Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chanukah; A Shadow of Things to Come?

It is said that history repeats itself and that we should pay attention to it so that we can learn from it.

Chanukah is a time of celebration because of a miracle that was done by YHWH when He caused the oil that lit the Temple (that should of lasted only 1 day) to last 8 days!  It is a time to remember the strength of YWHW's hand and rejoice for His goodness, a time to come together with the people you love and eat and play games and give thanks.  But, Chanukah is also a lesson that we should take to heart, because history does repeat itself.

In one teaching done by Mark Biltz (I'm sure there are others out there that teach something like this), he describes the story of the Macabees and their lives with Antiochus as ruler.  Biltz talks about what is actually happening during this time, the push for everyone to assimilate.  Antiocus' goal was to cause everyone to worship the way he worshiped.  He felt that all of the "customs" of the Jewish people must be done away with and so, he forbade them to practice their religion.  They were no longer able to circumcise their sons, they could not keep Sabbath, their virgins were defiled prior to their weddings and so on.  Anciochus did all he could do to take away from them what YHWH had instructed them to do.

Biltz goes on to explain that the push for assimilation was an effort to blot out the separateness of YHWH's people and cause them to "blend in" or mix with the rest causing them to become like the world, exactly what YHWH commanded them NOT to do IF they were His followers.

In his teachings, Biltz explains that Chanukah is a shadow or foretelling of future events.  How that in the future this will play out again.  A ruler will rise up and he will desire to cause the world to be "one" and he too will attempt to remove "customs" of YHWH's people, possibly forbidding them to dishonor Sabbath, etc. 

A Few Chanukah Thoughts

Chanukah, following after Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur during which we took time to inspect our lives and hearts, is a time of rededicating our temple (ourselves) to YHWH.  We have taken time to "cleanse or temples" and now can work toward dedicating our ways once again. Chanukah is the season of "the Miracle of Oil."  One lesson in the miracle of oil is this:  Oil cannot, does not, will never be able to mix with water.  We are to be like that oil!  We are called to be separate and NOT MIX with the world..."come out and be separate."  The story of Chanukah is also a reminder that sometimes there is a cost to being separate and standing apart from the pressures of a pagan world, and it can be difficult at times.  I think most of us have all experienced this in some way.  YHWH knows what we face and He is not blind to it and with Him we are not defeated.  

Chanukat HaBayit

I really liked this as I read about it, the concept of "rededicating" our temples/homes. It is good as it causes us to consider things that may not be honorable in our lives that we can remove. Our ancestors lit a menorah and in its glow, they reclaimed their home. The ceremony was called Chanukat Habayit—literally, "rededicating the house."    In our own time, at Chanukah, we think about our own homes as places where we encounter the sacred, and we deepen the way we experience home as a holy place. I like this idea.

My prayer

Abba YHWH, may it be so, that we think about our home as a place that we encounter you, a place you dwell with us and help us to dedicate it to honoring you in all our home is used for.  In feeding and serving, in resting and peace, in worship and petitioning, in meditation and prayer.  Open our eyes YHWH so that we may understand how to create a place where you will dwell among us.  Teach us your ways and help us to have a daily attitude of Chanukat Habayit. 
 Please hear our prayer, YHWH.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quote of the Day


Quote of the day:

I love to cook with wine...sometimes I even add it to the food!!!
Haha, made me chuckle!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Words to "The Assembly"

Here are a couple of my favorite verses.  

They're my favorite because they remind me that YHWH is in control. 
 They remind me that ALL things work for our good, even when we are unable to see it.  
They remind me that I am on a path and sometimes the path is moving upward, sometimes it seems to be going nowhere and sometimes the path appears to be moving away from where I thought it should go but YHWH knows my way that I go and He will get me to my destination. 
They remind me that YHWH doesn't want me to look back but to keep looking forward and  pressing toward the goal.  The goal is complete trust in Him and obedience.

Ecc. 7:14
Be Glad in the day of prosperity but when evil comes, take note that Elohim has appointed one as well as the other, so that man should not uncover what shall be after him.
  *I can rest assured that YHWH is aware of the path that I am on and He is with me where ever I am and He has a plan and a path for me.  This, as all things are, is a season also.  It will pass.

Ecc. 7:10
Do not say why were the former days better than these?  It is not wise of you to have inquired of this.  
*Don't look backward desiring to return to what was.  Your path is ahead of you, not behind you.  YHWH will direct you.  Seek Him where He is.  He is right here, right now. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Consider This...

Instead of looking at what you’re not doing, consider how much good you can do in what you ARE doing!

Yahuda Berg

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sukkot 2011

Sukkot, a picture of the wedding of Yahoshuah to His bride, Israel.  It is the Feast the whole book is about.  Restoring His bride and returning all things to their place, once for all.

Lev 23:33  And YHWH spake unto Moses, saying, 
Lev 23:34  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto YHWH. 

