Thursday, December 15, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Parenting Advice from the Book of Sirach

Sirach 40:28-30 GNT
"My child, don't live the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg. If you have to depend on someone else for your food, you are not really living your own life. You pollute yourself by accepting food from another. Begging is torture to the soul of any sensitive person. A shameless person can make begging sound sweet, but something inside him burns."

Sirach 10:28-31 GNT
"My child, keep your self-respect, but remain modest. Value yourself at your true worth. There is no excuse for a person to run himself down. No one respects a person who has no respect for himself. Poor people can be honored for their good sense, and rich people can be honored for their wealth. If someone is honored while he is poor, think how much he will be honored if he becomes rich! If someone is despised while he is rich, think how much more he will be despised if he becomes poor!"

Sirach 11:10 GNT
"My child, don't get involved in too many things. If you try to do too much, you will suffer for it. You won't be able to finish your work, and you won't be able to get away from it either."

Sirach 7:23-25 GNT
"If you have sons, educate them. Teach them self-discipline while they are young. If you have daughters, keep them virtuous, and don't be too indulgent with them. When you give your daughter in marriage, you have finished a great task, but give her to a sensible man."

A SENSE OF DECENCY (teaching our children to blush!)
Sirach 41:16-23
"My children, listen and I will teach you the circumstances when it is proper to be ashamed. Sometimes it is entirely out of place.

Before your parents, be ashamed of immoral behavior.
Before a ruler or an important person, be ashamed of a lie.

Before a judge, be ashamed of criminal behavior.
Before a public assembly, be ashamed of breaking the law.
Before a friend or partner, be ashamed of dishonesty.

Before your neighbors, be ashamed of theft.
Be ashamed of breaking a promise,
of leaning on the dinner table with your elbows,
of stinginess when you are asked for something,

of not returning a greeting,
of staring at a prostitute,

of turning down a relative's request,
of depriving someone of what is rightly his,
of staring at another man's wife,

of playing around with his slave woman (keep away from her bed!)
of insulting your friends,
of following up your gifts with criticism,

of betraying secrets."

Sirach 42:9-13 GNT
"Although he will not let his daughter know it, a father will lie awake at night worrying about her. If she is young, he worries that she might not get married. If she is already married, he worries about her happiness. If she is a virgin, he worries that she might be seduced and become pregnant while living in his house. If she is married, he worries that she might be unfaithful, or that she might not be able to have children. Keep a close watch over your daughter if she is determined to have her own way. If you don't, she may make a fool of you in front of your enemies. You will be a constant joke to everyone in town, a public disgrace. Make sure that her room has no windows or any place where she can look out to the entrance of the house. Don't let her show off her beauty in front of men, or spend her time talking with the women. Women hurt other women just as moths damage clothing."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Priority #2 - My Husband - More on Sirach

I have still been reading the Book of Sirach and how it pertains to wives:

Sirach 40:19-20 (GNT)
"Your name can be preserved if you have children or if you establish a city, but finding Wisdom is a better way. Owning livestock and orchards will make you famous, but it is better to have a wife you love. Wine and music can make you happy, but a happy marriage is even better."

Sirach 40:23 (GNT)
"You can't go wrong with a good friend or neighbor, but an intelligent wife is better than either."

Sirach 7:19 GNT
"Don't miss your chance to marry a wise and good woman. A gracious wife is worth more than gold."

Sirach 7:26 GNT
"If you have a good wife, do not divorce her, but do not trust yourself to someone you don't love."

Sirach 42:6 GNT
"It is wise to lock things up if you cannot trust your wife or if too many people are around."

Any wonder why Proverbs 31:11 AMP says,
"The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil."

The book of Sirach also has some very unflattering things to say about women. I will not list them here because I don't want to examine them in the light of today's sociopolitical standards. But these verses on the importance of marrying an intelligent wife and making a happy marriage, these are timeless. :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - The Book of Sirach

Friend Hubby and I have been exploring some of the books that were not canonized at the Council of Trent. The books of Enoch and Jasher have been referenced in scripture and Friend Hubby has been enjoying them. I have fallen in love (so far -- haven't read it in entirety) with the book of Sirach.
There are many instances where I feel it is a good companion to the book of Proverbs. Like Proverbs 31, Sirach 26 extols the virtues of a good wife:
Blessed the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the Lord; Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face.

A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones; A gift from the Lord is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth. Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste soul. A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace; indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul. Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.

Sirach 29 goes into the downhill spiral of relationship that can take place between borrower and lender.

It is also available on in the Good News Translation. In the foot notes, it cross references it with the non-canonized Book of Wisdom and the book of Proverbs in our Bibles as well.

Do you ever get a brain buzz when you learn something new? I am really enjoying this! Not for the sake of knowledge alone, but to learn greater how to apply my heart to wisdom and walk it out in my daily life. THAT is my earnest desire.

Honestly, I was nervous reading these books. Am I going to lose my mind or go blind if I read them? Am I going to be led hopelessly away from my Adonai, never to return? Those are fears that popped into my head the moment I thought to read them. I cannot begin to understand the reasoning of the Council of Trent for not including them our canon of scripture. The great thinkers of the 1600s didn't think they were worth including, but why do we still go by their opinion? Tradition?

I have read that many of the things Yeshua said can be traced back to Sirach. The Apostle Paul quotes from the book of either Enoch or Jasher in Jude. These books would have been known by the rabbis of that day. There are references to them in the Talmud so they would have been used in Yeshua's childhood learning. Why? Why? Why? Am I just nosy? Probably. :-)

I will just keep reading for now, praying for discernment, checking and balancing with the approved canon of texts. Pray for me, I'm going in!

Others of my favorite passages:
Sirach 2:1-6
"My child, if you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon him, and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him."

Sirach 2:10-11
"Think back to the ancient generations and consider this: has the Lord ever disappointed anyone who put his hope in him? Has the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble."

Don't you just love these ancient words of wisdom?

A popular song on Christian radio right now quotes Micah 6:8 (I have copied it in Amplified)
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?"

What does it mean to "walk humbly?"

Sirach 2:4-6 says,
"Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him."

Here is something else I have come across recently in a book called Shabby Chic: Treasure Hunting & Decorating Guide by Rachel Ashwell. The author is unknown, but the writing was found on something at a garage sale:

"Humility is perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised; it is to have a blessed home in my self where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is trouble."


Friday, November 25, 2011

Priority # 5 - Myself - Getting Myself in Order

Okay so my family finally forced me to give up my pretty pink flip phone that I have had for the past 4 or 5 year (which worked perfectly fine, thank you) and convinced me to get a "smart phone." Right.

So, I am exploring the world of self-help apps and I think I found one that I like. It is called Habit Streak. Scientists say that it takes up to 21 days to develop a habit and since we know that I have been an epic fail at being a FlyBaby, this seems to be helping me to take baby steps toward developing a habit. This the product description from the Android Market:

Track your progress at achieving daily goals. Build streaks to change your life!

✓ Join thousands of users to achieve your goals with Habit Streak.

