Tag Archives: Deuteronomy

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

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Advent Peace #4: Stories of Peace

“Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”~Mitch Albom

Christmas is the time for stories. Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Frosty the Snowman’s corn cob pipe. Santa Claus coming to town. Amahl’s miracle. Mary’s canticle.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart..”~Lk 2:19

It is her story that wraps around the centuries and brings them into focus through 2 short chapters in Matthew and Luke. When I was little I could almost see Matthew and Luke making their way to Mary’s tiny home in the dark of night. Like us, even though they knew He was with His Father, they wanted that human connection – to touch a woman that had loved Him as much as they did – a joyous memory to carry with them when the world threatened to break them in everyway – a memory to pass on to the children of their children’s children.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”~Deut 4:9

Tonight, giggles still circle over our home. Christmas decoration from the bounty of our woods. A little pine. A little ivy. A few berries. Red glitter paint. Stories that the neighbor kids and I shared as old hands worked to show younger hands how to wrap words and nature together.

Tonight, I am treasuring and pondering many thoughts. The short creative non-fiction that my friends share everyday on FB, or the longer blogs that former students share their wisdom in ways that brings tears to my eyes. Two dogs that tell stories with their eyes every hour of the day.

But mostly – tonight I am thankful for the story of a young girl who treasured up all things that were necessary to bring peace to people of good will. Words that overide the snarky political memes and comments. Softens the bad news for those who are ill and weary. Lifts the pieces of hearts broken apart by choices. Brings forgiveness to those who weep in loneliness. Lights the way in the dark of night with its peace-filled song.

Stories of Christmas.

Stories of a Mother.

Stories to be taught to our children that they might teach their children and their children’s children and their children’s children………

Stories of the Peace of Advent. [google image]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #72

Long ago, I fell in love with stories. Really — I fell in love and devoured as many books as I could carry home or that would fit in my bicycle basket. Remember there were no book bags in those days and our parents certainly wouldn’t think of hauling us anywhere. There was only one car per family, and it usually went with the parent who needed it the most. In my case – Dad walked to work and mom drove the car on most days.

Today – I found one of those orange covered series of books that made me fall in love with reading – – – Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories. I don’t know if they were originally my brother’s books or if the parents just picked them up somewhere or if I just got them at the library, but I loved them. They were the Chicken Soup books of the day, and I think I read parts of them several times.

A classic from my childhood that I plan on reading tonight right before bed..

All things being considered, it wasn’t a surprise in today’s Daily Ration to see another classic – this time a poem. One thing about the Greatest Generation, many of the teacher/preachers were well-read and brought their classical training into their teachings, but they didn’t always include a reference.

So — me being me – I went looking for it. Toyohiko wrote this sometime in the 700’s. Who knew airships were around in the 700’s? Today, this poem is still used in the classroom but the lesson plans I found conspicuously didn’t mention God at all. Somehow, I kept wishing this Ration’s author had used the last two lines of the poem because it is in those lines that Toyohiko’s theme become clear and perfect. So here is the poem in its entirety because I just couldn’t stand it.

I cannot invent
New things
Like the airships
Which sail
On silvery wings;
But today
A wonderful thought
In the dawn was given,
And the stripes on my robe,
Shining from wear, were suddenly fair,
Bright with a light
Falling from Heaven –
Gold, silver, bronze
Lights form the windows of Heaven.
And the thought was this:
That a secret plan
Is hid in my hand;
That my hand is big,
Big,
Because of this plan.
That God,
Who dwells in my hand,
Knows this secret plan
Of the things He will do for the world
Using my hands.

1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘My power and the might of my band.’~Deut 8:17

“In the Chicago Art Institute is a lovely bronze cast of the hands of Abraham Lincoln. The hand from which this model was taken were the ones that wrote the Emancipation proclamation, the Second Inaugural Address, The Gettysburg Address.

” ‘The whole history of man’s progress can be interpreted as his growing ability to use his hands.’ The anthropologist tells us that man has used his hands in building with stones for one million years. For thirty thousand years man has used his hands to fashion spears, swords, and harpoons; for fifteen thousand years, to mold pottery; and for one thosand, to create machines.

“The hands also carry a spiritual message. God builds hi Kingdom by using our hands.

‘And the thought was this:
That a secret plan
Is hid in my hand;
That my hand is big,
Big,
Because of this plan…’~ Toyohiko Kagawa “Discovery” 712 AD

“Read: Psalm 24:1-6

“Prayer: Use our hands today, O God, we pray, In Jesus’ name. Amen.