It is called the Season of Our Joy.  It is agricultural in nature occurring during the fall harvest and pointing to the harvest of souls which is to take place at the end of days.  During Sukkot we are called to be in temporary dwellings or tents/ sukkahs during this time which also reminds us that we are all in temporary dwellings because this earthly body is not our permanent home!  We are strangers and sojourners here...just passin' through.  Our earthly homes are temporary and life is fleeting.

We are called to willingly and obediently leave the comforts of our houses and live in temporary dwellings.  We expose ourselves to the elements and place ourselves in a situation where we realize that true security and shelter are found only as we remain in YHWH's will and under His care.

Sukkot is also known as a time for hospitality, a time for inviting guests into your sukkah to dine and have fellowship.  It is especially good to invite those in need.

It is the feast where we are called to rejoice:
Lev 23:40  And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before YHWH your God seven days. 

All things that have taken place will bring us to the time of promised restoration that is soon to come in it's completion during the Feast of Sukkot!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Aaronic Blessing and its Ancient Hebrew Meaning

Most are familiar with the Aaronic blessing; (Numbers 6:24). We often read or say these words without really knowing what they mean. Here’s a look at the Hebrew meaning behind the words of this blessing...

This is how the Aaronic Blessing is read out of the scriptures;

Num 6:24-26  The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 
  The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 
 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 

This is the ancient Hebrew meaning behind the words of the blessing;

Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection, 

(The LORD bless thee, and keep thee)

Yahweh will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will beautify you, 
(The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: )

Yahweh will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete.

(The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. )

The Hebrew word for "bless" is "barak" which literally means "to kneel". A berakah is a "blessing" but more literally, the bringing of a gift to another on a bended "knee". When we bless God or others, we are in essence, bringing a gift on bended "knee". A true king is one who serves his people, one who will humble himself and come to his people on a bended knee.


My favorite version is by Rico Cortes
Yeh-va-reh-cheh-cha Adoni veh-yeesh-meh-reh-cha 
Ya-air Adoni pa-naiv ay-leych-cha vee-chu-neh-cha 
Yee-sa Adoni pa-nahv ay-leyh-cha veh-ya-same leh-cha leh-cha Shalom

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yom Kippur: A Time of Inspiration

**Many of these words speak volumes to me at this time.  This article is taken from Aish.com.  

Written by Dov Moshe Lipman

I have experienced Yom Kippur 39 times in my life. But I have never been as prepared as I am now for my 40th one.
And I have Steve Jobs to thank for it.
Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc. as well as chief executive of Pixar Animation, died yesterday at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer. As a result of his death, many of his speeches and presentations have been spreading like wildfire across the internet, and one has struck the most perfect of chords in me as a preparation for the Day of Atonement which is quickly approaching.
Jobs was the guest speaker at the 2005 commencement exercises for Stanford University and I want to focus on three things which he highlighted in his speech which he delivered after his cancer was diagnosed and also temporarily cured.
I often find myself upset with God on Yom Kippur. Last year I prayed all day and pleaded for all the things I wanted Him to give me and now, looking back, not only did I not receive everything I wanted but things oftentimes turned out worse. Jobs told stories of having to drop out of college and actually being fired from Apple, the company which he himself started. But, in both cases, what looked like something bad and even disastrous for him actually worked out for the best and were "the best things that could have ever happened." As he explains, "it was awful tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it."
How can I, in my limited understanding of history, destiny, and the universe know what is best for me? How dare I approach God this Yom Kippur with complaints about this past year. Steve Jobs taught me that I must be willing to swallow even the most awful tasting medicine because the Doctor knows best and I, as the patient need it.
Jobs related that when he was 17 years old he read a humorous quote which made a lasting impression on him. "If you live each day like it will be your last, some day you will most certainly be right." Jobs said that he awoke every day and looked at himself in the mirror and asked himself if he was living the day he would want to live if it was his last. And if he went a few days with the answer being "no," he knew it was time to change course. As Jobs went on to explain, "Your time here is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."
Yom Kippur is THE day on the Jewish calendar when we confront our mortality. Those who passed away this past year had their fate sealed last Yom Kippur and this Yom Kippur God will seal our fates for the coming year. I always knew this and used the day to plead to God to bless me and my family and friends with life. I approached the prospect of death with fear and turned that fear into imploring God that it should not happen. But, as Jobs said it, "death is likely the single best invention of life." Therefore, instead of it simply hanging over me with fear, I must embrace it and use it to enhance my life.
Thanks to Steve Jobs I am now entering Yom Kippur not as the selfish person pleading with God to grant me life, but trying to internalize and apply in practice the message of the judgment which will be sealed on that day. God forbid, this could actually be it. This could be the last Yom Kippur. While spending the day in synagogue, I am going to ask myself: Am I living the life I want to lead if it is my last? Am I relating to my wife, my children, my parents, my siblings, my extended family, my neighbors and my friends as if today may be my last? Am I using my unique talents and skills to contribute to my country, my nation, and the world to the fullest as if today will be my last chance to do so?
As Jobs expressed it best, "Knowing that I can be dead soon helps me make the most important decisions in life based on what is real and true and not based on fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, pride, or any other external expectations." I am going to spend time on Yom Kippur analyzing my decisions and life through that lens of clarity.
And, amazingly, the laws of Yom Kippur will help me accomplish this. How so?
"Don't let the voice of other people's opinions drown out your own inner voice." One profound statement made by Steve Jobs, with shattering implications. He goes on to teach us, "You must have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" because "somehow you already know what you want and what you want to become." I now understand that Yom Kippur is all about removing all external distractions and trying to figure out who I really am at my core. No food. No drink. No time for socializing. No physical pleasures. Just me and my spiritual side, the real me. Time for me to figure out what the real ME wants with all distractions removed.
Thank you Mr. Jobs. Your life and words had a meaningful impact on one searching person at just the right time, and I have no doubt there are millions of others just like me who you have touched as well.
May you rest in peace and may all of us have a most meaningful Yom Kippur.  (END ARTICLE)