✓ Habit Streak helps you achieve your goals (or New Year's Resolutions) in exercise, diet or other areas of your life. Each day you report on whether you succeeded yesterday, building up streaks of habits and ingraining the activities into your life.

"After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain" (Jerry Seinfeld)

Habit Streak has two key advances on Jerry Seinfeld's original technique. Firstly it allows you to build several chains up at once. Secondly it (optionally) prompts you every day to report on your success (whereas one could easily forget to update or look at a physical calendar).

Another app that I am discovering is Cozi. FlyLady is connected to it. At the moment, I am downloading the Zone 4 To Do list onto my phone. It would be of help to be able to check off my square right from my device. We'll see how it works...again.

Here is my problem with developing a new habit.
1. A new idea comes to me.
2. I implement the idea.
3. I am excited about the success of the idea.
4. I modify the idea further.
5. The new modification derails the idea.
6. I give up.

I don't want this comic I found in the Sunday paper to be true of me!

Habakkuk 2:2 AMP gives me two helps for this problem: "And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by."

1. WRITE IT DOWN. If my goal is not written down, no one will know if I give up.
2. THAT EVERYONE WHO PASSES BY MAY BE ABLE TO READ IT. Be accountable. Since Cozi is shared with my family, they see what my goals are. They can encourage me and may even come up with their own goals with which I may encourage them.

Let's see if technology can help give me a boost in achieving my goals.

I also made a list of chore charts for my children as well. They are similar to mine. They, however, are typed up on paper and hung on the outside of their bathroom door. This way Friend Hubby can see if they are meeting their goals as well.

Continuing in my study of YHWH and His establishment of time, this Sunday will mark the beginning of the Hebrew month of Chislev, a New Moon. I think one of the things that I love about learning about our Hebraic roots is that there is ALWAYS a new beginning. New beginnings are tied to creation. It speaks of our great salvation, being born again. When the light becomes dim, a day is born again (and the evening and the morning were the first day). When the sun goes down on Friday (Sabbath), the new week has begun. When the moon can no longer be seen, the beginning of the next Hebrew month is just a day away. When we bring all of our sins to the surface (the darkest parts of heart) and repent (Yom Kippur), the new year Rosh Hashanna is about to begin. For all eternity, we will be on our Heavenly Father's time schedule:
"And it shall be that from one New Moon to another New Moon and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord." Isaiah 66:23 AMP

The New Moon festivals were often associated with women. Why? Because within our bodies, we carry a cycle. Throughout time, women have kept time for our families. (Thus my efforts to find apps applicable for that purpose). Man's time leads to death. We don't think we need sleep, or rest, or to eat at certain intervals. We want to plant crops when that are out of season and find the fountain of youth. We have been in rebellion to YHWH's time since the beginning of time. Everything YHWH has given us has been to prolong our time on earth (i.e., the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath).

Learning to move in sync with Heaven has been such an awesome journey for me!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Girl Scouts versus American Heritage Girls versus Keepers at Home

Our pastor in Okinawa used to always say, "Don't just give your children a head knowledge, also give them a hand knowledge."

I guess that's kind of how I feel about Girl Scouts right now. The whole program has been revamped. I don't think the girls of 1912 would recognize the badges of 2012. I have had several conversations with others involved in Girl Scouts this year about all the changes. What it boils down to for me is the difference between teaching our girls to be consumers, versus teaching them to be producers.

I recently read an article for Girlfriends in God called "Grandma's Inheritance." While reminiscing about her summers with her grandma, this caught my attention:

During my weeks with Grandma, there were no trips to fast-food restaurants or shopping sprees at the mall. That’s just not what grandmas were for. So what did I do for seven days? I did what Grandma did (except dip snuff). I made biscuits, shelled lima beans, canned vegetables for the following winter, and learned how to sew.

I SO want my girls to have these skills, not because I expect them to always grow up and be stay-at-home moms, but because there is therapy in creating things with your hands or in participating in creation with YHWH. There is wisdom in keeping your hands busy and your mouth shut. Over the course of my adulthood, I have been paid to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner, to sew on military patches, and of course for 20 years I financed our homeschooling as a cake decorator. My daughter in college has made money sewing hemlines for other girls in her dorm, even though I never got around to teaching her to sew clothing by a pattern (yet). She keeps some of her frozen meat in the dorm kitchen rather than in her room because she knows the other girls don't know how to cook and won't bother it.

I'm coming into a difficult season for me emotionally. It always happens right after Thanksgiving. It is difficult to shake, but I work hard trying to get through it. Having a craft or something to do with my hands, something to teach my children to do, would help. While we were making Thanksgiving dinner, I pulled an empty jar out of the pantry, poured in the rest of a carton of heavy whipping cream and a touch of salt (From a failed attempt to make a chocolate marble cheesecake for Friend Hubby's birthday - it was so terrible, he thought it was a gag gift. Note to self--only bake from cookbook recipes. Leave the untested internet recipes alone!) Anyway, we put the cream in the jar with a clean marble and all took turns shaking it. Voila! Home churned butter. I'm afraid there's no Girl Scout badge for that.

I've been looking into American Heritage Girls.

"American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country."

The last word I heard on American Heritage Girls was that they were full. I would not give up my Girl Scout troop, but it would be interesting for Princess Butterfly to be a part of both. I even told my co-leader about it the other day. She and I agree that we will just run our troop according to how WE want, not with all this new (and may I say TOTALLY unorganized) practices that Girl Scouts have taken up.

Another idea I have is to just break out the old Keepers at Home Handbook from when Dancing Angel and My Diva were young girls and go from there. Princess Butterfly is quite the baker now, but there are still other skills I'd like her to have. They make charm bracelets with silver and gold charms for the girl to earn depending on their proficiency with the skill. Looking down the table of contents, I can see that my girls had earned:

Creative Skills
  • Candlewicking
  • Counted Cross Stitch
  • Decoupage
  • Latch Hooking
  • Pressed Flowers
  • Rubber Stamping
  • Scrapbooking
  • Cake Decorating
  • Cooking
  • Scheduling
  • Soapmaking
Knowledge and Skills
  • Library
  • Literature
  • Sign Language
  • Wildflowers
  • Etiquette
  • Friends
  • Special Needs

There are still other categories that they didn't earn awards in, such as Recreational Activities and Biblical Girlhood, and those listed above were just what they actually EARNED. There are so many more that are not listed here. Hmmm. Does it seem to you as if I have found the answer to my conundrum? Well, I did say that blogging was a place where I could think out loud.

The sad thing about it is that I remember when all of these skills were a part of the Girl Scout program. I remember when My Diva, every year, would be the only one from her troop to attend an event called Etiquette Arts where she got to dress up and go and eat at a fancy restaurant downtown with our Girl Scout council. When I was a Girl Scout, I learned sign language and was able to assist with a deaf and blind troop in our area.

