Tag Archives: commandment

BLESSING TRIAD #16-18

pic_coastguardThe Sixteenth Blessing

November 16, 2015, and my knee hurts like it did a year ago. It was pushed, prodded, stretched and twisted. But sometimes, you just have to navigate the choppy seas to find the safety of the shore. It is your journey. So, you climb in the boat and set sail.

My daughter sent me an email for a UNC study on arthritis. I’ve been accepted in one of the groups and will be having physical therapy for the next year. Talk about a gift from G-d. In this day and age, affording PT is far out of my retirement budget – especially since hubby decided we should build a house.

So today, I am thankful for a daughter who is always watching out for me. Thankful for meeting a physical therapist who spent an hour and a half talking, watching me walk, and bending my knees and hips in ways that I didn’t think they would go any longer. Thankful that I could climb in the boat and set sail. I am also thankful for Metaform Movement that gives me a paddle to navigate those choppy waters.

514d25c02fe3766ae2c8ea1d842dff15Oh – and one more thing – I am thankful for getting to teach music theory to one of my 6th grade students who was struggling as she was writing a song to play on her trumpet. Teaching her to count the beats, the different note values, and the scale was so much fun. Teaching my Grands to play the piano and now this – is G-d good or what?

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”~Col 3:15-17

The Seventeenth Blessing

commandment

“And you shall Love….”

Totally, completely, unfailing, without question an action verb – – – LOVE !!!

“…THE LORD JEHOVAH your God…”

Father God, I AM, Creator, El, a proper noun above all nouns – – – YHVH !!!

“…with your whole heart…”

Not partially, not fractionally, not occasionally, not indiscernablly but – – – WHOLLY !!!

“…and with your entire soul…”

Unmitigated, undivided, unbroken, undiminished righteous – – – ENTIRELY !!!

“…and with your entire mind…”

Intellect, reason, cognizant, judgement, complete consciousness – – – MIND !!!

“…and with all your power.” `Mk12:30

Capability, potential, skill, aptitude, fully functioning – – – POWER !!!

Today, November 17, 2015, I am thankful for the first commandment. It is the first thing I try (I am in no way perfect…sometimes, I just plain forget or slip back into my lazy ways of thinking I can do it all by myself) to say every morning and the last thing I whisper every night.phpThumb_generated_thumbnail

“And the second is liken unto it: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.There is no other commandment greater than these.” MK 12:31

The Eighteenth Blessing

1434265083-sonsofliberty_full_meeting

 

“The lie has a shelf life. The truth abides forever. God can even conquer through our perversion.” ~Ravi Zarcharias, RZIM, 11/18/15

While I was reading Ps 66, I ran across a verse today. A verse that has been turning around in my brain ever since. I love it when the WORD nags at me. It shakes my world and what little control I think I have over it.

“He rules forever by His power…”

logo2Such power could demand obedience – could demand faithfulness – could demand love. And yet – – -even when this whole journey began, He grew a tree. A liberty tree. It was never about power…it was about freedom. Is it any wonder that the liberty tree plays such an important part of our American history?

“His eyes watch the nations—“

I wonder what He thinks today as He watches the nations of this world. The world of nations that He formed with his creative fingers and sent spinning out into the universe. “Wars and rumors of wars – ” Hate raging from one race to another – one religion to another – one person to another…

“let not the rebellious rise up against Him.”~Ps 66:7

A cautionary sentence. The WORD is often like that. Stories, parables, history, peacegrace, mercy, salvation – – – caution. I often think of the dual nature of Christ that we see in the WORD. The Lamb who showed love, mercy and grace as He walk among us,and continues to set the standard in this period of Grace. But then there is the Lion who roars throughout OT prophecy and Revelations.

A meeting – a place – where the Lion lies down with the Lamb. Will I see it? Is it coming soon? A lion and a lamb together in one place.

I’m still tossing around Ravi Zacharias’s words that started this journey today. Lies can’t last – – – however – – – – righteousness – righteous truth cannot be destroyed – – – everlasting to everlasting. Even at our worst, He watches us. He waits for us. He listens for our words.

