3:1a,  “See how great a love the Father has given us, that we would be called children of God; and in fact we are.” 

But that is not all of the story.  Yeshua died so that we can inherit salvation and eternal life, and so that we can be made righteous and be called the children of God. Let’s take a closer look at this.

Isaiah  53:2-11 says this, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot,    and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind,    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain   and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God,  stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions,   He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,   and by his 

wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray,   each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him    the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted,    yet he did not open his mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,  so He did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away.  Yet who of his generation protested? For He was cut off from the land of the living;  for the transgression of My people He was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence,nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer,  and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see his offspring and prolong His days,   and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered,    He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many,    and he will bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 52:13-15 tells us, “See, my servant will act wisely;    He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at Him—

   His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and His form marred beyond human likeness— so He will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of Him. For what they were not told, they will see,

    and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

Even though Yeshua suffered to the point that you could not recognize Him, the most painful of it all was being totally separated from the Father, something not even the most evil has experienced. The God of glory diminished Himself and emptied Himself and even separated Himself from Himself so that we could be saved. What love! As 1 John 3: 1-3  tells us, “ See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Messiah appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is.  All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

Today, I have a question to ask you. If you celebrate Christmas, and you have any kind of Santa Claus in your decorations or celebrations, then I ask, “What did he ever do for you?”

 “We love because He first loved us.”


Recipe Corner:

This festive time of year deserved a festive desert.

We hope you enjoy the one we chose.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake by Delish

INGREDIENTS:

Cooking spray

3 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 c. sour cream

1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. peppermint extract

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. chopped chocolate, plus more for garnish

1/2 c. chopped white chocolate, plus more for garnish

1/2 c. chopped candy canes, plus more for garnish

FOR THE OREO CRUST

24 Peppermint Oreos

5 tbsp. melted butter

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

3/4 c. hot heavy cream

1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350º and spray an 8″ springform pan with cooking spray. Make filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then sour cream, flour, peppermint extract, vanilla, and salt. Gently fold in chopped chocolates and candy canes and set aside.
  • Make crust: In a food processor or in a large Ziploc bag, crush Oreos into fine crumbs. Stir with melted butter until completely moist.
  • Add crust to prepared pan and pack tightly.
  • Pour over filling and place pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until center is only slightly jiggly, about 1 hour. (If you want to use a water bath to ensure no cracking, wrap springform pan in foil and place springform pan in a deep-sided roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the springform pan.)
  • Turn off oven and let cheesecake cool in oven 1 hour (this step is optional but prevents cracking).
  • Refrigerate cheesecake until completely chilled, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight
  • Before serving, make chocolate ganache: Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and let sit, 5 minutes. Stir until all chocolate is melted. (If ganache seems too thin, refrigerate 5 minutes.)
  • Spread ganache over chilled cheesecake and garnish with more chopped chocolate and candy canes.
  • Refrigerate 10 minutes before serving to let ganache harden.
  • ——-We fill festive…How about this from Delish———-

Eggnog Cheesecake Dip

2 cups heavy cream

1 Packet instant vanilla pudding mix

1 ½ cup of eggnog

1tsp. Nutmeg, plus more for garnish

Ginger Snap cookies, for serving

Directions: In a stand mixer, beat heavy cream until peaks form, 1-2 minutes, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in pudding mix and eggnog. Whisk and let set, 5 minutes.

Fold pudding into whipped cream mixture, along with nutmeg, then chill if desired.

Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve with ginger snap cookies.

Hebrew Corner:

ק Qof

Qof is pronounced “kuf” and has a sound as in queen.

The letter looks like a “P”.  It is the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

It has a numerical value of 100, which represents death. Kuf represents unholiness. It represents thought, word and deed; unholy thoughts, profane speech, and evil actions.

It’s been called falsehood and impurity.

The word Kuf means monkey. As a monkey mimics, so does Kuf. 

Kuf mimics “Hei”  ה. Hei represents life and kuf represents death.

Kuf also is a great letter for Hanukkah because in a place of falsehood, the act of lighting candles can obliterate the darkness and instead fill the area with light and joy. We transform the negativity of debased thought, speech and action into behavior that will submit to and embrace His law. Thus, on one hand, the kuf represents death and negative thought, speech and action. On the other hand, it invites trans­formation.. We all have the ability to transform the irrational to the superrational, thus directing our thought, our speech, and our action solely toward God and holiness.


Kids Corner:               The Story of  Hanukkah

There was a time many years ago when a people of another country came, who  wanted to take over the land of the Hebrews. They told them that they could no longer worship God. Many people were scared so they did stop worshipping the One True God. But there was a man named Matthew and he and his sons were not going to give in and stop worshipping God whom they loved. So they went to all of their neighbors, who were farmers, but  they had no weapons, yet they rose up and fought for what they believed in, and that was God, the Creator of heaven and earth. So the whole army of this other country came up against a handful of farmers who only had shovels and rakes to fight back. But God saw their faithfulness to Him and He gave them the victory. The people rejoiced in God. The first thing they did was to go to God’s house and they saw what the soldiers did to it, so they cleaned the House of God and rededicated it to Him. This is what the word Haukkah means, Dedication. In other words, they prayed to God and said, God, our Father, we ask that you come and fill Your house once again with Your Presence. Then they saw that there was only one day of oil to fill the lamp, and it would take days before they could make enough oil to keep the lamp burning , so they prayed to God for a miracle, and you know what happened? The oil lasted eight days instead of one and that gave them enough time to make more oil. God was faithful and He answered their prayers. The people were so happy that they celebrated every year by lighting eight candles, one every day for the eight day miracle of light. Draw a lit candle for the eight days of Hanukkah.

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