I REFUSE to allow Princess Butterfly's girlhood to take place from behind a computer screen in the name of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and if my co-leader and I have anything to say about it, neither will our troop.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Priority #4 - My Home - Thanksgiving

This was the Thanksgiving that almost didn't happen. Friend Hubby is the head chef for this yearly meal and for weeks now he has been saying he just wasn't feelin' it. We have been on the edge of our seats in anticipation. Finally, while we were sitting in the car, he called a friend who has been gracing our table for many years and told her that Thanksgiving was on. What? I had to hear about it through an eavesdropped conversation? You know he was soundly rebuked for that. LOL! We had just been to the military commissary and I think all the prep displays got to him. We're just thankful it did! It would have been a sad year without it.

We understand that it is NOT one of YHWH's feast days. We are not trying to replace Sukkot or the Feast of Booths with this American tradition, but this is just a celebration of gratitude, like the father of the prodigal son held. It is a time to catch up with old friends, laugh and play games.

When we were in Okinawa, our entire church went camping for Thanksgiving. What GREAT memories we have of that! We hope to start going camping every year for Sukkot. That will be a wonderful new tradition to begin.

Our Thanksgiving menu has long been the merging of two cultures. Friend Hubby is from the east coast. Traditionally, his Thanksgiving consisted of baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, rice, and of course, turkey with sweet potato pie for dessert. I'm from the midwest and our Thanksgiving included corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie as well. We compromise, adding elements of both, along with my homemade cornbread dressing that is the nemesis to my diet every year.

I have a friend who is Vietnamese, married to a Jamaican. Her Thanksgiving menu is entirely different from ours.

Where are you from and what is your menu?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Mama Bear

Hosea 13:8 AMP, "I will meet them like a bear that is robbed of her cubs, and I will rend the covering of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lioness, as a wild beast would tear them."

I love that verse, because I know how protective I am of my children. It shows me how protective He is over His children (especially the disobedient ones).

This was a conversation I had with one of my children recently.

ME: Okay, but remember that anything that affects your well being causes an autonomic response in my nervous system that releases 6 inch claws from each of my fingers, turns my teeth into fangs, and causes animalistic predatory instinct to kick in beyond my control.

MY CHILD: So you are... a werewolf?

ME: I am a mom. The claws and fangs are standard issue equipment. They automatically deploy when your child faces any danger, perceived or real. The quantity of love you carry in your heart for them directly affects the response time of the claws and fangs' deployment.

Alas, the ability to be omnipresent was not standard issue equipment (intuition is the closest thing to it and of course, we have the ability to make them THINK we might be able to see them from everywhere, LOL). So I have no choice but to trust the One who placed them in my care.

And why do they have such an effect on us? They're absolutely gross! I've been peed on, boo booed on, thrown up on, sneezed on. At any given moment, they may give off a foul odor. They put buggars in their mouths and Lord knows what else. They won't sleep when you sleep. They communicate by tears and whining and treat you like a hired servant. They demand all of your attention and your time. They have no appreciation whatsoever for fine strands of pearls or brand new houses with white carpet. That's only toddlerhood.

When they become teens, you get to do it all over again only emotionally instead of physically. They are schizophrenic and you never know what side of the bed they're going to wake up on. They tell you all their problems then tell you that you don't understand them. They eat all the wrong things and all the sleep they wouldn't do when they were babies, they try to do now. They communicate by tears and whining and treat you like a hired servant. They demand all of your attention and your time (did I say that already?). I am certain, we would never tolerate that behavior from another human being in the world.

But somehow or another, we can't seem to extricate ourselves from their grip. Their successes become our successes, their failures our failures, their disappointments our disappointments. We are constant co-competitors in the three-legged race of life. The single helpless look in our direction is enough to melt our hearts and run to their aid. We will work all night long to sew costumes, too see if the medicine is working, and do anything in our power to hear the words, "Thanks, Mom."

A friend shared a blog called "I Take Joy" this blog on Facebook and it blessed me on a day where I was feeling particularly low as a mom. She says, "But, as moms, we must hope that the voices in our children’s heads that come from us speak to them of our unconditional love for them, our belief in their dreams, validation of God’s call on their lives, encouraging words that give life to their souls."

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city's] gate." Psalm 127:3-5 AMP

My children are captivating, but are also my captors, but you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Priority #2 - My Husband - Not the Early Bird

I am NOT an early bird. For six years, I worked until 1 and 2 in the morning. Last year, Adonai began to deal with me about my times and seasons. Even as I write this, I just finished a study Friend Hubby is doing on the Seven Covenants, and I realized that when the creation of earth began, the first thing that Elohim established was times and seasons:

"And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs and tokens [of God's provident care], and [to mark] seasons, days, and years." Genesis 1:14 AMP

To Noah, He says:

"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22 AMP

So what is the first thing He does when He brings the Children of Israel out of Egypt? He gives them His own calendar. {See Leviticus 23}

Apparently, time is important to Him. Hmmm.

So, my times and seasons have been changing. First with the Sabbath. From the time that I started keeping the Sabbath more consistently, I have changed jobs, not once, but twice, and now work exclusively in the daylight hours (with the exception of Sunday evening).

Now, it seems, that is not enough. It appears, that He is trying to make an early bird out of me. My flesh is kicking against the goads! LOL!

When I was a young bride, I used to try to get Friend Hubby to let me make him breakfast in the morning. He kept telling me no and after a while I stopped trying, but now, after nearly a quarter of a century of marriage, we both realize that breakfast would be good for him in the morning, so one of us should fix it. So far, that hasn't been me, but I'm moving closer. In the last six months I have moved from not even being aware of when he left for work to actually being up to say good-bye. Eventually, I'm sure I will be down there breaking out a skillet or two. I can feel it in my bones.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - Where My Path Began

My favorite poem of all times is Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem reminds me of this Scripture, copied here from the Aramaic-English New Testament

"Enter by the straight door, for wide is the door and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many are they, those that go in it. How narrow the door and straight the road that leads to life, and few are they, those that find it." Matthew 7:13-14 AENT

I have had the opportunity to fellowship with believers from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Japan, Argentina, and the Philippines. I lived outside of the United States for 12 years and now have lived back in the states for 12 years. My only emotion derived from what I have experienced is sadness in much of the church in America is sadness.

Read the commendation and indictment pronounced on the assembly of believers in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22 AMP:

And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation:

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!

So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.

He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

Probably to others, the church in America is just the same as it has always been. But because we were outside of it for so long and then returned to it, we view it differently. We left the U.S. just a few years after the Jimmy Bakker/Jimmy Swaggart scandals. I think one of the reasons it was such big news, even to the worldly media is because the church still, at least in certain arenas, held up a high standard of clearly what is right and wrong. From that stone rolling, we have had the Catholic church scandals, church shootings, murder-suicides, public affairs, strange phenomena (not miraculous, just strange), and yet, there is no mass repentance, mass reform, no mass weeping for what we have done, for the little ones we have led astray. Instead, our buildings have gotten larger, our sacred music more marketable, our offering buckets larger because we've got to meet the expenses on all of this, our families more dysfunctional, our "outreaches" less about repentance and more about a social club.

I don't suggest throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are pockets of light, but isn't that the point of Matthew 7:13-14. FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.

Can we no longer sing with our own voices? Can we no longer us our homes as houses of worship? Can we no longer search the Scriptures for ourselves (we cannot possibly say we have been "fed" in a 20 minute message, can we?)?

