Friday, November 13, 2015

Priority #5 - Myself: Get a Hold of Yourself, Woman!

The cloudy days of late autumn and winter have always had an adverse effect on me.  On cloudy days, I am always tired, rarely productive, and tend to default to scrolling through social media for hours on end.  I had one of those days this past week.  It is so frustrating because I begin the week with all these plans for productivity!

Of course, it might not be the weather.  It could be hormonal.  It could be the waning of the moon.  Part of my job managing my Facebook page, Donalacasa:  The Lady of the House is to find articles to coincide with my daily theme.  Many of those are homemaking ideas.  Do you ever get the feeling that you have all these ideas but not the resources to actually carry them out?  

I'm trying to learn to work with this season and not against it.  

I belong to a group on Facebook that opted to become pen pals in real life.  It's great because you can share things OFF of social media.  It is also something retro to do, which is always fun.  Most of the pen pals I chose from the list of self-descriptions were ladies of "a certain age."  I have no problem sharing with older or younger ladies, but when there are things happening to your body in a certain season of life, it's easier to discuss with someone who has been there, done that.  I even had to laugh at myself when watching an episode of Dr. Who last night.  One of the characters asked Clara if she thought that with so much happening, if she thought it was a sign of the end of the world.  Clara, without skipping a beat, said, "You think that because you're middle aged.  No offense, but people who are middle aged always think the world is about to end."    I think there may be some truth to that.  I remember my grandparents being middle aged and their conversations were always about everything bad that was going on.  The sounded as if they didn't think I'd ever make it to adulthood and yet, here I am -- middle-aged.  

Anywho, I was sharing with one of my pen pals about my energy level.  I was always a night owl, but now I value all the Psalms and Proverbs that speak of getting an early start on the day.

(Psalm 88:13 ISR98)  "But I, unto You I have cried, O YHVH, And in the morning my prayer comes before You."

(Psalm 92:1-2 ISR98)  "It is good to give thanks to YHVH, And to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your kindness in the morning, And Your trustworthiness each night,"

(Psalm 110:3 ISR98)  "Your people volunteer in the day of Your might, In the splendours of set-apartness! From the womb, from the morning, You have the dew of Your youth!" [KJV says "from the womb OF the morning."  I like that.]

(Psalm 130:6 ISR98)  "My being looks to YHVH.  More than those watching for morning, watching for morning."

(Psalm 143:8 ISR98)  "Let me hear Your kindness in the morning, For in You I have put my trust; Let me know the way in which I should walk, For I have lifted up my being to You."  

(Proverbs 31:15 ISR98)  "She also rises while it is still night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her girls."

I am trying to learn to treat each day as if it were a mini-Shabbat.  I have apps on my smart devices that tell me about 2 particular times of day.  The first time that I concern myself with is dawn verses sunrise.  I set my first alarm to go off at dawn.  Because of post-surgical changes to my eyelids, I sleep with an eye mask to prevent dry eye overnight.  When this alarm goes off, I take the mask off so that my eyes can get adjusted to the light as the sun rises.  I turn on my Daily Audio Bible app to hear the chapter of Proverbs of the day and then I do some exercises to warm up these creaky joints before my feet hit the floor.  This much I've pretty much got down as a habit. 

I am still working on the END  of the day.  Because the days are shorter, I've got to try to get so much packed into that time, but I'm sure that Yah designed it that way so I try to work WITH it and not AGAINST it.  I suppose the goal would be to make sure that I am finished with work by dusk and be prepared to eat by sunset.  If I didn't have electric lights, I would have to, wouldn't I?  My ancestors were spinners and weavers, (Slave Narrative of Eliza Whitmire -- my great-great-great aunt).  By day, I work from home spinning an weaving medical reports.  

Recently, I have been noticing my body wanting to shut down immediately at sunset, but I still end up being up late because I haven't done enough work (especially after sitting all day) to make myself sleepy.  Last night, I tried to make myself continue to move until 9 o'clock.  I got the space between the wall and the washer cleared out and part of the shelf above it.  I have another app (that also has a website) that tells me what time I should fall asleep in order to optimize my sleeping.  After I stopped my cleaning at 9 o'clock, I headed upstairs to knit by flashlight while I watched that episode of Dr. Who I mentioned earlier.  Based on what time sunrise is, I TRY to turn electronics off 30 minutes before I'm supposed to fall asleep and read a book for 15-20 minutes before lights out.  I say TRY because just like I made the morning routine a habit, I need to start making the night routine a habit as well.  

