Tag Archives: discernment

REGENERATION

“By wisdom a house is built;
it is made secure through understanding.
By knowledge its rooms are furnished
with all sorts of expensive and beautiful goods.”~Prov 24:3-4

Seems like a most appropriate verse for this week. Papers to juggle. Deliveries to receive. Workmen to consult. Wish lists compiled. “By wisdom a house is built…” I think we are going to need WISDOM every minute of every day (and probably even as we sleep).The regeneration has begun once again.

Definition of regeneration:  noun re·gen·er·a·tion \ri-ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən, ˌrē-\

  1. 1:  an act or the process of regenerating :  the state of being regenerated

  2. 2:  spiritual renewal or revival

  3. 3:  renewal or restoration of a body, bodily part, or biological system (as a forest) after injury or as a normal process

  4. 4:  utilization by special devices of heat or other products that would ordinarily be lost

I re-read this verse a few times today. Underlined it. Circled it. Pondered it – and pondered it again. “…it is made secure through understanding…” The WORD is like that. I’ve read this particular chapter many times over the past few years. Mostly, on the 24th day of the month. Did you know there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs? A pretty easy read in a month. Even so – Jehovah Shammah manages to point out something new – – – if my eyes and heart are open.

Today – He did it again. He is seeking to change my inner home as well as my physical abode. {Gotta love the metaphoric language of a good proverb} When you start following “G-d-nudges”, you will find He just “nudges” you more and more.

Somehow re-doing – regenerating –  a physical house seems much easier than re-generating a spiritual home. Like most people, I seem to always find time to do what this world requires and live-in-the-land-of-later for when it comes to my spiritual home. So tonight, after running all afternoon in three different hardware stores, looking at rows and rows of tile, talking to various construction workers and hubby, I collapsed with my Bible in hand and found Prov 24.

God is good. He knew what I needed before I did…KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, DISCERNMENT.

Tonight I walked around the house again. Looking at the color choices. The design outlined in our heads for the kitchen. The tile for the bathroom that sits in the back of the car. “…by knowledge its rooms are furnished…” The physical house is taking shape, and with lots and lots of prayer, so is my spiritual house. Room by room. Piece by piece. I tear out this part and replace it with something more functional and vital to the home I want to create for my LORD to live in with me.

The forced quiet that the snow storm brought to both houses has already started to melt away in the NC warmth. “…with all sorts of expensive and beautiful goods.”   Tomorrow, the frenzy of our chaotic world revs up again. While we will try not to fill our home with too much of the expensive “stuff”, we do hope it will be beautiful. However, we already know that the price paid for our spiritual home is beyond compare and more beautiful than any treasure found on earth.

Just a little more work. Just a little more time. Just a little more trust. Just a little more listening. Just a little more wisdom made secure through understanding. It is truly a regeneration. Blessings!Be!regeneration
[art by Akiane “Regeneration” via google images]

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Physically Harming a Person

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrev“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”~ Mother Teresa

A few weeks ago, the Grands came and spent their first overnight.  The air mattress took up half of our living room.   Piled high with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals  and an occasional, rather large, choc lab or two jumping into the mix, they played, drew pictures, giggled and laughed until finally…Grandma and Papa gave the thumbs up to the start to “movie night”.  Popcorn crumbs.  Stray pieces of paper.  A cold nose of  a lab pressed into tiny hands.  By 9:30, both were sound asleep and content.  Love danced, much as David did, around our home in a big way.

I love Mother Teresa’s quote for this reason.  Love in the home teaches love for those outside the home.  But as we all know, it is not always easy.  After all, people are different.  Different colors.  Different beliefs.  Different mindsets.  Different everything.  There is not one person that is the exact duplicate of someone else.  Buckeyes falling from a buckeye tree.  To love someone that we totally dislike is…sometimes…lol…most times, one enormous, challenging, overpowering test thrown into our life journey.  To kill – whether it is emotionally, physically, spiritually, verbally – hits all of us at one time or another.

