Tag Archives: Halloween

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #1

Yesterday, I got to play with the Grands, see the daughter and her family begin their “trick-or-treat”evening, but as great as all of that was – a little bit of heaven was waiting for me at home. Yupper – heaven. Heaven – in the form of a walk-in tub.

“The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.”~Ecc 7:8

After one year and 10 months of waiting, our master bath is complete. When you buy a fixer-upper modular on a woody, couple of acres with lots iron-rich water, things tend to move slowly. Over these past few months, I have reminded myself over and over and over that I really need to be thankful. After all – Sarah waited 90 years for a baby; Jacob waited 7 years for Rachel and then worked an addition 7 years after that; the Jewish people waited 40 years for the Promise Land, and all though it never says how long the wait was/is in the Bible – the Father of Prodigals waited and continues to wait for his offspring to return that they might feast together.

“Maxima enim, patientia virtus” – – in other words – – patience is the greatest virtue.

I really need to write that Latin phrase on my War Room door. It might have helped the time fly a little faster when that walk-in tub arrived in late August. Have you ever had a bathtub decorate your living room for 2 months? I will tell you that the kitten found it to be a great hiding place – not to mention all the dog hair that accumulated underneath it.

Thanks to our handy neighbors who pulled and replaced the water pump, made multiple trips under the house and to the store, fussed with the water pressure time and time again, replaced and enlarged the water filters, finally- cut holes in the wall and re-wired a few things to make it safer – the walk-in tub now works perfectly.

“You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.”~Jm 5:8

Last night as I tried out the tub for the first time, my achy knees felt like there was a piece of heaven on earth, and I was beyond thankful. Thankful for all the blessings that have allowed us to be on this adventure. It also made me spend a lot of time praying for others who aren’t so blessed. Soldiers fighting in far away lands. Homeless individuals standing at stop signs. Children without warm clothes. Spouses sleeping in plastic hospital chairs. Deeper darknesses that tear at the edges of our society, threatening to fray the whole fabric to its breaking point.

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. They wrap around me everyday, and sad to say, most of the time I take them for granted – if I even notice them at all. But if I don’t acknowledge them, I miss out on the awesome gift that is buried inside each and everyone of them – the Love of a Father who waits patiently is in its heart.

So it seems only fitting on this first day of this month that holds a couple of national holidays to express our thankfulness, that I write how thankful I am for this little bit of heaven on earth. Thankful for the day that the shofar will blow across the world. Thankful for so much more than a walk-in tub, but I have to admit – the walk-in tub is a great place to start.

BUT…

I know that a lot of conservative Christians feel that Halloween is not a holiday that needs to be celebrated.  It is pagan in it’s origins.  A time when spirits roam the earth and witches rule the skies.  It celebrates the “darkness” of human life with scary images and horrific  experiences that most of us abhor.  Gravestones.  Boiling pots of magical brew.  Strobe lights that crash the mind.  Eerie music emanating from the night. Webs of deceit that tangle around our body as much as inside our head.  Satanic influences that glorify the ugly sins that happen all too often.

Good reasons one and all.

BUT…

and this is prayerfully submitted…

BUT…

It can also be warm family memories.  Laughter embed with love.  Sweet treats that remind us of special occasions.  Choices exist within choices upon this crazy habitat that Our Father designed just for us.  I’m sure He hoped, like all of us hope for our children, that we would never experience the pain of sin and sorrow.  But…free will allows us to dance around the fires of choice, and all too often we end up getting burnt.  BUT…choice also allows us to decide not to stick our extremities in the fire or dance so close that we burn the things we love.

But…

img822Perhaps because I grew up in the fabled era of the 50’s/60’s…perhaps because I grew up in a small town surrounded by neighbors who acted like extended family…perhaps because horror and fear were an abstract instead of a daily reality…Halloween was more filled with Christ than with the evil one. My Halloweens were filled with a mother who created costumes out of scraps img820(gotta love her choice of costume for me when I was five)…dark runs through many neighborhoods filled with faces that I knew as well as I knew my family’s…contests with my best friends for apples, candy and costumes…family businesses that handed out miniatures bags of whatever they made…pictures boxes of memories filled with family love.

“For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.” 
Isaiah 41:13

There is a story in Jewish tradition that tells about a rabbi who went to eat with a poor man and his wife.  They had nothing to serve the rabbi except some flour.  So the wife went into the woods to find some herbs to enhance the flour that she would serve to the rabbi.  As she picked the herbs and spices that Jehovah-Jireh had designed so long ago, she prayed that they would not only nourish their their rabbi but bless him with all the beauty that was once in the Garden of Eden.  Later in the week, the rabbi’s wife approached the poor woman and begged her for the recipe of the rabbi’s wonderful meal.  The poor woman was stunned.  She explained that she had served him only flour, water and some spices.  The rabbi’s wife was also stunned.  She told the woman that her husband had said it tasted so good that it must of come straight from the Garden of Eden.  At that, the poor woman started to cry.  She remembered her prayer over the herbs that she had gathered that day.  God had heard her prayers and blessed her as much as He had blessed her rabbi.