That was a great article, much of which, I truly believe to be true for us a believers in YHWH.
How do we come before YHWH?  Do we really believe He does know best and do we trust that it is He who leads us in "the way" we are to go even when the smooth road has turned rough?
Also, it is important to remember the words of Solomon: Ecc 11:9  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 

YHWH will give us all we need in order to accomplish the desires HE has placed in our hearts to do, we need only remember that in all things we choose to do, we will one day stand before our Maker who will rightly Judge our works.  I pray that I will not be inhibited by voices, by majority, by fear or by complacency but that I will allow YHWH be my strength so that I am able to see life outside my field of human vision where  I am restricted to this worlds limitations.  So that I can realize life for what He has created it for.  I pray that I will see what is real and lasting and separate myself from what won't stand, at least as much as I am allowed to do that in this world.

What an amazing time of reflection Yom Teruah and Yom kippur have been.  This is just the beginning of the journey of the coming year.  May it be filled with devotion, meditation in His word, prayer, and focus and most of all..
May you be inscribed in the book of life and your heart filled with shalom as you set apart your time to YHWH in the coming year!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rosh HaShanah; A Description and My Prayer

This year Rosh HaShanah will begin the evening of Sept. 28, 2011.  Rosh HaShanah is typically celebrated by the blowing of the shofar and a meal with family and friends. Apples, honey and challah are traditional fare.   Rosh HaShanah means, "head of the year."  We find the scripture pertaining to  the observance of this festival in:
Leviticus 23:23-25   

And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying,  “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you have a rest, a remembrance of blowing of trumpets, a set-apart gathering.
 ‘You do no servile work, and you shall bring an offering made by fire (food offering) to יהוה.’ ”

The time between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur is to be used as a time of teshuvah, meaning "returning to one's self" or looking at ourselves for repentance.  During this time, we step back and assess the previous year in order to:
*Come closer to YHWH
*Clarify our life's goals
*A time to truly consider our purpose in life, not just moving with the flow of life around us.
*Take time to look at ourselves critically and honestly, with the intention of improving.   Perhaps, more important than knowing what I will do is knowing what I am doing and how well I do it.

It is during this time of introspection that we can take the opportunity to begin life anew through repentance (we can repent everyday, this is just a time of year where we are reminded that there will come a time when it is too late to repent either because time is no more or because of our own demise).  We can recognize evil and turn away from it and turn to YHWH for understanding of His ways and strive to apply them each day in our lives.

 YHWH's compassion toward repentance

Luk 15:3  And He spoke this parable to them, saying,
Luk 15:4  “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
Luk 15:5  “And having found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Luk 15:6  “And having come home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
Luk 15:7  “I say to you that in the same way there shall be more joy in the heaven over one sinner repenting, than over ninety-nine righteous ones who need no repentance.

2Pe 3:8  But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 
2Pe 3:9  יהוה is not slow in regard to the promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 
2Pe 3:10  But the day of יהוה shall come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are in it shall be burned up. 

Turning to Good

True repentance involves not only a change of heart but a change of action as well-- turning away from bad and turning toward good or as David says in Ps. 34:14:  Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it. 

Seeking and pursuing are a daily task, a daily chore, one that requires diligence and focus but must be applied if we are to achieve our goal.  

During this time, evening and morning prayers are recited by the Jewish people and they recite Ps 27 which speaks of David's heart toward YHWH--he says, "One thing I ask from YHWH...that I may dwell in the house of YHWH all the days of my life."  This can only take place if we strive, seek and pursue YHWH's presence.

Time to Wake Up

The shofar is one of the symbols of Rosh Hashanah because in the scriptures is gave the sound to the people for when it was time to break camp, go to arms, usher in Feast days and the Sabbath.  During Rosh HaShanah it's use is the same, it is sounded as a wake up call to perform teshuvah (repentance) and moral introspection.  A Jewish Philosopher said this about the use of the shofar:

"Awake, o you sleepers, awake from your sleep!  Search your deeds and turn in repentance."