{google images]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #29

I never really liked Labor Day. I think it started as a child. The first Monday of September (Labor Day) meant that school would start on Tuesday. What kid in their right mind would like that holiday? Certainly not me. In the late 1950’s I had better things to do.

  • Read.
    Ride my bike.
    Sing songs walking down the street with the bestest singing sister ever.
    Catch fireflies for the canning jar.
    Dance in the moonlight for a little while longer.

Obviously, Labor Day was just never my favorite “free” day. So today I didn’t have a free day – I worked. I finished washing the bedding and towels from our many visitors. Cleaned the porch of all the fallen leaves – again. Pulled some dead-vine debris from the garden and played with the spoiled lab girls.

All in all – a good day especially since I made time to study my devotions and listen to some Jewish wisdom as well. Somehow the day always seems so much better after time with my Father.

As I read today’s Ration, I realized that Jesus spent lots of time reading His Father’s words that He had written for His people. He melded two Torah verses to answer one question. They weren’t side-by-side verses, but He knew they were perfect together and just as relevant in His time as they were when they were first written.

Jewish sages believe that all the words of YHWH are relevant – no matter what the calendar date may say. 1400 BC or 2016 – doesn’t matter – time doesn’t matter. Jehovah is still speaking through His words no matter how long ago they were written- and for the second time this week – linear time circles and bobs in my own waters.

There is something more here that I am supposed to be recognizing. I need to really think and pray about this one since I really have a hard time figuring out how all those detailed rules and rituals and wars have anything to do with today. I foresee more research in my future…or maybe my past…or present??? One thing I know for sure – these Rations are timeless.

1942 Daily Rations: Read: Mt 22:34-40

“Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment Ad the second is liken unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”~Mt 22:37-39

“If there ha been radio programs in Jesus’ day how He would have starred in the question or ‘quiz’ type! The air is full of questions and thousands of dollars are given away to children and adults for apt answers.

“In the Saviour’s day questions were addressed to him from many sources. They came from honest inquirers and from evil-minded people who sought to entangle him in his talk. The answers he gave brought rich rewards in knowledge and truth….The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians were quickly answered about the legality of tribute to Caesar. ‘Render…unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ Perfect answers to tempting and test questions were given in the following: ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,’ ‘Neither do men put new wine into old bottles’…’The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’

“Today’s text is a brilliant answer. Jesus took two widely separated texts from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy, ch 6, and Leviticus, ch 19, and with lightning-like speed gave the summary of the whole law in the great commandment of love.

“Prayer: Love Divine, all loves excelling’ let me love thee with the might of my mind, the fullness of my heart, the depth of m soul, and my neighbor with the best of myself.”

MOVING FORWARD

moving-forwardIt is the week that just goes on and on and on. Days of packing, lifting, carrying, moving something out of the way, re-arranging one thing just to find that it is now in the way of something else that needs to be moved. Have I whined enough? Do you feel sorry for me yet?

DON’T…because….

I have loved every minute of this particular adventure. Rubbing tired muscles jan 16 2016 hot tub fiasco 1and achy knees. Reassuring crazy dogs who cling to my side while they watch me with big golden eyes. Waking up in the middle of the night to pray for friends and family that I was too tired to circle in prayers before my eyes slammed shut. Admiring the hubby who continues to push himself beyond what I would ever consider doing. Appreciating family who lift and carry when we are too tired to do anything more.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”~1 Cor 13:7

jan 16 2016 roller derby eAs hard as today was, it was another one of my best of days. Roller-derby Grands racing around on the moving dollies. Laughter circling in an echoing house. Barking dogs jumping in and out of the car. Driving from one property to another jan 16 2016 roller derby dbecause the tool we need is somewhere else. Pizzas from The Saxapahaw General Store. Lego toys to play with enhanced by Disney pictures and stories entertaining us more than the football game on TV.

It was a blessed day.

“And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house…”~Deut 26:11

jan 16 2016 roller derby aThe new house is still not a home. However, the garage is now stuffed with our “stuff”. A new toilet stands tall while a small patch of heavenly blue wall painted behind it is shining bright in the middle of a dingy bathroom completely torn apart. “Great” jan 16 2016 washing machine broom almost seems to be smiling with its new coat of paint. Best of all, new gas logs in our fireplace are being lit tomorrow and just might be the first real glimpse of the home that has been given at this particular time just for us. We are content, excited, tired and storing up energy for tomorrow.