“You shall not murder.” Ex 20:13

the-sixth-commandment-GoodSalt-lwjas0406In the Old Testament, God wrote upon the tablets a pretty simple concept.  Don’t kill anybody physically.  Jewish tradition still looks at in a fairly straight forward way.  Don’t physically harm anyone.  I like to think that these were simple commands because the Jewish people were babies in Faith.  When we are raising babies, we don’t use long complicated stories or sentences to get our point across.  Everything is stated in the simplest terms possible.  “NO!”  “STOP!”  “OK!” “GO” The Jewish people were the first to stand on their faith in Jehovah-Tsid-Kenu. By the time of the New Covenant when Rabbi Yeshua walked this earth, He could already see where we were headed.  There were already many ways to destroy a life.  So He used a more complicated parable to support and expand this radical concept – LOVE, PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES.  loveyourenemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matt 5:43-48

When we watch the news and see all the pain, degradation and mutilation that humans do to each other, we often feel anger and revenge thoughts enter into our sphere.  When a loved one shatters a vow, a trust we have placed in them, those thoughts appear just as strongly.  Yet, thankfully, most of us never resort to a physical murder. We’ve become pretty sophisticated.  We use psychological or emotional “murder” instead.  A FB post full of a few choice words – retaliation (an eye for an eye) – revealing a secret or two.  “Killing” words can be pretty damaging these days.  When I’m hurting I force myself to start looking for positive words instead of concentrating on all the injustice of the world that can be flashed across all our screens in high definition video – or living through a more personal bump in my life road (that feels like I’m watching a high definition video).  I kick my rear end in gear and into the book of Matthew and remind myself about the commandments of the New Covenant or cry as I sing the Psalms in my heart.  The promises that Our Father says over and over reassure me, and I can pray with a healing heart.

Jewish tradition has another neat way of looking at things.  Their Sages have written that as one sleeps, their souls ascend to Heaven.  While they are there, heaven-of-angelsthey record in Heaven’s books all the things that they did during their day.  Then they sign the book.  Traditionally, as practicing Jews say the Shema, (“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut 6:4-5,)  they are also thanking God for returning their soul at the start of a new day.

If we all thought we were traveling to Heaven at the end of our day to write about all the things we did or said, would it make a difference? Would it make “Thou Shalt Not Kill” (meaning more than the physical act), more real to us?  Would it make it easier to obey?  I have found that I like thinking about this Jewish tradition. Traveling to Heaven each night, writing my part of the daily human existence in the Book of Life, signing my name at the bottom, and then thanking God when I awake in the morning seems like a fantastic way to start each day of my life.  Wisdom and discernment make the sixth commandment a little easier to obey. Just another choice.

(Google images)

 

10 Book Challenge

Labor Day.  Big party was yesterday at the daughter’s.  Took lots of pictures.  Got my needed hugs and kisses from the Grands.  Today’s plan…dogs to lake…read book…write a little…pray a little more… and just laze around.

Got the first two things started and then made the mistake of checking FB because I had some pictures to share with the daughter.  One of my friends sent a challenge:  “In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great books of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including me, so I can see your list.”

hopalongI was not tagged – shame on this friend who knew I would love this challenge, but I tagged myself because I loved this idea.   Seeing as how I really didn’t have anything major planned.  Seeing as how the husband was off “laboring” on Labor Day.  Seeing as how books have entirely ruled my life from the time I discovered words on my childhood area rug that said:  Hop-a-Long Cassidy in big white letters (if memory serves, mine was a brown rug – but then again – that is memory for you).  I thought, “This would be a quick and fun thing to do”.   HA!

Hmmmmm….not so quick but definitely a great pursuit for the introspective Jewish month of Elul.  Because – just how do you limit it to 10 books?   I have since thought of at least 5 more books, I should have liked to squeezed into the original “ten”.  Must be Common Core is sinking into my logic – 10 doesn’t necessarily mean 10 – right?  