The tree of liberty still stands. It waits to shelter us under its sturdy limbs. All we have to do is come, sit or lay or stand, and chose to Love those around us as He showed us how to Love through His son.

Today, November 18, 2015, I am thankful for a Tree of Liberty, and for a God who loves me so much that He gave me – all of us – freedom of choice – even when it breaks His heart .il_340x270.585302193_mf18[google images]

Advertisements

Commandment Series-Respect for Parents and Teachers

10-commandments

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:1-5

I love the word picture that John paints in these verses.  I haven’t read Revelations for a while.  Truthfully? I’ve been avoiding it.  When I was in high school and college I was fascinated by Revelations and read it often.  I thought if I read the words often enough, I would eventually glean the wisdom it contained. But so many of the pictures that John was trying to describe in this book was beyond my imagination and knowledge at that point.  Needless to say over the course of the last 45 years, I’ve returned to it periodically.  Occasionally grasping a thought or image only to feel that most of the wisdom in this book was still beyond my ken.  However, lately…even now as the sun’s rays are finally slicing through the clouds that have covered our area for the past 3 days to warm my typing fingers…hints that it is time to return to a more in-depth study of this book.

I wish there was a Jewish Talmud written about the New Testament.  A rabbi who looked at Our Lord’s and His disciples’ words in much the same way as they ancient-rabbi-teachingspoke them.  That is one thing that I truly love about the Jewish religion.  The sages have never stopped debating – concentrating on the very basics of the written Hebrew language, each jot and tittle, as well as the overall context and content of the Torah – seeking to take new understanding from the WORD and Our Father who spoke through them.  In our society, I believe most of us tend to think that if we have read our devotions and forced ourselves to find time to read a few new chapters in the Bible, we’ve done enough our filial duty.  Can we ever understand anything about God in just a few minutes out of our “busy” day?

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Ex 20:12

In Jewish tradition, teachers are included in the fifth commandment.  Since most societal groups look at parents as the first teachers of a child, this inclusion teachermakes a lot of sense.  The extension of respecting teachers follows logically. Yet – as more and more parents are working full time (or several part time) jobs – teaching children has become a communal project.  Teachers, yes – babysitters are teachers – are entering the child’s sphere of existence at earlier and earlier stages of life.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, children are being taught by whoever is around them. Teachers are found in all shapes and sizes.  Yesterday, at our after school program, a young 13 year old was explaining the facts of life to some of our  much younger students.  I’m not sure some of  our first grade parents were ready to have that conversation last night around their supper table.  Hmmm….that is….if they sit around the table to eat supper and actually talk to each other.  sigh.

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB

Is it any wonder that I kids argue with their parents and teachers?  They have had many teachers.  They see their parents argue with their teachers.  They see parents argue with each other.  Teachers argue with each other.  By observation Family_Portraitalone, children learn that rules must be negotiable.  Children learn that one set of rules at home, may be different at the babysitters’ – the pre-school’s – the other biological parents’ or grandparents’ homes.  Nap time?  Negotiable.  Homework? Negotiable.  Cuss words?  Jacket worn to school?  Move to a new seat in the classroom?  No recess?  Fighting at school? TV? Computer? Phone?  Children are adaptable and learn pretty quickly where they can stretch the boundaries…any boundary…ALL boundaries.

Our “busy” and “denuclearized” society makes this commandment even more difficult.  Parents divorced.  Many step-parents and siblings. Many quasi-step-parents and sibs.  Grandparents – married into or quasi????  Attachments extended familyto family members?  As adults enter their own sphere of knowledge, it gets easier and easier to break those familial attachments.  The “Honoring” bird flies quickly away when not fed.  Instead, it is much easier to use our “new” family, our job, our extra curricula activities (sports, friends, downtime etc.) as an excuse.  After all, how much time does that grown child remember spending with their own parents while they were growing up – especially if there was a divorce or multiple divorces?  A few phone calls – every so often (weekly? monthly? occasionally?) – to the parental units and call it good.  That’s honoring, right?  Spend a holiday or two with them – maybe – if they live close enough and nothing else is planned.  That’s honoring, right?  Asking them to help out with a sick child or pick-up child.   That’s honoring…right?