The story of Abe and Isaac in Genesis 22, describes Abe's willingness to sacrifice his only son and  is read on Rosh HaShanah.  The ram, whose horn was caught in the bushes, was sacrificed in place of Isaac.  The ram's horn became an eternal symbol of Abe's and Isaac's trust in YHWH, even in the face of death.  

The Shofar is also sounded as a reminder of YHWH's promise to bring the Messiah who will usher into the world physical and spiritual peace--literal, eternal, once for all, peace.  A promise soon to be completed by our Messiah Yahshuah. 

My Prayer

My prayer and my thoughts are tending toward this matter of self introspection or soul searching but more importantly than the searching of my own soul, the searching for what it means to turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  This is what I find myself desiring to do.  My hope is to find understanding and cling to it, to make it part of my being, one with me and to remember everyday and in every situation that YHWH is present, here, now.  THIS moment, THIS place, THIS situation is where He can be found of me.  This time and place is where He is waiting for me to come and repent and petition Him.  He is omnipresent, I am not.  I should not do anything but learn from the past, not dwell there...I am unable to affect what is gone by.  I should not spend too much time musing about what will be, it has not come to be yet and I have little of my own power to affect it.  But YHWH is HERE right NOW, He can do everything and I desire that I should be where He is, mediating, musing, speaking, searching His ways so that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life.  This is a lesson I am pursuing and striving to hold so that He may accomplish a good work in me.  May it be so.  Amein

*I found and used here, much of my Rosh HaShanah information in, "Holy Days of Israel" by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
It was very informational as I studied this coming Holy Day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sabbath Peace

Wow, am I thankful for Shabbat!  We have had a very long, full, BUSY few weeks and I'm tired.  We have had some things come our way which we were not foreseen and appear to be hampering some plans that we were/are hoping for.  At first it seemed like a punch in the stomach and another road block in a very, very long road but if you have read the last couple of posts here you may be seeing what YHWH has been dealing with me on.  I am being reminded that His plans and timing are perfect.  I may not see it.  I may not understand it (and right now I don't see it or understand it).  I may not particularly like it but if He does it, there must be purpose in it.

Shabbat is a welcomed friend every week but this week especially.  No place we have to be.  Nothing to plan.  Just rest, a much needed mental and physical rest.  I think we need time to consider the events of the last couple of weeks.  Time to pray and seek YHWH.  I feel like I need to understand why, why are these things happening?  But even as I write the word "understand" I think to myself that there are so many things I will never understand AND I know that I don't have to understand, I just have to believe that YHWH knows the way and that's what I must choose to give thanks in.  So, I welcome the promise of rest that is coming this Shabbat and I will give thanks for YHWH's many mercies toward me.  I will give thanks for the blessing of my family.  I will give thanks for all the good things He has given me to enjoy in this life He has given me.

Psa 26:7-12  To raise a voice of thanksgiving, And to declare all Your wonders. 
  יהוה, I have loved the abode of Your house, And the place where Your esteem dwells. 
  Do not gather my being together with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 
  In whose hands is a plot, And their right hand is filled with bribes. 
  But as for me, I walk in my integrity; Redeem me and show me favour. 
  My foot shall stand on a level place; In the assemblies I bless יהוה. 

Hear our Sabbath prayer and redeem us YHWH.
Sabbath Peace.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I will praise YHWH

The Story of Paul and Silas as they were thrown into prison.  They chose to worship YHWH in the midst of their circumstances and praise Him and this is what happened for them because they chose to trust Him...

Act 16:19 .... they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
Act 16:20  And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
Act 16:21  And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
Act 16:22  And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
Act 16:23  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Act 16:24  Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Act 16:25  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Act 16:26  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
Act 16:27  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Act 16:28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Act 16:29  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
Act 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Act 16:32  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
Act 16:33  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
Act 16:34  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Act 16:35  And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
Act 16:36  And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
Act 16:37  But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
Act 16:38  And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
Act 16:39  And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
Act 16:40  And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

No matter what your prison is, He is still YHWH and His ways are perfect.  He has purpose in all things concerning you and His timing is NEVER late.  He asks us to call on Him and to wait on His perfect timing.

This is where we are today.  We will choose to believe  and not fear.  We will chose to watch and see the Salvation of YHWH.  He is at work.  He has a plan and a time for all things.  We will approach Him and make our requests known to Him and ask that all things done will be according to His plan.  May He show mercy on us as He leads us by the way...He has chosen for us today.  Amein.

Monday, July 4, 2011

When Uncertainty Comes Your Way; dealing with fear of the unknown

Sometimes it appears that the storms of life will overtake you.  Don't look at the water.