Today, Rosh Chodesh (head of the month) is expected.  I am learning to try to time my energy level to that as well.  Bigger projects happen with the waxing moon (from the sighting of the first sliver over Jerusalem to the full moon).  The waning moon is preparation for my low energy days.  I'm thinking of even planning my meals around that and save my slow cooker meals for when I know I'm not going to feel much like cooking and need more comfort foods like soups and stews.  Miraculously, for the last 3 months my womanly time has lined up with Rosh Chodesh.  If I were trying to conceive, it would happen when the moon is full.  (okay, I'm cracking up)

Enough chatter for today, I'm losing daylight!     


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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Priority #4 - My Home - The Leftover Challenge

Over the past couple of years, we have gradually increased the amount of food we buy organically.  While on a microcellular level it may be improving our health, it is not improving our budget.  The downside of buying food without preservatives is that they have no preservatives.  They spoil quickly and that is just money in the trash can.  I have tried to come up with some ideas for kitchen loss prevention.

Retail loss prevention is a set of practices employed by retail companies to preserve profit. Profit preservation is any business activity specifically designed to reduce preventable losses. A preventable loss is any business cost caused by deliberate or inadvertent human actions, colloquially known as "shrinkage".  

As an effective home manager, I need reduce these preventable losses by any means.  Here are some of my ideas.

COOK LESS:  With The Grand Duchess in her own apartment, there are only four of us at home now.  I look for recipes that serve 4-6 people.  Although cooking less at one meal may mean that I have to cook more times in a week, it also reduces food boredom so leftovers don't just sit in the refrigerator because we're tired of eating them.  If I make a recipe that serves 6, whatever is leftover goes into Friend Hubby's Pyrex lunch dish for the next day.  If 4 servings doesn't seem like it will be enough food, then I try to stretch the meal with more vegetables, cornbread, or a salad.  

SHOP MORE FREQUENTLY FOR FRESH FOOD:  When I lived in Europe, none of my neighbors had a refrigerator as large as my military issue American fridge.  Theirs were the size of the mini-fridges we send our kids to college with.  Every day I saw them get off the buses, walk to the corner market, and head home with just one or two small bags of food.  A trip to Costco will show you the differences in our culture.  Many of us have not just one refrigerator, but either a second one or a freezer as well.  It's great in the winter not to have to leave the house for much of anything, but unfortunately, forgetting what's in the freezer can result in freezer burned food that no one wants to eat.  Here are a couple of ideas to help you with inventory.
Put a chalkboard on the freezer.  

Put a wipe-off board near the freezer.

There is one store in particular where I like to buy the majority of my produce.  Since I am as of yet a very poor gardener, I refer to this store as my backyard garden.  Rather than buying a lot of produce when I get paid, I just go to the store when I need it so I can get the freshest produce and know that I am going to use what I buy right away.  I don't buy ALL my produce organic.  I have an app on my phone to remind me which fruits and vegetables are on the "Dirty Dozen" list and which are on the "Clean 15" list by Environmental Working Group.

If you are afraid that you're going to run out of money before you're able to buy produce again, then factor a store gift card into your produce budget, that way you've put that money aside and it's not going to get spent on something else.

Here is a chart to help you know how long you can safely keep food.

An chart of the shelf life of fruit and vegetables. 

FIFO is an acronym which most commonly stands for first in first out. 

Friend Hubby is a stickler for this.  No boxes of cereal get opened before the first box gets eaten.  The pantry shelves are stocked so that the oldest jar of spaghetti sauce or can of baked beans gets used first.  In addition, fresh vegetables get cooked before frozen vegetables do.

MUST-GOs:  Fridays are for MUST-GOs.  What are MUST-GOs?  Everything in the refrigerator MUST GO.  From one Friday to the next, we keep track of what has been put into the refrigerator.  Most of it is still within the 3-4 day safe period so those get eaten before Shabbat meal is cooked.  This is a good habit and helps to prevent science experiments from reproducing in your refrigerator.