“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
— Isaiah 41:14

Halloween can still be the pagan holiday of the past.  Halloween can still offer monsters and scary demons a chance to dance around in all the gory ugliness that this world has to offer. Halloween can still be the pagan holiday that people create over and over again by their everyday choices.  Halloween can still be a time when the evil one rejoices.

img819

BUT…

Like the poor wife, when we pray…….Halloween can also be something made new because Jesus Christ has brought light into the darkness.  It can be another kind of day…another chance for families to gather together and bless the night with LIGHT.  A time when LOVE…that brings the moon out from beyond the clouds…reaches beyond hope…passes beyond understanding…and takes over the darkness that the evil one has spread and warms the chilly air that he has brought with its pagan beginnings.

I, for one, am thankful for Halloween and the wonderful memories I have buried in my heart, and all the new memories I am helping to create in the Grands.  BUT…most of all…I am thankful for Jesus Christ that lightens the darkness of this world with His love and reminds me to keep looking up and praying over everything I do.HALLOWEEN LOVE

 

The Ark

Sundays are filled with blessings.  Time in Church…the WORD…prayer…reflection…Love…Grace…Peace…family…  Is it any wonder that the 4th commandment reminds us to observe sacred times?  The Sabbath…the Shemitah were established to reminds us of what “…Thy Kingdom” would look like – if we could just quit getting out of the ark to walk a path where temptations slither and threaten to latch on to us with poisonous fangs.

ark
noun/Latin/OE
  1. 1.
    (in the Bible) the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s ark.
    • a vessel or sanctuary that serves as protection against extinction.
      “a starship ark built by their android protectors”
    • archaic
      a chest or box.
      “the ark was of Italian walnut”
    • a large, flat-bottomed boat.
      noun: ark; plural noun: arks
  2. 2.
    short for Ark of the Covenant
    • a chest or cupboard housing the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. (Google definition)

Yesterday was no exception.  We carved some early pumpkin faces.  Played with the Grands.  Hugged on the daughter and her husband.  Watched some football. Took some memory pictures.  Fun times.  Yet – in the back of my mind –  words our pastor shared, continued to vibrate.  Harmonic flashbacks that accessed a melody taught long ago in my small, rural, traditional church.  My pastor then was probably one of the holiest men I knew…next to my father.  WWII prisoner of war and unable to have children with his wife, he was no stranger to pain and suffering. Yet, when my father had his heart attacks, it was my pastor’s smile, words and hugs that brought peace into our home.  He understood Christ Jesus in a way that few people ever do.  He was the first one that ever connected all the “arks” in the Bible for me. A long ago lesson that, somehow, I had forgotten.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”  Gen 6:14 KJV

Big_Ark_in_Dordrecht_3The first time an ark is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis.  Most people know this story.  God asks a special man to build an ark of cypress wood.  The ark holds God’s treasures for a period of 40 days and nights that brings them through a terrible time.  In Jewish tradition the word for ark is teyvat which in Hebrew has no relation to the word that is used in Ark of the Covenant which is aron kodesh. They do not consider them related at all.  And yet – in English – the words are one and the same.

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matt 5:18

It makes you wonder.  Why is this one little word out of the thousands that have been translated from Hebrew to English in the Bible was treated so differently? I have a feeling that it wasn’t a mistake.

“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.” Ex 25:10 KJV

In Exodus 25, God tells Moshe to build another ark.  This ark was smaller.  It was947563-ark3 more ornate.  It was would also carry something special.  It would be carried on poles.  It would hold the treasures of God’s laws and keep them safe in times of trouble.  An ark that would travel with the Jewish people.  An ark that would sit in their tabernacle where Yahweh  would join with them.

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.” Heb 8:8-10

On Sunday, my preacher said (and this is a paraphrase) that we needed to get on the ark again.  The ark of the New Covenant.  The Book of Hebrews uses the language of the Old Testament to strengthen the validity of this “new” covenant and encourage the new believers, despite the persecution and dangers swirling around them, to stay strong in their belief in Jesus Christ.  In other words, stay in the “ark” of this new covenant.  Again – another “ark” that would safely carry God’s treasures: His precious Son and those who choose to get in the “ark” with Him.

“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:11-12 KJVyeshua high priest

Rabbi Yeshua became the High Priest of this ark.  He fulfilled all the requirements that made this new “ark” possible. He lived through all the temptations – and in most cases – more than what we will ever experience.  He lived his life by the 613 commandments given by Our Father under the old covenant.  He lived life as a true Son of God, modeling for us a way to live. He fulfilled the old covenant and replaced it with the new one.  Hand-designed by His holy, omniscient Father. Sacrificing His life for our sins. Crushing His heel into the serpent’s head.  Steering the ark. Protecting His ark that carries us into His Father’s kingdom.

Three times “arks” are created in the Bible.  Three times God has filled these “arks”  with His precious creations.  I find it intriguing that there are always messages in the Our Father’s WORD just waiting for us to notice and wonder about as we go throughout our crazy lives.  I can buy all the things that will physically offer security during these troubling times.  I can fill the pantry.  I can provide alternative energy sources.  I can gather my loved ones close.  But unless I am willing to get into the “ark” of the New Covenant, I will sink pretty quickly in these stormy waters.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t tread water very long.

 Google images