Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Today is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Some may ask what this is. Well, it's a seven day festival. In the Old testament, Leviticus 23:6-4, this is a seven day period in which leavening or yeast is put out of dwellings and is not eaten.

Yesterday, I briefly discussed the Passover sacrifice of Christ. It is through his sacrificial death that we are justified, forgiven of our past sins and "made right" in relation to God---if we believe and confess such. But even though we are now forgiven our past sins, how will we become "overcomers" and put sin completely out of our lives? The Festival of Unleavened Bread provides the answer. It pictures the next step in God's plan.

Right after commanding the Passover, God told Moses: "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation (Sabbath), and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat--that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance" (Exodus 12:15-17).

How does this apply to us today? Egypt is a symbol or "type" of sin. Jesus warned his disciples to "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). Literal leaven or yeast causes bread to rise or puff up, just as the attitude of sin or self will and indulgence causes us to puff up with pride and do our own thing instead of what God wants us to do.

Paul commanded the Church: "Therefore let us keep the Feast (of Unleavened Bread), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1Corinthians 5:8).
During the next seven days, while you root out leaven and products that contain it, it is symbolic of rooting out sin and evil in our heart and minds. Let us use this time to examine ourselves against the Lord's Ten Commandments as the standard. Where will we find hidden flaws and things within ourselves that we know in our hearts is not right and need to be corrected? We'll only know when we make the effort to search them out, be honest with ourselves and trust the Lord to give us the strength and means to make the changes necessary.

I pray you have much success on your endeavor.

Be blessed!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Passover!

Many people don't connect the Passover with Jesus Christ and that's a pity because did you know that Jesus is our Passover lamb? What does this mean? 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that: "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."

The Israelites of old sacrificed a lamb and placed the blood of that lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their home as the Lord instructed them. The Lord told them, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by everlasting ordinance." Exodus 13-14.

God planned that his own Son's blood would be shed as a sacrifice on behalf of all of mankind. The wages of sin is death. Whoever believes and accepts the sacrificial death of Christ on their behalf will be saved. When God sees the blood of Jesus upon such persons, God passes over the sins that were previously committed. (Romans 3:24-25).

Now, THAT'S something to celebrate!

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: SEVER (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by Lauren DeStefano

Book Three

Sever is the final book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy. It picks up exactly where Fever, the second book, ended: Rhine, our teen heroine has been re-captured by her father-in-law, Vaughn.  As part of his eagerness to find a cure for the virus that plagues the young people of the day, Rhine is subjected to his torturous experiments against her will. She escapes and finds sanctuary with a surprising savior: Vaughn’s brother, Reed.
Rhine now knows her own brother, Rowan, is alive, but he’s not the boy she remembers. He’s part of an underground rebellion that’s bent on destruction. She has to let him know she’s still alive before his grief pushes him to carry-on with his plan for total destruction.
Time is running out as each year brings Rhine closer to falling to the virus’ deadly consequences.
The author did an excellent job of letting us know who the characters are from the inside out and their relationship to each other. She took their interconnectedness to unexpected realms. Ms. DeStefano is not afraid of letting bad things happen to good people. There are a number of revelations and delicious twists that will leave one more than a little surprised and perhaps saddened.
Ms. DeStefano excels in world building throughout this series. The description of the unique environs play a part in setting the stage, in combination with the sensibilities of the characters; how they interact with the rather dark and dreary world they inhabit. In spite of such somberness, the author displays her writing skill by her ability to evoke an undercurrent of hopefulness. The readers will find themselves eager to find that light at the end of the tunnel right along with the characters, wishing them the very best as they seek a better world in which to live and flourish.
The author crafted such a unique world with this series, I'm looking forward to what she's going to create next. I want to know what else is cooking in that head of hers!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Book Birthday! Review of MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila 2.0, the debut novel of Debra Driza, is a sci-fi thriller in the style of The Bourne Identity. Mila is a teenage girl who inadvertently learns she is not who she thought she was. She’s an android, an experiment in artificial intelligence. She made her way out of the lab when her “mother”, the scientist who helped create her, ran off with her after learning Mila was exhibiting human emotions. Government operatives as well as rogue forces with their own wicked agenda are determined to capture her. Mila and her mother are on the run.
The story is of the moment in this age of ever growing technological advancement. Mila 2.0 manages to stand out with a fresh premise in an ever-crowded young adult field.
The novel starts slowly and somewhat mysteriously as Mila tries to grasp fleeting memories of her father and times past, all in the hopes of making sense of her life and her mother's rather odd sensibilities and behaviors.
The relationship with Mila and her mother is one of the main threads throughout the story. When Mila discovers her true identity, she reacts as any teenager would that feels betrayed: hostile and angry. Since the story takes place after the woman Mila only knows as Mom runs away with Mila from the lab, we never get the chance to see that build up of human emotion that motivates her creator-mom to kidnap her, all in the hopes of giving her a real life. I think it would have been kind of fun to see that evolution of emotion as it happens.
In fairness, adding this bit in would probably have greatly added to the page count as there are other elements the author delved into in addition to the great escape: Mila’s flawed friendships with schoolmates, as well as her burgeoning first romance. The romantic aspects are a fairly small part of the story. They're real teasers: Mila's connection to her first high school interest and one of the government operatives. As a romance junkie, I'm hoping these relationships will get a bigger play in the next book. Based on the way the novel ended, I'm sure at least one of them will play a big role.
The story escalates to an edge-of-your seat adventure as Mila and her mother try to evade being caught. An essential element that the readers are privy to is Mila’s struggle to reconcile what she is with who she wants to be and how the two merge.
Ms. Driza writes a novel full of drama, excitement and sadness. It is a smooth and successful story arc that leaves the reader awaiting the next installment.
I've heard this story has been picked up as a TV show. I can certainly see the appeal. It reminds me of the old David Jansen show, The Fugitive, I watched as a kid.