CRYSTAL CLEAR:   I missed out on these bowls at Costco last year. I have been disappointed about it all year. They are back today and I pounced on them. I am tired of having to put the whole crock pot in the refrigerator because I don't have anything else big enough to store leftovers in. I also feel that having translucent dishes will help us not to throw away food because no one knows what's in there and how long it's been there. We've got a big meal coming up and we're not going to want our leftovers to taste like the aluminum pans. Plus, $15 for 8-piece Pyrex is a deal.

I hope you save tons of money with these ideas!  


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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Priority #3 - My Children - Teaching What is Valuable

While praying through The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children for The Grand Duchess, I ran across this portion of a prayer:  "Help (her) to learn from the correction of wise teachers and people of maturity, wisdom, and experience, so that (she) will avoid poverty and embarrassment and gain honor and prosperity. (Proverbs 13:18).    

Proverbs 13:18 ISR98 - "Poverty and shame are for him Who ignores discipline, But he who heeds reproof is esteemed."

As a parent, you will never be the only person who speaks into your child's life.  There will be a plethora of people who think themselves wise who always have a word for your children, particularly if you are raising PKs (preacher's kids).  They live life in a glass bubble as it and there are any number of people who take it upon themselves to judge your parenting when they have no mature fruit show for themselves.  While they are so busy judging your children, the seeds of rebellion are being deeply ingrained in theirs, and they are so busy trying to remove the speck in your children while a beam remains in theirs.

However, blessed be the name of the Most High who brings "wise teachers and people of maturity, wisdom, and experience"!  I'm so thankful for the friendships that Yah has blessed us with that have been a part of our lives for over two decades.  They have become "uncles and aunts" to our children.  Because they have "been there, done that" when they speak into our children's lives it is from the perspective of someone who has been through the realities of life and not the idealism of what they wish life to be.  Their own lives are a testimony to the biblical practice of sowing and reaping.  Their youth was busy sowing seeds of preparation that they can now draw upon later in life.  In every area where they have applied the Word through discipline, education, and an orderly life, they are neither impoverished nor embarrassed because they have lived well.  Nothing in life for them has gone according to their plan and they have all had difficult challenges to overcome, but they are willing to share, "This is how Abba brought me from there to here."  They are overcomers who walk humbly, knowing that joy of Yah is their strength and they will rejoice in the time to come!  

Proverbs 13:20 ISR98 - "He who walks with the wise, shall be wise, But the companion of fools suffers evil."

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Priority #2 - My Husband - The Beam in my Eye

Matthew 7:1-5 ISR98 - “Do not judge, lest you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you. “And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the plank in your own eye?  Or how is it that you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the splinter out of your eye,’ and see, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to remove the splinter out of your brother’s eye."

This verse is one of my social media pet peeves as it is the most often quoted but least often understood.  Perhaps you've seen this meme:  

The verse is not talking about not making any judgment calls EVER.  It is saying to be careful of the standard you use so that your judgments are righteous, that is by Yehovah's straight and narrow standard, not our fluid standard that changes with our moods.  

Think about everything about your husband that irritates you.  
He's always complaining.  Are you always grateful?  
He's always late.  Are you always rushing?  
He's too accepting.  Are you very particular?  
He's overweight.  Do you keep yourself attractive?  
He always procrastinates.  Do you finish all of your tasks in a timely manner?

For ever issue, there is a counter-issue.  If we are honest, most of the criticism of our husbands stem from the overflow of self-righteousness in our own hearts and not a genuine desire to see change in them for THEIR good.  That's another by-product of going through the self-examination questions from Yom Kippur.  I recognize that I have SO much to work on and correct in me that I don't have time to work on my husband's list.  

When I work on myself, I see a difference in the atmosphere in my home.  When I am playing close attention to my exercise habits, I have more energy to be of assistance to my family members.  When I am disciplined about planning ahead, my family follows suit.
We are created to give off a pleasant aroma in every garden in which we are planted, but it takes a lot of work for a plant to produce a vibrantly aromatic blossom.  This is a good message on being a woman of influence.