All of our WWJD and COEXIST and other market schemes to make Jesus more palatable to the masses further illustrate that we do not know Him. Had we really searched the Scriptures, we would know not only His acts, but His ways. If you REALLY believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and you truly believe John 1:1 AMP, "IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself." Then how could He contradict Himself? How can He himself honor the Sabbath and then get rid of it or change the day? How could pronounce a curse on all that is dark and evil and then turn the house of worship into a haunted house on Halloween? How could He go from spitting in the dirt and making a salve for blinded eyes to punching someone with stomach cancer in the stomach? Would He declare sexual immorality to be wrong and then turn around and support it?

My goal, my aim, my desire is to KNOW HIM as revealed in His Word, not reinvent Him. He came to this world and manifested His glory to the Hebrew nation. Not because they were big, not because they were might, but because He was faithful to keep His word to His servant Abraham. When they rebelled against Him and were scattered to the ends of the earth as a result, He came to earth Himself, declared that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and demonstrated how to keep the commandments that He Himself established through progressive covenants, Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and new or Renewed Covenant. He established seven festivals that themselves tell the story of redemption. Paul's blessing over the community of Ephesus was, "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]." The treasury of His glory is His Word, specifically the Word that Paul would have had access to the Torah and the Prophets.

Rev. Sam Pascoe put it like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise."

Return! In Hebrew, T'shuvah! Retrace your steps back along the path, past the church coffee shops and book stores, past the T-shirts, CDs, jewelry, and greeting cards. Go home, all the way home. Take your family with you. Spend the sabbath with them. Study the word together. Let your husband lay hands on you and bless you and your children. Speak a blessing over him, EVERY WEEK. Look forward to it, delight yourself in it. Invite people over. Dance, pray, study, laugh. Let them be themselves and untie the yokes that bind them. Pull them out of ditches. Love the Lord and Love His people. Connect. Romans 12:9 AMP, "[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good."

I'm empty of words now. LOL! But today is the Sabbath, and I am SO looking forward to getting my refill!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Not on my Calendar

When the Children of Israel came out of Egypt (a type of the believer coming out of the world system), YHWH gave them a calendar so that they would not assimilate to the culture around them. They were not meant to be boring or dry or religiously observed with out bodies while our hearts longed for something else. They all pointed toward YHWH and were in celebration of Him.

Recently, a neighbor boy tried to convince my son to come to his Halloween party. When my son said, "No, you already know I don't celebrate that," the boy gave to reasons why he should:
1. "Christians trick or treat."
2. "You should become one with the world."

In his mind, these are the reasons why my son should get involved in his celebration. Because so many "Christians" have left off from the Scripture that says, "So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor." II Corinthians 6:17 AMP "Christians" have rejected His favor so they can be in favor with the world and not make waves and be a "witness" by throwing identical festivals with the "evil" taken out of them.

His second reason, that my son should become, "one with the world," reminds me of I John 2:15-17, "

"Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever." I John 2:15-17 AMP

"I only participate in Halloween so I can get the candy." What, I can't buy my children candy without them getting dressed up, ringing the neighbor's doorbell, and giving them an ultimatum?

CNN did a story this year about the increasingly sensual nature of Halloween costumes for children:

"You just don't want your children to have fun." Of course, the only way to have fun is your way, right? Our children never laugh, never smile, never celebrate, never feast......Wrong!

In our family, adapting to YHWH's calendar, rather than trying to squeeze Him into our American/Gregorian system, has been the most eye-opening, joyful, and adventurous thing we have ever done as a family and our children are loving every minute of it.

We as grafted in Israelites had better learn how to celebrate the holidays of our Kingdom. According to Isaiah 66, we will be celebrating them for all eternity!

Romans 11:17-24
"But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree, Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you. You will say then, Branches were broken (pruned) off so that I might be grafted in! That is true. But they were broken (pruned) off because of their unbelief (their lack of real faith), and you are established through faith [because you do believe]. So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], neither will He spare you [if you are guilty of the same offense]. Then note and appreciate the gracious kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's gracious kindness to you--provided you continue in His grace and abide in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off (pruned away). And even those others [the fallen branches, Jews], if they do not persist in [clinging to] their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and against nature grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree."

Hebrews 8:8 AMP, "However, He finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel [HELLO! YOU ARE HERE!!!] and with the house of Judah."

Hebrews 8:10 AMP, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws [TORAH - HIS INSTRUCTION AND TEACHING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS] upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

Question: Do you think that the Torah, instruction and teaching that He writes upon your heart, is different than the instruction and teaching found in His written word? So when He says, "Be watchful that you are not ensnared into following them after they have been destroyed before you and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? We will do likewise." Deuteronomy 12:30 AMP, that He could have possibly been talking about not celebrating Halloween or making a substitute for it?

Leviticus 23:2, "Say to the Israelites, The set feasts or appointed seasons of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, even My set feasts, are these:

Verse 3 - The Sabbath:
"Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation or assembly by summons. You shall do no work on that day; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings."

Every Friday is like a party. From sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, we pray blessings over our husbands, wives, and children. We praise and worship our God. We fellowship with other believers. We dance and laugh and eat, and forget about all of our troubles and worries for the week. We refill our oil so that we can continue to be lights in the world.

Verse 4 through - Six Feasts

1. Passover - A memorial of the Angel of Death passing over the Children of Israel and delivering them out of the world. A memorial of Yeshua (Jesus) giving His life to renew the covenant with the House of Israel, those who would believe on Him and reconcile us back to our first husband (the God of the first Passover).

2. Feast of Unleavened Bread - yeast, which is a symbol of sin, is carefully searched for an removed from our homes in preparation for the receiving of the Torah

3. Shavuot - Festival of the barley harvest and memorial of the gathering to receive the Torah (marriage vows). Also memorial of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was poured out and we received the Torah written on our hearts and in our minds.

4. Feast of Trumpets - a time that marks the time of repentance. A time of making things right with our neighbors and repenting before YHWH. It is the beginning of a 10-day period of introspection.

5. Day of Atonement - This is a fast and a solemn day of repentance. This is a day of looking at ourselves for what we really are so that we can know look to our Messiah and His finished work (on Yom Kippur the high priest, after the last lamb was slain, would say, "It is finished."

6. Feast of Booths - This is a season of our joy. This is when we believe Yeshua was actually born. This is when we celebrate His coming to dwell among us. There has been much research on it. You can look that up for yourselves.

New Moons - I love how YHWH is always about renewal. In Isaiah 66:23 AMP He says that in the New Earth and the New Jerusalem, "And it shall be that from one New Moon to another New Moon and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord."

Feast of Dedication (Hannukah) - We know that Jesus celebrated this, "After this the Feast of Dedication [of the reconsecration of the temple] was taking place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and And Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the temple area." John 10:22-23 AMP

Purim - Celebration of the Jews of Shushan's victory over their Persian oppression.