This is an excerpt from Hanna's Cupboard and a reminder to myself.  
Note: this devotion was edited by me.

In the investment world, "futures" are speculative commodities such as wheat or soybean harvests. You never know for sure how those things are ultimately going to come in. Selling futures is a risky business because you are guessing now on a future event.

If I said to you, "don't sell futures",  it means don't get ahead of the results and waste time investing emotionally in what may never come to pass. It means don't act NOW like the worst case scenario has already happened. Have you ever done that? I have!

It's easy to do when something negative happens. Suddenly worries are piled on worries and instead of waiting to see how things will really turn out, you open the door to self pity and despair. It's really a big waste of time but we often do it anyhow.

The Bible has its own way of saying the same thing. Matthew 6:34 says; "Each day has enough trouble of its own." Boy is that true! We can stay sufficiently busy handling today's troubles without stockpiling worries for tomorrow. So the next time you start to speculate about what awful things might be in the works, remember: DON'T SELL FUTURES!

**It's me again...This is the message of the day, week and probably the message of the year for me.  Abba is speaking to me to remember NOT to rely on what I see because He is able to do all things.  His timing is perfect and He is never late or lacking.  If I can remember this and walk in it this truth, I won't be overcome by fear and doubt.  If I can remember that He is at work on His plan I won't have to fall to pieces because I can't see the light at the end of this tunnel.  I can trust that He knows my need and hears me and will bring every season to pass in His time.  I love that.  I am choosing to thank Him for His plan and to refuse to walk in fear for what is obviously out of my control...however, on the same note, I will throw in a reminder that Jacob wrestled with the Angel of YHWH and received his request.  We must not ever give up on going to Abba prayerfully and making our petitions known to Him as long as we truly are seeking Him for His will and not our own...THAT IS THE IMPORTANT PART.  It's easy to ask for what I want, not knowing if it's what Abba wants for me.  I have to desire His way more than my own.  

I am thankful for His heart on this matter to me because we have had some situations arise that seem like mountains, no way around and no way over unless YHWH makes the way and if He does, it will be apparently  that it was Him and not us.  I am thankful that He desires for me to understand this but in the midst of these circumstances I will pray and ask for His mercy and His help because we cannot do what only He alone can.  I pray for His perfect will along with peace and I will pray some more when I am done praying and I will give thanks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Confessions of a Hospitality Hater...a great post I found

So, I found this blog post called, "Confessions of a Hospitality Hater" and I really related to it.  Not because I hate being hospitable, I looooove the thought of it!  I love people who have the gift of hospitality.  Some people just make you feel so special,  just like you're at home!!!  BUT...I am going to share a secret with you.  It's a secret that only a few people know about me.  Most would not guess it...well I don't think they would or maybe they know and they're just too nice to let on that they do, ha!  Okay, here goes...hospitality for guests just stresses me out!!!  Oh, yes.  I'ts true.  It's really an issue of perfectionism.  You think to yourself: What should I cook, I can't cook, there's nothing to cook, the house is a mess, or the house will get messy, I don't want to, I have so much to do, I don't have time, or maybe you're just thinking that on some other day all the conditions will be better for entertaining...excuses, nothing but excuses. That perfect day will never come.  Oh, I can think of a million excuses when I am afraid of something or when I would rather be my elusive, hermit self.  I am an introvert who loves the peace and quiet solitude of life and the older I get, it seems the more introverted I become.  Guess what?  I married and extrovert, go figure.  How is it Abba works that way?  I guess He gives us the opposites because He knows just how to make us whole even though it often seems to be just plain annoying...can I say that?  Ya, let's just be real.

 Anywho, back to the reason for this post.  We have people in our home at least every other Shabbat, you'd think by now I wouldn't even think twice about it!  I have struggled with wanting to be a good hostess for about...forever!  I want to be a wonderful hostess. I want to be calm and cool, relaxed and inviting at the drop of a hat.   I want to be gracious and have hospitality oozing from my apron strings.  I want to have the gift of great cooking and provide an atmosphere that just invites you to sit and chat.  But even though my heart longs to be Proverbs 31 woman of the year...there's the dreaded introvert inside me who has a grip on nearly every fiber of my being and it says, "You need some peace and quiet" or "you're really too busy to take the time for this, you know, so maybe they could come another day."  And there's that twinge of general discomfort knowing people are coming and things aren't just right (as if they ever are, ha!)...and now I have to make things that should be tasty and creative...aaahhhh!!   The introvert part of me likes solitude.  It likes life without strife, without drama, without pain.  But you know what they say...no pain, NO GAIN!

So the reason for this confession?  The blog post: "Confessions of a Hospitality hater                                        I so appreciated reading this post (from InCourage blog) and learning that Abba has created people who are like me.  It makes me know that while people like me of coarse aren't perfect, we do have purpose and that life is about balance.  I think to some degree we all struggle to find balance so as not to tip the scale too far in one direction.  It is very easy for me to just bypass all the things in life that I'm afraid of and enjoy my very small world but I am learning that in doing that we just end up excluding relationships from our lives.

