CONVICTION

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CONVICTION

Could it be that churches and believers have left the Holy Spirit out of their lives and churches by being more concerned in pleasing man than in pleasing God?
Within the churches have they been more interested in making friends (social clubs) than making disciples?
Have churches quenched and grieved the Spirit for so long that they don’t even realize it?

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. He desires to minister in our churches but we must allow Him to. We can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading – by disobeying Him. Another way to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit is by planning and scheduling Him completely out of the service. When people enter into our churches they need to have an encounter with God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, not an encounter with man.

There is something very wrong when backslidden and unsaved people feel very comfortable sitting in churches listening to sermons and not feeling the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. They come, they listen and they leave unchanged. Will God hold us accountable for this?

Ezekiel 3:18-21 NKJV
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

If the church really believed that they are God’s watchman in this world would they do whatever it takes to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell in their midst? It is the Holy Spirit that convicts a person of sin, wrong and bad habits. Without His presence in our midst we are hopelessly lost.

Everyone needs the Holy Spirit …
We need His convicting power and presence in our churches.
We need His convicting power and presence in our individual lives.
The backslidden and the prodigals need His convicting power.
Those that have never accepted salvation need His convicting power in their lives.

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PRIDE – A HINDRANCE TO REVIVAL

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Pride is a great hindrance to revival because it keeps people from seeking God. It can keep the unsaved from coming to Christ for salvation, it can keep the sick from coming to God for healing, it can keep the bound from coming to God for freedom……

Pride is an infectious and dangerous attitude that has crept into many churches today. It effects the decisions a person (leaders, members and attendees) make therefore, it can infect and effect an entire church.

Mark 7:20-23 NKJV
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Pride comes from inside a person – from their heart. Within the body of Christ, pride manifests itself in various ways. Some are: division, critical spirits, gossip, mockery, self-satisfaction, quarrels, compliancy, and condemnation of other believers who do not believe as they do.

In some churches the leaders are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God. While they may not express that attitude with their lips, they do with their actions. Everything they do is about their will, their plans, and their dreams, not God’s. They are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts and desires are far from God.

Psalm 10:4 NKJV
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

What is pride?
Pride can be defined as:
excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions
giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished.
taking the glory that belongs to God.
self-worship.
the opposite of humility.
an attempt to replace God.
a form of self-righteousness.

 

What does God think about pride?
God is very clear in His Word that pride is a sin. Pride is a sin and sin cannot enter into the presence of God, both here and in heaven.

Proverbs 8:13 NKJV
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Psalm 10:3-4 NKJV
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Proverbs 16:5 NKJV
“Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

 

What are the consequences of pride?
Destruction ( in the church and in individual lives)
A spiritual fall
Oppression
Not allowed in the presence of God.
Disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God.
It places stumbling blocks in front of people.
It keeps people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
It will send a person to hell.

 

Guard against pride.

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

 

Everyone must guard their heart against pride because pride will…
* keep someone from helping others because they think the other person doesn’t deserve help.
* keep someone from asking God ( or others) for forgiveness because they don’t feel that they were wrong.
* cause a person to boast or brag about what they have or what they have done.
* cause a person to take the credit ( or glory) for something that God has done.
* cause a person to think more of themselves than they should.
* will cause a person to become their own god. They begin to replace God with themselves.
* cause a person to do what they want (their own will) instead of what God wants.
* keep a person from rejoicing with others over blessings / promotions because they will feel like they deserved it more.
* keep a person from seeking God for answers, wisdom or knowledge because they think they have all the answers.
* keep a person from studying God’s Word because they think they know it all already.

 

 

 

Glorious Bride

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Glorious Bride

Why did Jesus say “Go and sin no more”?

Maybe it was because He is coming back for a bride that has made herself ready for Him – a spotless bride with out stains or blemishes.

Many times when people Ephesians 5:22-23 they usually do so trying to prove a point about a woman submitting to her husband. However, they miss the point that God was trying to convey. Jesus is the Bridegroom (husband) and true believers are the bride (wife).

The bride (church) and groom (Jesus) are to become one – when you see the church you should see Christ.

