Category: Biblical Holidays

Free Purim App for Andriod

Biblical_Holidays_Purim_AppOf all the Biblical Holidays, Purim may be my favorite. Basically, we dress up, participate in or watch the story of Esther re-enacted, and eat lots of good food. This years theme for our community was Shakespeare and the play was the best ever – they turned it into a Shakespeare comedy!

If you would like to know more about Purim or some other themes we have had in the past, read my post from last year.

The Purim App For Android (Beta)

At the beginning of this year, I have decided it is time for me to get back to doing some programming again. It has been a long time, so I am a little rusty, but I am starting with some simple App Development. I thought I would start by making an App about Purim.

It is simple, and just meant to teach some basics, but in a fun way. It includes the story of Esther, some ideas for Purim celebrations, a word search and a game called Get Hayman!

I would love folks to try it out and give me feedback and suggestions for a bigger, better App for next year. You can download it right here. No strings attached. No spam or spyware or any junk like that. Just enjoy and pass it on. I am just getting started with this, so I just want to get it out there.

Download the Purim App by clicking on this link from your mobile phone. (This is an Amazon Affiliate Link).

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Hanukkah

Biblical_Holidays_HanuakkahThis year, Hanukkah begins sundown Sunday, December 6th and ends sundown, Monday, December 14th.

Hanukkah is frequently referred to as the “Jewish Christmas,” however, that is quite far from the truth.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Hanukkah is actually the Feast of Dedication and is based on the miracles that God did for the Maccabees during the time of occupation of Jerusalem after the expansion of Alexander.

Basically, the Jews stated that they would not be Paganized or Hellenized, and continued to be faithful to Yawh even in the face of death. The Maccabees fought to take back the Jewish Temple, which had been desecrated. When they took back the temple, part of the ritual to re-dedicate the temple to God was to burn oil in the menorah for 8 days. However, there was not enough oil and it would take a week to prepare more.

Since our God is a God of miracles and loves showing His faithfulness to His people, He kept the menorah lamps burning for the 8 days with only the one day of oil.

We now celebrate this week every year and it is a time to re-dedicate our hearts to God / Jesus.

 



Learn about different ways Christians are celebrating Hanukkah through our Link-up:


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: The Feast Of Tabernacles

Biblical_Holidays_Feast_Tabernacles

Update For 2016: The Feast of Tabernacles starts this year sundown, October 16th and ends sundown, October 24th. 

Have you heard that many Biblical scholars have determined that Jesus was born in the Fall, most likely during the Feast of Tabernacles? I know that is a shock for many people, but it makes so much sense once you understand the holiday.

Historically, the Feast of Tabernacles is a time to remember the Israelites time in the wilderness, a time when they lived in tents and God’s Spirit was right there with them – in the Tabernacle. God asks His people each year to celebrate this time in remembrance of what He has done for them, how He was with them, and how He delivered them.

When Jesus came to earth, He came to be a resting place for us and a spiritual Tabernacle. He is our protection and shelter. Looking forward (prophetically), when Christ returns, He will Tabernacle (or live) with us forever.

How Our Community Celebrated The Feast Of Tabernacles In The Past

The week is a time of celebration, joy, rejoicing and fellowship.

We had a brunch the first morning. We were encouraged to have our sukkah (tabernacle) built before that morning, and then invite people all week long to join us and feast with us.

For the final celebration, we had a dinner, in a large tent at a winery, with all of our community and friends and family that wanted to attend with us. One year, we celebrated at a winery and I remember how beautiful it all was and how the full, harvest moon was dramatically displaying itself that evening.

We will celebrate similarly this year, just the locations are different 😉

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

If you want to learn more about the holiday, either to celebrate it or just as an academic exercise, I recommend – A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays

Here are some other ladies that blog about the Biblical Holidays.

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
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Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
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Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
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Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Day Of Atonement

Celebrating Biblical Holidays Day Of Atonement

Update for 2016: The Day Of Atonement starts sundown Tuesday, October 11th and ends sundown Wednesday, October 12th. 