With all these Biblical holidays to celebrate, WHY do believers look to participate in the celebrations of the world. We should be inviting THEM to OUR feasts, not participating in theirs! OUR feasts tell the story of redemption. Our feasts speak of Him Who was, is, and is to come. There are holidays and memorial days that have been celebrated in the past and are no longer relevant and have passed away, but this festivals are WORD and we are assured that His word will NEVER pass away.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Priority #5 - Myself - A Good Cry

Central Texas, where I live, has scarcely seen one drop of rain since late April. This is the most severe drought on record. The drought has almost become a way of life. We can get used to it. Princess Butterfly went on a little trip with Friend Hubby up to Oklahoma this week. She sent me a text message that said, "Rain still exists!" I replied, "Good, bring some home!"

My mind has recently been going through it's familiar circle of "what ifs." I get used to stuffing them back down as soon as they surface, but recently, I had a talk with my uncle. He's the type of person who can pull a cry out of you, in spite of all your best efforts at holding down the fort. In addition to that, in my job as a medical transcriptionist, I had to type a report of a man who had irreversible complications from just a routine surgery and was about to be put on hospice with minutes to hours left to live, and the physician dictating mentioned on more than one occasion the look of fear in the man's eyes. Some days my job is just hard to do.

After that, I seemed to have sprung a leak. The more I tried to stuff my "what ifs" the more difficult they became to contain. My house is rarely completely empty, but this was a karate night. I tried to sit at my computer and work, but one tear slipped away from me and before I knew it, a torrent of tears came tumbling down on my keyboard, blurring my computer screen. I just cried and cried and cried until I couldn't cry any more. I wasn't just crying for the patient in my report. I was crying for my daughter who didn't get to live to go to college and be married and have children. I cried for my grandmother who died the morning of my daughter's funeral, whom I miss terribly, particularly after speaking with my uncle. I cried for my mother who died earlier this year and although our last words to one another expressed our love for one another, it did not erase all the ugly words she said while I was trying to take care of her, and trying to take care of everyone else too.

I had my cry, my thunderstorm, and then I did what my mother always taught me to do. Move forward. We've seen from our Torah readings this year, self-pity never moves anyone into the promised land, ANY promised land. I have a new school year to start, a ministry to help my husband with, and a host of things I need to reorganize and learn. I have been at this mountain long enough. Time to dry the tears and get moving.

"And the Lord spoke to me [Moses], saying, 'You have roamed around this mountain country long enough; turn northward.'"
Deuteronomy 2:3 AMP


Friday, August 5, 2011

Priority #4 - My Home - FlyLady and the Month of Av

Romans 7:18-25

For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.

Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].

So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.

For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature].

But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].

O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

I am not able (or I am not disciplined enough) to do FlyLady the way FlyLady is supposed to be done. I am beginning to realize that working from home at my computer is mentally and physically tiring and I can't do everything my mind tells me it wants to do.

I have been very productive on my job lately, mostly because of blogs dealing with productivity. It has been very awe inspiring keeping in front of my eyes on a daily basis ideas that help me to stay focused and get it done.

Now if I can do that for work, can't I do it for housework as well?

This week began the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar. Isaiah 66:23 AMP says that in the kingdom where our Messiah Yeshua reigns, "And it shall be that from one New Moon to another New Moon and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord."

I have certainly learned in this past year (and have been abundantly blessed by it) to mark my week from Sabbath to Sabbath. I have learned to set my year from Torah cycle (Simchat Torah is where Deuteronomy ends and Genesis begins again), I think that marking my months from New Moon to New Moon will be a blessing to me as well.

So rather from switching zones from week to week, I think I will concentrate on one room month by month. So for the month of Av, I want to transform our school room for the new school year. I have middle-schoolers now. It is in bad need of an upgrade. It needs to reflect their maturity and higher levels of learning. Since I work in the room, it will also need to be functional as my home office as well.

In garden news (heavy sigh), my untreated wood on my square foot garden, along with the only thing in the backyard getting water besides the dog bowl, has attracted termites. They have destroyed all my watermelon vines. Sooo. I'm going to Lowe's to buy some termite sprinkles and sprinkle it all around the base of the outside of the box then wait a few weeks. When I get ready to plant my indoor seedlings, which have already begun to sprout, I will dig up all that soil and start again fresh with new soil. I will probably put more soil in to make it deeper.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Sharpening Our Arrows

It's beginning to be about that time. We're getting ready to pack up My Diva and send her back to college.

These are some verses I've been thinking about concerning my children:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city's] gate." Psalm 127:3-5

I'm also getting ready to begin a new school year with Boy Wonder and Princess Butterfly. My Diva has been the guinea pig for higher learning so I can see the areas where my younger two need work.

After the stupidity of the California Governor signing into law a bill to teach gay history, I'm so glad I live in Texas where I can choose how to educate my own children. I am drawing inspiration from other pioneering educators like:

Mary McLeod Bethune

Curriculum at the school started as a rigorous Christian life, having girls rise at 5:30 a.m. for Bible Study, classes in home economics and other industrial skills such as dressmaking, millinery, cooking, and other crafts that emphasized a life of self-sufficiency. Students' days ended at 9 pm. Soon science and business courses were added, then high school courses of math, English, and foreign languages.

Marva Collins

Marva Collins uses the Socratic method, modified for use in primary school. The first step is to select material with abstract content to challenge students' logic, and that will therefore have different meaning to different students, in order to aid discussion. This is done specifically to teach children to reason.

Next, the teacher should read the material, because unknown material cannot be taught. New words, the words to watch, should be listed, and taught, for pronunciation, use and spelling before the material is read. Without this step, the reading is meaningless.

Next, one begins a series of pertinent questions as the reading progresses, starting with a reference to the title, and a question about what the material is about. Predictions should use logic, reasoning and evidence without fallacy. The reading must be out loud, so the teacher can ask questions at pertinent points. Students are taught to test their reasoning. Afterward, they write daily letters to the author or characters, and write a critical review. Why is the work important to them? The child must be taught to refer to what was previously learned to support their opinions.

In the Socratic method, the rate of information is controlled by the teacher. Properly paced, this encourages participation, reducing discipline issues and encouraging self-discipline. The program specifically avoids work-sheets and inane busy work. It establishes an intellectual atmosphere, a general attitude suspending judgment, and examining reasoning.

In the 1990s I was privileged to meet (in Okinawa of all places) the headmaster of The Piney Woods School in Mississippi, Dr. Charles H. Beady, Jr. Morley Safer of 60 Minutes had done a piece on the school. I was so impressed by their committment that the children of Piney Woods would become more than just statistics.

The fourth blessing in the weekday Amidah is a petition for knowledge and insight. It says, "You show favor to a man of knowledge, and You teach understanding to a mortal man. Be gracious to us; a mind of understanding and intellect is from You. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who favors us with knowledge."

Isaiah 54:13 in my three favorite versions of the scriptures.

New King James: "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children."

Amplified: "And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children."

Complete Jewish Bible: "All your children will be taught by ADONAI; your children will have great peace."


New Friend Friday Link-up

Monday, July 25, 2011

Torah Study - Numbers (B'midbar) - Masei (Stages) - Question #2

Hoshana Rabbah
Is there a Gentile gate in New Jerusalem?