So before you dig up a bone to pick with your husband, check your own attitude, habits, and appearance first.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Priority #1 - My Elohim: Fresh Ideas

From Faith, Grace & Torah
At the conclusion of Yom Kippur this year, I came away with the feeling that I should get back to my old way of blogging.  I actually had a fairly successful blog on yahoo.360 back in the early 2000s.  Since that ended, I had been sort of flailing in the blogging department, with the exception of my Day Book, which my children think I publish just for them.  I do, but I don't like them to think about that.  LOL  My system for blogging before was to take one priority and just write about it for 15 minutes, whatever was on the top of my head about the subject.  It sounds crazy, but it actually worked for at least a couple of years.  It won't be PUBLISHED daily.  Actually, it was always published about every 5 days, but writing for 15 minutes a day gave me plenty of material.

So in today's blog (I've got 10 minutes left), I want to talk a little about what WE do on Yom Kippur.  Another Hebrew title for Yom Kippur is Yom HaKippurim.  That means the Day of Coverings.  Do you remember what Adam and Eve did in the garden?  They attempted to cover themselves.  I like to think of Yom HaKippurim as the day of UNCOVERINGS.

As I mentioned in my Day Book, on Yom Kippur, we went through the self-examination questions from T'Shuva Ministries.  This year, I only wrote down 1 or 2 from each of the Ten Commandments that I would like to work on.  I may go through it again before the spring feasts and do the same thing.  

2 Corinthians 13:5 ISR98 - "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living the life of trust. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? — unless you fail to pass the test."

Although last year I took notes, this year I found myself writing less.  The reason is that we can  become so overwhelmed looking at our own inadequacies.  We can't possibly fix everything that needs to be fixed right away.  Sanctification is a process.  The self-examination questions are designed to show us where we cover ourselves and act as if it doesn't even matter.  

This year, my note focused on what I felt was the most significant area of each of the commandments that I needed to focus on.  One of the things that I thought about doing is to regularly write the 10 Commandments down to remind myself of what it is that I am supposed to be focusing on.  The Scripture is full of admonishment not to forget the commandments.  

Numbers 15:38 ISR98 - “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, and you shall say to them to make tzitziyot on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners."  

I will admit, I am not all the way there on this one.  When I do decide to wear them, they need to be discreet and feminine since they have not traditionally been worn by women and in my heart, there needs to be a clear distinction.  Also, I know that some people wear them for "identification" so that someone else who is Torah observant can pick them out in a crowd.  If that's a by-product, great!  But that is not what their purpose is.  They need to be a visible reminder to the wearer.  

Deuteronomy 17:18 ISR98 - “And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his reign, that he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites."  

I figure, if the king has to write the entire Torah, the least I can do is write the 10 Commandments in my own hand.  

Also, a favorite passage in the book of James 1:21-25 that reminds us not to forget what it is that we have seen in the word.  

"Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word,1 which is able to save your lives.  And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like.  But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah." 

This chart illustrates the differences in how the commandments are delineated.

This is how it is written in the Complete Jewish Bible (Exodus 20:2-17)

א “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.
ב “You are to have no other gods before me. You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.
ג “You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonaiwill not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.
ד “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonaiyour God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.
ה 12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.
ו 13 “Do not murder.
ז (14) “Do not commit adultery.
ח (15) “Do not steal.
ט (16) “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.
י 14 (17) “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


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Monday, July 20, 2015

Rosh Chodesh, Head of the 5th Month

Over this weekend, the new crescent moon was sited in Israel.  This signals the beginning of a new biblical month.  In the millennial reign of the Messiah, all the earth will worship YHVH on these appointed days.

These Scriptures mention the New Moon.

The fourth month, for our family, involved great transition.  My good friend Sister Do Bee mentioned the word chaos.  That hit the nail on the head for me.  On Shabbat, I mentioned Genesis 1:2 ISR98, "And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters."  The greater the chaos, the greater demand to come to order.  That is what I am sensing that YHVH wants to do in my life in this season, bring it to order.  This saying has been floating around Facebook this weekend.  I think it accurately describes the place where I am standing.  I'm expecting beauty at the end.

Instead of highlighting only one priority in this, my monthly blog, I figured I would say something about all of them because I feel like every area of my life needs attention right now.

Priority 1 - My Elohim
My prayer life has grown in the past month.  I am thankful for that, but I have been neglecting a Bible study that I had joined.  Facebook stopped giving me notifications and I stopped doing it.  In addition to my daily Scripture READING, and following along with the study guides for Hoshana Rabbah for the current week's Torah portion, I need to make time to do this Psalm 119 study.  I want to make sure that I have the opportunity to apply the word.  It is in the application of the Word that it becomes real.  Those who don't apply the Word are spoken of in Scripture as those who are ever learning but never able to come into the knowledge of the truth.

