Learn How to Live a Victorious Christian Life and Seek the Heart of God
Victorious Christian Living Newsletter – January 2015
This issue includes:
— An Article From Me
— Everyday Life In Bible Times
Jewish Yearly Calendar
— Geography and People
— Links To My Sites
You Will Either Reap A Good Or Bad Harvest
Each day you sow seeds that will reap either a good or bad harvest. It is God’s desire for every Christian to bear an abundance of fruit from the seeds we plant each day.
Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you know not what is the way of the wind, or how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you know not the work of God, Who does all.
6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good.The word parable comes from the Greek word parabolē, meaning comparison, illustration, analogy. It was the name given by Greek scholars to an illustration in the form of a brief fictional narrative. According to dictionary.com, a parable is a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. 2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.
While Ecclesiastes 11: 4-6 is not a true parable, the author Solomon uses the agricultural theme of sowing and reaping to help the reader understand sowing and reaping in the spiritual sense.
Jesus used many parables as He taught His followers what it would mean to truly follow Him. His teaching ministry lasted only 3 years, and He wanted to convey spiritual truths to them in a way that would make a lasting impression for years to come.This kingdom Jesus taught was radically different from anything they had known before. He would need to cement these radical truths and teachings in their minds. So He used everyday images and connections to help them understand what He was saying and begin to apply it to their lives.
When I first hear or read something that is different from what I know now, the first thing my mind tries to do is tell me this new information is incorrect. It wants to protect me from being led astray. Many times this is a good thing, but sometimes it can keep you from receiving a new understanding of something that could ultimately turn out to be the best for you.
This is why you always need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show you if this new information is right or wrong. He always knows the truth and will never lead you astray.
The following is a great example of people wanting one thing and God wanting to give them something much better:
The Israelites wanted a physical deliverer to free them from Roman oppression. God had done this many times before by placing His Anointing on a certain person from one of the tribes of Israel. That person then became the leader whom God used to unite everyone in battle against the oppressing nation, resulting in their freedom for a time.
Now the Israelites expected things to happen in the same way as they cried out for deliverance.
BUT…God wanted to do something that would free them and their descendants forever. And He would do it in a radically different way. I’m sure even though they wanted deliverance badly, it took some time to believe this radically different teaching from Jesus.
This is a quote from the Barnes Commentary about this passage:
The images are connected chiefly with the occupation of an agricultural laborer: the discharge of rain from the cloud, and the inclination of the falling tree, and the direction of the wind, are beyond his control, though the result of his work is affected by them. Unforeseen events come from God; and the man who is always gazing on the uncertain future will neither begin nor complete any useful work: but do thou bear in mind that times and circumstances, the powers of nature and the results to which they minister, are in the hand of God; and be both diligent and trustful.
The Wesley Commentary says:
He who neglects the necessary works of sowing and reaping, because the weather is not exactly suitable to his desires will lose his harvest. In the morning – Early and late, in all seasons and occasions; do it speedily and continually, be not weary of it. Sow – Do all good works. Withhold not – From working or giving.
So just as the farmer cannot tell which of the seeds he sows will prosper, you don’t know which of your good deeds God will prosper. It is up to God what He wants to prosper and how He chooses to do it.
Your job is to sow good seeds each day and leave the results to God as to how he wants to grow and prosper those seeds you have sown.
Don’t put God in a box and expect Him to only act in a certain way to meet a need or solve a problem. Be open to whatever He chooses to do.
The Israelites expected God to solve their problem in the same way He had done it before; but God wanted to do something that would ultimately be much better. It would radically change their lives if they would accept it.
Don’t miss out on God’s Best because you refuse to be open to the way He desires to bless the good seeds you have sown. The Holy Spirit will be your guide to make sure you can always discern the truth about any situation.
Everyday Life In Bible Times
This was the most ordinary of daily tasks in Bible Times. There were no preservatives to keep the bread fresh, so bread was baked every day and was meant to be consumed the day it was baked.
The bread made from freshly ground wheat provided the majority of the carbohydrates and protein in their everyday diets.
Three different methods were used to bake their daily bread.
- This method was used most when traveling. The baker built a fire on the upper surface of a flat rock. Once the fire had burned down to hot embers, the coals were swept from the top of the rock and it became the rack on which the raw bread dough was baked. The rock retained heat plenty long enough to thoroughly cook the bread.
- The next method used a clay oven called the tabun. It was shaped like a beehive with an opening at the top. A fire built around the exterior of the tabun heated the interior of the oven. The temperature was controlled by adjusting the lid that fully or partially closed the opening on top of the beehive. Stones placed on the floor of the tabun became the baking surface on which the dough was placed.
- This method used an oven called the tannûr, which was also shaped like a beehive. But in the tannûr, the fire was built inside the oven and the bread dough was slapped on the curved sides of the oven to bake.
No activity was more ordinary in Bible Times than baking bread. An oven for baking bread was included in the plan of every home.
There are instances given in the Bible where baking the loaves of bread was to be used for sacred purposes, such as in the Tabernacle and Temple. Twelve loaves resided there at all times and were changed out weekly.
People also presented it before the Lord as a sacrifice. The baking of bread truly permeated every area of the Jewish life in Bible Times. God even commanded Ezekiel to bake siege food for himself and eat it in front of the people to symbolically warn them of the events that were about to transpire.
Every person understood the importance of bread in their everyday life.
The Jewish Calendar – with corresponding seasons
Nisan – barley harvest
Iyyar – general harvest
Sivan – wheat harvest and vine tending
Tammuz – first grapes
Ab – grapes, olives, figs
Elul – vintage
Tishri – plowing
Marhesvan – grain planting
Tebeth – rainy season
Shebat – winter figs
Adar – pulling flax, almonds bud
Adar Sheni – intercalary month*
*The Jewish calendar was based on the lunar month of 29.5 days and the lunar year of 354.25 days. This fell short of the solar year, which was 365.25 days. So an intercalary month was inserted every two or three years to make adjustments for the lunar calendar’s shortage of days.
Geography and People
This city mentioned 17 times in the New Testament
- It was known as Caesarea Philippi to differentiate it from the Caesarea built by Herod the Great. It was here that Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I am?”
- It was the hometown of Philip the evangelist and built by Herod the Great, who lived in Caesarea. It was here that Herod Agrippa delivered a speech from his throne, and the people acclaimed him as a god. He did not deny it, so an angel of the Lord struck him down and he died.
Cornelius, the centurion, was stationed in Caesarea when God gave both him and Peter visions that indicated God also accepted the faithful Gentiles.
It was here also that Claudius Lysias and Festus judged the Jews’ case against the apostle Paul. This Caesarea was also called Caesarea Maritima or Caesarea Augusta.
Mentioned 9 times in the New Testament and there was only one person by that name in the Bible.
He was the Jewish high priest who judged Jesus at his trial. He feared Roman authority against him if things got out of hand. He wanted to get things over with quickly and so decided to accept false testimony against Jesus.
He could not kill anyone, so he sent Jesus to Pilate for a death sentence. Following the resurrection of Jesus, it was Caiaphas who tried to stop Peter from preaching.
Please check out my other sites by clicking on the links below:
My Main Blog – Who God Is
That’s it for this newsletter. May God bless you as you strive to live for Him and walk in obedience to what He desires!