Tag Archives: Hebrew

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #2

“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

A lot of steps.

Life is full of a lot of steps. Some steps lead us in the direction of all those beautiful goals that we set for ourselves. Some steps lead us backwards, so we can gain more confidence in what we know. Sometimes we find ourselves running in place until we figure out where it is we want to go. And sometimes – our steps circle around and around and around in one gigantic loop of dizziness.

“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.”

I’m not sure what led me to Acts today – specifically Acts 2. But –
that first step led me to another step. A step into my devotional book – Day 361. Light dawns, and I begin to figure out where the Holy Spirit was pointing me. I never, ever completely figure it out. I’m not that smart or ambitious enough to take all the steps that I need to take. If I’m lucky I manage to take a step or two forward – 10 backwards – 100 running in place – and about a 100 billion, trillion running in circles.

When it comes to watching me, I think G-D probably sighs a lot. His Son probably rolls His eyes. The Holy Spirit wants to give me a Gibbs’ slap. And then – I make that breakthrough. I link a few things together, and suddenly they are all dancing in joy just for me.

“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – two turtle doves…”

There are always pluralities in life. Good and evil. Light and darkness. Truth and lies. Spiritual and physical. In the Hebrew language they add “-im” to a word to represent plurals. “Elohim” – G-D. “Chayim” – life. “Shamayim” – heaven. “Yerushalayim” – Jerusalem. “Mayim” – the river of living waters.

There is more than just one face of G-D. More than one facet of life. More than one heaven. More than one Jerusalem. More the one river. More than one turtle dove.

We get this crazy picture in our heads and think we have it all figured out. We think we “know” what it looks like; how it acts; what it should be; what it will be. At least – that is what I do.

A baby was born in a manger was more than just a baby in a manger. He was a plurality. A king – a servant. A beginning – an end. A first – a last. A death – a new life. Bread – water. Grace – judgement.

Pluralities. Two turtle doves given by my true love.

Lots and lots of Steps.

“Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above.
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”~Act 2:17-210511-1011-1802-2221_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_Song-Two_Turtle_Doves_clipart_image  [google image]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #12

I have absolutely no idea what to write about since there are tons of things running around in my mind that I am so thankful to have in my life. Yesterday, there was no doubt. Devotions led me deeper into the WORD, and that put it front and center.

So a list of random thankfulness that have flittered through my scattered brain tonight seems rather appropriate.

Mom’s voice waking me up this morning singing, “When the red, red robin…”

Off-beat Christmas music that pulls at my spirit even more than Perry Como or Nat King Cole or Andy Williams or Carpenters. (I never would have believe it was possible – but it’s true.)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”~1 Chron 16:34

Two random ladies blessing me at church with their words and thoughts.

A wise man’s words about defeating the ‘obs-tackles’ that the evil one places in our path of our God given vision for our life. (Still thinking about this one, but I need to go back and read a few chapters in Nehemiah again)

The quiet of a morning walk after church with the girls.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”~Col 4:2

An early afternoon nap while Sunday dinner cooked (I am really not cut out for early morning risings anymore).

Roast chicken, potatoes and gravy. Yum!!!!

Devotions and taking time to write a note of Thanksgiving to one of my former teachers. A teacher who was one of the ones to help me see what a teacher could be in a classroom of crazy kids with Senior-itis.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”~Ps 100:4

Hallmark, DVD’s, Christmas movies that inspire the Spirit.

Pine tree smells that can blossom in my home even without a live tree. (sniff, sniff – can’t talk Hubby into one).

A silly kitten that runs into a wall as she tries to turn the corner into her room when I am bringing her supper. (I hope she doesn’t hurt herself – I can’t afford any new vet bills)

A few teacher-preachers on TV.

God’s vision for my life.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”~Heb 12:28-29

As I re-read these Gratitude Attitudes, I began to see a pattern of my day. A pattern that points to the vision. Still a little blurry. Still a little ways off in the distance. Time for prayer. Time for clarity. Time to kick the ‘obs-tackles’ (don’t you love a Southern accent?) to the curb. If Nehemiah could do it, so can I.

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HALLELU-YAH

It has been a busy blessed 7 days, yet the days of destruction are still not done. Eleven trees down and one half-way down. Several piles of chipping remain. Massive logs wait for the skid loader to pick them up once again and load them on a trailer to their last destination.