I don’t know about you, but as I ponder the fifth commandment more deeply and think about all the messiness of our world, I wish this commandment was handed out to every family unit and read aloud each evening as prayers are said. I wish it was still posted in schools.  Perhaps……sadly……the fifth commandment really is  hard to follow.

BTW – the sun that broke through the clouds as I was typing the first paragraph?  Was completely swallowed up by the said clouds as soon as I started typing the second paragraph.  God winked so I guess I’m going to be spending some time reading Revelations today.  joy-comes-with-the-morning

*pictures Google images/Youtube

 

 

Commandment Series – Prohibition of Oaths

10-commandmentsThis has been one of those weeks where I’ve had to deal with some of the aspects of teaching that I don’t like very well.  Our supervisor is out for the next 12 weeks enjoying a new blessing to her family which leaves us, not only short a person on supervisory portion of the job, but also puts me in charge of many more of the challenges that face teachers.  I thought when I retired, I wouldn’t have to do much of this anymore, but apparently – once again – I was wrong.  So here I am reminding myself – AGAIN – this is a blessing, this is a blessings, this…is…a…BLESSING.

I’m smiling right now, because yesterday I helped several second graders with a Common Core informational text that talked about the scientific concept of force.  Besides not knowing a lot of the words in the text, the conceptional ideas were a little abstract.  So we pushed and pulled some little things and then some big things, and the light bulb grew a little brighter. That is what I love about teaching.

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB 

It was the rest of the day that was a challenge for me.  Most of you who have ever dealt with children know that “when the dogs are away, the cats like to play”.  Needless to say, the students are pushing against any boundary just to see if they are still there.  Small children have small pushes.  Larger children push backs are with a little more force.  So far this week I have dealt with nuisances of talking too loud, constant roaming and ignoring simple rules that have been in place for the year.  Thus, instead of teaching, I talk to the kids, remind them of rules, line up the consequences and bring it to the attention of parents at end of day.  There has also been two small skirmishes.  Repetition occurs with a stronger talk to kids – line up consequences – implementation of course of action – apprise the rest of the staff – talk to parents about said skirmish and concerns – fill out paper work. Needless to say, amid all of this has been appearance of inappropriate language.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Ex 20:7 

This is a hard one these days.  Kids hear cuss words everywhere…parents, society, books, movies, even video games.   OMG (O My God)…or for that matter – any of the curses that employ Our Father or Jesus’s name…is so popular that it even comes out of my Grands’ mouths when I’m babysitting. (Needless to say, they do get corrected when I’m there.)  In Jewish tradition, God is often written G-d because the word is held with such sacredness.  In some sects, they will not even speak it.  God’s holiness is that special.  When we use anyone’s name in anger or frustration – let alone – God’s name, aren’t we “cursing them”?  As I’m writing this, I am trying to imagine substituting a loved one’s name for God’s name in OMG.  I can’t imagine even wanting to do that.

I read a book in college about how language is just a mess words that we assign meaning to and that cussing only holds meaning if we allow it to do so.  It’s premise was that cussing is fine, and people should get over it.  I tried cussing for awhile. Let a few words flit into my conversations here and there.  But when I began teaching and  watching my students closely, I could see the pain of ugly words and decided to try to turn my words once again. Blessing or curse, it is just a mess of words, but the choice is our – blessings or curse.

According to Jewish wisdom this commandment covers more than “taking His name in vain” (which was the way I learned it long ago).  This commandment instructs them to keep ALL oaths as sacred.  God makes promises to us and He ALWAYS keeps them.  This commandment instructs us to hold our promises with the same devotion as God holds His promises.

Make a promise in court?                     Keep it!

Make a promise to your spouse?         Keep it!

Make a promise to your children?      Keep it!

Make a promise to your boss?  Friend?  Pet?  Society?  Yourself?    KEEP IT!

When we keep our promises as Jehovah-Tsid Kenu keeps His promises, we are bringing His strong kingdom a little closer into existence within our rickety kingdom. Remember the old, old story of dropping a pebble into the water and watching the ripples radiate further and further out?  It is the same when we follow this commandment and keep our promise.  The consequences continue to ripple out from ourselves – to our families – to our community – to our society.  It is exactly what Christ asked us to do when He told us to pray:  “…thy kingdom come – thy will be done…”  LK 11:2    So…once again….is it really so hard to follow His third commandment?

