Tag Archives: Elohim

PROMISES REMEMBERED

“The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop. The sky breaks to give us the rain. The wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory…Never be afraid of being a broken thing.”~The Farmer, Ann Voskamp’s husband in The Broken Way, p25

Our families are broken.

Our country is broken.

Our world is broken.

I am broken.

This world and all its people have been broken since two humans stood beneath two trees in a Garden.

One thing I love about being retired is I can be a total learner again. Journals, paper and four books litter the table and floors around my chair in the living room. Two books sit on my desk with stashes of writing in various stages for decoration. Note cards have suddenly returned to my life, Not as something to be graded as when I taught research skills to grumpy junior high students, but note cards full of things that are still roughened gems waiting to be polished by my grasping mind that runs a little slower these days.

“B’RESHEET BARA ELOHIM…”~Gen 1:1

The Jewish words circled back around for the second day in a row in my devotions today. “In the beginning, God created…”

Three simple words. A plural noun. A singular verb. A mystery.calling out. Three words that began the story of a beloved group people – one broken man – one broken family – one broken people traveling in a broken world.

Broken people who walked away from that perfect Garden with a promise – found a path – strayed off the path – over and over – time after time – and yet – – – YHVH, LORD, loves them – calls to them – became them. He was. He is. He will be. Promises of infinite Love and Grace made in the past, remembered in the present, fulfilled in the future.

YHVH. Broken. Mashiach.

As I walked around the house, running the roomba, dusting the bookshelves, the Hebrew words continued to turn in my mind. And and when, after several days of clouds, the sun broke through, I was not surprised. God has been winking at us from the beginning. Trying to catch our attention. Trying to remind us of the very first promise He made. Sending the Annointed One when we needed Him most and is sending Him again when we need Him even more.

Promises made. Promises remembered. Promises fulfilled.

I AM.

More than we can imagine. More dreams. More hope. More treasure. More Love. More blessings. More Grace. More possibilities than could ever be learn in a lifetime. We may be broken now, but not forever.

“For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”~Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p.26. [google images]

 

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Advent 2016 #2/7: The Dare

“The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to be. And it could all begin today.”~Max Lucado (p141)

“Double dare you.”

“Dare to believe…”

“Dare to dream.”

“Dare to believe…”

“Dare not wait.”

“Dare to believe…”

If you were Mary would you “dare to believe” that the same loving Abba who sent an angel to speak to you; who asked you to endure gossip, hatred, banishment, even the threat of stoning, would ask of you to give birth in a smelly stable?

“Dare to believe..”

If you were Joseph, would you “dare to believe” that the same Jehovah-Jireh who sent an angel in a dream to call this child His own, would provide such a place for His son to be born?

“Dare to believe…”

If you were the shepherds would you “dare to believe” that a holy child of God was lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and parents who looked like you?

“Dare to believe…”

If you were wise men would you “dare to believe” that this is child lying in the manger was truly worthy of your fine gifts?

It is as if God went out of His way to “dare them to believe”. He didn’t want them to believe this was His son based on their physical senses or the reality of their everyday lives. Instead – He gave them signs in the heavens and dared them to have faith when they got there.

“Dare to believe…”

Elohim is still doing that. He is giving us signs in the WORD, the heavens and through His prophets, but He also continues to ask us to have faith when we get there if it doesn’t look like we think it should. Our physical senses may be offended – the world view of our reality may shout at us that we are idiots – but it is through our faith dare that we will see beyond the manger and see the Son of the Most High cooing a blessing.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”~Lk 2:7

It is my HOPE in this first week of Advent that we all “Dare to Believe”.

Because of Christmas #10: Crown to Cross

Excitement is the day after Thanksgiving. It is the day to put all the fall things away. Play Christmas music all day. Do several loads of laundry. Plunk out Christmas carols on the Clavinova. Walk the girls and wave at neighbors. Get soaking wet while trying to make dirty snow turn white on several tiny fake houses.

Impossible, right? I was afraid so. When I first looked at them, I was pretty sure the paint would be coming out and this would be a several long days’ process. That was depressing, and I was pretty sure I didn’t have enough paint or time or will to accomplish that project.

“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,a
and his life brought light to everyone.”~Jn 1:1-4

As I was debating my strategy for making all houses new, I began to wonder if Elohim ever felt the same way? Which led me to hitting myself in the head and saying, “Duh!” Of course, He did. He gave up His crown and took on a body just like mine. The Creator of all things left behind His crown, didn’t even get a cradle in which to rest
this new body to become human – like us.

