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Lessons from the Feast: What Really Matters

Bible Answers to Your Questions

July 7th, 2011

Feast Firsts: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

It was the first day of the Feast and I was sitting wrapped in blankets and wheezing to the music over the web, instead of sharing in the joy of singing hymns with a ballroom full of brethren. So who wouldn’t feel a little sorry for themselves? But the minister’s admonition was to give and rejoice at the Feast, so how was I going to do that? Well, here I was shivering in my quilt, with my box of Puffs at the ready. Perhaps after observing 44 feasts I could share some of my experiences and lessons learned for the next few days. As Mom always said. “The best way to get out of yourself is to do something for someone else.”

Remember your first feast? I sure do! I was 10 years old and in grade seven when my Dad surprised everyone, Mom included, by saying he would take us to the Feast in Jekyll Island Georgia, 1500 miles away, but the closest feast site at the time. It had only been a very few months that Dad had been driving Mom and us kids to church in Toronto – a good hour’s drive from our home in Burlington. This too was unusual for my Dad. He wasn’t interested in “Church” but I think he wanted to assure himself that Mom was not getting into some strange kind of cult. I don’t think Dad was convinced of the spiritual merits of the trip down the Eastern seaboard, and it would be a big financial burden as they had not planned for it, but we could share a house on the beach with my uncle and his family to keep costs down. I just think he wanted an adventure – the classic road trip. And it was that and much more. More

July 6th, 2011

Shine the Light: What Really Matters

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What Really Matters

Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

I awoke his morning to the squawks of our resident ravens, and the soft morning light filtering through the green canopy of alders that separates us from the wetlands. The pains are still there but I feel like I’ve had my first really restful sleep in the past 2 weeks.

I let my mind wander back and the crisp autumn air and dance of sunlight and leaves reminds me of my 6 years of feasts in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. There are so many memories it is an effort to corral them into order, and I am left with a certain sense of loss when I contrast the present with the past. But each time in life has its own joys and challenges.

I was a young teen who had bought early into “God’s way of Life.” I enjoyed the blessing of a Mom who really lived what she learned. Dad was a firm believer in the God of the bible and wanted his “kosher hams” to know God’s commandments and live them, but Dad had no use for organized religion, though he supported Mom in all her efforts to “civilize us” by teaching us the scripture. Dad attended the first couple of feasts with us, then perhaps having satisfied himself that we were safe and not under the sway of some weird fanatical religious scam artists, he stopped coming. He would tell us he was relishing the idea of a week of peace without us all, and would thereafter give us the car, some money, and send us all on our merry way. He said this with his mischievous look, so I knew it was only half true. Though I think it did give him a few days to indulge himself in his passion of flying small aircraft, something he rarely did when we were home.

As a teen everything about the new feast site in the Poconos was “supersized”. I’ve wondered if it was this way for the adults and concluded, yes! This was quite a convention even for modern standards.  I wondered how many times in the history of God’s people since the temple was destroyed had such large groups come together to praise God. Perhaps those golden years of the Church of God when the membership was growing rapidly to finally reach over 150,000 baptized adults were unique.  So, there we were in the Poconos, more than twelve thousand people rejoicing together in God’s feast, meeting in one tent or tabernacle for services, two and sometimes, three times a day for 8 days. More

July 5th, 2011

What are You Really Seeing?

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By Jean Jantzen

To a Dear Friend,

I had a stroke this past week. What a surprise! And it shouldn’t have been; my mother had one and her mother had had one. During the ambulance ride, I told God that this was not a good time because my husband still needed me. Nevertheless, I also told God I knew I was in good hands. An indescribable peace descended upon me and wrapped me in a warm blanket. And I knew everything would be okay.

Later, I wondered what I could learn from this experience. More

July 4th, 2011

Family Feast – What Really Matters

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What Really Matters

Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Before the feast, the young students in Sabbath class asked me if there was a story in the Bible about the Feast that they could act out as a play. So, we looked into the scripture and read about the Feast in the book of Nehemiah. The story we read started with Nehemiah, a eunuch in the palace and cup-bearer to the Persian King, getting word of the state of affairs in Jerusalem from his brother. It distressed Nehemiah greatly, to the point that even the king noticed that his cupbearer and trusted servant, was troubled about something. Nehemiah opened up his heart to the King telling him about the turmoil in Jerusalem. The King then sent Nehemiah back to Jerusalem as Governor with all the authority to rebuild the walls of the city, and restore temple worship. Then we skipped ahead in the narrative and omitted a few chapters of names and finished with the chronicle of one of the greatest feasts of God’s people Israel. More

July 4th, 2011

Rejoice at the Feast: What Really Matters

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Feast Blog 2009

As we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles  let’s remember the lessons of previous festival seasons, and prepare for our best Feast yet.

Sometimes keeping the spirit of joy during the feast can be a hard thing. As a young person with few responsibilities, the only real damper on the feast was perhaps a head cold, stomach upset, or loss (theft?) of the gifts I’d taken such care in buying. However, as an adult, wife, and mother of 4 sons, there were a few feasts that I struggled through feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and under appreciated. And I wasn’t even having to do it all while tenting.

Along with the excitement sometimes the Feast was just plain hard work with little thanks. Can’t you just picture our ancestors as they prepared to leave Egypt and packed for that big “feast” experience in the wilderness. It all had to fit on the donkey cart and a lot of things  just would not fit. Decisions had to be made; there was packing and repacking to make the best use of space. You can imagine that in the week after the initial excitement had waned, perhaps there were some grumblings along the line of, “I don’t see why on earth you packed this pot and forgot my shears,” or perhaps, “Mommy, that was my favourite toy, how could you forget it?” More

May 7th, 2011

Moment of Truth

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shooting oneself in the foot

A building without integrity may receive structural damage, or even collapse, in a storm. Similarly, people without integrity are blown about by the winds of misfortune and destroyed by catastrophes, for they lack the firmness, solidity, and strength of character to weather any storm. Dr. William Menninger (1899 ~ 1966) called integrity one of the six essential qualities that are the key to success.

By Jean Jantzen

Have you ever tuned into Moment of Truth? I accidentally did the other night. Contestants answer a series of 21 increasingly personal and embarrassing questions to receive cash prizes.  One contestant, a mother of three and a volunteer firefighter was asked: “Have you ever shoplifted from a store and given it to your kids?” The woman laughed and said “yes, all the time.”  I was so astonished by her response I listened to more.  The next question was: “Have you ever set fire to a neighbours’ property and the answer was again “Yes.” “Do you want attention from men other than your husband?”  “Yes!” “Have you ever stolen anything from a relative’s house?” “Yes!”  “Did you ever cheat on your Red Cross First Aid exam?” “Yes!” “As a volunteer firefighter have you ever ignored a call to come when you were called?”  And again the answer was an astonishing yes! Hopefully not too many people would shoot themselves in the foot as that contestant was doing. More