Usually when my life path journeys through a week like this, I just catch a deep breath, put my head down and barrel through it. During my school years, the weeks I graded autobiographies used to be like this. Lots of prayer. Lots of work. Lots of joy in the accomplishment.
Where each day felt like a basket of blessings, and I couldn’t wait to open my eyes each morning.

This was somewhat different. I have a very hard time agreeing to cut down trees. The Hubby and I have been arguing over which ones since we moved here. Trees stir my soul with their strength, their depth in seeking nourishment, their stretching towards the Father in praise, and their prominent place in His-story.

“The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”~Gen 2:9

So – as much as I know it had to be done because some were sick and others too close to the house – cutting down trees was the hardest part of this past week. I comforted myself by thinking about the new trees I will be able to plant once we are able to walk the ground and see the light patterns.

Today was the first day I have actually walked the land sans trees. It is still rough with stumps waiting to be ground – the Hubby has a bit of work ahead of him in the next few days. I moved some stones, picked up some left over brush and added more piles for the chipper. If we get a place with enough sun, maybe I can add a fruit tree or two. We probably won’t be here long enough to see the beauty of the trees filling out and becoming all that they can be, but it is something I have always done.

Cut a tree. Plant a tree.

The Grands said they would help me this summer, so that is another thing to look forward to doing. 12 trees to plant. A couple Rosebuds. Another magnolia. A couple of NC pines. A buckeye as a tribute to home. Maybe a pecan…hmmm…never had a pecan tree – now that might be fun.

Just before the destruction days started, I found a black walnut lying right in front of me with no walnut tree in sight. I laughed. You see, when i was growing up in Blacktown, one of my jobs was to put on gloves and collect all the walnuts that fell in the yard. I would carry them to the driveway where the car would roll over them – smashing the hull enough that the fruit could be harvested without staining the fingers. Then in the winter, Grandma Mac would then make all sorts of tasty treats.

Mom and dad are not any more subtle than our Triune Father these days, so still laughing I picked it up and immediately planted it where I knew it would flourish – beside our massive rock that I will paint this summer with our land’s covenant name and the bible verse we always use.

As much as I hate cutting trees, I know what I know what I know. God’s hand has been guiding this. A black walnut – dried and ready to plant. 12 trees that needed to be cut. 12 trees that need to be planted. A garden to tend. A God wink from the parents. And two happy puppies rolling in the messy red dirt – and leaves – and digging for grubs.

Today as I walked the land, geese flew overhead towards the north. A chicken hawk’s cries echoed between the remaining trees. And I watched the tinier birds return to the feeders that have been disturbed for the past few days.

In Hebrew, the word for praise is Hallelu. Yah is the word for God. Today was definitely a day for Hallelu-Yah.

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever.
May the Lord find joy in what he has made…
He looks at the earth, and it trembles.
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord throughout my life.
I will make music to praise my God as long as I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to Him.
I will find joy in the Lord.
May sinners vanish from the world.
May there no longer be any wicked people.
Praise the Lord, my soul!
Hallelujah!”~Ps 104:31-35

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

MaKOM

When I was a child, kids could walk or ride their bikes just about anywhere, and you didn’t have to be 14 to do so -not to mention – helmets.  So from kindergarten on, I was always walking to school or riding my bike.  However, there was one bridge that was hard to avoid.  It scared me as I made the journey home – especially if I was walking.  The bridge seemed ancient from my 6 year old perspective – although in hindsight – it probably wasn’t at all.  Its wooden, narrow walkways were on either side of the car path that separated them; loose boards wobbled under the feet as you walked up and then down; not to mention the occasional missing board that reminded you just high over the railroad track this bridge was.  In the mid-50’s, trains passed under this terrifying bridge several times a day.  The bravest of us would often stand at the wooden railing and jump up and down as the trains approached.  Me?? I ran as fast as I could – until solid ground eased the heart palpitations, and I could turn back to watch the train and wait for my companions of the day.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Is 41:10 

loudonville RR

Not sure where this fear came from.  Others weren’t afraid, but heights have never been my friend even at the tender age of 6 or 7.  Luckily, we moved in my 8th year of life to the (proverbial) other side of the tracks, and I didn’t have to walk home over that bridge anymore.  My first real PTL moment. Instead, my new path primarily led me through Central Park and past our family church.  I don’t remember when or why I started stopping at the church…maybe I was just curious…maybe it was when my first kitty (Tommycat) died…maybe it was after dad had his first heart attack when I was 10…  What I do know is that I lost count – long ago – of how many times I open those huge, heavy, wooden doors to sit in the quiet of the of the holiest spot I knew.  Gazing at the stain glass windows, the altar, the cross, became an important part of my life.  One time our preacher found me stretched out on a pew and woke me. As we talked, he shared some of the things he found peaceful when he was in a church after he came home from a WWII prison camp. I like remembering the days when churches were never locked…in fact…I was shocked and sad when I first encountered such a church door after I moved to the city to attend college.

