Sunday, February 28, 2010

leaven is leaven

The following is a quote from this site, joy of baking.

The word "yeast" comes from the Sanskrit 'yas' meaning "to seethe or boil". Yeast is a living organism and is in the air around us. It is a member of the fungus family and is a single-celled fungi of which there are about 160 different species. Baker's yeast as well as brewer's yeast belong to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae species. Louis Pasteur in the 1850's is credited with first discovering and understanding the fermentation process which led to the development and cultivation of the yeast we use today.

Baker's yeast, like baking powder and baking soda, is used to leavened baked goods
(breads, Danish pastries, brioche, croissants). The difference between these two leaveners is that baking powder/soda react chemically to produce the carbon dioxide that makes the baked goods rise. Yeast, on the other hand, is a living organism and the carbon dioxide it produces is the result of the yeast feeding on the dough.

Here is a definition from

1. a substance, as yeast or baking powder, that causes fermentation and expansion of dough or batter.
2. fermented dough reserved for producing fermentation in a new batch of dough.
3. an element that produces an altering or transforming influence.

There are two types of leaveners.
  • yeast - a living organism, creates carbon dioxide by feeding on the dough
  • baker's yeast - react chemically to produce the carbon dioxide and makes the bread rise

Just like other Christians, I have been wondering about yeast for a long time. Then last week as I came across a messianic website . God told the Israelites to get rid of the baker's yeast, a chemical reaction to cause baked goods rise, which is called khametz in Hebrew. It is any flour of the five species of grain, mixed with water and allowed to ferment before being baked. The five species of grain are wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye. Khametz, in reality, comes from a root which means "to be sour", according to Refiner's Fire (above mentioned website).

Then I suddenly remembered about one evening around 1988!

A friend of mine came over to give me something in a container. I cannot remember what she called it, but it was a bread starter. It was like some bread dough in a small container. She told me to use it to bake some bread and to save a portion of the new batch before I baked a loaf of bread. She said that this bread dough started long ago (sort of like chain letters??) and it hadn't been broken. She wanted me to give the saved portion to someone else so that the next person could do the same and give a new portion to another person. Just like #2 of the definition:

2. fermented dough reserved for producing fermentation in a new batch of dough.

It looks like Amish people do this.

I am not starting any new religion by posting this, but I think now I can understand the concept of starting a brand new batch...without using a little batch (bread starter) from the old batch and mix it into the new batch. This was the beginning of the new life for the Israelites. God didn't want them to bring the old customs and start a totally new batch! I suspect if this was one of the reasons why God said:

Exodus 12:19 (New International Version)

19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.

They were to be cut off from the community of Israel! God was very strict about this. God wanted to end the life in Egypt, the old life, for the people.

It can be said about us, too. Just like we are made a brand new christian when we believe in Jesus, the old cannot be there. We are brand new, born again. We took off our old clothes and wear a new one. New bread needs a brand new ingredients, not to be mixed with the old. To me the concept of 'old' can be better understood with the 'bread starter' method because if the yeast is everywhere in the air, I wouldn't know which one is old.

Matthew 16:5-6 (King James Version)

5And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
6Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Here's my thoughts. My friends' bread starter got started long time ago and it continued, adding little more of the new batch. Jesus didn't want us to continue our old way like Pharisees and the Sadducees' traditions. The law ended when Jesus came.

Galatians 3:19 " Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people."

Our Father is so wonderful. He wants to make us brand new. Jesus made it possible.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jesus' words in John 14

As the springtime has come, I think of one of the words Jesus said to the disciples.

"In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you." John 14:2 (Amplified)

The verse just before this is the following.

"DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me." John 14:1 (Amplified)

One year it suddenly dawned on me that Jesus was talking to his Jewish disciples who already believed in God. He is telling them to believe also in him.

Lord Jesus, I do believe!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God was, is, and is to come.

God said to Moses "I AM who I AM." (Exodus 3:14)

The original word for "I AM" is הָיָה . It is pronounced haya.

I always imagined that the original word for "I AM" would be Jehovah because I had heard that Jehovah meant self-existing one, but the original word here is not Jehovah. Haya means to exist, breathes, etc... See Blue Letter Bible.
Yehovah (Jehovah) means existing one.

The other day I wrote that God is the same. He was, He is, and He is to come. John wrote that in the book of Revelation 1:4. In the letter to the Hebrews 13:8, it says that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever."

God existed, and he exists, and he will exist. That means he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Is it written in the Old Testament? I could not find it. But the Jewish people say that God is "who was, is, and is to come." It is in Siddur Sim Shalom. I was wondering where in the Old Testament it said so. But now that I know the meaning of הָיָה (haya), I think that it is in the Hebrew language itself that explains God is who he was, is, and is to come. Doesn't it look like the meaning of הָיָה (haya) explains in itself that God was, is, and is to come? I think so!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The same God...old and new

I wake up, thanking God for another day. I shall live by His grace.

I praise the LORD who created the heavens and the earth, who made us in His image, who gave us freedom - we are free to choose to do the right things (even choose to love people my flesh doesn't really care for - because God loved us first - it is different from pretending), giving us the new insight to see things differently through His words (can't see right with only our own eyes, we need the Holy Spirit), who clothes the naked, who releases the oppressed and the bound, who raises the downtrodden, who provides all our needs, who guides us on our path, who encourages us (yes, our God is an encourager!), and who restores hope and vigor to the weary, mending the broken reed, causing dying wick to flame.
Isaiah 61 (New International Version)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed." I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

Jesus read this portion of Isaiah at church in Luke chapter 4.

17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The New Testament is like a commentary for the Old Testament sometimes. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever so the NT is connected to the OT. I want my ears to hear what Jesus taught about the OT.

I sometimes get the feeling that people look down on the Old Testament. We modern Christians have a certain image of the Old Testament. The Bible is about our God who worked in the lives of Abraham, Elijah, Peter, Paul, etc... It is not about those people who walked with God.

So I read the Jewish prayer book with a fresh mind, using it as a way to understanding God more, and read it with my heart, and wrote my prayer based on it. That's what I wrote at the beginning of today's blog. If I didn't say so, no one can tell it is from the Jewish prayer book.

May it be about God and our Jesus, not about Jew or Gentiles...

"For we are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Exodus!! (Shemot)

After Jacob's life ends, the Israelites continue to live in Goshen, Egypt.

The word Exodus is Greek.

In the Hebrew Bible, Exodus is called "Shemot" and it means names. The first verse starts with "And these are the names," and that is why it is called "names," just like Genesis is titled Beresheet and it means "in the beginning." Genesis 1:1 starts like this: "In the beginning...."

Moses' mom put baby Moses in a basket of "ark" (KJV). The word ark is the same word used in the story of Noah, but the tar Moses' mom used is different from Noah's. I was guessing that they may be the same. Well, I was just wondering if the mom was praying that the God who saved Noah's life by putting him in the ark would save Moses by putting him in the basket of ark.