1. bibleBible (where would my soul be without it?  I read it everyday.  2 chapters of the OT, 5 psalms, 1 chapter of Proverbs, 2 chapters of NT and assorted side tracks into Daniel, Isaiah, etc.)


2. ifjesuscameIf Jesus Came to My House by Joan G. Thomas (1st book I remember reading over and over)

 


3. black like meBlack Like Me by John Howard Griffin (read it in Jr. Hi. and sent me on a quest; took the 1st ever Black Studies classes offered on OSU-Cols campus, read tons more favorites (Malcom X, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, Fredrick Douglas, Langston Hughes…oooh where do I stop???)


4. Edgar Cayce the Sleeping Prophet (found on the self of the Loudonvillecayce Library when I was working there as a page and started me on my own spiritual quest outside of my parents’ faith…and all books by Cayce, Ruth Montgomery, Authur Ford, Jane Roberts, etc)

 

whitman
5. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Thank you, Mrs. Robinson, for this one, the research paper I wrote on his life and all the poetry books that I devoured after that.)


6. atlasAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and all her books (changed my politics a little more and challenged my faith since she was writing from an atheistic bias)

 


7. Dialogue with the Devil by Taylor Caldwell handed to me by a stranger downloadin the Whitehall Library in Columbus who said I needed to read it (then I preceded to read every book she wrote, including her autobiography Growing Up Tough which I read portions of for our 8th grade autobio unit)

 

akiane8. Akiane Kramarik: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry (Added depth of thought on SOOOOOO many levels)

 


9.blessingsThe Path of Blessing by Rabbi Marcia Prager (continues to add so much depth of thought behind Rabbi Yeshua actions and words, even though she is not Christian, she is His child.  Thanks to my good friend who didn’t tag me for recommending this book)
10. And all classics – Children – Young Adult – Adult (doesn’t matter) – any genre (doesn’t matter) – after all – that is why they are called classics.

It got me thinking about how much reading has meant to me and continues to mean to me.  When my mom developed Macular Degeneration, we got her books on tape via the library.  She had a hard time operating the tape recorder, but she loved listening to me when I would read to her.  I read her newspapers, books, magazines and letters that my kids sent via e-mail.  It would make her laugh or cry or start a discussion that would last in my heart for many years.

Reading is like that.  It builds and elicits memories on so many levels.  Movies that exist in our heads.  New lands to visit.  New time periods to learn details that we never knew from the history books.  Emotions that we had forgotten.  Dreams to seek – as a child – an adult – a senior citizen.  Reading is all that and probably much more than I have remembered.

I love this Jewish month.  It is appropriate that school starts in this month as students start the long road of reading for knowledge, wisdom and discernment.  I love challenges.  I love a book challenge.

Wisdom is supreme:  therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  ”  Prov 4:7

SUPERMAN

“One step forward…two steps back.”

Adages are common in every language. Kernels of truth and common sense wrapped in short, sweet bites that hopefully make it easier to swallow than the longer, more complicated, and/or/sometimes/maybe/painful explanations. It has been an “adage” type of day as I listen to the news and watch the world swirling around me.

“Apply your heart ot instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Prov 23:12

Swallowing “truth” is not always easy. In fact, if it doesn’t agree with the way we want it to be, we practically have to ram it down our throats with tons of sugary drinks as we try to make it more palatable. And sometimes – we’d rather starve than even pick up our fork. Who do we believe? Which side of the aisle will we sit on? The questions make my head spin, and I wonder if it has always been this way or whether it is just the times we live in right now?