I am content, or perhaps I should say, "becoming content" with the way I am created, however, I am still in search of the balance that will make my life everything it is created for but in the mean time, confession is good for our souls and so I am openly confessing what I see as a short coming.  My aversion or fear or whatever it's called to entertaining guests.   Can I just say here that I don't like disclosure very much.

I found another site from reading the post"Confessions..." and it is called: "The Reluctant Entertainer
It's a fun site to look at for people like me or maybe just anyone who wants to do better at being hospitable.  It has things about how to entertain stress free:)  I would like to do that, I said smiling.  She also has"The Reluctant Entertainer's Ten Commandments of Hospitality"
which I kinda liked too.  It's good to have written reminders so we don't fall back into bad habits like running down the street screaming and pulling your hair when your husband says, "That really nice family is coming over for dinner on Friday evening, honey and they may be spending the night too!"

So thanks to Rambling Heather for writing such an inspiring post.  It gives me hope that  I can have a heart blessed with genuine, stress free hospitality just for the sheer joy of doing it, not for what it should look like to others (it never looks like Martha Stewart did it) but for what it is, an opportunity to share friendship and love.

Have a blessed day,


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To Everything There is a Season...Everything

I've been doing some spring cleaning.  I had been thinking about the seasons of our lives and how as we grow older we change.  Sometimes, I think it's not so much that we change but perhaps we learn more about who we are and are able to accept who we have grown into.  Maybe we know better what we really like and what we don't and are okay with that too.  But what about our "stuff", maybe it should also change as we do or maybe we should learn that it's okay to grow out of some of our "things" and hopefully we can cast aside the "stuff" that doesn't reflect who we are.

Well, we've been very busy cleaning up the place.  To be more specific, getting rid of stuff.  After living in a house for several years, it's amazing just how much "stuff" one accumulates.  I and my husband seem to have an affinity for "saving" things.  Things that may not work but could possibly be fixed and used...someday.  Things that have a memory attached to them.  Things that are faded, thread bear, war torn, dusty, untouched, forgotten about and so on...get the picture??  Well, I guess I woke up the other day and I thought to myself, "Self, you are at a time in your life of change.  A time where the towels you bought years ago have threads hanging from their ends and almost no color left in them.  You have picture frames sitting around your house that you don't even like anymore!  Things packed away in cabinets, drawers, closets, Tupperware containers and the garage that you NEVER use...things that you have saved for a day that hasn't come in over 8 years."  Then I said to myself again, "Self, if you haven't used it by now, maybe you never will...so, it's gotta go!"

Trends change, our tastes change, seasons change...why not let our homes and lives reflect the season of  change that we are in.  Now mind you, I haven't gone off the deep end and thrown out everything but the kitchen sink but the thought that I keep repeating to myself over and over as I go through each closet and each drawer is, "Less is more, less IS more!"  I am 47 years old (I think, I can't keep up with my age anymore, I have to keep asking Craig how old I am) and I don't necessarily like the same things I liked 16 years ago...and a LOT of the stuff we have is from waaaaaaaaaay back then, not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that keeping so much of it just leads to clutter.  It clutters my home and my path and fogs up my head.  I hate clutter.  I love organization.  I like everything to have it's own spot.  I like to be able to see everything in the drawer upon first glance...Oh, that excites me just to say it!  Ahhh, you say, "That's not realistic, you can't do that when you have kids!"  Well, like I said, I haven't gone off the deep end, I just woke up.  I think I may have had a Oprah moment, haha:)  I'm not an Oprah fan but I've heard a few phrases from her show that I liked...one of them went something like..."Live today who you want to be."  I don't think that's exactly how it went but you get the idea, right?   Craig and I are on the same page on this one.  It's time to lighten the load.  How refreshing.  It makes me feel lighter already.

I'm kind of a paper and pen freak...oh, and note books too.  I think I covered that a little in a previous post.

So, each room is gone through methodically.  Each drawer, each closet, each shelf.  I found lots of stuff that was just waiting to be thrown away and lots more things that someone else may be able to use...you know, one man's trash is another man's treasure!  I myself like to go to the second hand stores for stuff that's useful to me every now and then and  I love to save a buck so why not send my stuff there for someone else to benefit from?

Here are the rules I'm following to keep me on the right path as I am sorting through all our "stuff":
  • If I haven't touched it in a year or longer...it's gotta go.
  • If I can walk out of the room and forget all about it being here (so as to indicate I didn't need it anyway)...it's gotta go.
  • Oh, and don't forget...Less IS more!
That's about it.  That's all the rules.  Pretty simple, huh?

Looking around, I see LOTS of things we could still do without and I'm still hoping to get rid of at some point but we don't have to do without it all just yet, we're just doing it with a little less clutter.  We can keep the "stuff" we we use, the "stuff" we really like and the "stuff" we are just content with until the next season in our lives changes.