Priority 2 - My Husband
Friend Hubby will be starting two new ventures within the next month.  I need to stay on top of his eating.  Now is the season to prepare breakfast burritos, mason jar salads, etc.

Priority 3 - My Children
My son's hours are getting like a typical college student.  I realize he feels more productive at night, probably because the house is quiet, but he is still going to need to get some exercise in.  He is also going to need to get his Eagle project done in the next 6 months before he turns 18.  I am going to talk to some of the advisors so I can help him to get a timeline together.

My youngest daughter is getting a head start on her academics for this school year, particularly algebra and chemistry.  She wants to learn more domestic crafts.  I would like to see her learn to sew and knit by patterns, not just off the top of her head.

Priority 4 - My Home
Friend Hubby and I have been doing a lot of talking about finishing projects we have talked about doing in our home.  For the past 6 months or so, I have been working 2 part time jobs, one as an employee and one as an independent contractor.  I had been mulling it over for quite some time and now feel that this is the season to step out on faith and leave the employee status behind.  The independent contractor position will allow me to be much more flexible with my time so that I can get some things accomplished.

I am also beginning to stock up for the winter.  Friend Hubby has informed me that the freezer is too full right now, so I think on my next shopping trip I will focus on the non-perishables.

Priority 5 - Myself
Since I won't have to rush to get to work in the morning, I can go ahead and get some exercise done at the beginning of my day.  I have been enjoying Leslie Sansone videos on YouTube.  My son put more in my stability ball so I would like to do some core work as well.  This week, I am going to go ahead and send off for my college transcript.  Friend Hubby will start class two evenings a week in a few weeks.  I should go to class at the same time as he does so he doesn't miss my presence.

I am also excited to begin writing to a few pen pals.  There is a group of Facebook for Modern Day 50s housewives.  I think it's going to be fun.  Maybe in the future we can do a recipe exchange with the pen pals as well.

I also want to do a definite upgrade to my wardrobe to include more skirts, matching partial head coverings (I have seen some styles and I just want to use my creativity to do my own thing).  I also would like to make some modest feminine looking tzittzit.  All the colors, all the coordination!  :-)

Priority 6 - Ministry
There are a couple of things I would like to do.  Sister Do Bee would like to have a craft day.  Maybe I can host something like a crafting bee and everyone can just bring their work in progress.

I would like to do a live Bible study, maybe at Chick-fil-A with some ladies, leading them through the study of Psalms like the online group has done.  Social media is getting old we me.  I think I need more physical interaction.

This looks like a lot to accomplish in one month.  Since I am putting it out there, I am eagerly anticipating all of things falling into place that this month will hold.

Rosh Chodesh Sameach!  

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Priority #1 - My Elohim: How Deep Do You Want to Go?

Proverbs 9:9 ISR98  "Give instruction to a wise one, and he is wiser still; Teach a righteous one, and he increases in learning."

My son and I are studying Algebra together.  Right now we are at a place that discusses functions.  The mathematical definition of a function is:  "A function is a special relationship where each input has a single output."  In other words, if you put something in, you will get something out.  If I give a dollar to an investor, then I expect to get $500 out.  If I give flour and sugar to a baker, I expect to get cookies back.

If I have a function equation that says y = x +1, then anytime I put a number in for x, I should get an expected result for y.  If x is 2, then y is 3.  If x is 50, then y is 51.  If x is 999, then y is 1000.

Proverbs 9:9 looks like a function to me.  If you put something in, this is what you should expect to get out.  

I have two or three essential tools that I like to use for studying Scripture.  One is because if you look up a verse and click on the word TOOLS, it will break down the verse in its Hebrew components.  From there, I take a trip that is probably a little more convoluted than most.  Rather than using the dictionary at Blue Letter, I like to use lexicon from the Mechanical Translation by Jeff A. Brenner.  It's a personal choice.  It just reads better to me.  This lexicon is only based on the Torah, the first 5 books of our Bibles, so when I find a word in Blue Letter that I want to look up, I scroll down to the bottom to see where I can find this word in the Torah.  From there I get the definition in the lexicon.    

Follow with me through this.  Based on this, these are the definitions of the translated (not added for clarity) words in Proverbs 9:9.  Remember, go here and click on TOOLS.