Love. Wonder. Walking. Talking. Anger. Silliness. Hormones. Temptation. Frustration. Pain. Death of a parent, pet, friend… Political upheaval. Torture. Death.

I carried my little houses outside, hooked up the fire-hose nozzle, applied dish soap liberally and sat down to wait for the soap to do its work. It was a great day to be outside. Warm. Sunny. Birds singing. A praying mantis sitting on the railing of our deck. The girls lifted their noses and watched the birds come to the feeders while I pondered how God made “…all things new”.

“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”~Phil 2:7-8

Amazing. I whine about a couple hours of work to make fake snow look white again on little houses for a fake village. He “humbled himself unto death” to wipe away the sooty sin covering His real creations carry. Best of all, He is still sitting there, waiting for Elohim to signal the cleansing complete by the blasts of the trumpet.

Lucky for me, His plan is so much better than my own. Although – I have to admit, my little fake houses don’t look too bad tonight and tomorrow – I will decide where to place them in my own little fake kingdom.

“But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.”~Meredith Wilson, 1951

This song is 65 years old. I know that because I was born in 1951, and as the world has probably figured out by now – great songs and people were born in that year. However – the best year ever was the one when Christ gave up his crown and began his journey to the cross. [google images]

Because of Christmas #2: His Face

There is a an rabbinical adage that says that a person should always carry two pieces of paper with them. It should be written on one of them: “You are as dust and ashes.” (Job 30:19). On the other should be written: “For you the universe was created.” (Gen 1).

I’ve been thinking about this saying for a couple of days now. I like the dichotomy between these two perspectives. I like picturing myself with two pieces of paper – one in each hand. My one hand has a red sticky note that says Elohim made us out of some of the smallest ugliest parts under our feet. On my other hand is a blue sticky note that says we are the center of His universe.
I understand the wisdom of this saying. There are times we are really ugly and make awful decisions. However – there are also times when when our decisions help us soar beyond our wildest dreams – as if the universe lay at our feet. If we can keep our two hands within our sight, we will see the whole of who we are instead of being blinded by one hand or the other.
I kept thinking of that Rabbinical saying today as I read chapter 2 in “Because of Bethlehem”. I don’t know when this adage came into Jewish tradition. Perhaps Rabbi Yeshua repeated it to is own disciples – sans the sticky notes of my visualization. What I do know is that in one timeless moment Elohim reached in among the dusty ashes once more and gave shape to His own face, body and being.
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”~Is 9:6-7
Max Lucado summed it up pretty well in one sentence: “He took on your face in the hope that you would see His.” (p20). The more I thought about these two things, the more I saw myself – sitting in my childhood church. My hands folded in prayer – sitting between my mother and father. Heads bowed – hands together. The sticky notes of who I am – no longer color separated but white beyond description.
That’s what Grace does when we see who we are through His eyes – His child for whom the universe was created. [google image]
babyprayinghands

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #99

I have a tiny journal that I got in 2012. It has George Washington’s name on the front and a replica of the compass that he used throughout his life. Maybe that is why I don’t really use it as a journal. I have bigger books for that chore. This one is more of a — hmmmm —- this one is more of a – – – a salt collector.
 
It sits by my chair and has some crazy random thoughts spread throughout it. A few doodles of my swirling thoughts. Starts of poems that never found completion. Prayer shawls that I wove in words of love and tears. Treasure gems of thought. Quotes of note. Bible verses that hold my feet steady on His path. And tomorrow night, after I type the last Ration, I will tuck my daddy’s 1942 Ration booklet into a pocket on its back cover.
 
There are still many to pages to fill in my salt journal. Elohim reminded me tonight that I that I drifted a little off course the past couple years and need to focus. The best part, He opened the clouds tonight just enough for a moon to peek through. What a blessing. I got to see the super-duper moon and of course, this tiny prayer made its way into my heart.
 
“I see the moon and the moon sees me,
And the moon sees the ones that I can’t see.
God bless the moon, and God bless me,
And God bless the ones that I can’t see.”
 
1942 Daily Ration: “Freedom is never a good thing unless he is good that has it.’~Alfred the Great.
 
‘As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness but as bondservants of God.’~1 Peter 2:16
 
“September 17 is the anniversary of the Constitution of the united States of America. For over 150 years ours as been a Government of law rather than of men. God grant that it may so continue! But if it does we must get right concerning law. We can make or break or keep law; but enforce law we cannot. As Joseph Parker wrote, “Law-making may be reduced to a science; but law-keeping comes out of the heart.”
 