I will be honest, this is the hardest holiday to write about. Not because I don’t have enough to say or it is hard to say, but because I know that many (most) people don’t really want to hear about this day. Most people do not want to know that there was a day set aside each year for all of Israel to repent of their sins, and that today, even if we are walking with Jesus and declaring Him King, we still need to repent of our sins.

But, that is what this day is about. It is the foreshadow of the final days. The Feast of Trumpets declares the return of the Lord. The Day of Atonement is when we stand before Him in judgement. The Feast of Tabernacles is the rest of our lives, tabernacling (living) with Jesus.

On this day, I will come before the Lord and dig up things that I have been ignoring or burying in my head and/or heart. Today, I will come before the Lord and admit things that I did not want to deal with this year. Today, I will come before the Lord and let Him remind me of what I did not even realize I have been doing that is not good for me and He does not want me doing (or thinking or saying).

Today, I will come before the Lord and humble myself and repent of many things. Then I will try to practice this throughout the year…

How Our Community Has Celebrated The Day of Atonement In The Past

We fasted from sundown to sundown.

We gathered at our church in the afternoon for personal worship. Our leadership setup tables that are geared to make us think about different areas of our lives and how we have (or have not) been following God’s call / Jesus’ teachings and leadings in those areas. My husband and I rotated on this – one will go with out the children, then come back so the other can then go with out the children. It is a very beautiful time and very emotional.

We then gathered our children for the final worship in the early evening. In this time we sang (reverently), prayed through a corporate prayer of repentance, then we had additional time to pray for each other, as the Spirit leads.

Our community will celebrate in a similar way this year. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

I understand if this is a little much or is more than you want to know at this time. Maybe you just want to learn about the basics of the holiday for your homeschool or Sunday school.

I recommend – A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

The following are some ladies that also blog about the Biblical Holidays:

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
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Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
{Facebook}{Twitter}{Google+}

Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
Facebook} {Pinterest} {Twitter}


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: The Feast Of Trumpets

Biblical Holidays Feast Of Trumpets

Update 2016: The Feast of Trumpets will start this year sundown Sunday, October 2nd to sundown Monday, October 3rd. 

I have to be honest with you. Outside of the birth of our beautiful baby girl, this year has been a tough year. We have suffered pain, we have lost almost everything financial (car, savings, job), and we have suffered the fruit of some bad choices and bad attitudes.

But this is what is so very wonderful about the Feast of Trumpets – It is the New Year… It is a time of New Beginnings… It is a time of Restoration and Redemption. We have repented of what we have done and now our bodies and hearts can be healed and restored. Our finance can be healed and restored. Our home can be healed and restored.

Everything can change for us this new year, this new beginning.

And so, we really do celebrate on this day.

The past few weeks, God has been repeatedly showing me the cycle of the Israelites – both in the desert and once they were in the land: They would trust and follow God, then they would start forgetting Him and following after their flesh, then they would make bad choices (sin), then bad things would start happening to them, then really bad things would happen to them, they would repent, God would help them, and lastly, they would celebrate their deliverance.

Our lives have been following this pattern for a few years now, but this year is the time to break free and it starts with the Feast of Trumpets.

Finally, this holiday is usually considered the foreshadowing of Christ’s return. We see it as a “dress rehearsal” for the final trumpets that will sound on that day. It is also the reminder that we need to face the Day of Atonement.

How Our Community Celebrated The Feast Of Trumpets In Past Years

Our community got together a little before sundown  We celebrated with worship music, Messianic dancing, and the blowing of the Shofar. Actually, the blowing of lots and lots of shofars.

There is also a quiet, reflective time during the service where we prayed and brought forward a symbol of our repentance. My symbol a couple of years ago was my pointer finger (a photo) pointing upward in accusation towards God. I had been blaming Him for my situation, instead of seeing it for what it is, and simply repenting and asking Him to redeem it.

After the service, we rested on the following day, treating it as a Sabbath. We will also started counting the 10 days of Awe as we prepared our hearts for falling at Jesus’ feet on the Day of Atonement.

