The Clarion, July 2022

Volume 3, Issue 7       www.judeochristianclarion.com               July, 2022


Welcome

July begins the second half of the year.  It’s like the beginning of a new year. We have that hope that the second  half of the year may  go as well as the first half, or maybe we hope that things will be better than the first half of the year. Either way, July is that point where we can pause, and evaluate our progress, or our lack of.  It gives us time to change course if need be. The Psalmist writes, “So teach us to count our days, so that we will become wise” Psalm 90:12. I think July gives us a second chance to consider many things about life. Let’s take that second chance. Maybe those New Year resolutions went by the wayside, now is the time to try it again. If we found that we have drifted away from God…no better time than now to come back for God,  for He is the God of second chances.


The Election of Grace 

In the May Clarion we had a teaching about “Grace Alone.” We want to continue looking at grace, especially the election of grace, which many call predestination and many do not believe in it.

Deuteronomy 7:6 says this about God choosing Israel. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, His treasured possession.”

 Israel did not choose God, but we see that it all started when God chose Abraham, and from there the rest of the Patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob and Jacobs 12 children which made up the 12 tribes of Israel as Genesis 18:18-19 tells us, “ Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.”

 Paul tells us in Romans 9:4b-5, “The Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and daughters, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the temple service, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Messiah according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”

So we see that God’s election of grace came through the line of Abraham and his descendant and right down to the Messiah. We also know that the Messiah will one day sit on the throne of David who also is in the lineage of Abraham. 

1 Samuel 16:1- 13 tells this story which says a lot about God and His grace.  “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”  Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”  Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.”  Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.”  So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”  So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”  So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” 

This story shows that God does not look at people or the world through human eyes, but only His. Samuel was looking at the stature of a man. Samuel thought a healthy and appealing man would equal a king who would be respected, but God was looking at the heart of the man to see if he would be obedient to Him.  

Ephesians 1:3-12  “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. “ 

1 Peter 1:1-2 says basically the same thing. “To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,  who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Messiah Yeshua and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

John 15:16  tells us again, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. “  

And again in  John 15:19 .  “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

God claims the right to choose whom He wishes as Roman 9:16 tells us, “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.  For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.” And continues in Roman 9:19-24, “ One of you will say to Me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist His will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did You make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath—prepared for destruction?  What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory—  even us, whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

We see that God does the choosing as John 1:12-13 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name,  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.”

Romans 11:4-6 says,And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” 

Ephesians 2: 4-10 tells us, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Messiah and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua,  so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

As we have seen, God does the choosing, this is His part, because it is His grace, but we still have our part to do, and that is to  have faith, and  be obedient, and fulfill our calling, and do the works that we have been called to do. 

Ephesians 4:1-6 sums it up, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”


Recipe Corner: Cherry Cookie Bars by The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:                        FOR THE FILLING:

4 c. fresh Bing or other sweet cherries, pitted and halved (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/3 c. granulated sugar           2 tsp. Cornstarch           1/8 tsp. almond extract

FOR THE DOUGH:

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour         1 1/2 tsp. baking powder              1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks salted butter, softened        1 c. granulated sugar          Grated zest of 1 orange

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk            1/2 tsp. vanilla extract        2 tbsp. whole milk

 FOR THE GLAZE:

1 c. powdered sugar             Grated zest of 1 lemon 1 tbsp.    whole milk, as needed

 Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 ̊. For the filling: Combine the cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch and almond extract in a bowl and let stand while you make the dough.
  • For the dough: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Cream the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk, and beat until the dough comes together (it will be soft).Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the cherry filling and any juices on top and spread it out. Crumble the remaining dough over the filling. Bake until the cherries are bubbly and the dough is golden, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon zest and milk in a medium bowl until smooth; thin with more milk, if necessary. Drizzle on the bars and cut into pieces.


Hebrew Corner:             Month of Tammuz

The month of Tammuz is the 4th Hebrew month starting with the month of the Passover. The fourth month is associated with the golden calf and Moses breaking of the tablets. Tammuz is the name of a  Sumerian god who was thought to be responsible for the seasonal life, death, and rebirth cycle.  We see God showing Ezekiel the people who were practicing a six day ritual for the god Tammuz, Ezekiel 8:14“Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.”

  We know that Abraham’s family worshiped other gods. Joshua 24:2 says this, “And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.” The fourth month is associated with sorrow, for it was in this month that the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar’s army when they were all taken to Babylon. The fourth month is a time of reflection and mourning and fasting. Idol worship is always punished by God. Exodus 20 :1-7 tells us the commandment regarding God. And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

We should all learn from the fourth month, from the exile to the golden calf to the destruction of the temple. God is a jealous God and it is Him that we need to serve and only Him.When the people came out of Babylon they kept the  Babylonian names for the months. We too, use pagan names for our months, it would be a lot simpler if we just called them by their number. How important it is to rid ourselves of any kind of idolatry and pagan ways. This is a good time to take a good hard look at our lives and our ways and even our speech. This is what we learn from the fourth month.

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