Numbers 34:1–35:8, Each tribe had its land allotment in the Promised Land. Where did the non-Israelite sojourners find their allotment? Were they left out? No. They were joined to one of the twelve tribes. Similarly, New Jerusalem has twelve gates only, named after the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12). Do you call yourself a Gentile and not an Israelite? Then tell me which gate you will enter through? The reality is that there is no “Gentile Gate” listed! Why is this?

Priority #2 - My Husband - My Favorite Wifely Scripture

Have you ever read I Peter 3:1-6 in the Amplified version? It is an EXTREMELY eye-opening experience:

IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,

When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;

But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them].

It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].

I don't know about you, but I need to revisit this on a daily basis and remind myself of my purpose, to bring honor and glory to YHWH through my conduct towards my husband first, my children second, and all those for whom He allows to cross my path.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Torah Study - Numbers (B'midbar) - Masei (Stages) - Question #1

Would you like to study Torah with me? This is an idea I thought of while getting dressed this morning. I am getting ready to start my work shift. I'm going to post the study question from one of my favorite sites for this weeks' Torah portion, written by Ya’acov Natan Lawrence. I'm going to post it on Facebook at the beginning of my work shift. While I'm working, I will be meditating on the word. I will come back at the end of my shift to read your answers posted in the comment section.

Please stay on topic and be respectful in your comments. The entire study guide can be found at Hoshana Rabbah, as well as the kids' study guides.

This weeks' study is Parashat Masei. You will need to begin by reading Numbers 33:1-36:13.

Question #1:

From Numbers 33:1, These are the journeys. Israel was constantly on the move (42 times in all) during its trek through the wilderness. Each of these encampments has a Hebrew name associated with it. It is worthwhile to study the meanings of these names to gain insights as to the trials and obstacles Israel faced on her way to the Promised Land. Notice how Israel faced those trials, whether she trusted in YHVH or complained, and whether she trusted in YHVH’s provision or not. The trials and difficulties Israel faced in her journey through the wilderness is indicative of what believers will face in their physical lives as they journey toward their promised spiritual inheritance. Even though Israel followed YHVH’s glory cloud, the way was not easy. Likewise, as we are faithful followers of Yeshua, we will suffer trials and even persecution.

Though following YHVH is not an easy walk, he promises to lead us, protect us and to meet our needs. He also promises a glorious future (our spiritual Promised Land) for those who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil through faith in him by his strength and grace!

As you have ventured from traditional Christianity into the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith and begun to adopt a more biblical lifestyle, how has this affected your life?

A stationary existence is the fate of those following the dictates of religious institutions that define the kingdoms of men. On the other hand, for those who are following the glory cloud of YHVH there must be a never-ending and passionate pursuit of YHVH, constant growth, and constant onward and upward movement.

Is your faith grounded in men, institutions, creeds, rituals and in man-made doctrines or in the Creator of the universe?

Once we have reached our spiritual Promised Land, our wanderings will cease. Fix your eyes on that immovable spiritual goal and never take them off of it!


I didn't find all 42 camps in this section, but I did find 22 of them and I have them listed here with their Strong's concordance number:

1. Sukkoth (5523): the site where Jacob put up booths (tabernacles) for his cattle and built a house for himself; apparently east of the Jordan near the ford of the torrent Jabbok and later allotted to the tribe of Gad
2. Etham (864): "with them: their plowshare".
3. Marah (4785): "bitter". The spring with bitter water which was 3 days travel from the crossing place of the Red Sea in the peninsula of Sinai.
4. Elim (362): "palms". "Where there were 12 wells and 70 palm trees."
5. Red Sea (5488) and (3220): reed, rush, water plant
6. Wilderness of Sin (4057) and (5512):
1) wilderness
a) pasture
b) uninhabited land, wilderness
c) large tracts of wilderness (around cities)
d) wilderness (fig.)

2) mouth
a) mouth (as organ of speech)
Sin = "thorn" or "clay"

7. Dophkah (1850): "knocking."
8. Alush (442): "I will knead (bread)."
9. Rephidim (7508): "rests" or "stays" or "resting places." [No water. Fought with Amelek.]
10. Wilderness of Sinai (5514): Sinai = "thorny." The mountain where Moses received the Law from Jehovah; located at the southern end of the Sinai peninsula between the horns of the Red Sea; exact site unknown.
11. Paran (6290): "place of caverns."
12. Kadesh (6946): "holy." (Place of Miriam's death).
13. Hor (2023): "mountain." (Place of Aaron's death).
14. Zalmonah (6758): "shady."
15. Punon (6325): "darkness."
16. Oboth (88): "waterskins"
17. Ije-abarim (5863) = "ruins of Abarim"
18. Dibon (1769): "wasting or pining."
19. Almon-diblathaim (5963) = "concealing the two cakes" or hidden.
20. Mountains of Abarim (5682) = "regions beyond"
21. Plains of Moab (6160): Desert plain, steppe, desert, wilderness
22. Beth-jesimoth (1020): "house of the desolation"

Where are you on the journey? Are you camped out at the waters of Miribah, drinking from the pool of bitterness? Are you at Punon in a place of spiritual darkness? Are you camped out at Dibon, wasting away and pining for something you are not able to have? It is wise to study where the children of Israel were in these places so you can gain wisdom in learning how to get up from there. We are getting ready to go into Deuteronomy, my favorite book of the Torah. One of my favorite scriptures from here is, "The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, You have dwelt long enough on this mountain." Deut. 1:6 AMP

More on this Torah portion tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - What We Believe

This is the quote that flicked my ear and started my heart on a journey to draw nearer to my sovereign Creator, Elohim.

Rev. Sam Pascoe put it like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise."

I had had enough of the enterprise of the American church. Having lived the first 12 years of my adult life outside of America, I was going to church but I knew I was starving. I was getting fed a genetically modified gospel. I knew there was real food out there but I needed to get back to the source. Like Elijah's journey in the wilderness to the mountain of God, I had to make that journey as well. I say "I" but Friend Hubby began his journey even before I did. He was ahead of me so I had to run to try to catch up. Along the way, we have picked up others who are hungry as well.

A sweet older sister in the Lord brought this to our fellowship. It is from a ministry called One Stick...Etz Echad. It pretty much sums up what we have studied and come to believe. You may have to do some research if you are unfamiliar with some of the terms.

YHWH, the Elohim of Yisrael, is the Creator of all the universe and all things. He is the Most High… and is above all things. He is Light… He is Love… He is Life. He is echad… a perfect unity. He is the Father who spoke forth the material world and universe through His word… His Memra… His living word.

