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April 23, 2010April 23, 2010  1 comments  Aaron Hecht

Most of you have probably never heard of Lag Ba'Omer.

It is not a Biblical festival, but a traditional Jewish one, and there is even disagreement about what it commemorates. As usual, if you want to know more, that's what wikipedia is for.

For now it's enough to know that the most prominent feature of Lag Ba'Omer is the bonfires people light the evening of the holiday and many people, especially kids, stay up all night with these bonfires. In addition to the fact that it's not Biblical, there's a lot about this holiday which is not kosher, and even most Jews outside of Israel don't celebrate it. Needless to say most Christians in Israel or out, don't celebrate it either.

But I think there's a way that we can use this occasion for something positive, and here's how.

In Acts 19:19 we read about an event which occurred in the Greek city of Ephesus;

"Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."

This passage refers to new Believers who had formally practiced some form of witchcraft or divination. They had scrolls of, for lack of a better term, "spells" which they used to contact the spirits of dead people, etc. They usually did this on behalf of bereaved parents who wanted to have one last chat with their son who was killed in a war, or whatever. They were also paid by soldiers to cast spells of protection over them so that they would not be killed in battle, or by young men to cast spells over the woman they wanted to marry to make her fall in love with them, or businesses would pay these sorcerers to put a curse on their competitors, etc.

As I'm sure you know, this sort of thing is very much alive and well in 2010.

These new Believers in Ephesus knew precisely where the power to do all these things came from, and they realized that if they wanted to follow Jesus Christ, they had to cut off their connection to the demonic powers which had allowed them to practice their former profession. So they burned the scrolls of spells.

I think the traditional Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer is the perfect time for Christians who love Israel to show solidarity with Israelis and follow the example of these ancient Ephesians at the same time!

Go down to your local grocery store and get a few cardboard boxes, bring them home, and put one in your living room and another in your bedroom.

Some of us came out of New Age, witchcraft, or some other apostate religion. If you did, and you still have some literature, little statues, crystals, or other artifacts from those religions and you're not sure of what to do with them, put all that stuff in the box. Don't give it to someone else who is still into those apostate religions because then you're just putting a stumbling block in their path and damaging their life, and don't throw it away either because someone might fish it out of the garbage and it will damage their life.

Next, if you have any pornography in your home, put that in the box. Next, if you have pictures of your old girlfriend or boyfriend, presents they gave you or other little keepsakes or reminders of your relationship that is causing you to have trouble letting go of it, put them in the box. Next, if you have any drugs in your home that aren't medicine you need to take for an illness you have, including old prescription pills you've got in your medicine cabinet that you don't take any more, put that in the box.

Next, put any music you have that isn't helping you draw closer to God in the box, along with any games, tarrot cards, trashy novels, gossip magazines, or anything like that that is not glorifying God in your life and/or holding you back or distracting you from being a good witness to your neighbors or holding you back from becoming the Christian that you'd like to be.

If you only need one box, great, but there's no shame in needing more then one.

After you've put all this garbage in the boxes, take the boxes someplace where it's okay to have a fire (keeping a bucket of sand and a shovel handy in case things get out of control) pour a little bit of lighter fluid on them and burn it all up. While it's burning, close your eyes and pray to God to break off all the curses which those things brought into your life, renounce all the sin, pain, regret and anguish that they caused you and declare that in Christ you have the victory over it.

As it happens, Lag Ba'Omer falls on a Sunday this year, May 2, so if you're really ambitious you can organize a community event at your church. You don't have to call it Lag Ba'Omer, you can call it "Acts 19:19 Day", making it clear that participation is voluntary and people should bring their boxes to the bonfire taped shut so that a person's sin is between them and God and no one else will see it.

If you're still not sure what to put in the box, I'll give you four guidelines.

1) If there was an innocent child who you loved very much who came into your home, what things would you not want them to find and be corrupted by?

2) If you were about to get married, and the parents of your fiance' were coming over for a visit, what would you not want them to accidentally find in your home?

3) If you were to die tomorrow and your family were to come over to your home and go through all your stuff, what would you not want them to find?

4) Last but not least, if Jesus were to come visit your home, what would you not want Him to see, pick up, turn to you and say "What's this my child"?

I know what some of you are thinking, about the old Jewish expression that "Where they burn books they'll soon be burning people."

But I would argue that if it's the books themselves which are causing people's souls to be burnt in Hell, better for them to be burned then a person's soul!

God bless you all!

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