Our Celebration Will Be Similar This Year. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Learn More About The Biblical Holidays

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend – A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Here are my posts on the other Biblical Holidays.

The following is a list of ladies that also write about the Biblical Holidays:

The Ladies at Radical Femininity
{Facebook} {Google+}

Kathryn at Depths of Imagination
{Facebook}{Twitter}{Google+}

Dawnita at Prairie Dust Trail}
Facebook} {Pinterest} {Twitter}


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Pentecost

Biblical_Holidays_Pentecost.jpg

Pentecost is May 24th. What will God do in your life this season?

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” 

This text from Acts 2 is all many Christians know about the day of Pentecost. But Pentecost is actually 3500 or so years old!

Yes, the original day of Pentecost was when God gave the Torah to the Israelites at Mt, Sinai. It has then been celebrated over the 1500 years as a one day festival remembering God giving His Word to his people. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it became a day of remembering of the giving His Spirit to his people.

How Our Community Will Celebrate Pentecost This Year

Our community will gather Saturday night, May 23rd for a time of worship, prayer and ministry. We will also have a baptismal setup. Since Passover, Our community has been praying for the salvation and baptism of our friends and family that need Jesus.

We have also been praying for:

  • That we will receive the Spirit or more of the Spirit in our lives.
  • That there will be healings – not just physical, but mental, emotional, heart, etc… We are especially focused on healing hearts and families this year.
  • That the Lord would give us visions for our lives, what He wills for us and our families for the coming year.

As I mentioned, most of the community has been praying (and some even fasting in some way or for a part of the days) since Passover for the Spirit to move in our community and beyond. Pentecost is the culmination of that time. We will then rest and celebrate together on the 24th with a community picnic for the afternoon / evening.

Every year we look forward to what God will do during Pentecost!

Learn More About the Biblical Holidays

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Christian Books:

181604: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All AgesBy Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom PublishingThis guide to celebrating Old Testament Biblical holidays includes historical/biblical background on the feast days, as well as activities and crafts, recipes, suggestions for celebrations, timeline charts, puzzles and games, Jewish customs today, readings, coloring pages and even a special homeschooler’s unit study designed to expand this book into other subjects. Information for planning, co-ops, resources and ideas to read & discuss; memorize; study; dramatize; video recommendations; investigate; displays; songs and more are included. Holidays are divided by season, and include the well-known feasts such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as feasts such as Yom Habikkurim and Sukkoth. A chapter on the Sabbath is also included. 582 pages; noted pages are reproducible for family use only. Softcover.

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Christian Books:

292590: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the FestivalsBy Susan Mortimer / Eagle’s Wings EducationalThis large manual provides everything you need to know about celebrating Messianic Jewish traditions. Examining the Old Testament festivals through the lens of the New Testament, the author lines up the seasonal parallels, New Testament parallels, and current/future parallels in the Old Testament feasts. Worksheets, readings, games, songs, stories, crafts, prayers, plays, recipes, lessons, banners, and illustrated charts are included for Sabbath, New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, New Year, the Day of Atonement, Festival of tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim. Combining traditional activities with those the author created, this is a unique guide perfect for families with children. Both English and English transliterations of Hebrew words are provided for festivals and biblical words. 681 pages, softcover, with glossary and index.


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Passover and Unleavened Bread

Biblical_Holidays_Passover.jpg

Did you know that Jesus is referred to as the Passover Lamb?

Are you aware that Jesus was participating in the Passover feast the night before he was crucified?

Have you ever considered that the Exodus story isn’t just a historical account, but is also an allegory of our life and walk as a Christian?

If you don’t know or have not thought about any of the answers to these questions, you are not alone. Many Christians don’t really know what Passover and Unleavened Bread are and what their significance is to a believer in Christ today.

Passover Starts Sundown, April 3rd, Unleavened Bread Starts Sundown, April 4th

Passover, which starts sundown April 3rd this year, is not only a historical Biblical feast, but is also a pointer towards Christ, and is a reminder of who He is and what He has done.

Unleavened Bread starts sundown April 4th and lasts for 7 days. Unleavened Bread is a great time to learn more about how the story of the Exodus is relevant for Christians today.