תן n.t.n Trans: GIVE(V) Def: To make a present; to present a gift; to grant, allow or bestow by formal action. To place in its proper position. Alt Trans: allow; made; make; set in place Str: 5414

ם hha-kham (m.) Trans: SKILLED.ONE Def: A person characterized by a deep understanding of a craft; One with the ability to decide or discern between good and bad, right and wrong. Str: 2450

ע y.d.ah Trans: KNOW(V) Def: To have an intimate and personal understanding; to have an intimate relationship with another person, usually sexual. Alt Trans: reveal self (when written in the hitpa'el [reflexive] form) Str: 3045

צדיק tsa-diq (m.) Trans: STEADFAST.ONE Def: One that makes or sets right. Conforming to fact, standard or truth. Str: 6662

ף y.s.p Trans: ADD(V) Def: To augment something by increasing it in amount or supply. Alt Trans: again (when written in the hiphil [causative] form) Str: 3254

ח (m.) Trans: LEARNING Def: Teachings and instructions that are received in the sense of being taken. Str: 3948

To me, what this verse is saying is that knowledge and wisdom is only as good as the person who receives it.  Matthew 9:17, “Neither do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

So if you give (bestow, grant) skill, ability, and discernment (input) to someone who is already skilled, the output is a person who possesses an even greater level of "intimate and personal understanding."  If you look at the Hebrew in Blueletter the word for a wise person is just translated twice.  In other words, the wise get wiser.

If you take a person who is righteous or just (one who CONFORMS to the only standard of truth, the Word of Elohim), and you input learning (teaching and instruction), that person, like an investment banker, will increase it, grow it, exponentially.

What does this mean to me personally?  My personal application is to make sure that in my studying of the Word, that I pay closer attention to the vessel that I am putting that knowledge IN rather than just focusing on the pursuit of knowledge.  If in all my studying, I am not producing good fruit, the problem is in me, not the Word.

Matthew 7.15-27 ISR98
“But beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves. “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, by their fruits you shall know them – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not do them, shall be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell, and great was its fall.”

Did you catch the function?   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock."

It's not just HEARING.  The function has to work so the right thing will come out.

We live in a very desperate and sad state of the Word right now, and unfortunately, very few of us (myself included) take the time to dig deeply into the Word to discover it's hidden truths.  I pray that as you read this, you will not be content to sit on the beach and stick your toes in the ocean of the Word of Elohim.  Go deeper!  Don't worry about the shallowness of others around you.  Get it for YOURSELF.  

My prayer:  Work on ME, Abba so that when Your Word goes in, what YOU desire comes out.

Jeremiah 15:16 ISR98
"Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. For Your Name is called on me, O יהוה Elohim of hosts."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Priority #5 - Myself - A Moment of Silence and Empty Nest Prepping

Before I get into the topic of this blog, I want to take a moment of silence to mourn an organization that I have loved since I was 6 years old.  Girl Scouts USA.  My aunt was a Girl Scout and I loved her uniform and her books and her chatter about all the fun things her troop did.  When I was in 1st grade, my mother took me to a Girl Scout informational meeting.  I learned there that I couldn't become a Brownie until I was in the 2nd grade.  My mother offered to let me join Campfire Girls.  I declined.  I was willing to wait a year to become a Girl Scout.  Girl Scouts taught me things I would have never learned from my family, like riding a horse.  When Dancing Angel left us, it was to the Girl Scouts that I turned to find a girl's only community and refuge for The Grand Duchess.  "Be a sister to every Scout..."  Some of my Facebook friends are Girl Scouts sisters that I have known for over 35 years.  This coming year marks my 10th anniversary of being a Girl Scout leader.  I have had a blast watching my girls overcome their fears of water, heights, animals, the outdoors, nighttime, travel, people, you name it, and rejoiced and celebrated with them over every accomplishment.  I was ready to leave Girl Scouts a few years ago.  I fasted and prayed about it.  I read the biography of its founder.  I felt led to continue, not because of the organization, but because of the bond I had formed with the girls in my troop.  Leaving them would have hurt them and sent them a bad message about adults who are committed to help them grow.  I had seen the pain that that had caused in the girls of another troop after their leader suddenly abandoned them.  I could never do that to them, so I stayed.  I also stayed because I have wonderful co-leaders who stand with me as a wall of defense between GSUSA policies and our girls.    