Yehoshua is YHWH the Son, the Memra of Yah, the arms of YHWH reaching into the material world… the living Word. He was before all things and all things were created through Him. He was with Yisrael in the wilderness and is with us still. He is the Shepherd King, the Suffering Messiah: ‘Mashiach ben Yosef’ and the soon to be reigning Messiah/King: ‘Mashiach ben David’. He is one Mashiach coming two times. He came the first time to suffer for all Yisrael, to forgive us all – both Yehudah and Ephrayim and any gentile who believes in Him - of our sins, and to bring Ephrayim back from divorce and being cut off from the covenant. He is the High Priest of heaven and carries all Yisrael on His heart, even as the breastplate. He carries all Yisrael on His shoulders, even as the two remembrance stones. He intercedes before the throne of YHWH, the Mercy Seat, by His own blood. He will come to rule and reign as King. He is in the order of Melchizedek, both Priest and King. This is why those who believe in Him are called a royal priesthood, because our Head is in the order of Melchizedek. We are royal as in kings and a priesthood as in priests, because our Mashiach is both THE King and THE High Priest.

His Ruach haKodesh has come to indwell those who believe in Mashiach Yehoshua and are ‘born again’. His Ruach haKodesh opens His word to us so that we understand Him, His ways, His purposes in and through Mashiach. His Ruach haKodesh is sent to convict us, comfort us, show us what is to come, to help us to pray and to come beside us to instruct and teach us all things as His great menorah shining upon the showbread of His Spirit-breathed Word.

Believers in Yehoshua the Mashiach are part of all Yisrael. This is not ‘replacement theology’ but ‘embracement theology’, for Yehudah, the Jewish people, are ‘the other half’ of His people. All Yisrael will be redeemed. We are part of His called out assembly, His kehillah, His ekklesia, not a gentile creation built on a Roman foundation that mixes paganism with His true set-apart ways, but an assembly built on Messiah and His Torah, which are one. All Yisrael supped with Him at Sinai, and this was a foretaste of the coming Wedding Supper.

The Torah, beautifully surmised in the spoken and written Ten Words, is eternal. His Ten Words are the Two Tables of the Two Great Commandments that Yehoshua rightly spoke of: ‘Sh’ma Yisrael! YHWH your Elohim, YHWH is one. Love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. This is the first and greatest command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The Messianic summation of His Torah does in no way remove the fullness of His good instruction, but helps us prioritize our LOVES… and love of HIM comes FIRST. Only by putting ‘first things first’ and loving Him above all, can we truly love our neighbor. LOVE is the motivation of a heart that wants to obey. He showed us His love by sending His Son for us, and we show Him our love through obedience to Him and His set-apart word.

Shabbat, His set-apart day, is still the Seventh Day. This is the fourth of His Ten Words. Yehoshua did not change this as He clearly said that Shabbat was made for man. This was never changed. His Moedim, His appointed times are Shabbat, Pesach/Passover, Shavuot/Pentecost, Yom Teruah/Day of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles. Every important event will happen on His Moedim. Easter and Christ Mass are pagan mixtures, and He is now calling us out of all Babylonian/Roman practices and returning us to Tsiyon living, in preparation of the coming King! We are ‘following the Lamb wherever He leads us on’!

Yehoshua came to put the Ten Words in our minds and to write them on our hearts… to be loved, embraced and obeyed out of a grateful heart. Obedience to His loving instruction does not save us, but is a response to His salvation. Yehoshua came to save us, deliver us, and His Torah by His Ruach haKodesh is to sanctify us… prepare us to be His Bride without wrinkle, spot or any blemish… blameless. His Torah is the Bridal Mikveh. This is the ‘washing of the water of the word’ that the Bride must partake of to be ready for the Bridegroom.

The Messiah Yehoshua came as the Living Torah, to show us how to live out His Torah and brought us the ability to do so. This is why Yohanan wrote that He came full of truth and grace… full of the Truth of His instruction/His word, and the Grace, ability, to live it. He never intended or came to ‘abolish the Torah’ and, in fact, says, ‘Don’t think that’ in Mattithyahu 5:17-19. Therefore, He is renewing our minds to this truth, and we no longer ‘think that’, as He instructs.

The Hebrew culture and ways that emerge from Scripture exist because these are His ways. Abram was from Chaldea and was called to ‘cross over’ (‘Eber… Hebrew’) out of Babylon and into Tsiyon, and to learn of Him. We are still being called to do so. We must ‘leave’ to ‘cleave’.

Messiah came and gave His life for this twofold purpose: to save and to prepare. The Blood leads to the Commands… even as the Tabernacle and Temple so clearly portrays. From the brazen altar to the altar of incense to the blood sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant, there is a trail of blood that leads to the Mercy Seat wherein rests His Ten Words. This is a picture of the Bridal Heart that contains His Ten Words, His Ketubah, the marriage covenant, which contains what He expects in a Bride. If we love Him, we will obey Him, and this shows Him our love. The heart that says ‘I do’ is the heart that ‘does’.

His Word is inspired by His Ruach haKodesh and is from Bereshith to Revelation. His Torah, His prophets, and His writings comprise the TaNaK, (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim), and are applicable today. His Messianic writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Yohanan reveal Yehoshua to be the Mashiach of all Yisrael, who came in perfect fulfillment of Scripture as the Suffering Messiah, ‘Mashiach ben Yosef’, and is coming again as the reigning King, the root and the offspring of David, ‘Mashiach ben David’. The apostolic writings further reveal Him in fullness and are to instruct Yehudah, returning Ephrayim, and ‘former gentiles’ in how to now be part of Yisrael in and through the Messiah. Even as Yehoshua explained in Luke 24, He comes to open our minds to understand His Scriptures, and we are to study them in His good order: Torah, Prophets, Writings and the rest of Scripture. There is no ‘Old Testament’ and ‘New Testament’. This is a wall of separation of Scripture that was imposed by man. He has one, beautiful, Spirit-breathed word. This false separation has served only to keep the torn tabernacle of David separated, but now He is restoring His Word, His Name, His People, His land, His City.

There are Two Houses of all Yisrael, both Yehudah and Ephrayim, that were separated and are the ‘torn tabernacle of David’ that He is, right now, repairing. His new or renewed covenant is with His two houses, and all who believe in Messiah Yehoshua become part of His Yisrael. Yehudah, for the most part, has kept their identity through the embracing of Torah and His set-apart Shabbat and Moedim. They were charged with keeping His Word and although they have added much through traditions of men, they have kept the Torah and TaNaK intact. Many a rabbi shed his blood to keep the Torah scrolls from being lost. Yehudah has been persecuted for centuries for being the bearer of Torah, as the enemy has sought to snuff out the light of His word. Ephrayim owes Yehudah a debt of gratitude for this. They have kept the Torah burning for this time of restoration. Ephrayim was swallowed up by the nations and became as gentiles through divorce and assimilation. Even as Yonah was swallowed by a ‘great fish’, so Ephrayim was swallowed up and was brought to Assyria, whose capital is Nineveh . The ‘great fish’ also represents gentilized, Romanized Christianity in which Ephrayim has been. On the third day, Ephrayim is now being awakened to our Hebrew roots, but we have a job to do… to cry out to ‘ Nineveh ’, ‘REPENT’ and ‘COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE’ and ‘INTO TSIYON’! This is a great task that Ephrayim has been sent forth to do through all the nations, proclaiming the good news of Messiah Yehoshua and the kingdom come. The Kingdom restored to Yisrael. Although Ephrayim has added traditions of men and removed obedience to His Torah, for the most part Ephrayim has kept the Light of the World, Messiah, burning. Yehudah owes a debt of gratitude to Ephrayim for keeping the witness of Messiah for this time of restoration. Many a believer has lost their life through preserving His witness… faithfully. Yehoshua fulfilled the ‘Yonah prophecy’, so that this might come to pass, as He spent three days and nights in the belly of the earth for all Yisrael, but was resurrected on the third day. The two witnesses of both Yehudah and Ephrayim will come together at the end of the age, on the third day… the two olive trees of Zekaryah 4. This company of witnesses will culminate in two persons who will powerfully prophesy at the end of the age, according to Revelation 11.