The Allegory of The Exodus Story

Many years after Joseph is taken into captivity to Egypt, eventually reunited with his family, and lives and dies as a favorite of the Egyptian Pharaoh, we find his descendants in a very different place. They are now slaves of Pharaoh and Egypt. They are hated and unwanted in the land. They are in bondage, miserably treated, and they are crying out to God.

And God hears them.

Is this not like us before Christ? We are in bondage, slaves to our sin, slaves to the world and culture around us, slaves to our flesh – and we cry out to God.

And God hears us.

Back in that time, God gives them Moses and the promise that He will set the Israelites free. Here and now, we have been given Jesus and His promise is that if we follow Him, we will be free.

So then we find the Israelites have been freed and God is leading them away from Egypt and away from their bondage. But oh, how they struggle! They don’t trust, they complain, and when they don’t like what God is doing, they wine to GO BACK TO EGYPT!

How many of us, after having chosen to follow Jesus and we face a trial or something we don’t yet understand, turn and start whining to go back to our old life and the stuff that had us in bondage? Some of us call this “wanting to go back to Egypt.” We want to return to what we know, because the unknown scares us and our faith fails us. We certainly see how the Egyptians did this again and again in the desert as we read the Exodus account.

How Our Community Celebrates Passover and Unleavened Bread

This year, our community will break up into its small groups, will meet together in a home or facility depending on the size of the group, and we will share a modified Passover Seder together followed by a potluck meal. When I say modified, I mean that we include discussion of and pointers to Christ / Messiah throughout the Seder (vs the “traditional Jewish” Seder), as many of the elements like the bitter herbs and the wine end up showing us to do. The Passover, although a very real remembrance for Israel, was also to be a foreshadow of Christ to come.

And now that He has come, we can see how it all points to Him!

There will also be a time for worship, prayer and fellowship with each other. Passover is a very reverent time, but it is also a Feast, so we do enjoy lots of great appetizers, desserts and many variations of lamb dishes.

As for Unleavened Bread, before sundown on the day after Passover, we rid our homes of all leaven. This is mostly going to be breads, but there are a few other foods that may contain it also. As we do this, we should be examining out hearts, to remove the “leaven” from it – all the things that we do, say, act, and think that are not good for us and contrary to what God has set before us. It is not good to just remove physical leaven and forget the spiritual!

We then will not eat any unleavened bread for 7 days, and as families, we will read through the Exodus story and reflect what it means for us this year. Each year I do this, I see something different in the story that correlates with my life and walk at the time.

For Further Study For the Family

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Christian Books:

181604: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All AgesBy Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom PublishingThis guide to celebrating Old Testament Biblical holidays includes historical/biblical background on the feast days, as well as activities and crafts, recipes, suggestions for celebrations, timeline charts, puzzles and games, Jewish customs today, readings, coloring pages and even a special homeschooler’s unit study designed to expand this book into other subjects. Information for planning, co-ops, resources and ideas to read & discuss; memorize; study; dramatize; video recommendations; investigate; displays; songs and more are included. Holidays are divided by season, and include the well-known feasts such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as feasts such as Yom Habikkurim and Sukkoth. A chapter on the Sabbath is also included. 582 pages; noted pages are reproducible for family use only. Softcover.

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Christian Books:

292590: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the FestivalsBy Susan Mortimer / Eagle’s Wings EducationalThis large manual provides everything you need to know about celebrating Messianic Jewish traditions. Examining the Old Testament festivals through the lens of the New Testament, the author lines up the seasonal parallels, New Testament parallels, and current/future parallels in the Old Testament feasts. Worksheets, readings, games, songs, stories, crafts, prayers, plays, recipes, lessons, banners, and illustrated charts are included for Sabbath, New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, New Year, the Day of Atonement, Festival of tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim. Combining traditional activities with those the author created, this is a unique guide perfect for families with children. Both English and English transliterations of Hebrew words are provided for festivals and biblical words. 681 pages, softcover, with glossary and index.


Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Purim

Purim starts Saturday, March 11, 2017.