We thank you for all the prayers covering us as we push through these last few days and can’t wait to start our lives in Eli Covenant at Haw River. Life is good. Our Father’s plan is better. Blessings!Be!

25 NAMES OF CHRISTMAS – ROCK

I stubbed my toe today on a rock, but I smiled through my tears. You see, there is an upside to this tiny tidbit of information that nobody really needs to know or care anything about – it is December 10th, and – cuz I’m outside in my barefeet, I get to stub a toe. How cool is that?

10031741_s

This has been a week for being outside and dreaming. Hubby and I are driving our eldest daughter crazy (once again) because we’ve just turned a 180 in our fast pace forward into our journey for a new home – well – maybe – kinda – please G-d hopefully – as we continue to seek that piece of rock we need to settle our butts for the next few years.

“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any Rock like our G-d.”~1 Sam 2:2

5387712175_be36b0393fI’m calling it our 40 day journey into a rock based covenant so that I don’t have to do this again. I am not a mover. I love curling my toes into the dirt that holds my gardens. Nourishing my gardens with daily doses of love and song. Surrounding myself with touchstones of memories and dreaming of new memories waiting to be revealed.

“For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God! “The ROCK! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A G-d of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.~Deut 32:3-4

So with a “smarting” toe and a few stumbling steps, we are walking forward or maybe slightly sideways; laughing at ourselves for once again complicating our lives, but knowing that is precisely why we joined our lives together in the first place. Idiots who like the “less traveled by road” deserve each other.

“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”~Rm 9:33

Fortunately, for humans such as we, Our Father always has a plan. 2000 years ago, He began planting a stone that would never roll away. A Rock planted so firmly that any who stand upon it “WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

In a tiny, dirty stable, after a long journey that ended on a dark and chilly night, the Rock of Righteousness planted a piece of Himself into a world that needed a more tangible Rock to stand upon. A Rock that continues to call to all who have ears to listen, saying, “Come, stand upon me and find peace to all of goodwill.”

[google images]

Gerard_van_Honthorst_001

DAYS OF AWE

Yom kippurThe Days of Awe are almost over.
10 holy days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Days spent in self-examination of the past year’s thoughts, actions, emotions.
Days of repentence.
I love Jewish traditions and wisdom. Many of you know that. I write about it often. This year’s Days of Awe have pulled at me. Maybe it is because I am beginning to understand Jewish tradition a little more. Maybe because I finally am feeling more like “me”. Maybe because I am listening a little harder for my Father’s voice.
“I must proclaim the Kingdom of God to other cities also; it is for this I am sent.” Lk 4:43b
Tomorrow at sunset Yom Kippur begins for the Jewish nation. Accoring to Jewish tradition, it is the day when Our Father God seals into His books that which He has written for the course of the year to come. It is also believed that the sincerity of one’s introspection and repentence can change what God seals in His books on Yom Kippur. No wonder it is called Days of Awe.
“Therefore faith is from the hearing ear, and the hearing ear is from the word of God.” Rm 10:17
 
I watched several videos and read some articles this week about the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur. The stories that had confused and baffled me with their wandering timelines and curious discourses shook with a slight breeze of clarity that sharpened and then quickly clouded over again. I sat in wonder, and wondered if I would be able to see through the clouds again. I beheld a nebulous concept for a half a second, and the Days of Awe straightened the rock upon which I stand..
“For by faith we understand that the worlds were fashioned by the word of God, and these things that are seen came into being out of those things which are unseen.” Heb 11:3
 
I really liked reading one article that talked about angels. On Yom Kippur, Jewish tradition calls for all people to become like angels whose main purpose is to serve God in all that they do.. Primarily, rabbis teach that to be like an angel, one should, above all else, stand upon their faith in all that they do. Angels are characteristically pictured wearing white, so they encourage their congregants to also wear white. Finally, since angels don’t need to eat or drink, they should fast. Actually, there is a whole list of things to do to become more angelic, but I think you get the point.
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” Deut 28:1-2
Tomorrow the sun will come up, and the world will twirl just a little bit more in its orbit. People will get up, stretch and never think about God. I will go to Bible study, pick up my miniature Captain America at pre-school, and then head off for a couple hours of tutoring where I am commonly referred to as, “Miss Grammie”. Yet – somewhere deep inside me – the Jewish day of fasting and repentance will begin to radiate, and I will see a seal being placed upon my book of life.
It is Yom Kippur.
Pope Francis arrives tomorrow.
yeshua high priestDecisions will be made tomorrow.
And if you believe, as Rabbi Yeshua believed, God will seal a new book of life.
A traditional Jewish greeting for this day is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” Seems like tomorrow holds a promise. A promise written in a book. A promise given by the ultimate Promise Keeper who set his covenant in the sky for all to see. Baruch Hashem Adonai.SOT-timeline22