Ecc 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:...
 Ecc 3:6  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Paintball for Caleb's Birthday: Happy Birthday Caleb:)

These guys look like a motley crew now don't they?  From left to right we have Tanner, Craig, Jordan, Corey, and Caleb the birthday boy who requested everyone suit up and take to shootin'!!  He wanted to play paintball for his birthday.  I was hoping that there wouldn't be any tears before the "fun" was over and there wasn't a tear in the place, HOWEVER, the event wasn't without pain.  Corey took 1 direct shot to his head (maybe he should'a wore a hat) two hits to his jaw, one to the ankle and a few stinging body blows not to mention a gluteous maxi mus shot that he said stung quite a bit.  Craig took two shots to the chest that he fussed about for a day.  Jordan also had a glute shot that stung him pretty good and a few direct body shots.  When we got home, Caleb showed us all of the welts on his little body where he got hit, one on his side, his back, his elbow.  I think he was surprised at how much it stung to play but it didn't deter him from wanting to play again!  Then there was Tanner.  Tanner basically had no injuries to report.  He came out pretty clean.  We tried to make sure everyone was dressed in such a way that when they got hit by the paint balls it wouldn't hurt too much...it still hurt but I think everyone had fun.  Maybe it's a better fall sport, then you can dress more heavily for the weather and to take the sting out  a little better.

I took some shots (pictures) as they came off the field after being hit.  It's a little hard to see but there's an orange smudge on Corey's head and it's bleeding a little.  Maybe a nice hat next time??

Tough to see Jordan way in the back but Jordan and Craig both have their hands in the air...surrendering.  They've been hit!  B watches on from behind the safety of the net.

Gotta reload!

Of coarse there's the important part of the party...cupcakes...well, really it's about frosting.

There's Papa, and Allison (who by the way is graduating high school on Sunday (Yay!!),  Aunt Laurie, and Grandma Diane (sorry about that, I didn't get a face shot!)  holding baby Gracie.  I didn't get a picture of Uncle Doug or Megan who were both also there.  You know I slack now and then.  Sorry guys!!!

It turned out to be a really nice day.  The weather was perfect, just a little cool so the clothes they had to wear weren't too hot and it was a lovely sunny day.  Caleb said he had a lot of fun.

Thanks for taking fire for Caleb's birthday guys!!  Maybe we'll do it again this fall...maybe.

We love you Caleb.  You're a great young man and a true blessing to us all.  
 Happy Birthday!!
Oh, and you know what?  I love you more!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peter's Vision of Unclean Animals...You're gonna like this!!!

If you have ever wondered about or tried to explain the meaning of Peter's vision of unclean creatures in the sheet, this is something you need to see!

I found this the other day while I was studying something not related to this subject.  I stumbled onto it and when I read it, I knew exactly where and what it was connected to!  I was really amazed that I had never seen it before.  You know how so many people say that Peter's vision in Acts 10:19-36 is all about how it's okay to eat things that Abba said not to eat??  (You know, in the vision Abba says, "Rise Peter, kill and eat.")  Well, now you can prove that verse is not about food by scriptural reference!!

The Connections of Peter's Vision
Hos 2:18  “And in that day I shall make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping creatures of the ground, when bow, and sword, and battle I break from the earth. And I shall make them lie down in safety
In this verse, YHWH is speaking of a covenant which is to be made with the beasts, birds, and creeping creatures or more specifically, the unclean.
Now look at this verse:
Act 10:11  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Act 10:12  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Act 10:13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
Peter's vision is of beasts, birds and creeping creatures.  The same unclean things spoken of in Hosea. 
Peter was about to understand and later speak to the fact that these verses were not in reference to food at all.  These two portions of scripture are DIRECTLY connected to each other.  They are in reference to Abba including another group of people into His covenant (the "unclean" or gentile) because of Israel's disobedience.  This is really amazing to see this connection!  In Hosea Abba is warning Israel that He is going to turn away from them for a period of time so that in the end, they will become jealous and seek Him with their whole heart and when they do, He will turn to them again...BUT in the mean time He will turn toward a "people who are not a people" or not a CHOSEN people and they too are to become one with Him because they will keep His covenant because of their faith in Him.

To Further Clarify, Read on...
To give you a clearer picture of what is actually being shown in these verses of scripture, I'll start in Deut. ch. 32 which explains why Israel is gets into trouble and what the consequences will be for their sin.  
Deu 32:17  They (Israel) sacrificed unto devils, not to Elohim; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.   **Israel is disobedient, playing the harlot with gods who their forefathers didn't know.
Deu 32:18  Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten Elohim that formed thee. 
Deu 32:19  And when YHWH saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. 
Deu 32:20  And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. 
Deu 32:21  They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not Elohim; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. 
Here is YHWH's announcement that He will hide His face from Israel because of her disobedience AND His purpose in doing this is to make her (Israel) jealous by taking for himself a people “who are no people,” meaning that He is going to take a people to Himself that were not His people...people from among the nations, (gentiles or those who are considered "unclean" because they were without Elohim).