UPDATE for 2017. Purim starts sundown Saturday, March 11th this year.

There is a growing movement among Christians: many are casting off traditional American holidays for the Biblical Feasts, Fasts and Festivals. One of the festivals is the holiday of Purim.

If you are not too familiar with Purim, if you have considered celebrating it, or are simply curious, I am going to give a quick historical overview of the holiday and then share how our church community is celebrating it this year.

Purim and The Story Of Esther

The Book of Esther is (usually) the last book of the Old Testament. It is the final story of God’s people before we jump to the New Testament and the stories of Jesus and the Apostles. In this book, we find the Jews have been taken captive and are now fairly integrated within Persia. Some  Jews have been given permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild, but many stay, having lived there for so long. Esther, under the care of her cousin Mordecai, are some of the people that stayed.

The King of the time, one of the line of Xerxes, has been offended by his wife and exiles her. He then sends out servants to gather up the most beautiful women in the kingdom to search for a new wife and Queen. Esther ends up being one of these women.

Skipping forward a bit, we two crucial things have happened: Esther has been chosen to be Queen and her cousin Mordecai has fallen afoul of the King’s right hand man, Hayman. Hayman has manipulated the King into using the “purim,” (a casting of lots) to set a date to have the Jews in the kingdom killed! What God knows, and Hayman doesn’t, is that Esther is actually a Jewess named Hadassah, and she will risk her life (after some prayer and fasting) to ask the King to save her people.

As Esther approaches the King uninvited (an act punishable by death), we reach the moment of tension: has God interceded enough to make everything work for the good? Through a stirring at night, the King had a servant read some records of previous actions and was reminded that Mordecai had saved his life! So, he give Mordecai a procession the next day and Mordecai is now on his heart. His heart, for whatever reason, is also open to Esther approaching him and he pardons her when she does. She invites him and Hayman to dinner and then tells them what has transpired, asking, begging for the life of her and her people.

After the King grants her request and the Jews are able to preserve their lives, Mordecai, at the prompting of the Lord, declares the day a holiday for all Jews to celebrate and they call it Purim.

Why Do Christians Celebrate Purim

  1. Some Christians see that Romans Chapter 11 speaks of Gentiles being grafted into Israel, and therefore Christians are also partakers in all Israel’s blessings, commandments, etc… Which means we, Gentiles, become part of Israel, and whatever was commanded to the Nation by God / Jesus, we should also do.
  2. Some Christians simply see the richness of their faith and knowledge of God increase when they learn about and participate in these feasts and other Biblical practices. The story of Esther is all about God knowing what will happen, allowing certain events to play out, and directing the hearts of that will allow Him to, to bring about a good ending. It is a great, faith increasing story.
  3. At the minimum, learning about Purim makes a great homeschool project / event to learn Biblical History.

How Does Our Community Celebrate Purim

Update 2017: This year our community will be having a Purim hoedown. Think Esther done Western Stlye, cowboy and cowgirl outifts, chilie and pie baking contests, and square dancing at the end of the night. I can’t wait to see what they do with the play!

My church community is a Messianic / Hebrew roots community, so we tend to lean towards view number 1. This year, our Purim celebration will include:

  1. Mediterranean & Middle Eastern food
  2. Persian costumes
  3. A venue decorated (by the community) as an Ancient Persian Marketplace, including a live camel! There will be products sold in the marketplace as a fundraiser to support an Israel based charity.
  4. 6 plays of the story Esther, done with different themes (i.e. Star Wars, Cinderella, a rap song, etc….). The plays can not be longer than 5 minutes and will be done by small groups on a “theater in the round.”
  5. Great fellowship and outreach to the community.

Previous years have included a masquerade ball and the story of Esther done as improve theater. Purim is one of the more fun, celebratory holidays.

For Further Study

Want to learn more about Purim? This year, I have created a free App for Android and other devices (Kindle, Fire).

There is a very limited selection of books on the market for learning about the various Biblical Holidays. The one I am the most familiar with is: A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Food

I recently found a Healthy Purim Cookbook on Amazon!