True believers are to submit to Jesus.
The church (the bride) is subject to Christ.
The bride (the true believers) are not to be a harlot or adulteress.
The bride (the true believers) must give themselves fully to the Lord.
The bride is to sanctify and cleanse herself with the washing of water by the word.
The bride are members of Jesus’ body, of His flesh and of His bones.
The bride is to leave her past when she is joined to Christ.
The bride (church) should respect Christ.
The bride is to love her groom.
The bride is to be a glorious church.
The bride is to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
The bride is to be holy and without blemish.

Jesus is the head of the wife (head of the church).
Jesus is the bride’s Savior.
Jesus loves the church (bride) and gave Himself for her.
Jesus gave everything He had, even His very life.

Ephesians 5:22-33 NKJV
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

HURTS

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HURTS

Hurts within the church happen everyday. People hurt pastors…pastors hurt people…people hurt people…pastors hurt pastors….that’s just a fact of life. Hurts can lead to unforgiveness and unforgiveness effects everyone in a church – either directly or indirectly. Because of that we must guard against an unforgiving spirit. Unforgiveness HURTS you more than the other person – forgiveness HELPS you more than the other person.

Forgive means to:
* to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)
* to stop blaming (someone)
* to stop feeling anger about (something)
* to forgive someone for (something wrong)
* to stop requiring payment of
* to give up resentment (a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury) of
* to give up claim to requital (something given in return, compensation, or retaliation)
* to cease to feel resentment against

Forgiveness is described as the act of forgiving someone or something and the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people. It can be defined as letting go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is not a feeling, but a decision to let go of anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. It is purposely deciding (a mental decision) not to hold others sins/wrongs against them. Forgiveness is extending loving mercy to those who have hurt us. God has instructed us to forgive throughout the Bible. A few examples are:

Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV
“ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 NKJV
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Some hindrances to forgiving are thinking that you have to forget in order to forgive, thinking that trust and forgiveness are the same thing, and thinking that forgiveness eliminates the consequences of what has been done.

Forgiving and Forgetting
When you forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you will forget. You don’t have to forget the hurt in order to forgive the person. There is a difference between a scar and a scab. When a wound is completely healed a scar is sometimes left behind. A scab on the other hand is a wound that is still in the healing process. When you have a scar many times you don’t even notice it, but from time to time you eye may catch a glimpse of it and remember the wound that was there. So it is with forgiving. You may never truly forget what happened, and from time to time those memories will try to creep in, but you can choose to forgive and move on with your life. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE NOT A FEELING.

Trust and Forgiveness
Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. When a person is hurt many times it will cause them to loose their trust in the person who hurt them. Trust is a fragile thing. Once trust has been broken, it takes time to be restored. Sometimes it takes many years to rebuild the trust between people and sometimes it never will be. For some people they will have to forgive and move on without attempting to restore trust. Just because you do not trust someone doesn’t mean that you can’t wish them blessings. Sometimes you must do this from a distance. You don’t have to trust everyone. NOT TRUSTING A PERSON IS NOT A SIN.

Forgiveness and Consequences
Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate the consequences of what has been done. There will still be consequences even when forgiveness is given. However, we must leave the consequences up to God and not take matters into our own hands.

Luke 17:1 NKJV
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

Jesus Himself said that it was impossible for there to be no offenses. He did not say for us to get even with the offenders ourselves. He said woe to him through whom they (offenses) do come. The word woe in the Greek is ouai and is more than just an expression of a feeling – it is a judgment. It is not our place to try to get back at someone because of an offense. God will take care of it, that’s not our job. GOD IS THE JUDGE, NOT US.

Luke 6:37 NKJV
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

 

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Dear Father,
I choose this day to forgive everyone who has, or who I think has, wronged me or my family. I choose not to hold on to anger, hurt, resentment, or bitterness. I choose to walk in love and forgiveness. I pray blessings on each of these people. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have a godly mindset.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Simchat Torah – One Christian’s Perspective

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Simchat Torah – One Christian’s Perspective

The day after Shemini Atzert is referred to as Simhat Torah. It is a time that that the Jewish people rejoice in the gift of God’s Word, and in His promise to write His law on their hearts and in their minds. They focus on the first five books of the Bible known as the Law of Moses or the Pentateuch.