I am so heartbroken over their latest decision to admit confused boys I don't know what to do.  I am sure that it's founder Juliette Gordon Low would be turning over in her grave.  This hurts so much.  I now have a new drive.  To help my daughter get her Gold Award within the next school year.  By the end of the year, she will bridge to Ambassadors.  I think at that point, we will be done.  It will be the end of an era.

Which brings me to the end of another era.  By the time Princess Butterfly graduates from high school in 3 years' time, I will have been a homeschooling mother for a quarter of a century.  I dread the school year following that.  So much so, that I am preparing for it now.

Two things over the past month or so have confirmed my decision.  One was an arrow, a word that had the power of Yehovah behind it to wound me in the side.  I was sitting in an informational meeting about early college high school.  This is a pilot program by our community college to have homeschooled high schoolers earn their associate's degree by the time they graduate high school.  A question was raised as to whether this would be a help or a hindrance to those going on to universities.  The reply was that it would actually help because there are many people who have SOME college credits, but it would show the university that you are a person who finishes what they start.  BOOM!!!   Did you feel that?  Yah has been speaking to me about finishing things.  That is the reason I didn't want to pull my son out of Boy Scouts after being in it for a decade before completing his Eagle.  That's why I don't want to pull my daughter out of Girl Scouts after being in it for 10 years before completing her Gold Award.  The world is full of starters, not finishers.

Second confirmation came this week.  I had been fasting and praying on Tuesday.  I turned back to the Torah portion this week and read Leviticus 25.  In a nutshell, it is talking about the 50-year cycles of Jubilee.  It is at that time that all debts and debtors were released.  I misread it and was actually thinking that there was a 7-year release.  But let's say that a person became indebted at the age of 21, at the age of 71, they would be released.  Released to what?  If in the time that they had been indentured, if they had not learned to change their thinking about money, debt, wealth, covetousness, time management, diligence...all the wrong thinking that led to their having to their servitude, at some point in the future, they would have to start all over again.

That rabbit trail led me to look up statistics on bancruptcy in our country.  According to the data I found, 8% of people who file for bancruptcy once will do it again.  [Disclaimer:  I am not looking into filing for bancruptcy, I was just on a fact-finding mission.].  So 8% of these people don't learn from their mistakes and end up in the same place they started.

After I found that tidbit of information, I was about to close the page when my eye fell upon another statistic; one that I was not looking for.  This one said that the majority of people who file for bancruptcy are not people with college degrees, nor is it people who have never been to college.  The vast majority of people who file for bancruptcy are people who have started college but have never finished.  BOOM!!!  Did you feel that?

When Friend Hubby and I married, I left nursing school and my life as a military wife has been an amazing journey.  I remember praying about it once and felt confident that Yah was leading me to put my education in His hands for safe keeping.  I feel like now is the time, the open window that He is giving to me to go back and finish.

Financially speaking, it LOOKS LIKE this is a bad time to try to go back to school.  Do you not know that we walk by faith and not by sight?  On May 8th, I made a decision.  Boy Wonder is taking college algebra over the summer as part of his early college start. I'm going to sit myself down and do the homework with him.  At the end of the summer, I am going to CLEP it. One down.....  I am going to continue to do this with any classes he takes that I am going to need in order to get an associate's degree in general studies.  For some classes, I am going to have Princess Butterfly study with me so we can both CLEP.  When I have done all the community college classes I can do, I am going to enroll in the HBCU downtown and get a bachelor's degree in history.  When Princess Butterfly starts college (sniff, sniff), I will be ready to begin to teach history at our local co-op.

This is how I plan to treat my empty nest syndrome.  I hope my blog readers will cheer me on and hold me accountable to FINISH what I start.

Bible verses about finishing ~ 

Ecclesiastes 9:11 ISR98 - "I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the mighty, nor even bread to the wise, nor even riches to men of understanding, nor even favour to men of knowledge – for time and chance meets with them all."

Mathew 24:13 ISR98 - “But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved."

1 Corinthians 15:58 ISR98 - "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Master, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Master." 

James 1:12 ISR98 - "Blessed is the man who does endure trial, for when he has been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love Him."