3-D GRANDPARENTS

1940 billboard painted by A.B. McCaskey (grandpa)It is national grandparents’ day. Hmmm – – – didn’t even know we had one until FB came along. Then again, I didn’t have much first hand knowledge about grandparents. I envied my cousins who had a set of grandparents and often wondered how it felt. When I got to go with them to visit, I felt like I had entered a 3-D grandparent storybook.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” Prov 16:21

My grandfathers were only black and white, 2 dimensional faces that would stare back at me when I opened the photo album and traced their faces with my nail- img050bitten finger. My maternal grandfather, Alfred Bernard McCaskey, died before my brother or I was born. As I got older, mom’s stories wrapped around those pictures in my mind. There are too many stories to tell here, some not too wonderful.  But there is one funny story: Grandpa would hit the one closest to him at the dinner table when someone misbehaved. – the problem? It didn’t matter if he/she was guilty – he/she was the closest, hence they got the smack. He was a dark haired sign-painting artist (see the above billboard), a roller skate racer, a Cunack – as my mother often referred to her heritage. His DNA gave my mom her artistic eye and skills as he taught her to draw, do lettering, knit, crochet and tat, after all – that is what Canadian Catholics did in the winter to pass their snowbound days.

“Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” Is 46:4

Charles Arthur Ferris still remains a mystery to me. Dad didn’t talk to me about Grandma&pa Ferrishim much except to say I had his eyes and thick hair. When I look at his picture, I can’t tell the color of his eyes. but I can see he has a healthy head of white hair, and I certainly have that. Sadly – since I was 18 my hair started graying – I have had that as well. Even though he died shortly after my big brother was born (big bro is 9 years older than me), my brother knows much more about him. The stories that are too nebulous in mine to repeat because they never became real to me.  In my mind, there just are no warm funny stories attached to his picture, and it makes me sad because I wonder what he taught my father or what he would have taught me. I do know – that whatever he taught my father – it must have been pretty great, because my father was an awesome daddy.

“They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Ps 92:14-15

Mary Mayme Wachtel Ferris died before I was three. My actual memories ofGrandma Ferris and me her are – none at all. Funny – I have three pictures of her. A fuzzy, black and white picture of a gray-haired lady smiling and holding my newborn self in her arms which is – perhaps – my favorite. Another captures her at a much younger age. It hangs on the wall of our living room. Dark hair, solemn, standing in a long dress with two youngsters standing beside her in front of a little home that looks more like a shack than a house. The little girls were my father’s two older sisters. The third picture is the one of her and grandpa together in front of a store in Lakeville. No warm stories surround any of these pictures either. History is lost for wont of a story sometimes, but I am thankful for the pictures.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” 2 Tim 1:5

It is Grandma Ruth Marie Shoemaker McCaskey, affectionately called img049Grandma Mac, that embodies the grandparent soul to me. A photo album can not contain the stories that fill my mind when I think of her. I can still feel her lap underneath me as I curled into her warm arms. I can smell her home every time I cook something. The garden dirt caked on my fingers is not much different from her dirt where she taught me the value of life’s sustenance and what you could do with it (not to mention dandelion wine). When I am tired, it is her face at the end of a long shift at the Flxi (Flxible Bus Company is where she went work after her husband died) that gets me moving again. She is my story.  She was my 3-D grandparent.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—” Deut 4:9

Knowledge and wisdom aren’t confined to a book. Knowledge and wisdom can be passed down from generation to generation. If one is lucky, discernment is thrown into that mix as well. I know well that those are traits that my Grandma Mac passed on to my mom. Everytime my mom held my children or sang to them or baked a birthday cake (that she truly never ate), I saw Grandma Mac. Grandma Mac had done the same for me. I’m glad that my Grands have 3-D Grandparents in their lives, and I pray that – someday – my Grands will see us in their own parents.

Children’s children …. seed-heirs….. blessings passed from one generation to another….3-D grandparents….