More to connect...
The book of Hosea describes YHWH's plan to take the "unclean" and make it clean, it is a prophetic story of a man who marries an adulterous woman, a shadow picture of Abba's relationship with Israel.  This story is telling us how YHWH is going to deal with His adulterous bride in order to turn her from her hardness of heart back toward her husband (YHWH) and further explains how He will "take a people from among the nations" (the unclean ones) into covenant with Him to accomplish this task.  I'll start in Hosea chapter 1:
Hos 1:9  then He said, “Call his name Lo-Ammi (not my people), for you are not My people, and I am not for you.

But in the very next verse, Abba promises that He will restore Israel in the very same place that He divorced or separated himself from her.
Hos 1:10  “Yet the number of the children of Yisra’ĕl shall be as the sand of the sea, which is not measured nor counted. And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ they shall be called, ‘You are the sons of the living Elohim.

Hos 2:23  “And I shall sow her for Myself in the earth, and I shall have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion. And I shall say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people,’ while they say, ‘My Elohim!’ ”

Hos 2:16  “And it shall be, in that day,” declares יהוה, “that you call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Baʽal.’

Hos 2:17  “And I shall remove the names of the Baʽals from her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.  **You will not have the names of others gods on your lips...that is adultery.
Hos 2:18  And in that day I shall make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping creatures of the ground, (the unclean/gentile) when bow, and sword, and battle I break from the earth And I shall make them lie down in safety.
Hos 2:19  “And I shall take you as a bride unto Me forever, and take you as a bride unto Me in righteousness, and in right-ruling, and kindness and compassion.
Hos 2:20  “And I shall take you as a bride unto Me in trustworthiness, and you shall know יהוה.
**Here is the promise to make the covenant with the ones who were considered unclean.  The words are the direct reference to Acts 10 and Peter's vision.  YHWH says not to call "unclean" what He has made clean, specifically speaking of people who were once unclean but now have been called  out of sin.

Now let's look at Acts Chapter 10 and the vision Peter had when the unclean beasts, fowls, and creeping things were brought before him on a “great sheet” knit at the 4 corners (the unclean coming out from  the whole earth...all nations, the four corners of it??).   Peter’s vision is in reference to Hosea Chapter 2 and this promise that YHWH made to take people from among the nations (gentiles) and bring them into covenant with Him.  Those who were once excluded are now included because Israel turned away from her husband, YHWH.

Peter's Vision 
Peter is sent to Cornelius's house.  Cornelius is a gentile who is desiring to hear the WORD of YHWH.  Peter goes to his house because the dream of the sheet reveals Hosea Ch. 2 to him.
Act 10:11  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Act 10:12  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Act 10:13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
Act 10:14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
Act 10:15  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Act 10:16  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Act 10:17  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
Act 10:18  And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
Act 10:19  While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
Act 10:20  Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Act 10:21  Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
Act 10:22  And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
Act 10:23  Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Act 10:24  And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
Act 10:25  And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
Act 10:26  But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
Act 10:27  And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
Act 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  **The vision is not about food but about men!
Act 10:29  Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
Act 10:30  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
Act 10:31  And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Act 10:32  Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
Act 10:33  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Act 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Act 10:35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Act 10:36  The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Yahushuah the Messiah: (He is master of all)

Now, in the next verses from the book of Acts, Peter explains the true meaning of the vision and he talks about those who have been called out from among the nations and how that because they believed, they are no longer to be considered "unclean"!!!
  Act 15:7  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Act 15:8  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit (spirit of life), even as he did unto us;
Act 15:9  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11  But we believe that through the grace of theYahushuah Messiah we shall be saved, even as they.
Act 15:12  Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
Act 15:13  And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Act 15:14  Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
Act 15:15  And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
Act 15:16  After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
Act 15:17  That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Peter is recalling to the people's mind that the scriptures tell them that after a people are called out of the gentiles, Messiah will return and rebuild or repair the tabernacle of David..."THE KINGDOM" the Jewish people have been waiting for...it is the eternal Kingdom that will not be destroyed and all Israel's enemies will be destroyed...AFTER THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COMPLETE (WHEN THE GENTILES ARE CALLED OUT OF THE FALSE WORSHIP) He will restore His bride and His Kingdom!!!!!!!!  THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!!!!

  I pray this is an eye opening study for you as it certainly was for me.  I'm sure this could of been said much more clearly by someone who can write more eloquently than I because I struggle to express what I have been shown.  So, because I lack the abilities to be short and concise, I apologize and I pray you can see past my inadequacies and understand the meaning and depth of this writing.  YHWH is amazing in all His truths and I am in awe of Him and His works created for our salvation, everyday!!!

I pray you are blessed with understanding in the WORD.

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