Hebrews 10:36 ISR98 - "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the desire of Elohim, you receive the promise:" 

2 Timothy 4:7-8 ISR98 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have guarded the belief.  For the rest, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Master, the righteous Judge, shall give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all those loving His appearing." 

Romans 8:28 ISR98 - "And we know that all matters work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose." 

Ephesians 6:16 ISR98 - "above all, having taken up the shield of belief with which you shall have power to quench all the burning arrows of the wicked one." 

Philippians 1:6 ISR98 - "being persuaded of this, that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah."

Proverbs 24:10 ISR98 - "If you falter in the day of distress, Your strength is small!" 

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Priority #1 - My Elohim: Counting the Omer, Part 2


If you are following Our Heavenly Father's calendar, then you are well into the season known as The Counting of the Omer.

Leviticus 23:15 ISR98  "‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה."  

We know that this was the season that Yeshua's disciples were in following His resurrection of which He spoke in  Acts 1:8  “But you shall receive power when the Set-apart Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Yerushalayim, and in all Yehuḏah and Shomeron, and to the end of the earth.”

As we count the Omer toward Shavuot/Pentecost, I want to meditate on the gifts of the Spirit found in I Corinthians 12.  Last week, we looked at the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge.  This week, I'd like to look at faith and healing.   

Now there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. Also there are different ways of serving, but it is the same Lord being served. And there are different modes of working, but it is the same God working them all in everyone. Moreover, to each person is given the particular manifestation of the Spirit that will be for the common good. To one, through the Spirit, is given a word of wisdom; to another, a word of knowledge, in accordance with the same Spirit; to another, faith, by the same Spirit; and to another, gifts of healing, by the one Spirit; 10 to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the ability to judge between spirits; to another, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues; and to yet another, the ability to interpret tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is at work in all these things, distributing to each person as he chooses. 12 For just as the body is one but has many parts; and all the parts of the body, though many, constitute one body; so it is with the Messiah. 13 For it was by one Spirit that we were all immersed into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free; and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 For indeed the body is not one part but many. (CJB)

The Hebrew word for faith is "emun."  The first time it is mentioned in Scripture is in Deuteronomy 32:20 ISR98, "“And He said, ‘Let Me hide My face from them, Let Me see what their end is, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom there is no trusting."  

The Mechanical Translation of the Torah:  Lexicon of Hebrew Roots and Words, edited by Jeff A. Benner, defines this word as "Securely fixed in place.  The root word is derived from the firmness of the plant that comes out from the seed.  Something that grabs hold or supports something else.  the passing of strength or skill to the next generation."  HalleluYah!  I can see evidence of that in the full Shema.  

"“Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.  These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 CJB.  This is why it is so important for our children to see us act out our faith.  They can't see faith as mental ascent.  They can only see faith by our actions.  

James 2:17 ISR98 "So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead."

*** The next is the gift of healing.  The Hebrew word for heal is "rapha."  

The first time it is mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 20:17 ISR98, "And Aḇraham prayed to Elohim, and Elohim healed Aḇimeleḵ, and his wife, and his female servants, so they bore children, "  

The above mentioned lexicon defines this word as "To restore to health or wholeness.  In the definition of the Hebrew root, it says that wounds, sickness and illnesses are cured with medicines made from plan materials which were pulverized into a medicinal powder."  

For me, this indicates that healing does not only come through the laying on of hands and prayer, but also through the use of medicinal herbs and plants.  We typically only think of a faith healer as one who prays, but apparently this gift is extended to the knowledge of knowing how to heal as well.  Interesting!  

Look at some of what the Bible has to say about healing!  

Ezekiel 47:12 ESV "And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

Isaiah 38:21 ESV "Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.”

Proverbs 17:22 ESV "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

1 Timothy 5:23 ESV "(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)"

Matthew 9:12 ESV "But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."

Luke 10:34 ESV "He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him."

Jeremiah 8:22 ESV "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?"  

Psalm 103:3 ESV "Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,"

James 5:15 ESV "And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."

Revelation 22:2 ESV "Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."  

These were just the first 10 verses on this list.  There are many, many more!  

This coming week, I am going to be looking to increase my faith visibility to my children and looking for ways to be open to His using me for healing.  I think my job as a medical transcriptionist puts me in the hot seat because friends and family always come to me with questions.  "I tell them, I'm not a doctor, I just play one on the computer."  :-)

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