Commandment Series: Love God

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB 

10-commandments

Today was a good day.  Church and then lunch with Daughter’s family. Exercised.  Enjoyed conversations with those around me. Wasted time playing jigsaw puzzles on the computer.  Read a couple chapters of new book.  Took a small nap.  Watered a newly planted magnolia tree.  Played “ball” with the puppies – a million and one times.  Thanked God for the blessings of feeling sick over the past couple of weeks.

Did your eyebrows go up to your forehead?

Yup – I thanked God for having to deal with an aging body and a minor illness.  Illnesses slow me down. They come a little more often as I get older (cranky joints, nose that are sensitive to a million things that it never, ever noticed before, germs taking up residence in places I never knew existed – whoa – TMI).  Infections center me on the important things; they remind me upon Whom I really depend, because – believe it or  not – I do get all wrapped up in me.   Can you tell that humbleness has never been one of my strong points?  Well – it’s true.  I have a healthy ego.

I sin a lot.  Not the kind of sin that people gasp over (those I hope are in the past)– but sin, nevertheless.  God is not a respecter of any kind of sin.  He gasps at any sin. The old adage: sin is sin is sin, reminds us that to Jevhovah-Tsid Kenu, one sin is as grievous as another.  It is still wrong.  In a world striving to say that there are no absolutes, even saying the word “SIN” can bring a smirk, eye roll or sharp derision from family…acquaintances…best friends.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:16-17

Once upon a time, there were absolutes.  It started in a garden when men and women decided to reached for a piece of fruits.  First absolute rolled upon the grass of history, and the Evil One chuckled.  Lucky for us, God has a soft spot for silly, rebellious people and not so much for angels in open rebellion.  (I think that they too had healthy egos.)  After watching His bumbling, stumbling people for the next few centuries, God reached out to a man named Moshe (who also had His share of mistakes, but, lucky for the rest of us, not much of an ego).  Moshe listened to God and walked up a mountain where he stood, kneeled and fell flat on his face on Holy Ground.  A new covenant was drawn up; rules were established once again.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Ex: 20:2-3  

When I was a child, I always thought that “gods” meant those little things you saw in the movies or books…carved figures that had human characteristics but looked a little exaggerated in many of their features.  As I got older, I finally figured out that those figures really had little to do with what Jehovah-Tsid Kenu was talking about in this verse.  Yes, there were societies that had “gods” that they thought would answer all their needs: rain for crops, victory in war, peace in their cities, a good marriage, children for barren wombs, and the lists could go on and on.  After all, isn’t that what “gods” are supposed to do?  The Evil One would not be much of a contender if he didn’t create a few false gods to muddy up a world that was already trying to hide much bigger things than a bite that they took from a piece of fruit .

More money is the answer to prayers?  A perfect marriage will solve all our unhappiness?  The “young, perfect” guy is a whole lot better than the “old, imperfect” husband?  That new car? New house?  New phone?  Notice that “gods” come in many shapes and sizes in our world these days, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until they have taken up residence in the home that we have built far away from Jehovah-Jireh’s kingdom.

Lucky for us, Our Father still has that soft spot for us.  Jehovah-Saboth still wants to help, so He sent His son.  Rabbi Yeshua stood on  holy ground where ever He walked, so instead of people having to walk up the mountain, suffer the elements, do without the comforts of “home”, Rabbi Yeshua walked among them.  He spoke to them in their language.  Yet, He knew exactly what choosing that “cup” held in store for Him at the end of His journey on this pitiful world. He spoke this old commandment to those around Him.

A new covenant to Love.  Love more than you think possible. Love that endures beyond hurt.  Love that forgives over and over again. Love that originated with the One who loved us first.  The One who taught us to Love.

I like to sometimes play with words.  In my head, I substitute “humankind” for “Lord your God”  and KNOW that is the commandment that Jehovah-Raah follows in His beautiful, peaceful, eternal kingdom. So…is it really so hard to follow His first commandment in our war-torn, stressful, finite kingdom?

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”