But His order is clear in Ezekiel 37, that first, He is grabbing Ephrayim and straightening us out to be joined with Yehudah, whom He will also straighten out. This ‘straightening out’ includes the removing of things added and the restoring of things removed from His true and good instruction and His Messiah… His two lights which are one. Messiah has been presented as Greek, even as Yosef looked like an Egyptian, who is a type of the Suffering Servant, known as the ‘Mashiach ben Yosef’. But in this time of ‘the restoration of all things’, He is taking off the ‘Egyptian garb’, and we, His brethren, are recognizing Him for the Hebrew He truly is… the Lion of the Tribe of YEHUDAH! THE KING OF THE JEWS! He will further ask all the Egyptians to leave the room, as He Himself will reveal Himself to His brethren. He will receive all the glory due Him. He will say, ‘Come near to Me… I am your Brother.’

All Yisrael will look on Him whom we have all pierced, because of our sin. No one took His life, He laid it down. And this was done exactly the way it was supposed to be done. When the Roman cohort, numbering between 400-600, came to take Yehoshua in Gat Shemen, the Garden of Gethsemane , they asked Him if He was Yehoshua. He answered, ‘I AM He!’ and the most hardened troops that have ever thundered across the earth fell back, because Yehoshua released His heavenly AUTHORITY! Once great Rome had regrouped, He answered again, veiling His divine power and gave Himself to them. He then gave His life on an Olive Tree, the ‘tree of suffering’, for all the Olive Tree to be one forgiven, redeemed people… Am Yisrael.

Ultimately, all Yisrael will be reconciled, redeemed, restored, reunited, resurrected and live together as one nation, with one King, in Yisrael, with Messiah ruling and reigning from Yerushalayim. This is the One Etz… the one stick… the One Tree… the Olive Tree… restored of Yirmeyahu 11 and Romans 11… the One New Man. Yehudah and Ephrayim will be one stick… one etz… one tree… in His hand. Yehoshua ha Mashiach died on the Olive Tree for the Olive Tree… to bring us together as one. Only YHWH can find His assimilated people in and through the good Shepherd King Yehoshua, and this brings Him great glory. He is gathering all Yisrael as the Shepherd of all Yisrael. He called to me by His loud, audible voice in 1996, calling ‘Ephraim!’ From that day forward, everything changed. He is supernaturally drawing and regathering all Yisrael. This return to Hebrew roots is not through reading some person’s book or through some person’s efforts… it is not a ‘movement’ of men! It is the time of RESTORATION of all things spoken of by the prophets! (Acts 3:19-21) Because heaven is readying to release the Messiah to RETURN… but the RESTORATION comes first. We must cooperate with Him in this. He is also going to restore all the land of Yisrael , Eretz Yisrael, and the return of His Jewish people is according to Scripture which says that the tents of Yehudah will be established first. Yerushalayim belongs in Jewish hands. And Ephrayim is called to be His watchmen. HalleluYAH!

Again, we are in the time of ‘the restoration of all things’ spoken of by the written prophets as Kepha declared in Acts 3:19-21, in preparation of the release of the King from heaven, who will return to rescue His Bride, to mete out judgment to the nations, and to rule and reign the earth for a 1,000 years from Yerushalayim. He will then enforce His Torah, with a rod of iron. The true Bride is not forced, but is that company who is now obeying out of love of the Bridegroom.

YHWH has one covenant nation… Yisrael.

YHWH says His eyes and His heart will always be in one city… Yerushalayim. He sees everything from this perspective, hovering over His City.

All Yisrael will know their Mashiach Yehoshua.

All Yisrael will walk in obedience to His Torah, His loving instructions.

All Yisrael will be saved and sanctified as His Bride.

The Bride has a part to play… she must make herself READY.

And that time is upon us…

…it is NOW.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - What Not to Say

Recently on Facebook I read about a homeschooled young man who had paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country. As both a homeschool mom and a bereaved parent I feel both sadness and honor for the parents of this young man.

Some well-meaning people posted their condolences at the site and one particularly was a woman who gave the usual platitude, "We know he's in a better place" and I began to cringe. There have been grieving parents on this earth since Adam and Eve, and yet we don't take the time to learn what to say and not to say to grieving parents. Losing Dancing Angel was the most painful thing that I have ever experienced in my life. Many, many people offered our family kind words and did wonderful things to help support our family. Unfortunately, years later what sticks in our minds are the ignorant things that at that time added to our pain.

This information is readily available on the internet, but few there be that find it. From the website for the American Hospice Foundation, here is a list of things NOT to say to a grieving parent:

Comments to avoid when comforting the bereaved

"I know how you feel." One can never know how another may feel. You could, instead, ask your friend to tell you how he or she feels.

"It's part of God's plan." This phrase can make people angry and they often respond with, "What plan? Nobody told me about any plan."

"Look at what you have to be thankful for." They know they have things to be thankful for, but right now they are not important.

"He's in a better place now." The bereaved may or may not believe this. Keep your beliefs to yourself unless asked.

"This is behind you now; it's time to get on with your life." Sometimes the bereaved are resistant to getting on with because they feel this means "forgetting" their loved one. In addition, moving on is easier said than done. Grief has a mind of its own and works at its own pace.

Statements that begin with "You should" or "You will." These statements are too directive. Instead you could begin your comments with: "Have you thought about. . ." or "You might. . ."

There is a lot of really good information on this page on how to practically help a grieving person. In our studies of Hebraic roots, we have learned that Hebrew is a much more concrete language. When it speaks of love, chesed, it is concerned with the practical acts of love not the mental ascent of love in our western thought. It is organizing meal preparation or childcare as opposed to sending a note saying, "Our thoughts are with you."

When I was in nursing school, I took a course called, "The Psychology of Death and Dying." Wouldn't you know it, I attended every class that semester EXCEPT for the class that dealt with the death of a child. At 19 years old, my reasoning was that I didn't think I could "handle" it. How ironic is that?

One of our texts was a book called "On Death and Dying" by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross. It is helpful to know that there is no set time line for death. In her book, she states:

Mourning can go on for years and years.
It doesn't end after a year, that's a false fantasy.
It usually ends when people realize that they can live again,
that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole,
and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.

Because of this, if you are called to walk with a grieving person (what I call my "valley walking friends"), be prepared for a long walk, depending on the person.

Now, what is the likelihood that you or someone you know will become a grieving person? VERY likely, right? Arm yourself with knowledge so that you will conduct yourself with honor and be a blessing and not a curse.