Grandma mac favorite

I BELIEVE

Believe-1Today was a day of contrasts. The kid who has spent the past two days in melt-down mode found the laughter button. Warm sunshine played hide and seek with rain-heavy, dark clouds. A secular world intrusion into my day made me smile while a spiritual world experience brought tears. It is Wednesday. Hump day. Half of my work week is complete. I can start looking forward to the Grands coming for their 2nd overnight stay, and (once they are gone) finishing the painting of the master bedroom. Play and work. Meditation and activity. Silence and music. Books and writing. Tom Hanks and the Newsboys. For a gemini, it is a perfect day.

“Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deut 32:1-2 This lenten journey has not felt like previous years, and I’m not sure why. I finished my lenten devotional. Still reading others. Watching the skies. But instead of going quickly the time seems to be dragging, and I keep wanting it say, “Hurry up, will you?” It feels more like Christmas when I was a kid. Waiting. Expectation. Breathless. Impatient. Thinking that the darkness would never pass. Maybe it is all the crazy things going on in the world, Maybe it is all the signs in do-you-believethe earth that seem to be replicating passages in the Bible. Maybe it is all the movies, music and books that seem to be shouting the name of G-d to the whole world. Roma Downy, not content to just do movies shouting His holiness, is planning a new version of “Touched by an Angel” TV show for next September. Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Jn 13:7 We never know what lies ahead; it is only in hindsight that we see the road plainly. We walk our paths. Share our gifts. Raise our families. Pray for our families, others and ourselves. Stumble over rocks during our testing periods and bandage the bloody parts until they heal. I don’t understand why I awake expectantly every day or go to sleep with one eye looking out the window. I don’t know why I feel like I need to read more and more and more. I don’t know why I cry almost everytime I hear the song, “We Believe” by the Newsboys. I just know that I do and my heart is soaring higher every day. I believe. [google images and Akiane’s artwork]   Faithfulness_by_Akiane

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Theft.

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrevIt has been a challenging week.  Things have not gone at all the way I expected or wanted.  However, deep inside of me, I know that God knows that is how I learn best.  So…as much as I hate assessments…I keep trying to look for the wisdom in all that is going on around me and remember that Jehovah-Rapha stands beside me just as Jehovah-Nissi is ready to help fight my battles.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others.” Jm 3:1

Today, I was ready to ignore writing again.  When I am wrestling with a “God Assessment”, I tend to do more reflection than teaching.  Teaching means being sure of  my subject matter and relying on my faith to guide my words and concepts.  Reading, devotions, playing with the dogs, seem to give me a better perspective as I work through whatever the current faith-walk plagues my life at the moment.  It’s strange – music has always been a big part of my faith life, yet now, when I am troubled, I don’t go into the music room. Instead, I turn to the WORD and reading things from other sages – especially those of Jewish tradition.  It was during this time that I found a small little piece of information buried in a rabbi’s writing.

tov

This is the Jewish letter Tov.  Its initial letter Tet also represents the letter nine as it is the ninth letter of the Jewish alphabet. Tet also represents the word “good”; as in “… God saw that it was good. Gen 1:12b   Amazingly it is also the only letter of the Hebrew alphabet that was left out of the first time Moshe brought the tablets down off the mountain. (Ex 20) Yet – in the second set of laws that Moshe brought off the mountain, it was included. (Deut 5:15 in the word “outstretched”  NeTuYah) Hmmmmm….

Jewish tradition holds that it is because anything “Good” lasts forever. Our omniscient Jehovah-Tsid-Kenu foresaw these events in our linear life line.  Had He included Tov in the first tablets, they could not have been destroyed.  Only Our Father God knows why things had to play out the way they did.  What important God Assessments did these scarred and damaged people have to “grow” through to achieve the unity of being His united and chosen people?  Maybe it was just that – they would no longer see themselves as a people enslaved to other societies – other gods – other lands.  That they would see themselves as His people – united by His love, His grace, and His law.

“You shall not steal.” Ex 20:15

On the physical level it is a very straight forward law, and it makes sense to most of us.  After all, who wants to go through getting arrested, going to court, being convicted?  When Moshe presents it a second time in Deut 5, it is still a very straight forward law.  Again, why would we do anything but that?  But what if – what if there was more to it?  Don’t steal away.  Don’t steal a glance.  Don’t steal someone’s heart. Don’t steal the spotlight.  Don’t steal anything…….period.  The 10 Commandments are still relevant.  They still make us think.  They are still a strong guideline for our lives as we journey this faith-walk.  Our Father knew that as He carved them.  They were meant to last until Christ returns and is able to establish “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”   Kinda important, don’t ya think?  That being said…should I stop singing this hymn??????  Somehow – I think not.  ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????