Simchat Torah is also called the Rejoicing of the Torah. This festival takes place in the synagogue. On this day the scrolls are taken out of the ark and a lighted candle is placed inside. A procession of elders march around the reading desk carrying the scrolls. The scrolls are placed back in the ark, except the one of Deuteronomy. It is read aloud, with everyone being called up front to read a portion of it – even the children.

As a Christian this festival reminds us of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Simchat Torah is a time to be thankful for the Word of God. A time of rejoicing in the gift of God’s Word, and in His promise to write His law on our hearts and in our minds.

Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Hebrews 8:10 NKJV
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

The day after the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus went to the temple early in the morning. He sat down and began to teach the people that came to Him there. As Jesus was teaching a group of scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him whom they said was caught in adultery. These men knew what the Law of Moses stated concerning adultery, but they were hoping to trap Jesus into saying something that was contrary to the law.

John 7:53-8:1-11 NKJV
“And everyone went to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ”

Jesus did not condemn the woman brought to Him, however He did tell her to “Go and sin no more.“

True repentance is turning from your sin and going the opposite way, to make a conscience decision to turn away from sin. As a believer when we encounter Jesus, we too are to go and sin no more. We must allow God’s Word to be more than words on a page. God has given us His Holy Spirit who can write His law on our hearts and in our minds

Shemini Arzert – One Christian’s Perspective

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Shemini Arzert  – One Christian’s Perspective

An eighth day, Shemini Atzert (meaning “the eighth day of assembly), was added to the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot) during the time of Ezra. This day became known as the Great Day of the Feast.

During the temple times the custom was to draw water from the Siloam spring as a ‘libation” to accompany the offerings. This was done with great rejoicing and expressions of thanksgiving. On this day the High Priest would pour water from the pool of Siloam into a basin at the foot of the altar. The water was a symbol of God’s Spirit.

It was on the eighth day that Jesus told the people if they were thirsty to come to Him and drink. Jesus declared Himself to be the source of the spring – that He was the source of living water.

John 7:37-38 NKJV
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

Jesus told the people that were gathered, as the High Priest poured water from the pool of Siloam into the basin, that if they believed in Him rivers of living water would flow out of them. By this Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. The water the High Priest would pour out was just a symbol of God’s Spirit but Jesus offered them the real thing, the Holy Spirit (rivers of living water).

In the natural realm when a person is thirsty they have a desire or need for drink. They have a strong desire to quench their thirst. The same is true in the spiritual realm. When we are spiritually thirsty we have a need for living water. Jesus invites every person that is thirsty to go to Him, the only one that can truly satisfy their thirst.

Observing Shemini Atzert – A Shemini Atzert Service
On this day the scrolls are taken out of the ark and a lighted candle is placed inside. A procession of elders march around the reading desk carrying the scrolls. The scrolls are then placed back in the ark, except the one of Deuteronomy. It is read out loud, with everyone being called up front to read a portion of it – even the children.

At one point, during the service, all the children are called forward. Adults form a canopy over them by holding up their talitot (prayer shawls), over their heads. Then the blessing of Jacob is recited over them.

Genesis 49:3-28 NKJV
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it— He went up to my couch.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob And scatter them in Israel. “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk. “Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships, And his border shall adjoin Sidon. “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between two burdens; He saw that rest was good, And that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, And became a band of slaves. “Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that its rider shall fall backward. I have waited for your salvation, O Lord! “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last. “Bread from Asher shall be rich, And he shall yield royal dainties.
“Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), By the God of your father who will help you, And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at night he shall divide the spoil.” All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing.”

As a symbol of the blessings falling upon the children of Israel, the children are showered with candy while the people sing. This part of the service is called Kol HaNe’arim..

Another part of the service is the Hattan HaTorah. During this part of the service, someone who is a good example of love and practices the Torah is called up to read the Torah. He stands under a canopy and reads the last chapter of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 NKJV
“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended. Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”

The last part of the service is the Hattan HaTorah. During this part of the service someone is chosen that has given outstanding service to the community. This person reads the first chapter of Genesis.

Genesis 1:1-31 NKJV
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

When the service is over, the children leave carrying banners with Hebrew inscriptions.