“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” Prov 23:23

When I was a child things seemed so logical. After all, I had all the Superman comic books. In the 50’s, most moms were not working yet. Mine was. In the summer, I spent many lunches alone where I sat on a stack of comics piled high on my chair- primarily – Superman (my favorite – btw). Comic books became my companions as I ate whatever mom hurried home to fix before she returned to driving the local dry cleaning truck for the rest of the afternoon. “The never ending battle for TRUTH, justice, and the American way.” engrained itself into my life without any effort on my part whatsoever.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled, with rare and beautiful treasures.” Prov 24:3-4

We spend our lives trying to figure out how to live…what to wear…what to do…who to believe…what path to walk…what adages to follow…who to trust… And because we live in a world such as this, we sometimes only get one step forward before we are forced into two steps back. That is when I cling to the only truth I know exists for sure in this crazy world. A truth that I learned in Bible school during long summers of books and heroes. Better than Superman and better than any adage. A sweet promise that I found easy to swallow…even when it seems at odds with everything our society says is the “bitter truth”. I cling to these words and pray for knowledge, wisdom and discernment for the coming days in a world that seems turned upside down.

“”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn 14:6

For_truth,_justice_and_the_American_way!!!!

Baby Sparrows

I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”Funny baby house sparrow 3

This old hymn has been bouncing around in my head all afternoon…mostly, because a couple of baby sparrows fell-jumped-pushed out of their nest today.

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young– a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.” Ps 84:3

The grands and I had been watching the nest since school let out a few weeks back. We couldn’t see it very well since it was high above our heads – just up under the eves – crammed tightly between the drain spout and wall. However, we could see mommy and daddy bird flying in and baby sparrowsout as the chicks grew older. Soon their little heads were poking up over the rim of the nest, and we could hear them cheeping for more and more tasty morsels. The Grands loved it, and the teacher in me couldn’t resist tying it to a little science lesson here and there.

While it turned out to be a fairly decent science lesson for the Grands, it didn’t turn out so well for the sparrows. Feathers had not completely replaced the downy fuzz. The mechanics of moving wings hadn’t really kicked in yet. 20+ feet is way too far to fall when learning to fly or being pushed out of the nest by a sibling. If that wasn’t bad enough…roaming dogs, cat and hens just don’t understand that baby sparrows really aren’t a tasty morsel of food or a fun toy. sigh.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny, and not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father?” Matt 10:29

Facts of life: Life – death. Suffering – happiness. Righteousness – sin. Illness – health. Heaven – Hell.

Polar opposites surround us everyday. The good news is that Our Father’s love also surrounds us every day. In the things that make us beyond happy, but also – in the things that are too terrible to mention. He knows, He sees, and He loves. Sometimes it is hard for us to understand. After all, we are limited by the four dimensions that we were born to endure in this lifetime. “Things” get broken, but Our Father is not limited by such “things”. Most of the time, our humanness wants to help – change things – put the “birds” back in the nest – fix the brokenness, but because the nest is too high to reach, we often think it is impossible. Lucky for us, God is not limited by those funky little “natural laws” that govern us. Miracles can and do happen.

Today, Mommy and Daddy Bird buzzed our heads and tried to do what they could to locate the lost ones. By the way they were chattering and pecking at each other, they must have been having a very a serious conversation about whose fault it was that two had flown the coop (so to speak). One of the tiny ones didn’t survive the fall for very long. I’m not sure about the other one. It was still hopping along when I left, so who knows? Miracles do happen. The Grands were watching. Mommy and Daddy Bird were watching. Better yet, so was God.

Tomorrow, the Grands and I will probably be looking at the little feathers and talking about the over-sized mouth, the downy fuzz, and comparing it to the few feathers. Just as today, we were talking about the baby bunny that Monkey, their cat, had laid at their doorstep – minus its head. Life goes on.

Life is not easy, but there are lessons to be learned from all of it. Wisdom that lies behind the pain and ugliness. Discernment that will help guide our own future decisions. And the love of the Father who is walking through this mess with us. Sometimes I wonder why He doesn’t just put a stop to all of it, and then I remember – if He controlled everything, we would never be free to learn from all that is happening around us.

Hopefully, when we eventually jump from the nest of this world, our wings will be strong enough to carry us beyond our wildest dreams.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Is 40:31eagle