“And Abraham went [to pray] early in the morning to the place [MaKOM] where he stood [in prayer] before the Lord.” Gen 19:27

methodist church

Jewish wisdom and traditions have been part of my faith journey for the past couple of years as I have tried to understand more about Christ.  When tired, tested, or just needing the closeness of His Father, Rabbi Yeshua often retreated to the wilderness.  Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets – all had their special places where they would go to feel that closer connection to God.  It was their MaKOM.  In Hebrew, letters have a numerical value as well as a language value.  Without going into all the details (which I tend to find fascinating even though I hate math), Jewish wisdom says that if you square the letters of the word Jehovah, it equals the same numerical value of the word MaKOM.  Get it?

We find God in His “area”.  In other words, God honors us when we make the effort to come to a special place (area) to seek – to pray – to serve – to worship – Him.  That is why the Jews make an effort to go to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Is 55:9 

God doesn’t make it easy on us. He didn’t make it easy on His Son, did he? He doesn’t want robots or blind, obedient children.  He wants His children to choose to love Him.  Despite the pain…the obstacles…the complacency…the fear…the doubts…or even the world, He wants us to choose Him…f.r.e.e.l.y.  A new covenant that is enhanced by the older covenant – all comes down to our choice to commit.  Do you have a special place where you go to feel closer to Our Father?

These days, church doors may have locks that keep us out, but there are always “areas” that beckon us to draw closer to God.  It is up to us to seek them out.  The Jews have an outer wall that surrounded their destroyed temple (Kotel ha-Ma’aravi).  Christ had the wilderness.  I have my shady garden and my writing desk.  God is where you stand on hallowed ground and seek Him.  Find your MaKOM and be amazed.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matt 7:7

june 2014 011

The Main Thing

Peter Lord said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

I like this quote. Did you have to read it more than once? I did. Repetition of words make a sentence unusual and those are the things that often catch my attention. I’ve run into this quote before in some of my friends’ statuses and/or devotional blogs that I read. However today when this quote popped up, I decided to do a little research – who was Peter Lord? I guess I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was a minister, and that he will be in NC in November as a speaker for a conference. Then Steven Covey’s name started cropping up with this quote. So I’m not sure who originated the quote. Maybe they both heard or read it and were just quoting it in their writings as well.

“THE MAIN THING…” Time goes pretty fast these days. Hump day is already here and I haven’t accomplished half of the things I planned on finishing. Social media play time probably doesn’t help when I end up putting jigsaw puzzles together instead of actually doing something that sends me in the direction of my goals. “…IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING…” Our society has gotten into the habit of throwing quotes into our discussion like chocolate chips in a cookie. As if that somehow legitimizes an opinion or validates a point..even when we have no idea where that quote originated or who that person really is that said it. It is on a cute picture that we like. It says what we are thinking. It expresses an emotion. But – is that enough? “…THE MAIN THING.”

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25

I throw Bible verses into my statuses all the time because I believe that it does validate a thought, feeling or emotion that I may be trying to convey. To those people who do not believe in the WORD, it doesn’t mean much. To me, it holds value beyond words even when little discrepancies crop up. Translating anything from one language to another causes problems. Which is an excuse that many people use to discard the words and intent of the Bible. What they don’t understand is that – even little discrepancies can help us grow in our faith because God uses those same discrepancies to His glory.

“Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who HAD GONE into battle, “This is what is required by the law that the LORD gave Moses: Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.” — Num 31:21–23

The original word in Hebrew actually says:: “…the soldiers who WERE GOING into battle.” When you read the verse it seems like the Hebrew must have been wrong. Check point for the nay-sayers. However, Jewish Sages say that the Hebrew word was totally correct because God had already told about the soldiers returning from battle in an earlier verse. This verse was instead talking about the spiritual battle they were entering. God was talking about every day life. Every day. all our choices – our actions – our words – must go through the the test – the “fire” of life according to His standards and then be purified by water. Sounds almost Messianic, doesn’t it? Daily, when we choose a course or say a word, we should always be thinking if it falls within His standards and then re-thinking it so that it is purified by the WORD (water).