“A commencement speaker asked: ‘How long will America last? Ten years? A hundred years” A thousand years?’ The answer is written in our attitude towards the truth of a newspaper comment: ‘Patriotism is not talking in a certain way; it is living in a certain way.’
 
Read: Galatians 5:13-26
 
Prayer: We bless thee again and again, our God, for the privilege of American citizenship. Remind us of the fact that as a Government we are still in the experimental stage. The world has not yet had full proof that a nation can both govern itself and live. We would give that demonstration. May we, therefore, so live that every good thing in America shall be strengthened and every bad things weakened. In the name of the King of all kings, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” [google image]

Attitude of Graditude #23

Gratitude #23: Jewish Wisdom and Traditions. My two year journey of reading and learning about Jewish wisdom and traditions continues to amaze me. Whether I am reading a book, listening to a lecture or reading a devotional, I continue to learn more about the WORD (primarily the OT, but often insights into why Rabbe Yeshua) than I ever thought I would.

Today’s lesson is a good example. When I read Genesis, I get all caught up in the musical poetry of the creation of all things. I envision each thing as it is made and see it bloom and burst forth into reality as I know it. Night. Day. Land. Oceans. Plants. Animals. Humans. Then I read Chapter 2, not truly absorbing the words written. “… Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being…”.

Jewish Sages study each and every word, letter and mark of their Torah. They debate and pray and debate again. They debate the oral traditions passed down from other sages. It is what they do as they try to understand the WORD and the essence of Hashem Elohim. In their tradition, they believe that even though the 300px-Hands_of_God_and_AdamFather had created plants on the third day, nothing (according to v.5) had grown yet. Now how come I never really noticed that discrepancy before? Plants were created, but they had not burst forth upon the surface? According to Jewish sages, the seeds remained underground waiting for prayer to bring forth the water. The first communication between a Father and His new born child brought water to the face of the earth. In that way, humans learned that prayer (communication) with God was an essential part of depending and trusting Him in all things.

Some gratitudes are harder to grasp than others and yet, it is in the struggling where we tend to learn the most. I’m still struggling with this one tonight, trying to absorb it and put it into words at the same time. But I know – as I continue to pray and re-read these words – that Hashem will hear and open my eyes a little wider, clean my dirty contacts and help me percieve the wisdom carried in His WORD. For that, and Jewish wisdom, I am thankful.

wisdom

Lenten Journey #17

It started on Friday afternoon. I saw a sign: “”Be still, and know that I am God…” ~Ps 46:10

I’m not still very often. Usually, I’m multi-tasking: watching TV and reading (articles/devotionals/newspapers/magazines, etc)or playing jigsaw puzzles on the computer…reading a book while watching TV as I look up things in reference to the subject matter/author/extending connections…. cleaning the house while listening to TV or radio or music or singing...even sitting in the hot tub is a series of stretches/exercises/
reading/singing…throw in running commentaries with my husband within each of those sub-groups and…well…I’m just not “still”. I may be sitting. I may be in the same room pretty much all day, and I’m still not “still”.

Can God get through to me, if I am not “still”?

So for the past few days, I’ve “stilled” my mind – not much – just a little here and there. Do you know if you are just watching TV, you actually see a lot more of the show? Writing in your journal, words take on metaphorical depth? Talking to your husband, you “see” beyond the words? Sitting in the hot tub, you feel like you could touch the stars on a beautiful night? That reading the WORD reaches a spot deep inside that makes you cry at the Love and Grace that are shared?

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow (the Hebrew word that is used is “tzel” which literally means “shade.”) of Your wings.” Ps~17:8

It is so easy to fall into the “world view” of what we should be doing. Even going to church (when we find time to go) is no longer just being “still”…rituals supersede “still”…changing rituals super-supersede “still”…back-lit technology replaces the dogged-eared tome…cellphones – even when they are delivering a Bible verse – intrude upon being “still”…

When Rabbe Jesus wanted to be “still”, He walked away from His disciples, away from the crowds, away from the world. He only had a few days left – and He knew. Yet – He made time to be “still”. We make time for what we think is important…the latest game, the dinner date, the TV show, the home project, the newest gadget, the latest [insert your own word/s]…

Tomorrow, I will try to be a little more “still”. The Jewish tradition is to wake up in the morning, singing the Modeh Ani. I don’t know the words yet – nor the song – but I think tomorrow morning, I want to read the words as soon as I open my eyes because I know that Rabbe Jesus woke up every morning saying the same words: “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.”

“Be still, and know that I am Elohim…”