“.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jn 1:1

The more I read Jewish wisdom and traditions, the more I am convinced that every word and story of the OT which points to the NT which points to the “main thing”…SALVATION.. Salvation of our Father’s creation is the “main thing”. He repeats it over and over and over again. Now – if only we can “…keep the main thing the main thing.”

main-thing

Habitat Building

A couple of thoughts have roamed through my mind today (within the chaos that usually scuttles about in there). Most of it centering around children. I often think that watching children is a reflection of watching Our Father in action. They love so easily. They forgive even faster. They create. They teach.

The granddaughter was playing with her habitats today. You see – she builds habitats for the creatures she wants to have (someday)…a small horse, a baby goat, a turtle (today’s focus) and a bat (not sure how she will do that one). Her mommy and daddy are pretty wonderful about helping her research whatever animal has caught her attention. Last weekend, it was a sea mollusk (and a lot of tears when we had to release him back into the ocean); this week a turtle. Then she starts to build them a habitat. She knows that her animals must have a place of their own to live, food to eat, and someone who will love them. Sound familiar?

Abba knew, that before He created humans, they would need a place of their own, Ever notice that the creation story doesn’t start with man? However, I don’t think that man was an afterthought…I may be a little biased here. I think God just is a much better planer then most of us…He was building a habitat for His sons and daughters. A vast array of universes. An orbiting world with its own sun and moon. A world subdividing into large areas of land.and crystal waters. A Garden full of plants and trees yielding fruit of every kind. Tiny creatures, big creatures, river creatures, flying creatures. Infinite in design, color, voice, skeletons…on and on and on. Until finally, it was time for something that He created in His own image…man…woman.garden

A child building a habitat.

Secondly, an older former student worried on-line today about losing contact with Our Father. Amid the business of day-to-day life, the angst of teenage years, the push to always succeed, the pressure to deny or – at least – ignore, media constantly humming in the ears. Is it any wonder he worries? I do – every minute of every day. I read a devotional today about how the Jewish people came to be the people of God. First, there Tornado of fire - Edm Airport Trng 08was Abraham. His faith led him through fire unharmed. Second, the people he taught stepped out in their faith to walk through water. Third, they traveled through a desert for 40 years learning to depend upon their Father God for food, shelter, and protection. A single person who made a choice; became the father of a nation as he taught others about God; leading generations to a belief so strong that they stepped into a river where Wall-of-Watertheir faith became a wind strong enough to dry the ground in front of them; and finally,…a looooonnnnnnggggg stroll through a desert that must have seemed unending and yet – so freeing – no limitations – no expectations – just trusting their Father to lead them, support them and love them.

Sound familiar? Don’t we all go through fiery times? Times when we see water totally over our heads? Dry, unending landscapes of nothingness, lack of visible supports, an empty feeling?

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Ps 23:423-wilderness_of_ziphjpg

David wrote this Psalm during one of His runs from Saul in the forest of Hereth (Sam 22:5) Jewish tradition teach that Hereth was not really a “forest” but a desert. Hereth means barrenness, harsh place. In Hebrew, it has the same letters as Heruth. Heruth means freedom. Strange combination of meanings – or is it? Jewish sages teach that when words share the same letters, it is because God wants us to notice the tie between the two words. Whether it is a whole nation or just one person, when we walk through that barren spot – that dark forest – we are freed of our day-to-day limitations, worries, etc. We are free to experience fully relying on the love of Our Father instead.

I try to rely on Our Father every day. I don’t always have the faith I should. I don’t always trust Him totally like I should. Yet – when I watch the Grands at play or listen to a former students trying to walk a life of faith, it reminds me that we are building our own habitat. We have (or are) walking through fire. Testing our faith by stepping into the water. And hopefully, walking through Hereth where we are free to experience the true love and sustenance of a Father who loves us enough to build a habitat just for us.

I’m just glad He lets us have a little time in the garden between all that fire, water and desert. I need my rest time, Father, and You always seem to know just when I need a little garden time. =P